A GOP assault on American health care has been turned aside, for now. But major questions have been exposed that will need answering if we as a country are ever to come together over health care. Do we recognize that health care—comprising 17.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and trillions of dollars in spending annually— has become so costly, complicated, and critical that each of us, at some point in our lives, must have some assistance from all the rest of the collective us?
In short: Do we believe that health care is a right?
All other civilized countries answered that question long ago in the affirmative and have implemented systems that guarantee everyone living within their borders (or even visitors from places like the USA) a basic package of health care. But we here in the United States still struggle with the world’s most expensive health care system that delivers care to a smaller percentage of its residents than anywhere else and that gets worse outcomes than most other advanced countries.