Center for Ethics and Leadership

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Right's Irresponsible Attack on Health-Care Reform

I have kept away from explicitly political positions during this blog's 16-month life, but enough is enough. No one is going to condemn old people to death. The only responsible moral position about end-of-life care is to discuss openly and generously the way of dieing nobly. No philosophy or religion advocates a win-at-all-costs end-of-life strategy.

The town hall ruckuses are clearly orchestrated. Enough.

Medicare is "socialized" medicine that, like social security, often provides recipients more benefits than they have paid in. The United States has had a mixed public-private healthcare system since Medicare was passed in 1965, and healthcare providers have negotiated reimbursement with for-profit payors (insurance companies) for years. And the name-calling "socialized" is as politically unintelligent as it is morally bereft.

A public option may work well, as would the reorganization and assignation of pools of citizens to insurance companies that did not allow the companies to "cherry-pick" only the healthy for customers. Health insurance is not like auto insurance because medical care is not like automotive transportation.

Healthcare became taken for granted in the 1940s when American business petitioned Congress to exempt health insurance from income taxes on the employee so that business could attract more employees. Now American business claims that the cost of health insurance hinders its ability to compete globally. Does this mean that to remain competitive American workers will have to give up access to "the best healthcare in the world"? Might as well have socialized medicine. And the single-payor (government) option should at least have been brought to the table, although even healthcare economists (not the yahoos at the town hall meetings) are unsure of it.

Almost 20 years ago when healthcare was only 14 percent of the GDP, it was thought to be a drag on the economy. It is now 18 percent. Reform is necessary, for the sake of the uninsured and for the sake of the economy.



  • This debate has really gone on long enough, and with the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, hopefully Democrats and Republicans alike will pass a bill that will live on his legacy of health care reform.

    By Blogger Emily Berret, At August 26, 2009 7:41 AM  

  • I read an interesting article that mentioned that the debate about health care reform is muddled by the idea that care involves insurance and that health care insurance implies that holders are entitled to high quality and extensive services for no cost. It is an interesting confusion. Frankly, I'm starting to think that nothing should be available to anyone at "no cost". If I am unwilling to pay something for it, perhaps it is not worth having at all.
    Most of the people objecting to reform are people that HAVE health insurance. Most people that have health insurance work in private industry or for the government. The government health care package for employees and the other one for our elected representatives are not bad from what I understand.
    It would be good to look at some of the things that drive up the cost of health care, like lawsuits and malpractice insurance. I'd like to see the legislators in Washington looks at some that, and some of the interests of various lobby groups and return to the table to service the electorate.
    te. That may be asking too much.

    By Blogger kobe2, At August 30, 2009 11:15 AM  

  • This definately is a sensative debate. How can someone say that they want health care to be given to every single american for no cost and expect for the country to get out of this recession. It is completely necessary for health care reform. Congress needs to find a cheap and good quality insurance for all americans to be able to afford.

    By Anonymous justin oister, At August 31, 2009 3:40 PM  

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