I teach Business Ethics. What happened in the health care debate in the last few days is to ethics what a fire hydrant is to a dog. I am enraged. Does anybody at any time, talk ethics about this issue? And I am definitely absolutely not talking about joe lieberman’s, “I am standing for God and country based on how pettily I can act at the moment.” Revenge is not ethics.
How do I explain any of this to students? Health care reform makes them buy private insurance? Whose idea of reform is this? What do I tell them? Their government’s cure for rising health care costs is to make them buy insurance from private companies? How do I explain the importance of ethics, honor and duty, when it is not rewarded? What kindness, consideration and care have the insurance companies done to merit this? Have they been free of fraud and wrong doing?
Should I just re entitle the class Anti-Ethics: how to get ahead and don’t worry, God won’t get you later?
I can’t explain this to ME. There is no way anyone could have told me this debate would work out this way.
I believe in democracy, that people should have some kind of say in how the government functions. I believe that we are in a serious crisis in the field of health care and that it is severely damaging the country not to mention causing death and suffering for many people.
For decades, in poll after poll, the American people have said over and over again that this system is not working. In Congress over the last few days a consensus has been reached to strengthen the current system, essentially rewarding the same actors and fools who have created this crisis in the first place.
We as a free people will be forced to buy private insurance. Let me explain private to you. If the government does it, I can vote, I can complain and the government can make changes. Elected people like staying elected and even fairly small threats to their electability will motivate them. Private industry has a different motive, profits. I have no way of influencing their decisions. None. Zip. Zero.
You might say: Well James, you can buy another insurance policy, get something cheaper. Really? The insurance companies have an exemption from the anti-trust laws. They do not have to compete. With the government mandate that I have to buy insurance, I am being tied and fettered, thrown helpless into the profit making hands of an insurance company. I will be fined, possibly imprisoned if I do not. I can be relatively confident that the government and private industry will make sure I either pay or suffer.
I could go on for page after page, but what’s the point? I’m not a lobbyist. I don’t make campaign contributions in the thousands of dollars. I have e-mailed my representatives with no response at any time on these issues.
As far as I can tell in the minds of those people I had the misfortune to vote for, I don’t exist. My life has no relevance to the people in Washington.
So, tell me, what do I tell my students?