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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Public Health Care: It's Civilization, Not Socialism

That headline comes from a European commenter to this NYTimes story about Jake Walker, 21-year-old testicular cancer survivor, who can't get good health insurance. The treatment that has kept him alive has cost $2 million. The M.D. Anderson Cancer Center that saved his life is telling his family that if they can't pay up front, they'd better take their business elsewhere. His mom got laid off in October. His folks skipped a house payment and begged the power company for an extension to scrape together the money for a short-term policy through Oklahoma State U.

We Americans have the resources to treat each other better. Do we have the decency? Or do we really believe that it's more important to prove Europe and Dennis Kucinich wrong than to save a life?


  1. How sad that in a country with the largest economy on earth, where the poor have the highest rate of obesity in the country, and people routinely pay $5 for a cup of coffee, we cannot find it in the budget to provide basic health coverage for all of our citizens like the rest of the civilized world.
    As a fellow OSU Cowboy, my prayers are with this young man. I hope against hope something changes for the better and he's able to e insured again.

  2. Yeah, life is tough and we should help each other out.

    It's not right, however, for the government to step in, steal our money and force us to do it, however.

  3. But Anon, the problem is still there. Do you just want to sit on your ideology while the guy goes without coverage, or do you want to solve the problem, for him and for every citizen in a similar situation?

    By the way, it's not "stealing"; it's charging the proper price for maintaining the civilization that makes your lifestyle possible.

  4. Sure I want to help solve the problem, and I can, and should, donate to charity.

    And it is stealing. I earned my money and the market has determined the proper price to pay me. I give some of it to the government in exchange for public services that I benefit from, e.g. military protection, roads, education for my kids. It's a trade. The government taking my money and then giving to somebody who hasn't earned it is not a trade. It is stealing. And how does a person who is down on his luck help 'maintain civilization?'

  5. So Jake Walker doesn't contribute to civilization? His laid-off mom deserves bankruptcy and the loss of her son? If the tax dollars you pay don't provide a direct return to you personally, it's theft? I'm feeling nervous....

  6. Well, I'm sure Jake Walker contributes to civilization. _I_ contribute to civilization, as well. Does that mean that I should receive taxpayer dollars? No, it doesn't. The whole 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need' has been tried before... and it didn't work out. I'm nervous, too.

    And yes, if I am forced to give away money and receive nothing in exchange, then it is theft. Are we such a selfish society that the government must steal from us in order to make us help out those who are in need?

  7. Anon, you are wrongly assuming that under a universal health coverage system you would be “giving” money away and not getting anything in return. Actually, the concept is that although you may be healthy at the moment, there will almost inevitably come a time when you need medical attention. That’s when we all agree to help you out. Just because you aren’t using medical services right now doesn’t mean you won’t later. And when people like Jake Walker get the medical care they need and then recover, they return to being tax-paying members of society to pay for someone else’s medical care (not to mention other benefits like employers having healthier employees—don’t worry, the benefits will always come back around to you).

    And if they don’t recover? Well, we take care of them anyway, because it’s unconscionable that we would just let someone like Jake die without doing everything we could to help him. Wouldn’t that the truly selfish thing for a society to do? And don’t leave this solely up to charity. Clearly that isn’t working.

  8. Well if we all pay into it and we all receive from it, then what's the point of having it at all? Forcing people to allot a portion of their income toward healthcare and taking away their freedom to spend it as they wish?

    Socialized healthcare is redistribution of wealth, i.e. stealing, plain and simple. Some people will put in more money to the system, some people are going to put less money into the system, but everybody gets out of it the same. It steals from the rich and gives to the poor. And while I'm all for the rich giving to those who are badly off, it is simply not right for the government to force them to do it.

    As for benefits coming back around to me, business are rational entities. If giving their employees a good health plan will help them maximize their profits (which translates to contributing to society), then they will do that. The notion that socialized health care simply can never be more beneficial for the economy than private health care.

    As for it being 'unconscionable' to let somebody like Jake die, that's simply not the government's call to make. You libs are always telling we conservatives to 'keep our morality out of government', and the fact of the matter is that whether it is 'conscionable or not' should be the private moral decision of each taxpayer. I personally agree with you that it is not right to just let our fellow human beings die without trying to save them, and I can choose to donate my money to charity to do so. It would be wrong for me to, or vote for the government to, steal from the bank accounts of others and donate that money to charity.

    As for charity 'not working', I challenge you to sit a couple years at the end of a health care wait list up in Canada and then tell me that their system has succeeded better than ours.

    The one thing that government health care _will_ succeed in doing is discourage private charity - make people think that they don't personally have to do anything because the government is taking care of it.

    I agree with President Obama's campaign slogan: "we can". We. The American people. Not the government. But we aren't going to do it if we keep shirking our responsibilities and dumping them on the already bloated shoulders of the government.

    (sorry if this comment is a repeat, the website was doing weird things but I wanted to make sure this got posted)


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