The eyes of the world are open

By Ben Moriarty

Over two years ago, I realized when I sat in the back of lecture halls not paying attention, I couldn’t read the PowerPoint slides or the board.

Over one year ago, I went to an optometrist and got a prescription for glasses so that if I ever decided to pay attention in class, I would be able to see.          

One year and one day ago, I finally got glasses.

It was exhilarating and, comparatively, wildly different. I could read words that were 10 feet away, I could see things in the distance, figures weren’t so blurry and I noticed there was a lot more detail in the world than I ever remembered. It was like everything was sharpened. I understood things a little better and I could see things more clearly.

It was like I had an epiphany, until I started asking people if they could see the things I could see. It turned out that yes, they could.

But what about that, way off in the distance? Can you read that?

Yes. And I realized that I didn’t go from good to better, I went from bad to good. Maybe even from bad to just normal.

When I bought the glasses, there was a deal at the store. There was also my insurance. The deal at the store saved me more money than the insurance did. This wasn’t a life-saving surgery I endured, but it surely was something.

Yesterday, there were new developments in Congress that could signal the end of the tiresome health care debate. I realized, like me not getting my glasses for an unnecessarily long period of time, this health care issue has been in the spotlight since even before the inauguration of President Barack Obama.

The debate over this issue has been going on for decades for some senators. It has been the lifelong career goal of some to bring about legislation that would provide health care to every American – as if that should even be a debate in and of itself.

 The issue has been resolved in many European countries, but here, it is an unattainable ideal. And with its resolution, it might not go from good to better. It might go from bad to good. It might even go from bad to normal.

Unfortunately, what is currently on the table isn’t what the late Sen. Ted Kennedy would have hoped for. Like my eyesight, health care policy will go from realizing the benefits other countries have in terms of coverage, to acknowledging that what we’re currently passing isn’t nearly as beneficial.

It is a bill with a decade-long plan that would increase federal spending like crazy, hoping to be balanced by taxes and economic corrections in other areas. It’s riddled with things like forcing Americans to pay for health insurance, instead of just ensuring that it will be there. It is an idea being made an action with an uncertainty that it will work. Obama said, thankfully, there would be no federal spending on abortions, which gained the votes of several Democrats.

Yet there is still uncertainty. I’m certain that I can see well, at the least, well enough. I am certain that the bill passed will work well, or at the least, well enough.

But when it comes to the lives of human beings, of children in poor areas who need this health care bill and of human beings everywhere, it seems reckless and silly that there should be such a debate. “Well enough” shouldn’t be an option. A deal at a store shouldn’t come before insurance – unless it is a damn-good deal, but barring damn-good deals, no hospitals are giving out damn-good deals. There are no damn-good deals.

The damn-good deals are – when it comes to making sure ourselves and our neighbors have health care – in our own pockets. There is no philosophical argument that argues one person’s pocket should take precedent over another person’s life.

If someone has it, tax it. If they don’t like it, they can get a damn-good deal somewhere else.

Ben Moriarty is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]