BY SHARON MARTIN
It is a fact that sea levels are rising and glaciers are disappearing. For the past two years, northern Oklahoma has had an extra frost-free month in spring. Weather patterns are shifting and becoming more extreme.
You can dispute the causes of climate change, but how can you dispute climate change?
There are seven billion humans, and our numbers are expected to be nine or 10 billion by century’s end. As a result of human expansion, animal species disappear along with their habitat. Water resources are strained. The air above large cities is dangerous to breathe. Trash islands float in the ocean. Nitrogen run-off from intensive farming creates ocean dead zones.
Is it logical to believe that man has nothing to do with climate change?
We have to take responsibility. It is poor stewardship when polluters and politicians cry, “We didn’t do it!”
Conservation and alternative sources of energy are more important than corporate profits and the short-term job market. Issues like public transportation and water conservation aren’t political but ethical. That’s true, as well, for the availability of health care.
Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said in an interview that social conservatives not only want to bury the Affordable Care Act, but they want it in a lead-lined coffin filled with garlic with a stake through its heart.
Where is the ethics in that? You can argue that the Affordable Care Act is flawed; lobbyists and special interests got involved. But isn’t a flawed law that seeks to give greater access to health care better than no law at all?
Here are some of the things the Affordable Care Act has accomplished since its passage in 2010:
– The Medicare prescription donut hole is closing.
– College students and young adults can stay on their parents’ insurance policies through age 26.
– Medicare patients and the newly insured can get annual checkups and some types of preventive care with no co-pays.
– Children under the age of 19 cannot be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. By 2014, no one can be denied coverage.
– Lifetime limits on coverage are eliminated.
Every one of us will need health care at some point. No one should be denied care, and no family should go bankrupt because of necessary care.
Ethical matters, including access to health care and protection of the environment, should not be used as political wedge issues. For candidates and power brokers to treat them as such is unjust and unethical.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer