Marriage is love.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Culture of Life?

Forward Editorial: Our Culture of Life
April 1, 2005

Sun Hudson died in a Texas hospital last month, just shy of 6 months old. Few Americans ever heard his name, before his death or since. They ought to learn it, repeat it to themselves and remember it. His fate can teach us a great deal about the American "culture of life" of which President Bush speaks so often...

About 18,000 Americans die every year because they do not have health insurance, according to the Institute of Medicine, an arm of the congressionally chartered National Academy of Sciences. The number increases each year as more and more companies opt to reduce costs by cutting their health plans. It will grow even more if the president succeeds in his plan to slash the funding of Medicaid, the last-resort program for the poor.

Each of those deaths is a direct result of the democratic choice made each year by the U.S. Congress not to create a national health insurance program of the sort in place in every other industrialized nation in the world. America — or at least the Congress we elect — has voted repeatedly to reaffirm the belief that individuals are not entitled to life-saving medical care, any more than we are entitled to jobs or food...Agree or not, our nation has made its values clear. Life is a commodity to be bought and sold on the marketplace, an entitlement of those who can afford it.

The obscene circus created around the Schiavo family tragedy last month was consistent with that philosophy. Terri Schiavo's so-called advocates never once questioned the legitimacy of pulling the plug on disabled patients. Under the leadership of the former Texas governor Bush, they simply reaffirmed the principle that such life-and-death decisions do not belong to individuals, families or even doctors, but to the corporations that pay the hospital bills.