How to get universal health care
By Joel S. Hirschhorn
Online Journal Contributing Writer
May 6, 2008, 00:12
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama say they believe in giving
Americans universal health care. I don�t believe them. Anyone who takes the
time to understand universal health care should conclude that only a simple
single payer system will reform the current outrageous system that benefits the
insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
The contorted plans from Clinton and Obama are not
sufficient reforms. And what John McCain has proposed is sheer nonsense and by
itself should cause any conscious American to avoid voting for him.
Fights for health care system reform are centered in
Congress, as if legislators will do what they have never done before: achieve
true, major and systemic reforms that only serve the public interest, not
lobbyists and campaign contributors from business sectors.
Both Clinton and Obama believe that Americans have a moral
right to universal health care. If this is correct and if this is what you
believe, then achieving universal health care that covers absolutely everyone
by making health care affordable to absolutely everyone, as it is in many other
nations, requires a different kind of government action. What exactly?
We must expand the Bill of Rights as embodied in the US
Constitution to include the right to affordable universal health care. The time
has come for the public to conclude that the right to universal health care is
as important and necessary as the right to free speech and all the other
beloved constitutional rights. Common sense says that health care is a right,
not a privilege.
After all, what good are our current constitutional rights
if you are ill or dying prematurely because of a lack of good health insurance?
Certainly the pursuit of happiness cannot be successful when individuals are
suffering from poor health because of inadequate health care.
Why would sensible, caring Americans be against a
constitutional right to universal health care? Are there people who would stand
up and publicly condemn the right of all Americans to have first-rate health
care? The only ones I can imagine doing this are those now benefiting
financially from the current unjust system, those blocking necessary
What Obama and Clinton should explicitly and loudly advocate
is a constitutional amendment that makes universal health care a nonnegotiable
right of all Americans.
Why has no member of Congress submitted legislation to get
Congress to propose such an amendment for ratification by the states? Clearly,
the only rational answer is the many business interests that have corrupted
Congress and that benefit from the current system. The Constitution provides an
Article V provides an option never used in the entire
history of the US, because Congress has refused to obey the Constitution and
respect state requests. The Article V convention option was put in the
Constitution because the Founders and Framers believed that one day Americans
would lose trust and confidence in the federal government. With 81 percent of
Americans believing the nation is on the wrong track and with so many millions
of Americans lacking good health insurance and care, that day has surely
arrived. And with abysmally low levels of confidence in Congress and the
president, an Article V convention -- a temporary fourth branch of the federal
government -- is clearly the right path to obtaining a universal health care
amendment. A convention of state delegates could debate such an amendment and if
they agreed to propose it, then the standard ratification by three-quarters of
the states would still be necessary.
Yes, this would probably take a few years. But it would be
worth it. The prospect of Congress, even with Clinton or Obama as president, achieving
universal health care without business-friendly loopholes faster than the
amendment approach is not good. The process of pursuing such an amendment,
moreover, would help keep pressure on Congress to do the right thing.
If this sounds reasonable and necessary, then learn the
truth about the Article V option at www.foavc.org
and start talking up a universal health care amendment that Hillary and Obama
Joel S. Hirschhorn through delusionaldemocracy.com;
he is a co-founder of Friends of the Article V Convention.
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