BY LARRY KRASNER
IN THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
We are all familiar with the Declaration of Independence, which asserts that each of us has certain unalienable rights, among them “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
In the name of health-care reform, politicians in Washington and Harrisburg threaten the first and most foundational of these individual rights: life itself. Their legislative agenda — curtailing important Obamacare protections and cutting back on Medicaid — threatens the lives of tens of thousands of Philadelphians.
It also jeopardizes public safety. When people are faced with chronic health problems or a life-threatening situation involving a family member, and have no options or support, they will act in desperation. When people are unable to afford treatment for behavioral health issues because they lack insurance, the criminal justice system often becomes the only societal structure that intervenes.