To the editor:
We need the same sort of restructuring of health care that led to the creation of Medicare and Social Security. I accept the necessity for a tax increase to help pay for this. So would many others. Jesus, speaking in Matthew, says that harming the least of our brethren is the same as harming him. So failing to address the inequities in health care access isn’t just a political matter. It’s a moral obligation.
We need more than health care reform. We need individuals to take more responsibility for their health. Required physical education has been eliminated from the curricula of some schools. Given the obesity problem, how can this be? Clearly, health depends on collective and individual responsibility, so health and physical education are key.
The fiscal impact of reform could be offset if spending on war were reduced. I’m nearly 63. Except for the first years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, my generation has lived continually in fear of this or that enemy. We have spent enormous amounts in pursuit of security. Doesn’t work; we’re still anxious.
We don’t choose to whom we’re born, or where. Initial conditions, including parenting and intelligence, influence powerfully what kind of men and women we become. Some of us are extraordinarily fortunate. Others aren’t. I hope that as leaders ponder health care reform, they remain compassionate toward those whose endowments, compared with theirs, are relatively few and whose troubles are many. I hope those leaders will share from their abundance.