In all of the modern countries of the world, we the inhabitants of those countries can enjoy a variety of public services, paid for by our own tax money.  We all seem to recognize a common need for police and fire protection, as well as crews of paramedics.  For the common good, we educate our children and build programs for higher education and to train people to do jobs and contribute to the community.  We build an infrastructure of roads and bridges, of rails and crossings, and of airports and controllers to allow us to efficiently move ourselves and our freight from place to place.

We do these things as a group, not because we would be unable to do it for ourselves otherwise, but because it is much cheaper and much more efficient to do so as a total group of citizens of our city, region, or country.  We do this for important things. We even do it for smaller projects like community hospitals or libraries, among many other institutions.

Certainly not every single member of the public will directly use these resources.  A particular person may not use a highway, but they benefit from them when a shipper uses that road to get groceries to their local market.  A particular person may not have a child to send to school, but we all benefit by having all of our collective children educated.  But in most every case, we all, directly or indirectly, receive a benefit from the services that we pay for.

We do pay taxes to several levels of government to provide these and other services to us.  Yes, this is our hard-earned money paid out.  It also represents a savings of what we might ahve to pay if we each had to pay for these services individually.  It is with this background that I suggest that the United States should no longer be the only nation in the world not providing healthcare to its citizens.

Currently, our US Senate is working out the details of a bill that will make positive changes to our healthcare system.  It is imperative that they do what is necessary to ensure that healthcare is available for all, at a price that is affordable for all.  For those currently covered by a current medical plan, it will mean cheaper rates.  For those not covered, it will mean the ability to have their basic health needs taken care of.  Even for those who might “never get sick”, it means that there will be an operating healthcare system there if the need did actually arise, much in the same way that we might never have a fire, but we value having a working fire department, should the need arise.  Besides, even if we don’t use the system ourselves, there is an indirect benefit from not allowing those around us to remain ill.

Our Senate is working among themselves to pass a bill that will provide healthcare for all.  There is debate among them as to the best way to accomplish this.  A number of them seem to believe that there is no problem at all.  Certainly, the fact that in what is supposed to be the greatest country in the world, we refuse to ensure that all people have access to basic healthcare, is truly a problem that needs to be addressed immediately.

Given the current state of the debate in the senate, I have no expectation that a complete solution will be decided on  this month.  I will hope that the Senate can build a great foundation that will get us started on the path to universal healthcare in the US. It looks like the current proposal is more of a start than a complete plan, but it is a good start.  It will begin to help those who will need it.

The plan will help to lower healthcare costs.  It will make services available to more people who do not have help now.  It will likely cost us some money in taxes.  But when it is fully implemented, we will save much more money in the long run that we now spend on healthcare costs than we will have paid in taxes.

Shame on those Senators who cannot support the continuing health of our citizens.  We will get to the point of having universal healthcare sooner or later.  Sooner would be better for all of us.  However, any progress toward this goal is welcome.  But shame on these Senators for prolonging the suffering for some of us.  The time to act is now.