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Freedom in Health Care

Summary: Independence Day is about celebrating freedom. Let’s contemplate the freedoms we can achieve with universal health insurance.

Comment by: Jim Kahn

On this day in 1776 we declared independence from Great Britain. We asserted, and soon realized, our desire to be free of overseas control and exploitation – political, religious, and financial. Thus was the US founded in freedom (if initially only for white men).

Yet freedoms often conflict with each other, and with our communal goals. The freedom to vote runs up against a claimed freedom to establish local election rules. The freedom to do business conflicts with a commitment to workers, consumers, and the environment. Our independence relies in critical and complex ways on our interdependence. Individual freedom must be balanced with collective welfare.

In health, the balance is askew.

Freedom to profit financially is taken as paramount. Insurers, pharmaceutical companies, and many providers profit outrageously by charging high prices for services that are rationed or cost pennies to produce.

To that profit altar we sacrifice all the other freedoms that should prevail:

Freedom to seek quality health care without impediment.
Freedom to choose providers.
Freedom to select therapies.
Freedom from medical debt.
Freedom from administrative barriers and hassles.

These health care freedoms are due to us all, regardless of economic status, race, gender, and citizenship.

We all deserve the freedom to enjoy the “free lunch” that is single payer: cheaper and better.

Freedom means placing community welfare over individual financial gain.

That’s the country I’m rooting for today, and every day.

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