The reason that health care reform has inflamed so many passions on all sides is that it goes to the very core of what each American believes his relationship to his government should be.
Because we are a nation founded on principles, not ethnicity, it is a stand-in⎯for better or worse⎯for what “being an American” means to many people.
This has been a conflict of fundamental world-views. If, through your prism, you view the providing of health care as primarily an economic issue, then you embrace the argument that if the nation can’t pay for it, we shouldn’t have it (A more rugged variant is “Why should I pay for someone else’s?”).
If, however, you believe that health care is a citizen’s right, and that it is the moral obligation of government (as an expression of the people who empower it), to provide it to every American, the same as it does their national defense⎯then you accept that as an imperative, and find a way to pay for it.
If you adhere to the latter view, you prioritize. Maybe depriving the rich of some extra lucre is the way to go. They won’t miss their next meal, and it might save someone whose child has a catastrophic illness from missing theirs. Un-American? Depends on your point of view.
Or maybe you want to pay for it some other way. Fight fewer pointless wars, perhaps. Whatever. If you truly believe, you’ll find a way.
There is no right or wrong way of looking at the role⎯or the reach⎯of government. Deciding what it will be is the function of elections.