Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Public Option

This week, Buttercup started second grade. This week, we also had a dual "controversy" of Obama speaking to students starting school and speaking to the country about health care reform. The "controversies" came off the conservative fear that Obama might indoctrinate our children into doing well and might indoctrinate the rest of us into believing that national health care might be a good thing. What I still can't get past is the idea that there are people (conservatives, they call themselves) who argue that there is a problem with the president speaking to school children or that there is something wrong with offering health care to anyone who needs it.

To those who argue that national health care suggests entitlement and welfare and is simply a burden on people who deserve to keep their money, I ask whether it's wrong that Buttercup is healthy. Why? Simple: she was born with the assistance of Medicaid.

As a grad student, I couldn't afford reasonable health insurance. My monthly payments plus my payments under a deductible didn't make sense for a healthy man. When Buttercup's mother became pregnant, no one would extend coverage to us. Pregnancy is, after all, considered a pre-existing condition. My family offered some help, but Buttercup's mom suggested the idea of using Medicaid, or at least the Arkansas version of it. I had a slight pride issue to get past.

In the end, the experience couldn't have been better. We had the choice of care providers. We had the choice of hospitals. Buttercup had excellent pre- and post-natal care. There were no bureaucratic hiccups. Nobody managed our care besides us. The government didn't get "in the way." Ever.

The reality is we birthed Buttercup under a public option. Based on our experience, I challenge anyone to suggest that public options are a problem. I challenge any "conservative" who dislikes the idea of a society caring for itself to look at the picture of the girl walking into her second grad classroom — healthy, happy, and part of a middle class family now — and to tell me that a public option is a problem for our society.