In all the lobbying and bargaining in Washington, D.C., we seem to have forgotten about the moral imperative to take care of the sick. One issue that is bandied about is that a public health care option would be too expensive. Why are we counting cost? This is America. When nine miners got trapped in Quecreek Mine in western Pennsylvania, nobody talked about the high cost of saving their lives. If poor Americans are trapped inside sickly bodies, all of a sudden everybody is talking ''cost-benefit.''
Better health care plans and increased availability of services will eventually lower costs because early intervention is always cheaper than response to a catastrophe. If an uninsured man with high blood pressure and high cholesterol can't afford medications or to go to a doctor, a hospital emergency room would eventually have to absorb the cost of a preventable heart attack. Even if this were not true, even if real health care reform with a government-sponsored public insurance program was going to increase costs, ethically, we are still accountable for eating that cost.