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Firefighting, the Public Option

August 24th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Why can’t health care be more like firefighting?

Firefighters, you did great. California’s Lockheed Fire, which extended over more than 12 square miles,  is 100% contained.  It took the labor of thousands of you to battle back the blaze before it spread to homes, injured people, and destroyed farms. Although outbuildings and some seasonal cabins burned, nobody lost a home.

I was nearly in tears when I saw small trucks from tiny fire districts as far away as Ebbetts Pass and Murphys, which had come to join our local and state firefighters. I heard the big planes pass overhead bearing retardant to drop on the blaze. I watched the fire perimeters grow and stabilize on a private company’s fire viewer based on data from federal satellites operated by NASA and the Department of the Interior.

I was nearly in tears days later from the smoke drifting into our neighborhood. How much tougher it must have been for all of you who fought it yard by yard, road by road, tree by tree.

And nobody, as you doused nearly 8,000 burning acres at the Lockheed Fire, called you socialists. They called you heroes.

Yet you are the public option.

You did not ask any resident for a means test before dropping water or fire retardant, picking up a shovel, or lighting a backfire. Without you, our neighbors-and possibly ourselves next time-might be injured, homeless, deprived of a livelihood. We are grateful.

Now let’s think a little more about health care. We need a public option there, too. Guaranteeing health is also a big job. We know how to do it. And it’s about time.

Tags: Fire Watch · It's about time! · Science and Technology

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Margaret Murray // Aug 24, 2009 at 9:46 am

    In your latest blog, you have just written THE definitive argument for single payer health care (Is this the same as the public option?)

  • 2 S. Buck // Aug 26, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    I hope it will be.

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