At the end of the year (2013) Time magazine selected its Person of the Year. They chose Pope Francis. Although he was pope for less than a year, the magazine cited the new attitude he has brought to the Catholic Church. That attitude reflected a return to the more “populist” and humble teachings of the church and a more practical application of those tenets.
In the article, what the pope was quoted as saying has an application to government today. Rather than the paralysis we see at the federal level, the pope’s admonishments that we should “argue less and accomplish more,” we should not let the “perfect be the enemy of the good,” and we should “stop bickering and roll up our shirt sleeves” all apply and speak to what is and should be expected of government.
So what should that be? My experience has clearly told me one thing — the public wants government to work. Whether it’s the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or the lines at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), all people want is that these governmental bodies do what they are supposed too.
I don’t know if you’ve been at the DMV lately, but its operation is no longer the “poster child” for government incompetence. No endless waiting in long lines only to be told you are in the wrong line and to get at the end of another line; in fact, most everything can be done online (or by mail).
With all the bumbling and fumbling of the ACA “rollout,” I believe at the end of the day that universal health care will have the reliability of our Social Security system. Of course it will not be perfect, but it is undoubtedly a good thing that we cover the uninsured whether they have pre-existing medical conditions or not.
I’d prefer a “single-payer” system because the rising cost associated with health care is the elephant in the living room and has to be addressed. In the meantime, I’ll take universal health care as a big step in the right direction.
Warren Furutani has served as a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees, and the California State Assembly. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.