S&F. This topic seriously needs to be addressed in an intellectually honest manner.
First off, what is my obligation to my fellow man? Am I required to feed him if he's hungry, clothe him if he's naked? NO.
Not in this
society. It simply doesn't work that way. Now, if we change the question around a bit, the answer changes. Does it behoove me to feed him if he's
hungry and clothe him if he's naked? YES.
I see a huge difference between the two questions above. In the first, I am required to do for him, even though I may be having trouble doing for
myself. In the second, I am empowered to be able to make a decision that may benefit my fellow man without endangering my well-being. The first makes
me a slave to the needs of others; the second makes me free and able to do more with my limited means, simply because I am able to administer the help
I give directly. The second is charity, and a sign of true love. The first is not.
We live in a country where our way of life, our customs and traditions, are based on a single document penned over 200 years ago by some very wise
(IMO) individuals. That document is the US constitution, and under its guidance we have, as a nation, gone from a rag-tag band of colonists to the
most powerful and wealthy nation on earth in our short existence. For that reason, I bring up that singular document here:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common
defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution
for the United States of America.
In this one opening statement, the entire scope of the Federal government is established. According to this, what duties and abilities would our
Federal government have in the present situation as it applies to healthcare?
- "To form a more perfect union" - nope, doesn't really seem to
apply here... unless of course, someone can find evidence that there is some sort of de facto ban on healthcare across state lines.
- "establish Justice" - considering the malpractice insurance problem, as well as the reason for the malpractice insurance problem (poor doctors
who are allowed to continue practicing), this could be seen as applicable. Justice implies fair and equitable treatment, so obviously if someone is
being harmed by the actions of others, it would be in the interest of Justice to correct that oversight to the best we can.
- "insure Domestic tranquility" - I can see where this might be used to insure people didn't get angry enough to riot or something to that effect,
but I honestly don't think that was what the framers had in mind. I see this more as preventing domestic violence, so in that light it would not be
- "provide for the common defense" - Nope, not applicable.
- "promote the general Welfare" - Ah, here we have something that is applicable. Notice, however, that where the previous item used the word
"provide", this one uses the word "promote". To provide something, one must create and distribute it; to promote something, one must simply make
it possible for others to do so.
- "secure the blessings of Liberty" - Hmmm, this could be seen as affecting healthcare reform in several ways. For example, if one is not able to
get the best healthcare they can afford, would that not be denying someone the blessings of their liberty?
So, based on the information above, my next question is, What role (if any) does the Federal government have to play in healthcare? My personal belief
is that it is not
the place of the Federal government to acquire healthcare, insurance, or any other privately-administered product for anyone,
unless that person is ready and completely willing to accept such offerings on the basis of charity. To do so, especially in the arena of healthcare,
without such willingness on the part of the individual, goes against the principle of "secure the blessings of Liberty" by removing the liberty of
the persons involved.
I do believe that it is the role of the Federal government to regulate and in some cases oversee operations ("promote the general Welfare"), as well
as to establish laws and regulations that encourage fair and equitable treatment among the people of all classes ("establish Justice").
So according to this reading, the only thing the government can forcefully do in the area of healthcare is to regulate, oversee, and make sure equity
is maintained. It is unconstitutional for them to do anything more. The next question I have is, Can the Federal government, using the limited powers
I just outlined, correct the problems with healthcare today?
I believe it is possible (notwithstanding the economic collapse). But to do so requires some thought, some reason, and quite a lot of honest open
debate. That's why I flagged this thread, and why I am posting here.
We have to remember as well that we live in a capitalistic society. People make money as a result of their (supposed) contribution to society, and
they then use that money to obtain the rewards they get from their service. It is a system that works fine as long as the people involved are on the
middle level of the scale. Capitalism only falls apart when one becomes either immensely wealthy or desperately poor.
Some mention of the concept of socialized healthcare is appropriate here. We already have socialized healthcare; it is called health insurance. If you
are in favor of 'socialized healthcare' then you have no complaints; go buy insurance. I personally find it ironic that the debate frequently turns
to people clamoring for socialized healthcare and in the same post screaming about how unfair the insurance companies are. Insurance =
. What these people are typically saying is that they want in the 'club' of having insurance, even though they are not willing to
make any sacrifices for it, like everyone else with insurance does.
OK, fingers are getting tired, so I'll stop here for now and let everyone get their flames off.