Who could have guessed that the fresh voice and added nuance we've needed in America's health care debate would come from... a beauty queen?!?
But it's actually happening after 25-year-old Miss District of Columbia Kara McCullough won the Miss USA pageant Sunday night. During the pageant, McCullough created a controversy when she was asked the clichéd and all-too-simplistic question: "Is health care a right or privilege?"
"I'm definitely going to say it's a privilege," McCullough answered. She added: "As a government employee, I'm granted health care and I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs. We need to continue to cultivate this environment that we're given the opportunity to have health care as well as jobs to all American citizens worldwide."
What was so good about her answer was the fact that she went way beyond the easy way out of just telling people what she thought was right or most compassionate. Instead she got down to the heart of the matter by reminding us that when it comes to health care or any other commodity, you can't talk about providing it until you cover who's paying for it.
This has always been the core of the issue about health care even if it only seems like we've been arguing about it since the Obamacare debate began in 2009. Put into specific "right" vs. "privilege" terms, it began as early as 1936 when the still new Soviet Union guaranteed health care as a right to its citizens.
But that guarantee wasn't always worth the paper it was printed on, as rationing and long lines became the norm. Many actual Soviet people noticed those realities and gave birth to an old Russian joke: "Yes, health care is a right in the Soviet Union. And if we live long enough, we might get some!"