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Continuing a proud tradition of public benefits

Many of us voted for President Obama as we believed he had the character, intelligence and the will to lead the country and to provide meaningful change. We voted for the man, but we also voted for the platform. A primary part of the platform was the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which will benefit all citizens. The Supreme Court has now ruled in favor of President Obama and all of the country.

I have always been puzzled by the fierce opposition to this legislation. Why do some Americans begrudge other citizens access to the health care they need? We are certainly not the leaders in this area. Most wealthy, industrialized nations provide these benefits.

Social Security and Medicare were really not the first entitlement programs that we as citizens have established. I believe that free public school education may be the first entitlement program that the citizens of our country agreed was needed. At an early time in the history of our country, children were seen as part of the labor force both on the farm and in our cities. As people became more enlightened, it was decided to offer children the benefit of an education. Many families over several generations have greatly benefited from this free education. The education received and the skills learned have benefited them and the entire society. Middle-class families have benefited, as they are left with more disposable income saved by having their children educated at taxpayer expense.

Some of us believe that access to health care is an even more basic right of citizenship, as all citizens directly benefit. Public school education, Social Security and Medicare and the provision of health care are all big-ticket items, but we as citizens have supported these programs as we believe that they are in the "common good." This is the democratic way we have tried to operate since the birth of the nation, and we are still evolving with good ideas for the "common good."

We must realize that one of the many benefits of President Obama's proposals is that the cost of health care should go down. We know that there is gross inefficiency, corruption and duplication of effort in the health care delivery system. Why should we pay substantially more for prescription drugs than the citizens of other countries?

I hope that we will get behind this effort to move forward into the 21st century, where we can take pride that we are a nation guided by democratic ideals and the will to provide our fellow citizens with all the benefits of a thriving democracy of the people.

Edward McCarey McDonnell, Baltimore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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