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Tuesday, December 8, 2009


George Offerman

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada has decided to embark on a crusade for health care, by now claiming it to be a ‘right’. He went on to make some rather incredible remarks comparing this to slavery, women’s suffrage and civil rights. To make this comparison is to really minimize the struggles of slavery (denied freedom), women’s suffrage (denied right to be heard) and civil rights (denied self determination) to supposedly not accessing services that must be paid for. The three movements he alludes to are intrinsically evil, versus heath care, which is not denied by gender or race, but a service that must be purchased, like any other service.

For something to be declared a right there must be counterbalancing responsibilities to go along with it. For instance, when slavery was abolished, the southern white plantation owners had to let the slaves go, pay them for their services, and not abuse them. They had a responsibility to abide by the law and address the real human rights issues that were in essence forced on them. Women, upon the right to vote, had the responsibility to register, educate themselves on the issues and now were just as accountable for outcomes of elections. With civil rights, business owners were mandated to serve and hire African Americans and deal with the regulations based upon this race having equal access to the society as was true for whites at the time.

If health care is a right, what are the responsibilities of the consumer? For instance, is it a ‘right’, or morally right for a person to smoke heavily, drink daily, not exercise and eat junk food, and then require someone else pay for the health care that this individual now needs? This person used their personal ‘rights’ to engage in behaviors that resulted in damaged health, now this same person is going to access care that is paid for by others? Where in the constitution is this guaranteed?

Health care is a fee for service industry. In this, people contract for this service by paying premiums, and then are able to access services. This is no different than any McDonald’s, but there may be a day in which one cannot afford a Big Mac, and believing they have a right to it, will get one free. There are other areas in which one can feel a ‘right’ to have, such as entertainment, vacations, housing and such, but no one would argue with the fact these items have to be purchased. One can only obtain the model of car, size of house, or vacation on ability to pay. Working on affordability is the way to address health care, and encouraging and living healthy lifestyles is the epitome of reducing outlays for health care

There are many issues currently in which the delivery of health care can improve, but to go to the extreme to call it a right, is only asking for trouble. Once the government determines health care is a ‘right’, then the responsibilities will soon follow (rationing). The problem is, the government will define ‘responsible’ behaviors, and it would not be at all out of the purview of government to have the drive through operators at McDonald’s have to do a ‘fat assessment’ of customers, much like bartenders have to cut off patrons who had a little too much to drink. This may seem outlandish to many, but one only needs to look at the farce of global warming, and the insanity of ‘carbon credits’ to see that government can come up with outrageous demands to access their programs.

People need to think long and hard before allowing government to take over health care. There is not a whole lot that government does well when taking over, and I am hard pressed to come up with even one example of what they do well. We need to work on getting this monstrosity to go down in defeat. Call your Senators as soon as possible and let them know you oppose the takeover of the health care industry. Nevada, vote Harry Reid out of office.

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