Health Care Reform? If it’s not too “costly.”

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3 Responses

  1. kiyallsmith says:

    In addition to the story of cost, I wonder if there are reasons why Americans might not feel empathy for the uninsured? In particular, I wonder if the linkage of health care to employment implies that those who lack health care are lazy and undeserving? If this is the case, those seeking to build empathy might have another challenge.

    Thanks for a great post.


  2. dena_t_smith says:

    I think that’s a very important point – it’s the American Dream mentality that makes us feel like we live in a meritocracy when in fact we know that many more factors than our hard work go into getting jobs. To add to your comment – even more than employed v. unemployed, certain kinds of jobs provide the benefit of health coverage. So, yes, I certainly think that, just as we tend to assume that those who have jobs, especially high-paying jobs, are deserving and those who are unemployed are lazy or inept, we also link all the benefits that come along with particular kinds of occupations to this inaccurate notion of America as a meritocracy. And this is an American social problem – if we compare ourselves to the French or the Canadians, for instance, there are certainly similar assumptions about deservingness or laziness BUT they are not intimately linked to health care in the same way, since medical coverage is considered a universal right and not tied to employment status, student status and wealth in the same way. So, yes, I agree that our assumption about people’s worth is unfortunately very difficult to detach from the debate about health care. Thanks for bringing up that point!


  1. 25th August 2009

    […] to create and/or support reform. I discussed what role altruism could have in this process (click here to go to the post). To re-cap, in the framework of classic theories of altruistic behavior, if people are to support […]

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