There is a reason we don’t have universal health care, and it’s not because we lack compassion for the sick. What’s stopping us is the lack of good answers to hard questions, such as: “How will we coerce physicians who do not want to participate in a government-run universal health care program to do so?” “How will we avoid a two-tier health care system in which those with money purchase better medical care while those with less money are restricted to government care?” “How do we hold people accountable for their own health decisions (wearing motorcycle helmets, ceasing obesity-producing behaviors, no smoking, etc.) rather than enabling behaviors that undermine good health?” We would do better to shift the debate from a focus on health insurance to health care. Insurance doesn’t treat anyone; medical care does.

Tony R. Nester, Sioux City, Iowa

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Sojourners Magazine November 2008
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