It was open enrollment for health benefits at Nossaman last week, and the conference room was filled with employees waiting to be briefed. Having spent the better part of the last few years of my professional life being bombarded with the abstract details of health care reform, I was curious to see what, if any, connection might be seen between this extraordinarily complicated and controversial legislative reform and real life.
Don’t doubt for a minute that it is there. Here were moms and dads protecting the well-being of their children, some not even born. Husbands and wives were taking care of their spouses. Mastering the complexity of the simplified “side by side” comparison of the different coverages was at least as important as foraging for food once was, a long time ago.
Health care may not be a constitutional right, but you could not tell that for a second from watching our employees. Their intensity may not have equaled that at the recent NRA’s convention in Houston, but I think the Second Amendment would finish a distant second in any race with health care as a subject of widespread concern. It seemed to me that every one wanted a good heath plan more than an Uzi. Nobody was complaining about the pernicious effect of the employer mandate or their loss of personal freedom.
No question that this was a highly educated, self-selecting sample from la-la San Francisco. But this was not political. The concern and attention these employees brought with them would not be inherently different in a factory, warehouse or fast food restaurant located in a “Red State,” if any of those employees were lucky enough to have health care as an option. Pick whatever constitutional right you like, good health care is what makes life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness possible.