HealthCommentary

Exploring Human Potential

The Preamble and Health

Posted on | July 22, 2019 | No Comments

!945 – American Taxpayers Build Out Universal Health Care Systems

Mike Magee

As a matter of self-defense, I and many other American citizens have been exploring our origins and the stated purpose of our country, its Constitution and ideals, as much in part to reassure myself that most Americans are good and decent people, not perfect but also not intentionally racist, misogynistic or cruel in the extreme.

Recently I have been focused on the Preamble to our Constitution. It is a single sentence that carries no legal weight. But rather, it is intended to be a succinct introductory statement of the principles at work in the full Constitution.

It says: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

This, in a nutshell, is the American dream of self-governance in an imperfect world of constant flux, of good and evil, of incredible complexity and endless choices. It is a world of accelerating change, where we are forced to adapt and evolve, or be left behind. And yet, it is certainly no more complex than the world vanquished Germans and Japanese faced in 1945 when their defeat meant literally that they would need to start all over again. With the aid of American taxpayers, and the Marshall Plan, they embraced a common starting point – universal health care.

Warfare is not the only disrupter that can lay waste to a nation. In a short two decades of this new century, technology, global markets, and climate change have left the American experiment in all manner of disarray. Justice, tranquility, defense, welfare, and liberty itself have been undermined. Our prime-age workers in the bottom 60% have seen no real income growth in four decades. During this span, the income of the top 10% has doubled, and the income for the top 1% has tripled.

Our nation has not figured out how to get along economically with our market equal, China. We have no “rules, norms, or laws” to protect trust and truth in a world of social networks, cybertools, and cyberbullies. Longer lifespans have until recently translated into multi-generational complexity and competition for resources. As one expert short hands it, we have moved from a “work, learn, retire” model to a “learn, work, learn, work, learn, work” survival mode.

We are desperately behind the eight ball here, and need to listen to our own Preamble and our own history. It suggests that, in establishing our Constitution, we continually must determine how best to promote and maintain a healthy nation filled with healthy citizens – mind, body and soul.

The 2020 election is an opportunity to reclaim self-governance, to plan, to work, to build together. Universal health coverage, as we learned in the reconstruction of Germany and Japan,  is not the only platform from which to launch a recommitment to our common future, but I would argue, it is a logical starting point to pursue “a more perfect union” during these turbulent times.

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