MLK, health care reform and wealth inequality

Martin Luther King, Jr. (National Convention of the Medical Committee for Human Rights; Chicago, IL; March 25, 1966):

Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.

In light of that, and in conjunction with more recent studies on how it is those with the most equality that are the happiest and healthiest, it is encouraging to read an article like this: “In Health Bill, Obama Attacks Wealth Inequality.”

The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.

The bill will also reduce a different kind of inequality. In the broadest sense, insurance is meant to spread the costs of an individual’s misfortune — illness, death, fire, flood — across society. Since the late 1970s, though, the share of Americans with health insurance has shrunk. As a result, the gap between the economic well-being of the sick and the healthy has been growing, at virtually every level of the income distribution.

The health reform bill will reverse that trend. By 2019, 95 percent of people are projected to be covered, up from 85 percent today (and about 90 percent in the late 1970s).

More on the health care bill

First, this morning, President Obama signed the health care bill into law. Here’s the video of his pre-signing address:

And on to the links and information. I’ve been saturating Facebook with links because there’s a lot to know and get informed on–anything as substantial as health care reform is going to be complicated. Here’s a mini-compendium of links from the last day or so:

We’ll finish with a couple quotes. First, from James Fallows, writing in The Atlantic:

For now, the significance of the vote is moving the United States FROM a system in which people can assume they will have health coverage IF they are old enough (Medicare), poor enough (Medicaid), fortunate enough (working for an employer that offers coverage, or able themselves to bear expenses), or in some other way specially positioned (veterans; elected officials)… TOWARD a system in which people can assume they will have health-care coverage. Period.

And second, thanks from President Obama to all of you–to all of us–who kept the faith:

It is because of you that we did not quit.  It’s because of you that Congress did not quit.  It’s because of you that I did not quit.  It’s because of you.