"Don't lump me in with that lot!" -- a demand made of an aunt of mine who refused to be associated with any kind of collective. She immediately came to mind when I was listening to a radio program about public health care.

The caller-in was admonishing an earlier caller who had been a little fulsome in her praise for Medicare. He contemptuously dismissed the argument that the public health care system will be jeopardized if private clinics are allowed to infiltrate it. Rather, he advocated that the public system should be more flexible by allowing private health clinics into a system which is foundering because the government cannot sustain the rising costs of covering medical care for "just" anyone and everyone.

The host suggested that all things considered, the public system has never proved to be more costly than maintaining a private system. The caller said that this kind of claim was "predictable," and went on to make his main point which was that to impose universal health care on the population as a whole is a denial of the individual's right to the freedom of choice. Ah! There it is! The caller does not wish to be a member of any plan which includes the lumpenproletariat, the have-nots, those on the dole (welfare), the tin-cup crowd (panhandlers), or the line-ups for handouts. He does not want to be in community with those for whom the freedom of choice means absolutely nothing because it doesn't exist for them.

Another expression which would probably not go down too well with him is "common good." I used it recently during the last election when I asked a question at an all candidates' meeting. A woman in the audience countered my question by asking another one which she prefaced with the statement that she rejected the idea of common good because she did not consider herself "common" and she would choose to whom she would be good.
Public health care is a great equalizer, but it does not presuppose an absence of differences between persons or social groups. It simply exposes our universal vulnerability to illness and requires that we assume responsibility for universal health care.