A perspective on ‘Obamacare’

My mother who will turn 80 next year had a hip replacement two years ago. She will have a knee replacement a few weeks from now. The (Dutch) collective will foot the bill; I am grateful that this is possible but I also see the irony that many people on this planet will die today because they cannot afford treatments that cost infinitesimally less than my mom’s procedures. Where is the solidarity in that? Nowhere.

In Europe we live in a world of nations; we protect members of our exclusive club. It is so self evident that we can’t comprehend Americans who do not think this way. But to us, non-members of our club even when their afflictions are minor are wholly excluded from our protection even if they can be cured by a trifling sum.

So, as someone who actually has a few redneck friends I don’t find the resistance against Obama’s health care plan to be bizarre, for that I’ve been exposed to the counterargument too much. Many in the US do not consider it the province of the government to get involved. To them, solidarity doesn’t extend so far that one can force people to assume collectively the health burdens of others. A minister of a Church that funded large health care projects in Africa once asked why Europeans think it is so humanitarian to cover every minute health care cost of their fellow man when the condition is that this fellow man was of the same nation. Wasn’t it discriminatory if not outright racist that an elderly European will get a hip replacement in an expensive tax-payer funded procedure involving monies that could feed a few thousand children in Africa for a week that now starve to death?

While I personally think ‘Obamacare’ is long overdue and ought to be implemented, I can certainly understand the fear of those who see a creep of European socialist ideas; a growing push of collective solidarity that finds expression in the redistribution of income. It wouldn’t be the USA if it wasn’t strenuously fought.