Opinion

It is imperative health care be a right

After seemingly quoting from the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Jack Hamilton asserts that health care is not a right as stated in that document (“Do you really have a right?” April 17). Besides “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as being rights as so written, Mr. Hamilton inserts “property” into his own version of that document. Thomas Jefferson thought about inserting it, but never did as shown in the original draft he submitted to Benjamin Franklin and John Adams for their approval.

When using our most valued documents to construct an argument, one really should read the document first and get it right before proceeding.

Hamilton states that health care is not a right (it wasn’t included in the aforementioned document being his argument) and the “norm” in society is that if you want service you must pay. Life and its extension are equated on a purely monetary basis by him. You got the bucks, you get the care. If not, sorry. You die.

President Obama gives many reasons why we must change our system, including it being a “moral imperative.”

Is a civilized society one that can save lives through its health care system only if one can pay the “normal and customary” amount charged? By extension, that statement means a life will not be saved when payment cannot be met. This is the part that others who agree with Hamilton never mention. They state that the “fee for service” system we now have is the best and only decry a universal coverage with the same propaganda we have heard for many years. Or worse, those who cannot afford it are not worthy to get it.

The usual reason given by those opposing changes to our system is that doctors and hospitals must be the ones to decide the cost of its delivery system. Are you kidding? They haven’t made those decisions for years. The insurance companies make those decisions.

To bring that into stark reality, the insurance consortium released a statement last month declaring that it was thinking about covering sick people. Universal coverage is scaring them so much, they are thinking about covering you when you need it the most. Welcome to the health care theater of the absurd.

We read in our local papers of an infant who has leukemia and its community has a bake sale to help with the cost. Or a teenager needs a kidney transplant and his church holds a fundraiser to help with the cost. Noble efforts to be sure, but why should they be needed?

Seventy percent of childhood leukemias are curable and that outstanding achievement has occurred within just the past 30 years. Without the medical research done at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the grants given to major universities and private labs from the NIH, these advancements in health care would not be possible.

Those are our tax dollars doing very good work. The health care professionals at the NIH are the most dedicated and intelligent you will find anywhere. Also, they are some of the lowest paid; they are all government employees.

The diseases that can be cured or achieve a longer lifespan than if left untreated are often very expensive. The treatment can last longer than a year and the medications, equipment and professionals required to deliver that care all add to the cost. How many families go into bankruptcy for trying to save their loved one’s life?

Mr. Hamilton thinks that is just fine. Does Mr. Hamilton get health care coverage from the military or Medicare? Good grief! Is my money paying for Jack Hamilton’s health care? Do we pay taxes for his health care while he wants to deny anyone else coverage? If the Hamiltons of this country argue, for any reason, against a health care system they have, but want to deny others, their level of argument is reduced to only the most hypocritical among us.

Mr. Hamilton states that health care is not a right. It should be. It is a moral imperative for our country that we make it so.

FRAN MOYER, RN

Seabeck

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