If you believe that health care is not in the same category of basic American societal responsibilities as education and police protection for every citizen, two things are likely true. One, you probably have adequate health care. And two, you probably have reservations about Proposition 2 on the Nov. 6 ballot.
We believe health care is a fundamental need. Ensuring everybody has basic coverage should be part of the price of admission to live in this great nation of ours. That’s the foundation of our support for Prop 2.
For foes who dissect the issue purely on numbers, decent arguments exist. Prop 2 would expand Medicaid, which already consumes the single biggest slice of Idaho’s expense pie — slightly larger even than the state’s commitment to K-12 education.
Critics also might be correct in believing that the infusion of federal dollars now for that expansion — dollars that supporters rightly point out come from Idahoans as well as other Americans — could in time lead to a heavier burden on Idaho taxpayers.
So be it. The fact that we tolerate more than 60,000 of our fellow Idahoans unnecessarily risking illness and even death because they’re uninsured is unacceptable. As much as we would love to see churches or philanthropic entities step up to meet this basic need of their fellow man, there is zero reason to believe they will because they haven’t done it yet. And the need has been around since long before Barack Obama was president.
Our nation is not yet ready to have the discussion it must one day confront. That is, our health care system, in all its delivery excellence, is both untenable and imbalanced.
If you believe that every American deserves basic health care needs to be met, then you’re going to have to do something about a system that’s built on drug companies and insurance companies and other medical entities making as much money as possible for their shareholders.
Profit is good. Profit is the basis of America’s magnificent free enterprise system. Profit built the American throne among the kingdom of corporations, and citizens should be proud of the accomplishment. But profit does not work as the engine for health care. Returning the highest level of shareholder value and taking care of all who are sick or injured are incompatible, if not diametrically opposed, purposes.
But that’s a bigger issue for another day. For now, Idaho voters can take one step forward in doing the right thing for their hardworking neighbors and their communities.
On Tuesday, please join us in voting “Yes” on Prop 2.
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To recap, The Press is recommending citizens vote “No” on Proposition 1, “No” on Hayden’s requested tax increase, and “Yes” on Proposition 2.