Thursday, August 20, 2009

Is Health Care a Right?

I don't think health care is a right, but others disagree.
Strolling along the route of the Woodward Dream Cruise last weekend, my friend Aaron noticed a trio of well-fed spectators wedged into identical lawn chairs on the public right-of-way. None of the middle-aged men in this comical triptych wore a shirt. Each held a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, and all three sported pendulous bellies that spilled over their beltlines and glistened in the midday sun.

"There," Aaron observed ruefully, "are the guys whose health care we're about to be on the hook for."
But then, in the name of "equal health care for all" he goes on to shill for Obamacare. But under his thinking, he has to be concerned for the three hefty gentlemen. He has to worry that they're going to take more of their "fair share" of health care. But then again, if health care is a right, don't certain responsibilities go along with it? Like maintaining healthy habits?

Since not everyone will exercise and eat all of their vegetables, won't there have to be some sort of monitoring system in place? Will we be required to report any fishy slovenly health habits we see amongst our neighbors? As he states at the end,
My own conviction is that everyone ought to enjoy access to some minimum level of preventive and acute care, but that reimbursement for the cost of treating many chronic health problems should depend, at least to some extent, on what steps the patient has taken to avoid them. Just as people who commit felonies forfeit their right to vote, those who make no effort to limit their own risk factors diminish their moral claim on medical treatment.

So long as we continue to ration health care -- as any service whose supply is limited is forever destined to be rationed by someone's criteria, whether that someone draws a paycheck from the federal government or Aetna -- what we've done to keep ourselves healthy ought to be at least one of the factors considered.

After all, those three guys watching the Dream Cruise had to get up early to secure their curbside seats. Shouldn't they have to display at least that much self-discipline to secure the world's most expensive health care?
Rationing is OK with him. The good and moral people who go to the gym and eschew desert are entitled what will become increasingly scarce medical care. Those who want to take advantage of the system by smoking, drinking, and gorging themselves on pizza, ice cream, and greasy burgers can pay for their own angioplasties and heart valve replacements, their adult onset diabetes, lung cancer, and cirrhosis of the liver. They won't deserve hip and knee replacements due to their morbid obesity, which caused those joints to wear out before their time.

Surely this calls for an entirely new bureaucracy.

Also in today's Free Press was this article.
Hospitals in border cities, including Detroit, are forging lucrative arrangements with Canadian health agencies to provide care not widely available across the border.

Agreements between Detroit hospitals and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care for heart, imaging tests, bariatric and other services provide access to some services not immediately available in the province, said ministry spokesman David Jensen.

The agreements show how a country with a national care system -- a proposal not part of the health care changes under discussion in Congress -- copes with demand for care with U.S. partnerships, rather than building new facilities.
So if we get Obamacare shoved down our throats, where do we go when health care gets rationed to the point that it is in Canada? I'm in pretty good shape, but will I be denied certain care, or shoved to the end of the line if my neighbor reports that I took my family to Dairy Queen and I ended up enjoying a hot fudge sundae?

For more to think about, this link, which I found at Debbie Schlussel, shows the wait time for various procedures in the Canadian province of Ontario. It's at the website of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Check out some of those wait times. It's pretty sobering. That could come to the USA under Obamacare. And to add insult to injury, we'll go broke as a country to pay for it.

For real reform, how about forcing the government to stay out of health care and insurance altogether and letting the market take its course? I believe that you have a right to what you earn. And you can spend what you earn in what ever legal way you wish. You also have the responsibility to use your resources wisely because I might not have enough to share with you if you squander what you have and then need cash for medical expenses that would have been covered by insurance, had you bought insurance instead of the flat screen TV, surround sound, video games, and a new room to put it all in.

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At 8:12 PM, Blogger Jungle Mom said...

It is a supposed right in all of the socialist countries I have lived in. the fact is, you get what you pay for.


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