KlinestarIf you get diagnosed with a disease, break your leg or find yourself facing some other medical calamity while not having health insurance, you're not likely to be too concerned with the intricate political debates that have paralyzed health care legislation for years.

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Daniel Kline: Something might be better than nothing

Published 10:45am Friday, April 2, 2010

That’s why the millions of working Americans who can’t afford health insurance should be overjoyed at the massive health care reform bill that President Barack Obama pushed through Congress.

The conservative part of me wants to bash the Obama health care plan as more wasteful government spending coupled with the Democratic Party once again inserting government where it does not belong. My liberal side, however, has me wanting to praise any plan that makes having health insurance possible for people who don’t.

Obama, who would not be my choice as president, saw a problem – that millions of Americans lacked access to affordable health care – and he acted. He did not come up with the perfect solution and the legislation he managed to pass through Congress leaves many questions to be answered, but he did something.

Usually our strict two-party system makes getting anything done in Congress nearly impossible. In general this creates an inertia that protects the people from its government as it stops the stupid laws from being passed along with the good ones.

Access to health care and affordable insurance should not be debated on strict party lines. Instead, we must consider the human aspect of the problem, then we must insert practical concerns.

Arguing the politics of health care with someone who works hard and still can’t pay for health insurance would be like debating farm subsidies with a starving man. Until you’ve been fed, or in the case of health care, healed, nothing matters except the end result.

As Americans – no matter which side of the aisle we fall on politically – most of us agree that you should be able to work hard and achieve a modest level of security. I’d like to think that if an industrious fellow, even if he has no specific skills, puts in enough hours he should be able to pay for basic shelter, food and health care.

I’m not saying there should be a Porsche in every driveway, but we should all want to build a society in which even those on the bottom can survive. In the case of the basic’s like food and health care, in some ways we need to feed the starving man before we debate how to pay for his meal.

I may not be not a fan of this health care plan, yet I applaud the President for getting any health care legislation passed. If the health care debate stops now, then, well, we probably have a disaster. But, if the Obama plan becomes a basis for negotiating and refining, then at least we have applied a tourniquet while we attempt to stop the bleeding.

Daniel B. Kline’s work appears in more than 100 papers weekly.
When he is not writing, Kline serves as general manager of Time Machine Hobby, New England’s largest hobby and toy store, www.timemachine hobby.com.

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