(CNN)With a House of Representatives vote Tuesday, Congress passed legislation that could give terminally ill patients a way to independently seek drugs that are still experimental and not fully approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Democrats are shifting to offense on health care, emboldened by successes in defending the Affordable Care Act. They say their ultimate goal is a government guarantee of affordable coverage for all.
With Republicans unable to agree on a vision for health care, Democrats are debating ideas that range from single-payer, government-run care for all, to new insurance options anchored in popular programs like Medicare or Medicaid. There’s also widespread support for authorizing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, an idea once advocated by candidate Donald Trump, which has languished since he was elected president.
Democrats are hoping to winnow down the options during the 2018 campaign season, providing clarity for their 2020 presidential candidate. In polls, health care remains a top priority for the public, particularly for Democrats and independents.
True, a thinking person might say, “you gave us the utter failure of Obamacare when you were in charge,” but Americans tend to have a short memory. With the Republicans failing to repeal Obamacare and failing to offer a clear message, the Democrats may win the “JUST DO SOMETHING!” crowd by just offering a coherent alternative. Of course, the Democrats are more than willing to build their dream of socialized medicine upon the ashes of Obamacare.
The Republicans better get off their arses and advocate a free market approach to healthcare. The American people are not done with the issue – even if the Republicans are tired of it.
While I continue to lament the fact that our federal government now operates largely by executive fiat instead of legislative action, these are all very positive changes.
Let more small businesses join together to buy coverage. Trump is directing the Labor Department to study how to make it easier for small businesses, and possibly individuals, to collectively buy health insurance through association health plans. Small employers may expand their ability to offer group coverage across state lines, providing them with a broader range of policies at lower rates.
Extend short-term coverage policies.The order would allow more consumers to purchase short-term health insurance plans. It directs agencies to lengthen the coverage of these policies and permit renewals.
Expand employers’ ability to give workers cash to buy coverage elsewhere.Health reimbursement arrangements are not well-known, but they figure into Trump’s executive order. Employers use them to provide workers with tax-free funds to pay for health care costs, mainly deductibles and co-pays.
As the food shortages deepened, nearly three-quarters of Venezuelans polled said they had lost at least 19 pounds last year, one poll found.
Shortages of basic medicine and proper medical equipment – as in Deivis’ case – are common. More than 750 women died during or shortly after childbirth in 2016, a 66% increase from 2015, according to the Venezuelan health ministry. Nearly 11,500 infants died, a 30% jump. Malaria cases soared to 240,000, a staggering 76% increase. That last one is especially telling: Venezuela had already eradicated malaria more than 50 years ago. I met three paramedics in a week who all said they’re low or out of gauze, gloves and bandages.
Galindez, Deivis’ mother, found a matching kidney to replace one of her son’s failing ones. But it was a temporary victory: Doctors stopped performing kidney operations in April because they didn’t have the resources needed for the operation, according to Dr. Belen Arteaga, the head of the nephrology unit at Hospital de Niños Dr. J.M. de los Ríos, where Deivis was treated.
My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. I should note that while I lament the fact that we Americans have by and large ceded this debate, I do want the Congress to pass a healthcare reform bill that mitigates the damage as much as possible. I’d rather take a partial win than no win at all. Here it is:
As the U.S. Senate appears to be in the final throes of a bill to significantly change some of the worst aspects of Obamacare, it is appropriate to return to some fundamental truths that have been lost in the debate.
Health care is not a right. One of the philosophical underpinnings of Obamacare is the Marxist assertion that health care is a right, and as a right, should be protected and managed by the central government. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The greatest single definition of rights can be found in our own nation’s Declaration of Independence which states in part, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights … .” Rights are universal, unalienable, inviolable, equal and are the sole birthright of each individual. Since rights rest in the soul of each individual, every right can be exercised by every individual even if they were the last person on earth.
For example, everyone has a natural right to speak their conscience. The exercise of that right requires neither license from a government nor assistance from another person. The right to keep and bear arms is also a right. It is also a right inherent in the individual that can be exercised without any outside interference or assistance.
Health care is not a right. One certainly has the right to practice health care on oneself, as that right rests in the right to own one’s own body, but at the point that one’s health care requires the assistance of another individual, it ceases to be a right. No right can impose an obligation or duty on another individual.
One has a right to speak one’s conscience, but that does not obligate anyone to listen. One has a right to keep andbear arms, but that does not impose a duty on others to manufacture and supply one a gun. One has a right to control one’s own body, but that does not entitle one to the time, knowledge and skills of a doctor. An individual can always exercise a right, but at the point that such exercise imposes upon another person, it ceases to be a right and instead slips into the realms of commerce or coercion.
It is an important distinction because if we extend the definition of rights to include obligations on others, we are sanctioning slavery. When someone says that they are entitled to free universal health care, what they are really saying is that they want our government to use the threat of violence and imprisonment to force another person to surrender the fruits of their education, training, knowledge, time, materials and skills. The assertion that health care is a right is an inherently violent call to enslave others for the service of the collective.
Until the recent past, Americans had accepted that that the delivery of health care was a matter of commerce where free people would engage in an exchange of goods and services to obtain health care services. As a people, we had confidence in the capitalist economic principles that had led to the most efficient and productive allocation of scarce resources in all areas of commerce — including health care. It is upon these principles that America has been built and has become the most prosperous people in the history of human existence.
Yet in a pique of frustration and stupidity, we have abandoned those proven economic principles and embraced an ideology of serfdom by allowing our federal government to dictate the terms of our health care system. The debate occurring in Congress right now is simply over the details and costs of those terms. As a people, we have ceded the grand debate and are now fighting over the scraps of a squandered American legacy.
Last week, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a hospital can discontinue life support to the baby, who has a rare genetic disease. His doctors wish to take him off life support, but his parents disagree. Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, wanted the hospital to release Charlie into their custody so they can take him to the United States for an experimental treatment.
Charlie’s parents appealed to the UK Supreme Court to decide the best interests of their child. After they lost that appeal, the 10-month-old was due to have his life support switched off at the end of the day June 13.
A broad national consensus is developing that health care is indeed a right. This is historically new. And it carries immense implications for the future. It suggests we may be heading inexorably to a government-run, single-payer system. It’s what Barack Obama once admitted he would have preferred but didn’t think the country was ready for. It may be ready now.
As Obamacare continues to unravel, it won’t take much for Democrats to abandon that Rube Goldberg wreckage and go for the simplicity and the universality of Medicare-for-all. Republicans will have one last chance to try to convince the country to remain with a market-based system, preferably one encompassing all the provisions that, for procedural reasons, had been left out of their latest proposal.
Don’t be surprised, however, if, in the end, single-payer wins out. Indeed, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if Donald Trump, reading the zeitgeist, pulls the greatest 180 since Disraeli dished the Whigs in 1867 (by radically expanding the franchise) and joins the single-payer side.
Here’s a column I wrote 12 years ago about this issue.
Is There A Right To Healthcare?
One of the major issues facing the country is the issue of healthcare. The quality of healthcare available today is greater than it has ever been. We have eliminated diseases that decimated previous generations. We cure diseases that used to cripple people. We have not only lengthened the average life span by decades in less than a century, but we have made those later years healthier and more enjoyable than ever before.
All of this comes at a cost. Healthcare costs much more than it used to because it can do so much more. In the past, there were many ailments for which there were no treatments. Now we have treatments for everything from cancer to dry skin. In the past, a broken bone would have been set to heal back into somewhat the same place and then considered healed. Now that bone is set to heal back and then the patient often undergoes months of physical therapy to regain full motion. We even treat things now that were never even discussed in the past, like sexual dysfunctions and emotional instability issues. All of this means much more healthcare is used for every person at a greater overall cost per person.
That isn’t the only thing driving up the cost of healthcare. Things like company-sponsored health insurance, which shields the true cost of healthcare from the patient, and the costs of malpractice litigation, also drive up the cost of healthcare. It is indeed a complex problem.
Because of the complexity of America’s healthcare system and the impact on society, it has become one of the premier political problems of the day. Liberals argue that the government should take control of the healthcare system to provide equal healthcare to every citizen. Conservatives argue that more of the free market should be introduced into the healthcare system to enable an efficient and effective distribution of healthcare at a reasonable price. Before any solution for the healthcare problem can be determined, we must answer this question:
Is healthcare a right or a commodity?
All of the questions about what to do about healthcare stem from this question. Liberals think of healthcare as a right. The reasoning is that the right to healthcare is an extension of the right to life. If one has a right to live, then one must also necessarily have the right to the means to maintain life. One could also derive the right to healthcare from the right to liberty, or the pursuit of happiness, or any other number of well established human rights, but the right to life is the most fundamental of all of these for the right to life is the wellspring of all other rights.
I do not accept the premise that healthcare is a right. Rights are based upon the principle that each of us owns our own person. From this foundation, it is plain to see that if one owns oneself, then one absolutely has the right to live, the right to worship, the right to free speech, the right to property, and all of the other rights to which we have become accustomed.
If one owns oneself, then it is also necessarily true that every other person also owns themselves and is equally entitled to all of the same rights. As such, by definition, rights can not extend past the boundaries of one’s own person. One can not, for instance, exercise one’s right to free speech by demanding that one’s neighbor cease speaking, for by doing so, one would deny the neighbor’s right to free speech. Given that healthcare, for the most part, is the product of someone else’s knowledge, labor, capital, and equipment, it is not within the boundaries on one’s own person. Healthcare can not be a right because it makes demands on other people.
That is not to say that one can not exercise any form of healthcare one may wish upon oneself. That is certainly within the boundaries on one’s person, and so, within the definition of a right. When healthcare demands the efforts of another person, however, it ceases to be a right and becomes a commodity. At this point, healthcare is subject to all of the same rules of exchange that exist for all other commodities that pass between people. A fair price must be agreed upon by both the seller and the buyer and then the product may be exchanged.
Some will claim that the normal rules of exchange can not exist in the realm of healthcare because the buyer is under duress, and thus unable to make reasonable decisions. Although this is true, it does not alter the relationship. Many commodities are exchanged under duress. For instance, when I need a server part for a down server and I need it ASAP, I will pay an exorbitant price to have the part delivered post haste because I am under duress. When I am no longer in duress, however, I am free to make my displeasure with the price of the service known within the marketplace, thus applying normal market pressure to the provider in an effort to control the cost. On a macroeconomic scale, all of the same forces apply.
As I said before, the entirety of the healthcare debate revolves around this fundamental question. If healthcare is a right, as liberals contend, then it is the duty of government to ensure that everyone can exercise that right. If healthcare is a commodity, as I contend, then a free market is the optimum mechanism for ensuring its fair exchange.
Boy, that Canadian healthcare system is awesome /sarcasm
A Canadian couple of 62 years hoped to spend the rest of their lives together. Unfortunately, they can now only see each other every other day due to being admitted into separate nursing homes.
For the last eight months, Wolf and Anita Gottschalk of Surrey, B.C have been forced to live apart. On top of their heartbreaking situation, the Gottschalks must endear tear-jerking goodbyes multiple times a week.
A family member, usually their granddaughter Ashley Bartyik, drives the nearly one hour commute multiple times a week so that her 81-year-old grandmother Anita can see her 83-year-old grandfather Wolf, who has now been diagnosed with lymphoma in addition to his dementia.
“After 62 years together in marriage they have been separated for 8 months due to backlogs and delays by our health care system, whom have the power to have my grandpa moved to the same care facility as my grandmother. They cry every time they see each other, and it is heartbreaking,” she continued.