Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Public option must be included

To the editor:

Where in the Constitution does it say we are all entitled to healthcare?

I saw this question posed in a recent article on the topic of healthcare, and I have seen it many times, so I thought I would take a stab at answering it.

I am no Constitutional scholar, but I am pretty sure there is no explicit grant of a right to healthcare in the Constitution.

This question implies the only things a U.S. citizen can count on must be explicitly delineated in the Constitution. While the Constitution lays an excellent foundation for governing our country, that does not mean we cannot consider anything else.

These are the first words in the Constitution:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Among the first words in the Declaration of Independence are these:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

I am not going to try to make the case that the Constitution or anything else our founding fathers said explicitly grants us all a right to healthcare. But the words in these documents do suggest rather broad goals; goals that very reasonably can include good health for all the citizens of the United States.

Establish justice. Insure domestic tranquility. Promote the general welfare. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

It seems to me good health for as many Americans as possible would go a long way toward achieving the goals set forth by the founders of our country. The problem I have with the healthcare system we have today is that insurance companies and investors in those companies are making pure profit off of the health misfortunes of American people.

To me, this is fundamentally unjust, it does not ensure domestic tranquility, it works against the general welfare of the American people, and without good health, how can we have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

To be very blunt about my personal wishes, I want to see the abolition of “for-profit” health insurance.

I realize we are a very diverse people, and many Americans oppose government involvement in our personal lives. But everyone will agree we all want good health.

As much as I may want it, a government-run, single-payer healthcare system may not be the best solution to satisfy all the American people. But our health insurance companies have very conclusively proven the system we have now is not a good solution, either.

We must do something to force the insurance companies to stop putting their profit before our well-being. I feel the plans currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives which include both private and public health insurance options are the best possible compromise.

Any proposal that does not include at least a public option will perpetuate a system that is bad for America! I urge you to let your senators and congressmen know that you support healthcare reform that includes a public option.

Steve Ford


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