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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Health


Thomas Jefferson included the health of the American people as a specific right when he uttered, “Without health there is no happiness.” Yet, among these inalienable rights – life and the pursuit of happiness – appear to be denied by today’s Senate Republican leaders.

It is unfathomable, then, on this day, when we once again declare our Independence, that we, the People, allow our government to seek not the general welfare of all Americans, in the form of health, but to allow the affluent to consolidate even more wealth.

Not today.

Anthony Quintano (Flickr/CC)

As you watch the parades this morning, fire up the grill and pour back a brew this afternoon, and tonight watch the fireworks light up the sky, do not neglect to exercise your right to speak out against the Congress’ attempt to drain the lifeblood of your fellow Americans to pad the pockets of the rich.

Next year, insurance premiums will rise 20% and deductibles will go up. But those people who experience those cost increases will be counted as the lucky few. Millions more will simply lose coverage, threatening thousands of Americans with death from lack of insurance. This fate will befall our nation if the Senate passes this nefarious health care bill.

The Senate bill would take funds that help people earning under $30,000 afford their doctor’s copays. That money would be rerouted to people earning six-figures whenever they profit by selling stocks. In fact, even if the money for working class Americans to afford copays and deductibles was restored, there would still be $67 billion dollars left over to give tax cuts to people cashing out stocks.

What the Senate is doing is not a repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act. It is trading our neighbors’ health for a few people’s wealth.

We cannot allow it.

We, the People, must convince our Senators to represent all of their constituents – especially the poor, the disabled, the vulnerable, and the sick – those whose very lives are threatened by the bill.

So this July Fourth, let us firmly press upon our Senators that our Creator endows us all with certain inalienable rights – life, liberty, and health, without which there is no freedom to pursue happiness.

Cedric Dark, MD, MPH, FACEP
About Cedric Dark, MD, MPH, FACEP

Cedric Dark, MD, MPH, FACEP is Founder and Executive Editor of Policy Prescriptions®. A summa cum laude graduate of Morehouse College, Dr. Dark earned his medical degree from New York University School of Medicine. He holds a master’s degree from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. He completed his residency training at George Washington University. Currently, Dr. Dark is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine and a Health Policy Scholar in the Center for Medical Ethics & Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine. He produces a health policy podcast for the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Dark’s commentary and opinions on this website are his own and do not represent the views of Baylor College of Medicine or the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Contact: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | YouTube | More Posts