HEALTH CARE- PT 1.
I am not going to begin this regular feature by providing a definition that will no doubt bore most readers. In the future, I will define such words, but I would rather open up with a practical article.
The theme, " When does personal belief conflict with the best interests of society as a whole."
The Subject- Health Care.
Providing Health Insurance to every person residing in the U.S and its' territories, is not an economic question. If the federal government creates a program to provide minimal guaranteed medical coverage, funding must be there to support those who cannot afford traditional private plans.
This is the Heart of the matter, and the dilemmas we must face are;
- Do we, as a society, have an obligation to provide minimal affordable medical care to all.
- That many people will, through taxation, provide a service that will be of direct benefit to others and not them personally.
- That in the question of the right or wrong of a given situation, choosing a moral stand is;
1) The responsibility of the individual who is a member of society.
2) The obligation of the governing body in society, which is a collection
To illustrate what I mean, here is an example. Let us say an individual decides all questions of morality will be answered from a Doctrine based upon the teachings of a given faith. Now such decisions have two distinct implications;
- Is the individual going to decide the morality of any given situation solely by religious instruction and nothing else. If not, they have invalidated their own moral code, for it is not universally applied. It contradicts any assertion that the doctrine of their faith, regarding morality, is to be accepted absolutely.
- Does the individual wish to establish this system of morality for all of society, and punish any deviations?
If society is populated by a majority of such citizens, what will be the outcome?
See pt.2 in a future issue.
ETHICS AND MORALITY- HEALTH CARE. PT 2.
I would like to emphasize something I alluded to in part 1. Too often, the health care debate gets mired in details that have little to do with the reality that must be faced. Initially, at least, HEALTH CARE BEING APPLIED UNIVERSALLY TO AN ENTIRE POPULATION OF ANY GIVEN COUNTRY IS A MORAL DECISION, NOT AN ECONOMIC ONE.
Like other state run social programs in the U.S, Universal Health Care is not designed to turn a profit. Its' goal is to provide affordable medical insurance that will not cripple an individual or families ability to provide for other basic necessities. This idea stems from the primarily 20th century concept that government has an obligation to provide for, to a certain extent, the basic needs of a portion of the population that cannot do so on its' own. However, unlike current social programs, Universal Health Care in the U.S differs from other social programs in one major aspect- ELIGIBILITY.
As it stands today in the U.S, there are three main groups that have medical insurance.
- Those who have high enough incomes that make attaining quality health care plans a non-issue.
- Private health care plans that are partially or wholly subsidized by an employer.
- Individuals and families with an income that falls below a certain level, which is set by the federal government.
These above groups leave out a substantial portion of the population in the U.S.
This segment of society is the real reason that Universal Health Care, or "Obamacare" is being instituted. The middle class is the target group that will benefit the most, because they do not lie at either end of the financial spectrum in terms of income. Since paying health insurance premiums will be done on a sliding scale basis, all Americans will be covered in a way that does not end in financial hardship.
See pt. 3 in a future issue.
ETHICS AND MORALITY- HEALTH CARE. PT 3.
In the end, subsidized health care is not an economic issue. When we say that government has an obligation to provide all citizens with affordable medical insurance, a moral decision has been made. That does not mean that in the future such a decision will not lead to practical benefits, where the return is not in just doing what is right. I will get into that part of the equation in a future post, but for now I will stay on topic.
In the debate over Universal Health Care in the U.S, much of the rhetoric ignores the bottom line. Opponents are using objections that they wish us to believe are valid and on target, but they are nothing more than a smokescreen. They choose to criticize how the program is to be funded and administered, all the while avoiding answering the most important question; IS PROVIDING AFFORDABLE SUBSIDIZED MEDICAL INSURANCE TO AMERICANS UNABLE TO ACQUIRE IT, THROUGH PRIVATE SOURCES, A MORAL OBLIGATION THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS TO ALL OF ITS' CITIZENS?
The above question is often not satisfactorily answered by the critics of subsidized health care, who choose to attack the mechanics of the new law. However, the criticisms are often based on misleading, false or incomplete data. This strategy is a deliberate attempt to shift the debate away from the purpose of the program and focus it on issues that are easy to manipulate. Many times this is done by using assumptions and conclusions that are not based in reality.
( Look for part 4 in a future post.).