Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What Poverty Means for the Middle Class

If memory does not betray me, Russell Hardin remarks in his book Liberalism, Constitutionalism, and Democracy something to the effect that middle class Americans' interests are only marginally affected by the poverty of their countrymen. Returning from an emergency room visit, I have to disagree (which explains why I posted only once yesterday).

The place was overcrowded. My son's condition was serious enough that physicians refused to let us leave at night fall. Nonetheless the boy had to spent six hours on a chair in the waiting room and the hallway because there were no beds available. Eventually I begged for some towels and improvised a bed on the floor when one of the nurses pointed out that the little man was about to fall off the chair.

The emergency room was overcrowded because it is the only health care provider that is reliably available to the uninsured. Overcrowding affects the emergency care of everyone regardless how well we are insured.

Ultimately, appeals to address poverty ought to be grounded in morality rather than in self-interest. Nonetheless we ought to acknowledge that the welfare of others affects ourselves as well.


Anonymous Blue Cross of California said...

Great blog I hope we can work to build a better health care system. Health insurance is a major aspect to many.


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