Wineke: Health care matter of morality, not freedom

C3k columnist says we can't turn our backs on uninsured
Wineke: Health care matter of morality, not freedom

If we are to take Republicans seriously, we have to believe they have a new cause; they are going all-out to repeal “Obamacare.”

Well, I guess it is not a “new” cause but the GOP has seemingly breathed new life into attempts to thwart the Affordable Care Act which was ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court last week.

Mitt Romney says it will be the first thing on his agenda should we elect him president. John Boehner promises the House of Representatives will vote to repeal the act first thing next week.

Is this really going to be the big Republican cause this year? To take away the promise of affordable health care for 30 million Americans? To make sure that, should you contract a major illness, you will be forced into bankruptcy?

Are these people insane?

And what does it say about Romney, the “presumptive” Republican candidate for president? It is his law? Doesn’t that guy believe in anything?

To be sure, we’ve seen this movie before – well, we, at least, have read the reviews of this movie before. When Franklin Delano Roosevelt convinced Congress to introduce Social Security, the Republicans vowed to take it away. When Lyndon Johnson convinced Congress to introduce Medicare, the Republicans vowed to take it away.

They are wrong, but they are consistent.

Sen. Ron Johnson – the man Wisconsin voters in their wisdom think is a better representative of our state than was Russ Feingold – said a couple of days ago that employers ought to be free to deny medical coverage to cancer patients.

It’s a matter of freedom, Johnson said. Which, I suppose, it is. Though I’m not sure how free the cancer patient will feel when he or she must face bankruptcy along with the danger of dying a painful death.

Actually, it is not a matter of “freedom.” It is a matter of morality.

Here’s why:

Polls show that about 80 percent of Americans have health insurance and are more or less satisfied with it. That leaves about 20 percent of our brothers and sisters at the mercy of chance and charity.

Dr. Tim Bartholow, senior vice president of the Wisconsin Medical Society, told the Wisconsin State Journal last week that the society projects a shortage of nearly 2,200 doctors in Wisconsin by 2030. One big reason why is that people who do not now see doctors will be able to see doctors once this law is fully enacted.

A free dental clinic last week attracted about 3,000 people, some in great pain, who couldn’t afford to pay dentists’ fees.

While most of us are happy with our health care, there is a significant portion of people who see doctors or dentists only when there is no other resort.

It is flat-out immoral for those of us who enjoy good health care to turn our backs on our fellow citizens who don’t and it is blasphemous to justify that cruelty with talk about “freedom.”

Is “Obamacare” the best way to provide reasonably priced medical insurance for those who cannot now find it? I have no idea. What I do know is that it is what we have and no one on the right has come up with an alternative.

Romney and his fellow Republicans seem to think it is good politics to run on a platform of denying health care to the poor. Perhaps it is good politics. It is also shameful.