Universal Healthcare Myths


The debate over universal healthcare continues to heat up in Washington as President Obama pushes for a government run healthcare system and is assisted by the far left wing of the Democrat Party. Resistance is beginning to grow now that the price tags for the various plans are emerging from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

But the biggest problems surrounding the debates are the myths and misconceptions about healthcare and health insurance. It is the myths and misconceptions that are driving a “cure” that isn’t really needed — at least not at the staggering costs of an already overburdened federal deficit. So let’s examine some of the myths and then you decide whether Obama and the socialized medicine advocates are right.

The first myth is that there is a “right to healthcare.” Just because President Obama says it doesn’t make it so. There certainly is no constitutional right to healthcare and at least at this time there is no federal or Oregon state law granting such a “right.” The one state that has come the closest to creating a “right” to healthcare is Massachusettes and the massive drain on its resources threatens to bankrupt the state yet this year.

Congress may choose to create such a right but it does not exist currently. And as with other “rights” created by Congress one should be cautious about the unintended consequences that will evolve — the fertile minds of the nation’s trial lawyers and activist judges have found succor for the enlargement of such matters routinely.

The second myth is that there are 50 million people without healthcare coverage. That’s baloney. Federal law requires hospitals providing emergency service to take all people regardless of their ability to pay. Thus all people living within a reasonable distance from a hospital have access to healthcare. Advocates for the poor and minorities routinely counsel their constituents to utilize emergency room services for all of their healthcare needs.

The 50 million, at best, represents the number of people without health insurance. Even that number is misleading because it includes a) persons who are without health insurance at anytime during a given year even though they may acquire it sometime during the year — generally applicable to people changing jobs, b) persons (particularly young healthy singles) who can but choose not to purchase healthcare insurance, and c) the vast majority of the nearly 20 million illegal aliens present in the United States.

There is a significant difference between having access to healthcare — which nearly everybody does — and having access to health insurance. The former is a problem already solved and the latter is a problem so small that it does not need the assistance of the federal government.

The third myth is that universal healthcare will reduce the cost of healthcare. It is beyond stupid to conceptualize that giving free health insurance to 50 million people who do not currently have it will result in lower federal expenditures. The history of Medicare, Medicaid and the Oregon Health Plan put the lie to that fallacy. Each time those plans have expanded coverage the cost has increased exponentially and the result is more tax dollars being spent and/or the reimbursements to the medical professionals being curtailed. The third leg of that stool is the inevitable curtailment of service covered.

The final proof of that lie is found in the reports of the Congressional Budget Office. Even though Pres. Obama and his far left supporters talk about the savings from “eliminating” the hidden costs of healthcare that are now present in the free care through emergency rooms, the CBO has emphatically proven that to be false. (More importantly, if you can achieve such savings in the emergency room program, why not just limit its application to persons lawfully in the United States — that wouldn’t even require a new bureaucracy.) Every plan pending before Congress has the same result — significantly greater costs to an already overburdened tax base. Suggesting that your can curtail expenses by expending more is criminally stupid.

The fourth myth is that the government can gain efficiencies through a universal healthcare plan. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense procurement, foreign aid, disaster relief, and on and on and on. Every one of these programs is fraught with fraud, waste and general incompetence. The injection of politics into any program, by definition, results is less rather than greater efficiency. For those who say otherwise, the burden is upon them to demonstrate a single instance in which a government program has resulted in “efficiencies.”

But given that this is now a political matter, and worse yet a political matter designed to “buy” votes from political constituencies, let me restate my proposal. While I do not support universal healthcare, at least my proposal accomplishes two critical elements for any plan — it is uniformly fair and it preserves the right to choose your healthcare provider. It is a hybrid free market alternative that is self-administering, less costly and will drive the big government advocates nuts.

Here it is by the numbers:

1. Every legal resident of the United States is required to obtain and maintain health insurance. Those who fail or refuse to obtain health insurance will be denied health services unless they are able to pay cash for such services at the time they are incurred. Illegal aliens will be treated in the same manner as all others — they will have access to healthcare only to the extent that they have insurance or are able to pay cash for such services. (See Item 7. below.)

2. The burden is on the individual and not employers. Those employers currently providing health insurance will be required to arrange conversion of their policies to individual policies. Those employers will also be required to increase the salaries and wages of their employees by the amount of savings attained by elimination of their cost of providing such coverage. (We are not looking for windfalls here.) The principle reason for imposing the obligation on individuals rather than employers is that “futurists” tell us that this generation and future generations of people will not have a single lifetime employer but rather a series of employers over their working lives. Not all employers provide health insurance and as employees move from job to job, they will often find themselves scrambling to find health insurance — sometimes during periods in which they may be surcharged because of a health issue. If employers chose to contribute to an employee’s healthcare, they can make such payments directly to the employees health insurance provider rather than having the employee be at risk of losing the employer’s plan upon termination of employment.

3. Each person who obtains health insurance will determine the extent of the coverage they wish. This permits buyers a continuum of choices ranging from complete coverage to catastrophic coverage only. Thus those who wish to have coverage for such things as birth control, cosmetic surgery, erectile dysfunction, and mental health problems are free to choose such alternatives without the government telling them that they are included or excluded.

4. The cost of such individual healthcare will be funded by a full tax credit against any income taxes owed to the jurisdiction mandating the universal healthcare. (After all, if healthcare is a fundamental right, it, like voting and education, is one that we should not have to pay for directly, but only through a general assessment of taxes.) Thus, if the State of Oregon mandates such coverage, the tax credit will be against state income taxes owed. Or if the federal government mandates coverage, then the tax credit will be against federal income taxes owed.

5. The amount of the tax credit cannot exceed the average cost of health insurance claimed as a tax credit by all taxpayers. For those choosing to forego health insurance in favor of the “pay as you go” option, they can claim a tax credit for their actual cost of healthcare not to exceed the average cost of health insurance. This permits those who opt for more comprehensive coverage to absorb the additional costs and those who opt for more limited coverage to offset a portion of their incurred healthcare expenses in addition to their insurance.

6. Now here is the twist. In those instances where the claimed tax credit exceeds the income taxes paid, the taxpayer is entitled to a cash refund for the difference. By doing this, we eliminate the idea that low income people will be unable to afford individual health insurance since, having applied the tax credit and refund, there is no out of pocket cost to them for the insurance.

7. The federal law mandating that hospitals must provide emergency room service to everyone regardless of the ability to pay must be repealed. (An exception should be created for emergency services when timeliness of care pre-empts the ability to determine whether there is insurance or not.) While this requirement was originally enacted to ensure that low-income people had some access for catastrophic healthcare, immigration advocates have abused it. They, knowing that no one can be turned away, now counsel illegal immigrants to utilize the hospital emergency rooms as the primary healthcare provider. The extraordinary cost that over 15 million illegal immigrants impose on the healthcare system has the ancillary impact of raising the cost to everyone else. Elimination of free medical care for illegal immigrants will enhance state and federal laws now being enacted barring employers from hiring illegals. If the jobs and the benefits go away, the reason for illegal immigration will also largely go away. There is no longer a need for free access to catastrophic healthcare by low-income people because they will now all have health insurance. (See Item 6. above) And thus the need for free care at hospitals will be eliminated.

So how much will this cost taxpayers? Far less than any of the plans being proposed by those who advocate a government managed program for three simple reasons. First, it is a self- administering program. The only government involvement is to annually determine the average cost of health insurance as claimed for tax credit purposes and to provide reimbursement to low income people of the amount by which their tax credit (Item 6 above.) exceeds their taxes actually paid. Thus the whole cost of the massive bureaucracy attendant to government administered programs is eliminated. Second, there is individual selection of competing healthcare plans — you know, competition – that will ensure that the lowest possible price for comparable products is available. And third, there is choice as to the level of coverage. Those who want less can save and those who want more will pay the excess over the average cost. Gold plated programs such as those enjoyed by public employees will not be financed by taxpayers since the burden will fall individually on the public employees.

Is this plan perfect? Far from it. There will obviously be flaws, adjustments and corrections needed but the underlying philosophy is sound, market driven and sustainable in an era in which politics, not economics, appear ready to drive a demand for universal healthcare coverage.

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Posted by at 06:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 24 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Max

    The plan being proposed by these fools in the House is a joke.

    • Sybella

      Unfortunately it isn’t a joke, it’s more of a power grab. I’m on Medicare and trust me it is not in any way, shape, or form as good as private insurance.

      • v person

        So who is forcing you to be on Medicare? Why not go out and buy a private policy?

        • Sybella

          Once you turn 65 or start drawing social security, regular health insurance doesn’t want you, Would you like me to send you a copy of the letter I received from Blue Cross when I became eligible for medicare.

          • v person

            With due respect Syb, they don’t want you because you are now high risk because you are 65 or older. That is why Medicare was set up in the 1st place. Many elders, once they left employment, could not qualify for insurance.

            You are now in the world of socialized insurance reserved only for our elders, military vets, and the poorest of the poor. The rest of us get to enjoy all the fruits of non-socialized insurance, which include:
            1) premiums increasing at 2-3 times the inflation rate
            2) rejection for pre-existing conditions
            3) being kicked off when making a claim if the company can find and excuse to do so
            4) being at the whim of whatever policy our employer offers, if they offer one at all
            5) being without insurance altogether if we get laid off

            This is the system Republicans are working tirelessly to preserve. The most expensive in the world with some of the worst results.

          • sybella

            my name is not syb, you are not my friend

          • sybella

            Yeah, I’m so old and infirm, I work 7 days a week most weeks. Usually anywhere from six to ten hours. Don’t feed me that junk.

          • dartagnan

            The insurance companies don’t give a damn about that. If you’re over 65 you’re “high risk” and they won’t touch you.If you don’t believe me go call up a bunch of insurance companies and ask them.

      • dartagnan

        If you had to depend on private insurance at your age you wouldn’t have any insurance at all. Private insurance wouldn’t cover you. That’s why Medicare was instituted in the first place. I’m old enough to remember the era before Medicare, when senior citizens impoverished themselves and their families with medical expenses (and that was when medical care was a hell of a lot cheaper than it is today).

  • Rupert in Springfield

    The basic problem with the health care plans democrats dream up every time they go this route is they essentially force you to be on them by one way or the other. This time around is no exception. Why they feel a need to trap people in a plan they don’t want is always beyond me. I guess that’s the nature of socialism though, its really only achieved through coercion. One rarely sees capitalists forcing people to own businesses, buy a house succeed in industry or invest in the stock market. Socialists are a different breed unfortunatly. Would that the world could be rid of them.

    The best way to solve this problem is really simple, get rid of inane mandates, get rid of this absurd notion that you should not be allowed to buy health insurance across state lines.

    Go after dead beat patients the same way we go after dead beat parents. The state sure seems to pursue them, no reason not to pursue dead beat patients for the same reasons.

    Rescind all laws that require emergency room care for illegal aliens, stipulate in those laws that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction or ability to rule on the matter ( yes, it is perfectly constitutional for congress to do this ). When the professionally indignant start whining, Ill be happy to show them how this is the norm in most countries, we are the suckers, woops exception, to that rule.

  • David Appell

    > The first myth is that there is a “right to healthcare.”

    There’s also no right to fire protection in the Constitution. Should the fire department only put out the fires of those who have paid them beforehand?

    • Rupert in Springfield

      Well, I guess if you could find someone making the argument that there was a right to fire protection then this would have some relevance. However we don’t really find this. Instead we find people taking reasonable fire protection methods such as installing smoke detectors, sprinkler systems, fire escapes, fire extinguishers and the like. Now, if you had someone who was against this “right to health care” attitude who was insisting there was a “right to fire protection, then you might have something. However since you don’t, the analogy fails.

      In fact, I would bet that there is no constitutional provision whatsoever that any municipal or public fire department has any particular duty or responsibility to put out any particular fire. I base this on the fact that there is a Supreme Court precedent that the police department is under no particular duty to protect any individual. In other words, there is no liability on the part of a public police department should you be mugged or raped to protect you. I would tend to think the same would attend to fire departments.

      Ok, so let’s take it a step further, what about non public fire departments? Let’s say we are talking about some fancy million dollar and up housing development. It’s so fancy they have a private security force patrolling. Do they have a duty to protect the residents as well as notice things like fires and call the fire department? You bet they do. I know a person involved in a shooting incident in Portland where this exact thing occurred. Is he considering legal action against the private security firm for negligence? You bet he is. The difference being, that firm is private, and thus there is an expectation that they have a duty to patrol that particular area in a reasonable fashion.

      So I think your analogy really doesn’t work. If you had hired a private fire department, just like hiring a private insurance company, there is an expectation of service. Failure to rend such would be actionable. With public concerns, fire department and the like there is no individual expectation of service, thus no cause of action.

      • v person

        Rupert, that is about the most ridiculous argument you may have ever made here. And that is saying a lot. Public police and fire departments do have obligations and they do get sued.

        Beyond that, I believe David’s point to Larry Huss was that just because there is not a right to health care, or police protection, or fire protection, or a zillion other things not written into a 230 year old document of an agrarian nation, does not mean present society cannot or should not establish legal rights to certain services if this is what the current body politic desires to do, and as long as these new rights are not unconstitutional. There is currently no right to health care except for emergency rooms. That doesn’t mean we can’t establish a right to primary care, a far less expensive and more sensible proposition.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          >Public police and fire departments do have obligations and they do get sued.

          Who ever said they didn’t?

          Read first, then comment.

          I never said police and fire departments do not have obligations, nor that they are immune for suit.

          Thus your entire statement has no relevancy to my comment.

      • dartagnan

        Let’s leave the question of “rights” out of it and focus on practicalities. Why do we have municipal fire departments paid with tax dollars? Because we’ve decided that when a fire breaks out, it’s in the public interest to put it out before it burns down the whole city. Why do other countries have socialized medical care? Because they’ve decided it’s in the public interest to have a healthy population, and one that doesn’t have to fear being bankrupted or losing health care altogether if a medical problem arises. I never will argue that anyone has the “right” to health care. But from a practical economic and social point of view, universal health care simply makes more sense than the mess we have now. That’s why NOT ONE SINGLE COUNTRY that has adopted universal health care has yet repealed it. Do you hear about the parliaments of other nations debating whether they should scrap their universal health care systems and adopt the American model? Any politician who suggested it would be a laughed out of ofice.

  • Bob Tiernan

    *v person:*

    The rest of us get to enjoy all the fruits of non-socialized insurance, which include:
    1) premiums increasing at 2-3 times the inflation rate

    *Bob T:*

    You can thanks government for that since in its heavy-handed wisdom it mandates coverage for many, many things that each individual would prefer not to pay for if allowed (but government mandates the coverage because it thinks not offering all of the coverage would be an example of us being “ripped off”. Insurance is best when it deals with catostrophic stuff that isn’t likely to happen all that often. If your auto insurance were similar to a health insurance policy it would cost you about $3000 a year and would cover tune-ups, tire changes etc. Current individual health insurance policies are far from what a free market would provide.

    *v person:*

    5) being without insurance altogether if we get laid off

    *Bob T:*

    Well, here’s another one. This is indeed a stupid system, but it more or less became the norm thanks to government (again) when it forbade companies (during WWII) to offer higher wages to lure people away from other companies. Offering benefits like health care coverage substituted for this. Once the war ended, the government helped foster this and encouraged it by, for example, allowing businesses to deduct these when tax time came along (but they have yet to allow this for individuals to the same extent). Now imagine your auto insurance as a benefit attached to your job. You lose your job, and you’re not legally allowed to drive to job interviews. Stupid, right? Yes, that’s government.

    *v person:*

    This is the system Republicans are working tirelessly to preserve.

    *Bob T:*

    Well, I think you’re on to something with that one. Although I seriously doubt that the
    Repubs really want it to stay the way it is, the reason why many of us are working to
    prevent a crappy national health care system from taking hold this summer is because
    for the past 16 years the Republicans did absolutely nothing, and haven’t even made a
    case of something better. Bush’s prescription medication bill was a piece of junk and the
    kind of thing he and his father before him thought would make so many people start to vote Republican. Gee, that worked.

    But listen, if we had a better Repub president from 2001-2009, a 60 vote Senate majority, and
    a healthy majority in the House of Reps, what would the Dems do regarding Republican efforts to reform what we have from things like preventing the AMA from limiting the number of doctors we have, reforming insurance policy mandates, allowing you to buy policies from other states, to tailor your own policy by choosing which items you want covered, and dealing with the lawsuit happy attorneys (like john Edwards who got millions from a sleazey lawsuit) who have done done far more than you’d admit to raise the cost of insurance. What would the Dems do? Fight these reforms?

    As a matter of fact, what did they do for the 40 years they had the House of Reps and most of those same years they had the Senate and quite a few years in the White House?

    *v person:*

    The most expensive in the world with some of the worst results.

    *Bob T:*

    Oh, now you’re just repeating the kind of blather you’ll find on Move-on-dot-org.

    Bob Tiernan
    NE Portland

    • v person

      BT: I don’t read moveon.org. Otherwise I agree with about 90% of what you just wrote. The 10% or so I disagree with is:

      1) “You can thanks government for that …”

      Government insurance, aka Medicare, has had a much lower rate of cost increase than private insurance over the past 20 years. I don’t pretend to know all the reasons why private insruance rates go up as they do. Yes, I suppose if one only wanted a catostrophic policy and then paid out of pocket for everything one could get cheap insurance. The problem with that approach is preventative care is what keeps many people away from needing the catostrophic backstop. I believe this is why European nations, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, etc have much better health outcomes than we do at far less cost. They fund a basic level of preventative care for everyone, so they have healthier populations. Then if people want more insruance, shorter lines, etc for non basic care, they buy a supplimental policy.

      If Republicans had pushed a free market approach to health care when they had the chance, I don’t doubt Democrats would have resisted. But I also don’t doubt that some Democrats would have gone along and some progress in that direction could have been made. But we will never know what might have been. They blew it.

  • David Appell

    Larry Huss wrote:
    > The second wrote myth is that there are 50 million people without
    > healthcare coverage. That’s baloney. Federal law requires hospitals
    > providing emergency service to take all people regardless of their
    > ability to pay. Thus all people living within a reasonable distance
    > from a hospital have access to healthcare.

    This is a very ignorant statement, made by the kind of people who have never (yet) been without health insurance and who take no effort in understanding its consequences.

    There are many, many necessary health and medical services that a person might need that aren’t available in an emergency room. Physical therapy is one of them. An ER will set your broken leg — then what? Break some teeth? An ER might clean them out, but will not replace them. Need medical equipment, like say a special prosthesis or CPAP machine or diabetes syringes? You can’t get them from trips to the ER. You can’t get tests many take as routine, for one’s heart or prostate or STDs or HPV or vaccinations or even routine blood pressure or cholesterol checks. Very little mental health care is available in an ER beyond the most rudimentary. It goes on and on.

    Most of all you can’t get medication beyond what’s needed for a few days. Many necessary medications, or perhaps just the most effective one, are hundreds of dollars a month, for a huge list of diseases suffered by hundreds of millions of Americans.

    Huss’s statement is absolutely wrong. And arrogant.

  • Bob Tiernan

    *v person:*

    Government insurance, aka Medicare, has had a much lower rate of cost increase than private insurance over the past 20 years. I don’t pretend to know all the reasons why private insruance rates go up as they do.

    *Bob T:*

    Government “controls” what it pays out, up to a point, but saying to doctors or hospitals, “This is all we’ll give you for this treatment”. Doctors and hospitals make up for this by charging more to everyone else. Rates go up.

    *v person:*

    Yes, I suppose if one only wanted a catostrophic policy and then paid out of pocket for everything one could get cheap insurance.

    *Bob T:*

    Good so far. Now you know what the government prevents, and then turns around and claims “the market’s not working”.

    *v person:*

    The problem with that approach is preventative care is what keeps many people away from needing the catostrophic backstop.

    *Bob T:*

    Sure, but there’s no reason why people should have insurance pay for such routine checkups that
    can find things early, anymore than having auto insurance pay for oil changes, brake checks and so on.

    If, as in an example I cited above, one could get a policy that includes an annual check up for this, that and a few other things, then it would serve to get the policy holder to actually go and get checked. But as even you admitted, the government doesn’t allow such policies, and then claims the market “isn’t working”.

    *v person:*

    If Republicans had pushed a free market approach to health care when they had the chance, I don’t doubt Democrats would have resisted.

    *Bob T:*

    That’s right, but when was that? They were in a position to discuss it, but despite the popular myths spewed by move-on-dot-org idiots (repeated in many other places), the Repubs never has a majority they could work with. The “majority” had to include Cheney. What was that senate “majority”? 50-49-1 ? And it included at least a half dozen Repubs who were and still are economic illiterates afraid to make the case. So what we got was Bush’s prescription medication bill that was somehow touted as a great achievement.

    *v person:*

    But I also don’t doubt that some Democrats would have gone along and some progress in that direction could have been made. But we will never know what might have been. They blew it.

    *Bob T:*

    That’s right, they did. But that doesn’t mean that we should be punished with ObamaCare which will turn into something far worse than they’re letting on to. It will never get repealed, and it will be so troublesome that health coverage will become a bigger issue than it is now. As Mark Steyn has pointed out, in countries like Canada and Britain, the minister in charge of health care is a more important person than the one looking out for national security. You’ll see senators like Ron Wyden at town hall meetings being told by audience members that “My mom can’t get care on time”, or, “The health service is offering these little pills but they’re not doing anything”, and Wyden will say, “Talk to my aide — she’ll try to get back to you”.

    Bob Tiernan
    Portland

    • v person

      “What was that senate “majority”? 50-49-1 ?”

      The Rs had a 56-44 senate majority after the 2004 election. Bush squandered this majority on “reforming” social security, then on failing to respond to Katrina, then on failing to make progres in Iraq until much later.

      On “Obama care.” If it is the disaster you think it will be, then why wouldn’t it get repealed the next time the Rs have a majority, which they no doubt will someday? The reason is that it won’t be a disaster, just like Medicare has not been, and SSI has not been. Expensive yes, but necessary. Neither will it be a panacea. But its likely it will have anough goodies to be popular.

  • Anonymous

    *v person:*

    The Rs had a 56-44 senate majority after the 2004 election

    *Bob T:*

    Yes, or to be more exact it was 55-44-1, but was 50-49-1 I believe, after 2000 and into 2002.

    Sorry, but because of senate rules the Repubs would need the magic 60 (or a few more to be able to offset a few that might get chicken). The Dems used it as an excuse, so the Repubs can as well.

    *v person:*

    Bush squandered this majority on “reforming” social security

    *Bob T:*

    I don’t know about that. I didn’t exactly prefer his idea of what constitutes “privatization” (his plan was not that since it still mandated that the money had to be taken from you), but at least he was trying to address the fact that we have looming problems due to the shrinking ratio of workers to beneficiaries — something the Dems never want to admit and therefore use as a hot button club.
    But nothing was done, so nothing was squandered.

    *v person:*

    then on failing to respond to Katrina

    *Bob T:*

    No, we’re not going to do this one. The damage was done by the hurricane, and then by the dike failure. Bush could not have done a thing to stop anyone from drowning. He was stupid policially by not showing concern (even if that was based on reality since all he could do would be to do a
    photo-op whoch would have taken police away from their important duties in New Orleans), and FEMA was revealed to be a bureaucracy which most of us already knew (Brownie did not deserve the job even after he had gotten experience and praise for Florida the previous year, but still, even he could not have kept anyone from drowning because FEMA is about clean-up and other post-disaster issues).

    *v person:*

    then on failing to make progres in Iraq until much later.

    *Bob T:*

    Yes, Bush made a huge mistake in putting his feet up and letting the situation play its course without any concern. But the Dems wanted it to get worse because they knew they could gain seats. They should have lost seats instead,m but voters are mostly stupid.

    *v person:*

    On “Obama care.” If it is the disaster you think it will be, then why wouldn’t it get repealed the next time the Rs have a majority, which they no doubt will someday?

    *Bob T:*

    Nah….they couldn’t even get rid of the NEA. I think you vastly overestimate the ability of any congress to do away with a bureaucracy, especially one this big. They get entrenched. Look at the trouble we’re having reducing farm subsidies even though most goes to corporate agriculture and millionaire “farmers” like Scotty Pippin and Sam Donaldson. No presidential candidate can tell the hard truth in Iowa (that ethanol subsidies must end) and win that caucus, and thus have a huge handicap going into the next primaries. It gets very rigged. That’s why it’s better to pass health care reform acts dealing with individual issues, like supply of doctors, what nurses can do, ending mandates for insurance companies and so on.

    As for Medicare, remember that it wound up costing a lot more than it was supposed to. All these programs do. And it works as well as it does because the private sector fuels the supply of health care provision. Let me know when Canadians make their own new drugs and medications instead of having the US do all of the mega-millions in research, development, and testing before they can be sold, or medical equipment.

    You also said that we have “some of the worst results” in health care. I have no idea what that means. I think the worst results are from shit-holes like Cuba or in Africa. You may have “free” health care is a lot of those places, but what does it consist of?

    Bob Tiernan
    Portland

  • Bob Tiernan

    *v person:*

    I believe David’s point to Larry Huss was that just because there is not a right to health care, or police protection, or fire protection, or a zillion other things not written into a 230 year old document of an agrarian nation

    *Bob T:*

    You’re missing the whole point. There’s a difference between a right, and something provided in a program that a governmenr may choose to create “for the common good” even if within a few years it exists for the benefit of the public employees first and foremost.

    A right (and this hasn’t changed in “230 years”, by the way, if you understood the concept) is something that does not have to be provided to the individual and which cannot be provided without th provider (government in this case) using force that can consist of forcing others to work, or taking your money or property, or restraining someone else so that “results” can be “fair”, and so on. In other words, your right to free expression infringes on me not one bit, and no one has to sacrifice anything just so you can have this right (preventing it from being taken away is another matter).

    The way to put it is that you have a right to the *opportunity* to have health care. The Founders knew that (even if it meant leeches at times).

    That’s why we have problems with some issues. For example, the National Endowment of the Arts is not needed in order to guarantee someome the right to smear herself with fake feces on stage. Or to create a 10-mile long pink ribbon strung across the countryside. Those wto individuals had that right all along, but if they couldn’t get people to pay for their expression, too bad. No right is being denied. So the lefties come along and say that anyone who supports doing away with the NEA is “for censorship”. I hate such people. Governing is too important a function to be trusted with such emotion-based liars.

    So if you think health care is a right, what will it mean when a 96-year old is told that he can’t get a pacemaker because, well, he’s lived long enough? A right denied? Even being put on a two-week waiting list for an important operation will be “a right denied” under theway you see it. But you’ll accept it. So much for it being “a right”.

    Rights are not government programs.

    Bob Tiernan
    Portland

    • v person

      I don’t think I am missing your point. I think I am disagreeing with your point. My view is that there are rights enshrined in the Constitution that cannot be taken away by legislators or our fellow citizens, freedom of speech and religion being good examples. There are other rights that legislators or our fellow citizens grant us, like assisted suicide in Oregon, or access to Medicare once one reaches 65 nationally to name just 2. Anyone over 65 now has that right, along with whatever limitations to exercise it exist due to funding or rules contained within the legislation.

      Assuming a 96 year old’s medical care is paid for by the rest of us, which it currently is through Medicare, I don’t have a problem with denying him or her a medical intervention if it is very expensive and unlikely to prolong life or quality of life for more than a year. A right to taxpayer supported medical care does not mean a right to any care at any cost, just like a right to food stamps does not mean this includes free lobster tails.

      Now if that 96 year old has the financial resources and/or forethought and priority of purchasing a supplimental private insurance policy that guarentees them they can get any medical procedure whatsoever regardless of cost or effectiveness, then more power to them and their insurance company. Live long and prosper.

      So no, I don’t believe that denying certain procedures to certain individuals is a right denied, as long as the decision is within a rational framework administered fairly and spelled out clearly.

      Our constitution gives us the *opportunity* to enact legislation that creates new rights, including the right to health care, limited by available resources of course.

  • Catherine

    Wow, just wow. Some of the lies I keep reading on sites like this just amaze me. I am actually Canadian and let me tell you that the health care I recieve is top notch. This whole bussiness of “waiting six months for a routine pap smear” huh? Maybe waiting six months for the next schedualed one. If however there is an issue I want looked at I can go and be examined. And as for the cost. One of the biggest issues is fraud perpetrated by your countrymen and women coming up here and pretending to be common law or using a relative who is Canadian to recieve our health care for dire conditions. Think about it, if only one percent of the American population ever does this that is still three million (at current population counts for the US) extra people burdening our health care system WITH EXPENSIVE CONDITIONS NO LESS paid for by 30 million Canadians.

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