A Green Take on the Healthcare Debate

originalIn the United States, we love our political battles.  I wonder what people in other developed countries, who take universal healthcare for granted, think of our arguments over it.  All the guns (including two assault rifles) would seem appropriate if we were being attacked by man-eating zombies.  Or Democrats trying to lower healthcare costs and make insurance available to everyone.  Both seem equally controversial.

How does this relate to the global warming movement?  I’ll get to that in just a second.

For now, though, let me say that there some legitimate concerns about the healthcare/insurance reform.  I have concerns about the healthcare plan.  But we won’t get anywhere if one side keeps making wild claims just to stir controversy, while the other side tries to compromise and ends up alienating its own supporters.

Sound familiar?  It should.  Opponents of the climate and energy bill used some of the same tactics, including angry sign-waving and fanciful claims.

There are also some similarities on the other side of the aisle.  In order to secure enough votes, House Democrats weakened the Waxman-Markey bill, losing support from many environmentalists.  When faced with opposition, the White House seemed open to dropping the public option from the healthcare bill.  This irritated liberals and was partially responsible for the drop in Obama’s ratings.

This pattern should serve as a warning for those hoping to pass a climate bill.  The Senate vote will be coming up in the next few months, and we can expect strong opposition fueled by misinformation.

There is one huge difference between healthcare and climate change, though.  American healthcare only affects Americans, but American climate policy potentially affects the entire world.


One thought on “A Green Take on the Healthcare Debate

  1. As someone from another developed country that has universal health care, I have to say that I find a lot of the arguments in the States quite silly. I perfectly understand the need to make the bill as good as possible, but chains of logic like “universal health care = socialism = fascism = Hitler” are just laughable.

    I think a lot of the problem is people clinging fundamentally to their ideology, and not considering the context or the issues. Take Locke, who said, during the American Revolution, that the government should step in to the lives of the people as little as possible, and not interfere with their liberties and freedoms. That’s fine, but there are a lot of people (especially Americans, he was an American philosopher after all) who see this as the be-all and end-all. No matter the context or issue at hand. They’re willing to compromise people’s health and livelihood, as long as the government’s response fits their ideology as perfectly as possible.

    I’m much more a fan of Rousseau, who believes that the government should act on the general will of the people. That way, the solutions are issue-based, instead of being preconceived to always act in a certain manner. Sometimes they’re left-wing, sometimes right-wing, but the goal is always to find a solution that works.

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