Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Is Universal Health Care a Moral Issue

by Kimberly Moore

It’s an interesting question and one that isn’t easily answered. I don’t know anyone who would see someone suffering and not want them to seek medical help. After careful consideration, I believe to force upon our country a universal health care plan is immoral.

There have been many figures announcing how many people in the U.S. are currently uninsured or underinsured. 46 million people seems to be the most common number as those uninsured. What we need to remember is this number is slightly elevated. According to "Liberty and Tyranny" by Mark Levin, 9.5 million were not citizens, 17 million lived in households with incomes over $50,000 a year, and 18 million were between the ages of 18-34 and were in good health or chose not to purchase it. So, if these numbers are correct, that would leave 1.5 million people without health insurance that are American citizens who couldn't afford it. But there is a solution to help many of those without health insurance.

In 1965, the Medicaid bill was passed when President Johnson was in office. Medicaid fell under the Social Security Act and currently Medicaid is the largest state expenditure. For those citizens who are unable to purchase health care insurance due to low income, they have the option to get the medical care needed. Children can be eligible for Medicaid, even if the parent is not. Lawfully admitted immigrants may also be eligible for Medicaid.

The moral issue is not if America has universal health care but rather it becomes a moral issue when asked how a decision is made under the universal health care regarding who lives and who dies. Oregon has a state-run health care program for those who live under the poverty line. According to ABC News, Barbara Wagner had lung cancer, which had been in remission, but returned. In order to live, her doctor prescribed medication that cost $4,000 per month. The state-run insurance program refused to pay for the medication but offered to pay for assisted suicide. So, basically, they are telling Ms. Wagner, we won’t pay to help you live, but we will pay to help you die. What kind of message is that sending to the rest of the U.S.? Unfortunately, I see this as a common problem if the universal health care plan is passed. At the request of her doctor, Ms. Wagner was able to receive her medicine free of charge.

There are concerns with the medical professionals staying employed in the medical industry or searching other employment should the universal health care plan be enacted. With the cap of bonuses that the White House is placing on the automobile industry executives, there will certainly be a cap on salaries of physicians and medical specialists. With government-run health care in the U.S., frustrations being felt by doctors to meet the demands of the government may force early retirement of physicians and encourage future students of the medical field to seek employment in other professions. Not only would we have a shortage of doctors, there will be an increase in patients and the quality of the health care will decrease while the wait time to see a doctor for diagnosis of a potential life-threatening ailment could be months away.

The Republicans have planned to unveil the Patients Choice Act on May 20, 2009. This is an alternative to what the Democrats are proposing. Rather than depending on the federal government to determine our health decisions, the Patients Choice Act will provide a tax credit of $2290 for an individual or $5710 for families each year to help those without insurance and use the tax credits to purchase insurance through a private insurance company. This is budget-neutral compared to the $2 trillion already considered for spending on universal health care. Also, the Patients Choice Act will help get people off of Medicaid because of the tax credit and the ability to choose their own doctor.

Until a final decision is made, think about this: the United States already has a universal health care plan. It is Medicaid and Medicare. For all others, it seems to be a choice. If health insurance is not offered by an employer, there are insurance plans available. Like car insurance, the best advice is to compare prices and benefits and choose which you can afford based upon your income. Do you really want to leave your life or death in the hands of the federal government? I certainly do not.


Lenny said...

Actually I think the answer is easy. The government isn't nor has ever been the moral voice for America. It it were, abortion would have never become legal. The problem we have in this society is thinking we are owed and everything is a right. Medical care is not a right nor is owning a cell phone. With this government you wouldn't know it. We need to separate our own moral views and beliefs from government. It is meant to be small and barely in our lives. So no, giving Americans health care through the government is not a moral issue!

Swilliams said...

Other "government provided" or free health care comes by way of community hospitals, free clinics, institutions and foundations that provide targeted services to children or others, such as Shriner's, St. Jude Hospital, so many others.

And giving low income people "insurance" does what? Are they going to pay the deductible or co-pay, or a 20% co-insurance? Of course not! They will still use ERs and other subsidized services along with all the illegals.

And if Obama and the Dems keep up their march to destroy private enterprise they will have the rest of us on the "dole." But then that is part of their plan to eliminate free markets and Conservatives isn't it? We'll all be offered the assisted suicide option!

Soylent Green anyone?

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Anonymous said...

In a conversation with Newt, The Daily Show host asked how the government could be trusted to run a war (or two), but not health care. Newt, who otherwise gave a fine interview stumbled over that one.

I thought that was an interesting comment, and thought I would share.

Luci said...

Do you know what happens to people without healthcare? Even those that have a good income? They flood the ER's, and then stiff the hospital. Then your local ER needs to close, and you wonder why. All those medical professionals lose their jobs, and the local economy suffers.

I am a medical professional and there is nothing that would help us more than mandated health insurance, and if insurance was publicly run that would mean there would be no insurance company denying your claim because it would hurt their shareholders.

I suggest you watch "The Incredibles". There is a good depiction of an average insurance company in that movie.

That Tampa, Florida lady said...

I AGREE with Lucy.

It is immoral to deny people help or give them minimal and then blame them for it.

The Catholic Catechism says it is a moral issue. No debate there. That is the official church teaching. Why should the nuns and priests get adequate care only to have it be denied to the people who pay their salaries: the folks in the pew. said...

Pretty worthwhile info, thank you for the article.

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