Laying a strong foundation
Opponents of Medicaid expansion invoke the value of personal responsibility to oppose government-sponsored healthcare. They say that it is the fault of the individual for lacking the ability to afford healthcare and that government programs such as Medicaid encourage dependency. Additionally, the healthcare often needed can be seen as a result of personal choices such as drug use.
What I ask of these opponents is how do they expect individuals to overcome addiction without the necessary care? Wealthy families have access to a wide range of services, and its due to this access that many of their children can emerge from addiction healthy. When we advocate for Medicaid expansion, we are only acknowledging that those without advantageous circumstances deserve care that will restore their dignity, happiness and ability to take responsibility for their lives.
If we extend the range of care beyond sickness that could be considered the “fault” of the individual to other forms of medical hardship, the case for Medicaid expansion strengthens. It rarely takes more than one medical emergency to bankrupt a middle class family with no insurance. The working poor and unemployed have even less wiggle room. Ailments keep them from their work or from seeking work, add the need to accumulate debt for the maintenance of life and sap the individual of the self-esteem needed to improve their circumstances.
We must lay the foundation as a society for to take responsibility for their lives. Lack of access to medical care hinders this.