I'm not a religious man, but I do believe in doing the right thing.
Any way you look at it, I cannot see how anyone could argue that offering health care to every man, woman, and child in the U.S. is morally wrong. So why would someone be opposed to such a proposal?
Two of the more common arguments are:
1) The government would run a public health care option incompetently, squandering money and providing sub-par health care coverage.
2) The government would run a public health care program so well that it would put commercial health care companies out of business.
Proponents suggest a third option:
3) The government program would compliment and co-exist with existing commercial offerings.
I'll contend that argument #1 is obviously false. The "public option" being proposed is intended to provide a baseline level of coverage. In other words, it is intended to cap the lower-bound of coverage options. It does not preclude anyone choosing a private health care option. It does not restrict the maximum level of coverage. As such, it can only raise the level of coverage for those currently most poorly served. One would be a fool to choose the public option if a better private option were available; if no better option is available, the public option cannot be inferior to something that does not exist.
Which only leaves the cost component of argument #1. I would like to see the government run the public option in an efficient way, but if it takes an inefficient organization to provide a baseline level of health care to people who have no better option, than that is simply the cost of doing the right thing. There is no moral high ground in putting money before the health of another human being.
As for argument #2, I cannot see the future so I have no way of guessing whether this is true or false. My gut instinct is that it is false. But, if the government were to be capable of running a program so efficiently that we all received better service at lower cost for all possible treatments, I fail to see the problem. Opposing a public option for fear that it will do a better job that corporate options is analogous to corporate welfare for the less-efficient companies. I do not see the moral high ground is putting the health of companies before the health of citizens.
So our possible outcomes are:
#2 is true - we all get better coverage, albeit from a government-run program.
#3 is true - the public option provides a baseline level of coverage but people/companies can still buy health insurance from private providers for a superior level of coverage.
A number of people seem afraid of a single-payer system, as would result if argument #2 were true. However, I emphasize that the only way for #2 to yield a single-payer system is if that single-payer were superior in the marketplace than all other options. If the government were outlawing the competition, that might be a legitimate concern, but there is currently no proposal to do any such thing. As such, gloomy talk of a single-payer system forcing us to endure inferior service to our current corporate plans is nonsense. The only single-payer system on the table is one so superior (and unlikely to happen) that complaining about it seems neurotic.
In summary, there is small but unlikely possibility that everyone in America gets such superior health care that corporate insurers cannot compete. The expected outcome is that every American is guaranteed a minimum level of health care and those of us fortunate enough to be able to afford better health care can still purchase it just as we do today.
Personally, I do not care what happens to my individual health care package. But I firmly believe that ensuring every man, woman, and child in America has access to at least basic health care is the right thing to do. And I am deeply ashamed that a small but vocal contingent of my fellow Americans so despises their fellow man that they want no part in it.