Originally posted by OperaTenor: [b] The real question remains: Do we, as Americans, feel that equal acess to quality health care is a right, or a priveledge?
Of course access to quality anything is a privelige. How could it be anything else?
If the government were supplying automobiles to the general public, would we all have a right to a Maserati?
Health care is a funny industry. It's very difficult to let someone die or even suffer because they can't afford health care. But health care is also very expensive. It's difficult and expensive to get an education in medicine, and even then you run the risk of a career ending lawsuit if you make a human mistake. The equipment used in medical procedures is also quite expensive and it's not getting any cheaper.
So why do people feel they deserve this expensive process at no cost to them? I really don't know, except that they feel they can't afford it and they need it, so let the deepest pockets they can find pay for it, with the justification that it's more affordable for a government than it is for a sick person. But is it honest?
I haven't been sick for over 30 years, and even then it was just tonsilitis. So why should I pay the bills of someone who is doing as well as I am financially? For that matter, why should I be forced to pay anyone's medical bills beyond my own family's?
I have made it a point to have adequate means to pay for virtually any concievable scenario, and the inconcievable ones don't leave any responsibilities behind. I donate a reasonable amount to charities to help people who cannot help themselves. I realize I'm fortunate enough to be able to make those choices, but I have almost always worked with people who were equally able to fend for themselves. Why should I be taxed to pay for their bills that they could readily pay on their own? And is it wise?
One well-understood principle of economics is the law of supply and demand. When demand goes up against a constant supply, so do prices. But in this case, the consumer would not be directly affected by the prices. Demand could increase without limit, and the consumer would have no idea of the impact of his or her ongoing feeding at the public trough of free medical care. Divorcing the cost from the consumer is simply foolishness, and having a government middleman in the mix simply serves to isolate the consequences from the actions. And is it really equal?
What level of medical care is proper for a public program to fund? Since I've been an adult, I've had a few medical procedures done to me. I've had a dental implant (at my own expense - the insurance considered it "experimental" but it's the best thing to happen to that tooth since it grew in) and surgery to remove fat deposits from my eyelids that were distorting the lenses. Both of those were voluntary, but both resulted in a considerable improvement in my comfort and well-being. Should anyone besides me have been responsible for the payment, though? How about removing a mole? How about a boob job or liposuction? How about in-vitro fertilization or a abortions? At what point between prosthesis and reconstructive surgery do you draw the line?