Today, President Obama held a White House summit on health care reform, which was one of the things he promised to do during his campaign. It was interesting because one of the things he said was this:

“Health care reform is no longer just a moral imperative, it is a fiscal imperative. If we want to create jobs, rebuild our economy, and get our federal budget under control, then we must address the crushing cost of health care this year.”

While it was impressive, as there were members from both parties there, along with groups that, in the past, have opposed such a thing but, at least seemingly, are now willing to talk about it, there was some ugliness lurking on the fringes. In this case, it was Rep. Zach Wamp, Republican representative from Tennessee, who had this to say about it:

“This is almost class warfare in order for him to be able to say everyone now has health care. Listen, healthcare is a privilege.” When asked to clarify his statement, he said “If you have cancer right now do you see it as a privilege to get some treatment?”

If you remember, I wrote in January how the most important consideration right now is health care. More people end up with credit problems because they can’t pay their health care bills. So, when people don’t get early care to try to prevent serious diseases and expensive treatment later on, it impacts everyone because those people will ultimately end up getting some kind of charity care, which could mean Medicaid, but in either case it either hurts the hospital, the people of the state in some fashion, or the country, which already has a problem with people not being able to pay bills.

Only people who already have money make statements like the one above. It’s my bet that when Rep. Wamp went into treatment for drug abuse back in the 90’s that someone else paid for his care, since he would have had to be too far out to be able to take care of it himself. People don’t decide they don’t want health care. Sometimes they decide to not accept it so that they can get all the money they can out of their weekly paycheck, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want it, just that they feel they can’t afford it. Young workers may feel they don’t need health care because they can be short sighted, but it doesn’t mean they don’t want health care.

Health care is not a privilege; it should be a fundamental right. That is, if we can afford it. And, truthfully, being in health care finance, I’m not sure we can NOT afford to at least try. I still believe Hillary Clinton was absolutely correct back in ’94; I hope President Obama, with his more open policy, will be able to get something through that will serve as many people as it possibly can.

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