Letters to Obama: "Willing to pay for the cost of reform"

August 18, 2009

Americans have regarded health care as a priviledge to be purchased with wealth or misfortune. Health care is a right, not a priviledge.

Dear President Obama,

Please push forward with your efforts to reform health care.

It should be treated in the same light as education. All Americans have a right to a basic education. Even if it were not a right, it would be in the best interest of all Americans that all Americans be educated. I send my children to private schools, but I pay taxes to support the education of children who either choose to get a public education or cannot afford a more expensive private education. I do it because I have a responsibility for the education of all children, not just my own. I do it because it is good for all of us.

All Americans should have access to basic health care, regardless of their means. But even if it were not a right, it would be in the best interest of all Americans that all Americans be cared for. I am a physician, so by definition (in America), I am a wealthy man. I can afford to provide medical care for my family through my income and my employment, but that should not be the necessary condition. Americans should receive medical care irregardless of income, employment, or pre-existing conditions. I am willing to pay for the cost of reform. I already pay for the health care of the poor, but I am willing to share the cost of health care for everyone. (In truth, we all already do this, but not efficiently or effectively.) I will do it because I have a responsibility for the health and well-being of all children, not just my own. I will do it because it is good for all of us.

Early in the summer I took my family to Ireland, the land of my forefathers. In Ireland, everyone has access to basic medical care. There is opportunity to pay for extras outside of the public system, but the public system does a great job. In Ireland, for example, infant mortality is much less than in the US.

So, please, Mr President, push forward with your efforts to reform health care.

Tom Maloney, MD