Monday, August 13, 2007

Pay Up

Under the old system, people used to pay out of pocket for health care. Essentially, if you or those that loved you did not work, you didn’t get health care. The reasoning behind this was: Hey, it’s not my fault if you don’t work, so it’s not my problem if you don’t have health care, Jack. And anyway, work is good for you, so you’ll be better off in the long run. Happier. You’ll thank me, really.

We decided this was ungenerous, and even cruel, because some people couldn’t work, some had worked for years but were now old, and the economic system was unjust anyway. We gave lots of people health care.

Now we have a system in which people who work for certain employers, plus old people, plus really poor people, get health care, and everybody else pays out of pocket. We have decided that this is also ungenerous, or even cruel. So we want to give everyone health care.

Except…

The new proposal is that we provide health care for everyone, except those people who have poor health habits, who have to pay out of pocket. The reasoning is: Hey, it’s not my fault if you’re obese, so it’s not my problem if you don’t have health insurance, Jack. And anyway, healthy eating is good for you, so you’ll be better off in the long run. Happier. You’ll thank me, really.

This is considered a great moral improvement.

3 comments:

Dubbahdee said...

That's a pretty good summation.

Sooo....what would YOU consider to be a substantial moral improvement?

By the way, should it be considered immoral that only people who are willing to pay more can afford to have food grown without pesticides? Is it immoral that so many of the poor are denied the health benefits that come with air conditioning (Legionnaire's disease notwithstanding)?

If health care is indeed a basic human right, where do you draw the line?

tomb said...

1. Is health care a basic human right? Why? How about a television? How about free access to the Internet? How about a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage?
2. The fallacy in the article,and in many people's thinking, is summarized with "We gave lots of people health care" Or later, "So we want to give everyone health care". Or, in the final paragraph, "we provide health care for everyone, except those people who have poor health habits". Presumably, the "we" is the government, since I have not seen a major poll that indicates US citizens would pay the medical bills of their neighbor by choice. Since the government doesn't produce anything (except politicians), it cannot give. It can only take from some people and give to others. While this is a wonderful and powerful position for politicians, it is no more moral than my taking my neighbor's car because he has two and I don't have any.

terri said...

"the health benefits that come with air conditioning."

Are there really health benfits to air conditioning?

Also, interet access and a TV aren't going to save someone's life