Is the battle over health care stunting the American Dream?

Sunday, July 1, 2012 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

The Atlantic's Christina Davidson had a fascinating column over two years ago about how the ongoing arguments over our health care structure are affecting the American Dream. An increasing number of people face mounting health care costs because they can't afford insurance or the level of coverage they need. This stunts their ability to set aside funds for pursuing what's going to make them happy, Davidson writes.

Our capabilities — our "secret dreams and ambitions," as Davidson writes — are powerful enough to change the world. But when so many Americans are simply struggling to survive, it becomes impossible to forge ahead in innovation, the column argues.

"We're supposed to be a culture of individualists, but surviving the American healthcare system has forced us to become a nation of individuals terrified of losing the protection of our group insurance plans," Davidson writes.

Davidson's column holds a different but equally intense significance today, especially now that the Supreme Court is hearing arguments and deliberating the future of the Affordable Care Act. The conversation about health care is a complicated one with many competing interests. But if it goes on too long, what kind of effect will delayed coverage have on the way Americans perceive and hold on to their dreams?

This post is part of the American Next, a special project exploring the hopes, fears and changing expectations of Missouri's next generation in challenging times.

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