What?!? A right to healthcare??

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  1. I understand your reaction, though that question was really a no-win (I think you called it a “trap”.) Access to health care – a right. Affordable health care – a responsibility (for multiple parties.) Health care itself – a right, but only in limited circumstances (e.g. for those in prison, where they have no say nor any ability to act on their own volition.) Calling health care itself “a right” in any other circumstance opens up a real legal can o’ worms (e.g. how about children whose parents have moral/religious objections to blood transfusions, or HPV injections, or chemo/ratiation treatment for a tumor diagnosed as “terminal”, or ongoing treatment for those in a vegetative state?)
    I suspect Sen. Obama was playing to the Democratic base with his answer, and to be honest he didn’t have much choice (other than launching into an extended monologue to try and weasel out of answering it directly.) The next question should have been “In that case, Senator, please explain how we are going to pay for it?” (I didn’t watch the debate, so I don’t know if it was or not.) That would have made it veritable La Brea tar pit.
    My guess is that this will help him with the Democratic base, haveno effect with the GOP base, and it may hurt him a bit with the independents/undecides. We’ll see in November whether I am right or not.

  2. One more thought – just because something is considered a ‘right’, doesn’t mean that the government (taxpayers) necessarily has to pay for it. What it does mean is that the government (state) can’t legally prohibit you from obtaining/exercising your right. In other words, they can’t pass a law/regulation saying that you are not allowed to go to a doctor/hospital/chiropractor etc. At least, that is my understanding of the meaning of “rights” as defined in the Constitution.

  3. This debate over the word “right” followed by “taxpayers” has always intrigued me. It essentially IS a right already, we just don’t call it that. i.e. street person collapses in the street. We do NOT just leave him there, someone gets 911, the ambulance comes, he is taken to the ER, he is subsequently given care. We don’t walk over bodies in the streets. Who’s paying for this? We are. We already are. So in essence it’s already a “right” just handled and financed badly and reactively. Maybe we could do better if we did view it as a right then got in there and looked at the problems inherent in “cradle to grave” coverage as other nations have. As I see it, we’re sure not handling it right at the moment, but we do essentially have it for the indigent at ridiculously high ER prices. There’s gotta be a better way.

  4. I personally think that bare minumum health care should be a right.
    If a kid breaks their arm, then the hopital should set it.
    If a woman is pregnant, then she should be able to get a doctor to check her out.
    If you have a tooth that is rotting in your mouth, you should be able to get it yanked.
    If you want more then bare minumum health care, then pay for the better care.
    Better care is things like: radical treatments that might extend a life for 6 months, private rooms, choice of doctors, caps, root canals.
    I’ll admit I am a person who got helped when I needed it. I went to the ER barely able to walk and screaming in pain, they charged me $700… and told me they didn’t know what the problem was. After dealing with weekly episodes like this for 2 years (uninsured due to working for a small company for minimum wage, and unable to risk losing 2.5 weeks pay and still not know what the problem was), I finally spent 15 hours like this and my girlfriend drove me 4 blocks to the hospital where I got treated before the guy with the stab wound. I spent 9 days in intensive care, followed by 10 days in the hospital, and then recieved $700/month of medicine for 5 months. Total bill was $73,000. I spent the next 5 months unemployed (I was working seasonal work, so they layed me off when I couldn’t come to work for a month). I sent what I could to pay the bill (normally $50 a month), sold my car as I couldn’t afford to pay for insurance on it, and the only reason I didn’t try to declare bancruptcy was that someone told me the doctors could still charge me. After a year of living on ramen noodles, and losing everything I had, the hospital had me fill out a buch of paperwork and wrote off my bill.

  5. I forgot to add the last part of this:
    If I had been able to see a doctor I could have had some test done, found out what was wrong and been treated for less then $3,000 total (and been able to afford to pay it off), and been out of work less then a week. Instead I waited till I was a couple of hours from dying, and ran up $70,000+ bill the hospital had to eat.

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