Liberal Lens with Stephanie England   

Liberal Lens with Stephanie England

A key concept to Democratic political thought is equality. Democrats believe that every poor person has the right to the same quality of life as a wealthy person. Of course, equality is a high-minded ideal. We know that the poor are often marginalized in society. They often decide between medicine and food, and health exams and mortgage payments.

The president said Monday that about 46 million Americans do not have health insurance. If a person without health insurance needs emergency care, they do receive quality health care, but are then saddled with high bills which, in many cases, result in bankruptcy.

The lack of affordable health care in America is a serious issue. We remain the only developed nation without universal health care.

President Obama sought to begin health care reform when he struck a deal with health care insurers and providers at the White House this week. He said at a press conference following the meeting that out-of pocket health care costs and premiums have risen at four times the rate of wages over the last decade. He said that Americans are spending more on health care than any other nation on earth. These facts led up to what Obama called an “unprecedented commitment” on behalf of health care insurers and providers.

The Los Angeles Times reports that while the letter outlining the health insurance companies’ and providers’ commitments “lacked detail.” These companies and organizations committed to lowering health care costs by 1.5 percent each year by eliminating wasteful billing practices, transitioning into computerized medical records and changing the way that hospital employees are paid. Obama said these efforts will save the American people and the government $2 trillion — over the next 10 years, that is.

Is this commitment really what we wanted when we elected Barack Obama?

As a candidate, Obama’s health care platform was multifaceted. His proposals were to require that insurance companies cover preexisting conditions so that no one is excluded from having health insurance, and to establish a National Health Insurance Exchange which would provide all Americans with the option of private insurance plans and a public insurance plan based on the health insurance given to members of Congress. In his speech this week on his negotiations, he echoed his commitment as a candidate to save the average American $2,500 in health care costs.

He planned to pay for his health care reform proposals by repealing the Bush tax cuts for those who earn more than $250,000 and by keeping the estate tax at its current level.

While Obama’s negotiations with the health care insurance companies and providers might be viewed as an easy way out in comparison to his ambitious proposals as a candidate, he prefaced the developments this week by noting that “the only way these steps will have an enduring impact is if they are taken not in isolation, but as part of a broader effort to reform our entire health care system.”

Congress is working on a health care reform bill that Obama hopes will be completed by the end of the year. The President’s original proposal of a national health care system based on the health care plan provided to Congress, with low premiums and co-payments, might be smart to make it universal.

People would still be able to retain their private health insurance if they prefer, or they may choose the president’s health care plan. His original proposal might forge a middle way between republican dedication to low taxes and private industry and democratic dedication to establishing equality and a fair standard of living in America.

It’s essential that Obama push forward his original health care reform plan, and that it is passed. The health care providers’ and insurers’ commitment to reduce costs by 1.5 percent per year over the next decade isn’t change, and it isn’t what we voted for.

Join the Conversation


  1. While some of that I agreed with some points (poor need as much coverage as wealthy is a must) I disagree with the estate tax, at least as it is now. While I see it is get money for his health care, I see potential problems for family Ag lands. Most land that ranchers use take up many acres equaling high property values. Now if I understand the tax correctly, when my Grandma passes and gives my Mother/2 Uncles the land to continue their work as ranchers they would have to pay almost $190 thousand dollars to the government (or more based on property values but i believe the land was valued at 2 Million) which would break their backs. That would break many small Ag businesses. I propose exceptions for farm based land. Because remember: Where would we be without Agriculture? Naked and Hungary. Overall, I liked the article a lot more than your previous ones. Good job.

  2. We need to be fixing the government entitlement programs like medicare, not universalizing it.

    The notion that government intervention will drive down the cost of healthcare is absurd given their poor track record of driving down the cost of anything.

    You mention that you believe “that every poor person has the right to the same quality of life as a wealthy person” but that is equally absurd as a government being thrifty.

    If you knew anything about economics you would understand that resources are finite; ie we can’t all have steak dinners every night, or a mansion to live in, or butlers etc. These items all contribute to a quality of life for a few but not for the majority of us.

    People that work hard/ smart and are productive will accumulate more income and thereby have a higher quality of life than someone that does not work hard/ smart and is not productive. In order to guarantee the “right” of the latter to have the same quality of the former, the earnings must be extracted from the productive and given to the unproductive. Who and by what authority has the right to take from the productive and give to the unproductive?

  3. “Am I my brothers keeper?” The animal says no. Human beings deserve free healthcare because, well, we are human beings set apart from the animal kingdom. The United States provides free healthcare to the people in Iraq and Afganistan? Why are they different than Americans? The Republican Party controlled Congress when free health care was given to Iraqi and Afgan people. And they oppose it for the poorest of America. Wow talk about the ultimate in anti-Americanism! You go ahead and be a part of that Jim. The majority of American’s including the rich oppose the Republican ideology.

    1. Why do you assume I am a Republican? Is it b/c I believe healthcare is a service and should be paid for by the people that wish to have the service performed?

      Nothing is free Jason. And healthcare is no exception, it requires a person/s to utilize their expertise and provide a service.

      What makes you entitled to the services of a doctor without paying for it? If you think healthcare should be free, why not food and clothing and shelter? These items are arguably more essential for life than healthcare, so why just stop there?

      I’ve read some of your recent posts Jason and it seems most people, Repubs and Dems and Libertarians and Independents are opposed to your ideology.

      1. Don’t even try to reason with this fool, Jim. His life is dedicated to being a troll and trying to act like an idiot. If you attempt logical debate, he wont even hear it. It will make you want to smack your head into a brick wall. Don’t believe me? Just look at his posts on previous articles. This is especially true when you have an extremely valid point. He will attempt to say how “small minded” you are and attack your personal character without so much as a counter-argument. Trust me, you’ll be a lot better off.


  4. Jim are you purposely trying to be absurd? Food and clothing and shelter are more important than healthcare? Parents with children who are seriously sick with no healthcare might disagree with you Jim. But you don’t care about that. Your version of healthcare for the poor is the emergency room right? Didn’t one of your own say that very thing? And considering the majority of Mustang Daily and its columnists are right wing do you really think I care what the right wing thinks of me lol! Its like shooting fish in a barrel pointing out the absurdity of you right wing Republican/irrelephant LIbertarian DINO posters. But I’m quickly getting bored and some of those on your side scare me where your minds go to bolster your opinion.

    1. Apparently you have problems seeing. He didn’t say food and shelter was more important than healthcare. He said “Why should the government stop with healthcare and provide food and shelter to everyone.” Your idiocy is so appalling that it is a wonder you are still allowed to function in society without a helper. As for “shooting fish in a barrel”, the only thing you are doing is shooting yourself in the foot from anyone taking you seriously. Good job.

  5. Dave I’m embarrassed for you really. Your hatefulness and is only equaled by your dull articulation.
    Count down 6 lines you poor fellow?
    Here let me quote your right wing fellow Jim’s line:

    “These items are arguably more essential for life than healthcare, so why just stop there?”

    Dave Dave Dave Dave Dave? Lol Maybe you just don’t understand the words “more essential.” So just stop Dave I’m beginning to feel like a bully. And I don’t want your past to flood into your present.
    And the only thing sadder than your last post would be if you or any other of your personalities come back for more.

    1. The only “hatefulness” i am seeing is yours little man. As for feeling like a bully, a bully actually inflicts physical or mental harm. You are just a troll, nothing more, nothing less. You argue nothing of substance and are a failure. Hope your parents are really proud of what you have become. Do us all a favor and leave the gene pool.

    2. And once again Jason you are obviously wrong.

      I didn’t say they were unequivocably more essential, I said they were arguably more essential.

      Remember that hunger and the need to be protected from the elements existed long before doctors and medical facilities.

      So if the gov should provide “free” healthcare, why not “free” food and shelter as well?

      You have no problem casting stones at people making arguements against you, but you seem incapable of casting stones at the arguements made.

      So you poor fellow, in the future I suggest you actually understand what you are arguing and undertsnad that “arguably more essential” does not mean unequivocably more essential.

  6. Plus, he said it was “arguably” more essential. That doesn’t mean it is. Really hope you find peace with your internet life since it seems you can’t function in reality.

  7. Pitiful fellows just pitiful. All you have left are invectives and backpedaling and misscharacterizations. Not even man enough to own up…pitiful just pitiful. I’m done with you pitiful fellows. NEXT!

    1. Ahh, here it is. Cant even come up with a decent argument so he just ignores the whole issue. I sincerely pity you, Jason. A person so filled with ignorance and hate deserves pity.

  8. Ummm… how’s about we get back to discussing Steph’s column, instead of our hurt feelings over our political adversaries’ insults? For the record, when they aren’t sniping at each other, I generally take something of value away from a reading of each of Jason, Dave, and Jim’s comments… Health care reform is a dicey issue – especially for those of us who consider ourselves “independent” or “moderate”. As a member of a great insurance plan, any tinkering with the system makes me a bit nervous, but that’s selfish, isn’t it? I don’t want longer waits, I don’t want lower quality care, and I don’t relish the thought of even more money being taken out of my pocket to help pay for “luxuries” for the “have-nots”. Still, far worse than any of these outcomes would be to forge ahead indefinitely with a system that stands by and does nothing while untold numbers of Americans sicken and die. The only reason why we tolerate such a system is because those of us who already have health care don’t have to WATCH these poor folks sicken and die: I live in the suburbs; they die ELSEWHERE. Out of sight, out of mind, out of my pocketbook! Can we REALLY say that every single other industrialized nation on the planet is “socialist” and wrong-headed about this, and WE are right…again? And, hey – the answer to this question may, indeed, be “Yes” – it’s just that I haven’t yet heard any convincing arguments to prove it; all I hear is “Me, me, me, me!” and “Socialist! Socialist! Socialist!” As with the economy, scary times and scary measures to match. BUT I, for one, am no longer willing to sit by and do NOTHING simply because one segment of the population fears a slippery slope to a socialist hell that seems, at least so far, to exist only in their minds.

    1. That is an interesting take on things.

      Like you said, our current system may well indeed be the better one relative to the european countries and it may well be not.

      However, you have the choice in this country whether or not to pay for the healthcare services of others, unlike the europeans.

      I can completly understand why people that have taken the neccessary steps to acquire quality insurance like yourself would want to help those that haven’t.

      From what I can gather, the issue comes down to choice and coercion. Should we as individuals be allowed to maintain the choice or whether or not to pay into a gov ran healthcare system? Or should we be forced to?

      If we truly desire to live in a “free” society than the correct answer is obvious.

    2. Ahh, I apologize Eric. Yes, I agree that we need to help everyone. It really sucks that people can’t get the care they need. Everyone is entitled to Life and they should have it. But what I see happening (maybe it is just me) is that if we socialize health care that when we do, taxes will increase for everyone to compensate for costs (I dont believe just the “rich” will get taxed). Also, what would doctor’s incentives to provide good health care when they have to deal with so many patients that they get overwhelmed. When I look at the European system I see 98 hospitals failing cleanliness checks ( With these opinions of mine, I dont think it would be wise to socialize health care, but hopefully we can find a system to get around these fears.

  9. Dear Everyone,

    Man sometimes I do sound like the moronic crowd I claim anyone that disagrees with me to be.

  10. Republican/lying/LIbertartians are sinking to new lows hijacking the identity of someone they disagree with to insult. But considering they have nothing but lies and insults it doesn’t surprise me one of Mustang Dailys own would use my name to post the above. And if the Mustang Daily had any credibility they’d police their right wing wacko drones who post insults but because the Mustang Daily is a right wing leaning rag I won’t hold my breath.

    1. Aww, I thought you were done. Oh well, your comments give me so much entertainment. Seriously, whey the hypocrisy? You claim that only the “right wing” are hurling insults, but the one who hurls the most is you. But continue. Your ignorance and hypocrisy give me more entertainment than any television show. Keep it up!

  11. Ah look the Dave the loser showed up! You gave yourself away Dave the LOSER! You have nothing better to do than to pose as someone else? Just how many Mustang Daily personalities do you have LOSER Dave? You are what we call LONELY! Most are just lonely but you are LONELY! Turn off your computer and get out into the sunshine loser Dave. Meet people and find ANYONE who will be your friend. Its a start out of that LONELY world you live in all alone loser Dave with those multiple personalities. Pitiful just pitiful what some turn in to.

  12. Huh? Multiple personalities? What are you smoking bud? I like commenting because it gets your goat and it’s really entertaining. I mean, seriously, I get a real kick out of you posting what you do. It’s so contradictory and funny that I enjoy coming back for more. And again, if im lonely what does that make you? Seems to me that the pot is calling the kettle black Jason. But for my sake, keep it up. Theres nothing good on TV now so I eagerly await your response.

  13. Jason-

    #1 Why is it that anyone that disagrees with you is a “right wing nut job?” I lean a tad to the left but since you never make ANY valid points through this entire thread its hard to tell who would agree with you.

    #2 Why is it that whenever more than one person disagrees with you, you automatically claim someone is commenting under multiple names? I am not Dave, Kyle, Jim, ericb, or Slick but I bet that a lot more people than five disagree with your points (if you were ever to make any).

    Instead of immediately hurling labels and conspiracy theories about multiple personalities, maybe you should try to articulate anything that resembles a stance and logically defend it. Some on here have asked very pointed questions of your stance, yet you never respond. Why not?

  14. Giving a man a blanket to sleep on the street is not acceptable. We are our brothers keeper. Human beings deserve free healthcare because we should not treat human beings like animals where only the strong survive. See where I said that Danielle and then you see Dave’s response? So Danielle I doubt your sincere in your critique of me when you ignore the personal assault by Dave. Have a nice day whoever you are.

  15. Jason-

    My apologies, I did not notice that response. You must understand that it is very easy to get lost in your ranting about right wing this and that etc. If 95% of what you say are just personal attacks, it takes away from your message.

    Back to the topic now.
    “Free” healthcare isn’t free as you say. The services must be paid for by someone. Those on the right do not believe the government has the right to force someone to pay for the services of someone else. But this does not make them greedy, self serving, only focused on me people; they simply do not like the idea of being forced to do something by the government. Its anti choice, its anti freedom.

    Those on the left think that we should all pitch in and help everyone; from those according to their ability, to those according to their means.

    Wouldn’t a compromise be (similar to the abortion debate) allowing the individual to choose whether or not to buy into a universal healthcare system. Those on the right wouldn’t be forced to pay, but those on the left would be free to contribute as much as they’d like.

    If you don’t pay into the system then you are not covered. i think this compromise is best for both sides. What do you think?

  16. I think it’s a good idea, Danielle. In fact, philosophically, it’s pretty close to what the president is proposing. Who pays and how, though? That’s where we’ll run into trouble as it all unfolds.

    Perhaps those of us who favor an expansion of health coverage could be given the “opportunity” to voluntarily contribute funds to such a cause by paying above and beyond our current tax requirement. It would be interesting to see what would happen if you gave people like us a chance to put our money where our political mouths are, and, if it worked, we wouldn’t be angering Tea Party participants by compelling them to help people they don’t care about.

    As for personal attacks on message boards, they’re ubiquitous – it’s an epidemic that runs from the Mustang Daily, to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, to the New York Times and beyond. What bothers me most about them is that they are invariably married to the Left -VS- Right dichotomy (“All you liberal pukes always A,B,C…” or “Of course you Bush-loving Nazi morons can’t understand X,Y,Z…”). The problem with this (aside from its inherent anti-social antagonism that tends to curtail discourse rather than foster it) is that the political zeitgeist is rapidly changing right before our collective eyes.

    When somebody says “All Republicans are X” or “Everybody on The Left thinks Y”, it’s difficult to ascertain who, exactly, is being referred to, and there are simply too many moderates who may lean left on this and right on that.

    I remember posting a comment somewhere during the run-up to the election that addressed what I saw as cheap, intellectually barren tactics by Sen. McCain’s campaign; I ended my post by saying, “The Republican Party used to be about limited government, fiscal responsibility, and intellectual innovation driving new industry. If they ever get back to that philosophy, I will go back to them.”

    Within minutes, I was branded a “liberal”, a “RINO” and a “Kool-Aid Drinker” and one of the name-callers wrote something that I thought was particularly telling: “Hey, ericb! Stay where you are; the Republicans don’t WANT you anymore!”

    Since “The Left” is currently in charge, I will offer some advice to “The Right”: it’s guys like me that you have to convince if you ever want to start winning elections again, and vitriolic name-calling doesn’t convince me.

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