Contributors

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Yep

I want everyone to have health insurance and access to health care services. Health care is a right, not a privilege. The United States is a country built on capitalism and self-reliance, yet compassion is valued in equal measure. My neighbor who was laid off deserves coverage; the single mother without benefits deserves coverage, and the poor, disabled individual with a preexisting condition deserves coverage -- plain and simple.

-Kenneth H. Paulus, President and CEO of Allina clinics and hospitals.

And he runs a damn fine organization as well...one that remembers what it's like to be....oh, I don't know...HUMAN.

29 comments:

Kevin said...

Great! Let him and his organization provide that coverage, and let's see how long he and his organization stay in business.

Health care is not a RIGHT.

Anonymous said...

A right doesn't require anything from another.

dick nixon said...

It may not be a right but it is the human thing to do. I'd like to hear what your solution is to the health care problem in this country, Kevin.

blk said...

From the preamble to the Constitution:

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.

A basic education is a right in this country. It wasn't always. Most people would agree that protection by the fire and the police departments is a right. It wasn't always that way.

Why isn't health care a right? What else would promote the general Welfare of our population than ensuring that everyone has a long and healthy life? What could be more Just than making sure that every child, worker and elderly person can see a doctor when they're sick?

National health care would promote domestic Tranquility by giving everyone peace of mind, knowing that if their kid comes down with some awful disease they can get treatment. If you have cancer, the emergency room just ain't gonna cut it.

To enjoy the Blessings of Liberty you have to be alive. Many people die in this country because they don't have health care.

We are a rich country. As we've become wealthier and as technology and science have advanced the notion of what is a right has changed. Now that we can afford them, education, police and fire protection are rights. The way health care costs are exploding, we are going to go bankrupt. We have to change the way the system works to reign in costs. By covering everyone we can make it cheaper for each person. When everyone is covered and everyone is paying, we'll finally have the leverage we need to prevent the explosive rise in costs.

That will mean squeezing out unnecessary middlemen who get between you and your doctor. The most expensive and least useful middlemen are insurance industry execs. By eliminating them we can squeeze literally billions of dollars from health care overhead (health care company execs pull in salaries, bonuses and options in the range of tens of millions, to hundreds of millions to a billion dollars).

jeff c. said...

Well said, blk. Let's see if Kevin responds.

Kevin said...

Oh yes, Kevin will respond. But not here.

orlando said...

Why not here?

juris imprudent said...

So blk given the premise that we are a rich country, why is it that taxes must be used rather than charity to provide health care for all? Could it be that you doubt that your countrymen have their hearts in the right place, and thus you must take money from them rather than let them freely give it?

And just in case you didn't actually know this, but you do NOT have a right to police protection - so sayeth the Supreme Court. The police have no obligation to protect YOU, just the "community" at large. Would you like your freedom of speech or religion to have that kind of treatment?

No "right" can be used to force other people to give you something. That isn't a right at all. A right is something that we say the govt cannot violate - even when doing so might be extraordinarily popular. I will give the left credit - they understand the importance of rights, and thus try to subvert the meaning for what they want.

Kevin said...

Obviously you've not read my blog. I'm rather verbose (5,000 word posts are not uncommon and 10,000 word posts are not unheard of), and I often use a LOT of links when I get rolling. The Blogspot's comment area is not the place to do that, but answering blk's questions requires it.

I'm working on my response now. I'll come back here with a link when I put it up. Might be a day or so.

blk said...

I'm beginning to be more hopeful for health care reform and for the country in general.

An article in the Washington Post reports that a number of Republicans are now calling for health care reform.

It mentions Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Senator Bill Frist (an MD), Tommy Thompson (former HHS secretary), and Mark McClellan (a former Bush Medicare administrator).

Bobby Jindal had an op ed piece in the Post giving 10 "conservative ideas" for health care reform, most of which were just Democratic ideas with a Republican spin.

And according to a NY Times article Bob Dole said recently that he could have passed health care reform under Clinton, had he not been running for president. Bill Kristol told him that if Clinton got health care the Democrats would be the majority party for a generation. He now seems to regret putting his personal agenda ahead of the public good.

The people who actually want this country to work are coming around. If the Republicans work with the Democrats we'll get something that everyone can live with, instead bickering endlessly for another generation.

blk said...

Anonymous said, "A right doesn't require anything from another."

Many rights do require action from others. Amendment 1 of the Constitution provides the right "to petition the government for a redress of grievances." Someone must receive, adjudicate and act upon those petitions.

We have the right to a trial by jury, which entails a very expensive and elaborate legal proceeding, involving prosecutors, judges, court reporters, juries, defense lawyers, etc. Most jury trials are far more expensive than your average person's annual medical insurance bill.

We have the right to face our accuser in a trial. Which requires the presence of the accuser in the trial.

We have the right to a basic education, which requires teachers to provide personal instruction to students for 13 years.

We have the right to vote for elected officials, which requires a huge organizational effort and the involvement of hundreds of thousands of individuals. Someone must accept your vote and count it, then transmit the results to us.

The fact that we have any rights at all levies a duty upon law enforcement and elected officials to ensure that our rights are not abridged by others.

And with the passage of Medicare we've already decided that everyone over a certain age has a right to health care! We even extend those benefits to individuals too infirm to provide for themselves (for example, people who suffer debilitating strokes before retirement and can no longer work).

If we're going to provide health care for people who can no longer perform useful work for the country, why shouldn't we provide health care to people so that they can continue to perform useful work?

juris imprudent said...

Many rights do require action from others. Amendment 1 of the Constitution provides the right "to petition the government for a redress of grievances." Someone must receive, adjudicate and act upon those petitions.

Wrong, you only have the right to petition. Govt has no fucking obligation to respond to you. Are you really that daft?

The right to a jury trial is to partially counter balance the otherwise unlimited resources of the state in PROSECUTING YOU (which the state may only do if it doesn't violate other of your rights).

We have the right to a basic education, which requires teachers to provide personal instruction to students for 13 years.

Yep, you are that daft. You do NOT have a right to an education, or a job or FREE health care. And I notice that you completely IGNORE the question as to why these things have to be provided via taxes and not charity. I know why and I imagine that you do too - the only difference is that I'm honest enough to face up to it.

Medicare could be ended or amended by a simple vote of Congress - just as it was EXPANDED. You can't do that to things that are RIGHTS.

Kevin said...

My response to blk's questions is up.

It's a bit over 3,500 words.

Anthony said...

Anon said "A right doesn't require anything from another."

blk said "Many rights do require action from others"

Maybe Anon meant "A right doesn't require /stealing/ anything from another."

blk said...

Generally, the right to petition is provided by the courts. The courts must accept your petition and respond in some fashion. If they simply throw out your petition without due consideration a higher court will censure them. Haven't you ever complained about all those frivolous lawsuits? That's what "petitions" are.

We have the right to a basic education, there is no doubt. There are laws on the books that mandate children be educated, and the Supreme Court's ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education stipulates that all children must have equal educational opportunities.

Yes, you are right that Medicare is a right provided by legislative action. It is not provided in the Constitution. Yet it is the law of the land, and it has the same force of law as any amendment of the Constitution.

The Constitution is the framework that describes the underlying rules for governing this country. It is like the operating system of a computer. The laws passed by Congress are the "application software" that govern the legal functions of society. The intent of the Constitution has always been that laws are written to implement the Constitution and deal with issues that arise over time.

If the framers thought that the Constitution was the only document we would ever need, they wouldn't have created the Congress. They would have simply scheduled a series of Constitutional Conventions every 10 or 20 years, or stipulated a procedure whereby the States would amend the Constitution. They wisely understood that times change, and that the executive needs to be counterbalanced by the courts and the Congress.

People challenge claims to legislative and "natural" rights all the time. Eventually these cases get to the Supreme Court, which rules on them. The equal education question was upheld by the Supreme Court in Brown vs. Board of Education, and holds the force of a constitutional right.

It's irrelevant that the Medicare law could be changed. It doesn't make it any less of a right. The Constitution has been amended to take away rights as well: the 18th amendment took away the right to manufacture, sell or transport intoxicating liquors. Your rights to free speech, vote and bearing arms are not unbounded. You may lose those rights if you commit a crime. It's well established that certain types of speech may be limited. The government can prevent citizens from owning nuclear weapons.

Even former President Bush seems to believe that we have an undeniable right, at a minimum, to urgently needed health care. At least, he seemed to think so when he said that you can always go to the emergency room. If I am injured in a car accident and I'm taken to a hospital they cannot just turn me away for some arbitrary reason.

Finally, if we have a right to health care, it doesn't mean that we have to provide free cosmetic surgery or abortion on demand. The details of that right need to be worked out to make sure that it doesn't bankrupt the country, or encourage counterproductive behavior in doctors, insurers and patients.

That's the debate we should be having. Most everyone believes we have some basic right to emergency health care. The problem is that people who obtain regular preventive health care may never need emergency care. That will cost us less in the long run and make us happier, healthier and more productive.

Markadelphia said...

A well reasoned, thoughtful, and highly accurate post, blk. Sadly, sure to inflame rage and paranoia:)

OtherWhiteMatt said...

"Generally, the right to petition is provided by the courts"

But that's a right when dealing with the government- NOT dealing with other people.

We have the right to a basic education, there is no doubt. There are laws on the books that mandate children be educated, and the Supreme Court's ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education stipulates that all children must have equal educational opportunities.

No- having a law on the books doesn't translate to a right. Nobody has the right to make a person teacher a kid. Nobody. That's slavery.

Yes, you are right that Medicare is a right provided by legislative action. It is not provided in the Constitution. Yet it is the law of the land, and it has the same force of law as any amendment of the Constitution.
Wow you have no idea how the law and the Constitution work do you? It does NOT have the same force of law as any amendment of the Constitution. If that law violates the Const., it is invalid (and in fact it does violate amendments 9 and 10).

The Constitution is the framework that describes the underlying rules for governing this country. It is like the operating system of a computer. The laws passed by Congress are the "application software" that govern the legal functions of society. The intent of the Constitution has always been that laws are written to implement the Constitution and deal with issues that arise over time.
Correct, but if the OS says the app can't connect to the internet, the app doesn't connect. The app can't override what the OS tells it (not in a properly written OS). So just like the Constitution says Congress can't restrict free speech, or provide health care- Congress CAN'T.

If the framers thought that the Constitution was the only document we would ever need, they wouldn't have created the Congress. They would have simply scheduled a series of Constitutional Conventions every 10 or 20 years, or stipulated a procedure whereby the States would amend the Constitution. They wisely understood that times change, and that the executive needs to be counterbalanced by the courts and the Congress.
Yes, and their is process to change the Constitution- amendments. Not pretending words now suddenly mean something different.

It's irrelevant that the Medicare law could be changed. It doesn't make it any less of a right. The Constitution has been amended to take away rights as well: the 18th amendment took away the right to manufacture, sell or transport intoxicating liquors. Your rights to free speech, vote and bearing arms are not unbounded. You may lose those rights if you commit a crime. It's well established that certain types of speech may be limited. The government can prevent citizens from owning nuclear weapons.
Again, just because Congress or the Courts make a ruling, doesn't make it a right or doesn't take away a right. There are only certain rights, period.

That's the debate we should be having. Most everyone believes we have some basic right to emergency health care. The problem is that people who obtain regular preventive health care may never need emergency care. That will cost us less in the long run and make us happier, healthier and more productive.
Well, most people are wrong because they A) don't understand what a right is, B) don't understand what they are asking for, and C) don't understand basic economics.

Government provided health care will only make things more expensive and less efficient. Health care will be WORSE.

juris imprudent said...

Generally, the right to petition is provided by the courts.

C'mon, seriously? Where DID you learn this shit?

Yes, you are right that Medicare is a right provided by legislative action.

You just don't get that you contradicted yourself in that statement, do you. [shakes head]

Yes, the Constitution is the framework, and OF COURSE, Congress was granted the power to legislate -- on certain, limited subjects. No one ever said that the Constitution was the only thing necessary for govt - except you, as a strawman.

The equal education question was upheld by the Supreme Court in Brown vs. Board of Education, and holds the force of a constitutional right.

Which a state could equally satisfy by doing away with ALL public education. I'm not advocating that, but it would meet both the letter and spirit of the decision - which was after all about discrimination NOT universality (since blacks DID have schools, just not equal ones).

It's irrelevant that the Medicare law could be changed. It doesn't make it any less of a right.

It is TOTALLY FUCKING relevant, and that is precisely why it isn't a right. Most of the time I find you to be much better informed than this even when we disagree.

Even former President Bush seems to believe that we have an undeniable right

Well, by golly, he was right about everything else, so he must have been about this too? Are you FUCKING kidding me?

And blk YOU are the one who brought up that we are a rich country, but it seems that you think that ONLY taxation and govt force can bring about universal and fair health care. Please explain to me why, if people wouldn't freely give their money for this, it is justifiable to take their money for it.

juris imprudent said...

Sadly, sure to inflame rage and paranoia:)

Ah, Humpty Dumpty says "rage and paranoia" to mean facts and logic. :0

Diesel said...

Rights granted by government are revokable by that same government.
Ask a Kulak from 1930s Russia how he liked dealing with the concept of government granted rights.
If you can find one.
Or just ask this Venezuelan farmer how he likes it.

D.W. Drang said...

I'd like to hear what your solution is to the health care problem in this country
I'd like to hear a clear definition of what the (alleged) health-care problem is.

GrumpyOldFart said...

A well reasoned, thoughtful, and highly accurate post, blk.

I agree, at least with the "well reasoned" and "thoughtful" parts.

I can't help wondering, however, what makes the above "well reasoned" and "thoughtful", while the link below is full of "fear, paranoia, and zombie-like worship of capitalism".

http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2009/10/06/socialism-a-hate-story/

staghounds said...

This is a silly argument, in a way. The "rights" enumerated in the constitution are either personal or general. The personal rights are either to be left free of something- interference with religion, being taxed for religion- or to special protections if the state interferes with your life- jury trials, due process.

The other rights in the constitution are collective, and implied. The army and navy clauses imply national defence. But even the collective rights don't imply personal benefit. If a Frenchman tries to break into my beach house I don't have a right to make the Navy chase him away.

Some "rights" are statutory. They aren't constitutionally mandated, but legislatively created. Some are liberty rights, some are collective rights, and some are personal. Like fire and police protection- I have a collective right to those, that is, I have a right to have my jrisdiction(s) policed and fire extinguished. But those departments get to decide whether my particular "emergency" actually gets dealt with, and how. If the fire truck is busy, I'm on my own.

We have decided as a group that children DO have a "right" to be educated, in fact that they WILL be "educated" even if neither they nor their parents want that.

Those statutory rights follow along with the culture's changes. In 1790, only the most radical would have suggested that schooling was a fit subject for taxation. Gradually that changed. Private education succeeded, then as the industry grew it saw its opportunity to get into the public trough. The general public, for lots of reasons, agreed and state by state the governments fell into line. Then it became, through money, federalised.

So we have an educational system where government charges everyone for the service, whether they want, use, or even need it, or not.

It also offers everyone the service. The actual service quality ranges from decent to counterfeit, but you're stuck with what is on your local menu.

Unless you can afford, financially or otherwise, to escape the government system.



Same thing is happening with "health care". And our public education system is its model, for good or ill.

To my mind, the basic difference is that we can define and limit "education", and have, despite its advocates. (If the NEA had its way, macrame classes in nursing homes would be publicly mandated and funded.)

"Health care" is inherently impossible to define and limit. Pick any moment in the last two centuries and define "health care" at that time. Would that be an adequate definition fifty- or even ten- years later?

It's an utterly open ended commitment. And the people selling the service get to decide what it is, and how much of it we each need. It's like putting the real estate agents in charge of a program that said the taxpayers would pay for "decent housing" for everyone.

In every place and time where it has been tried, universal health care has ALWAYS ballooned, immediately, so far beyond all expense estimates as to make those estimates a silly joke. (In my state, a "public option" mandatory insurance scheme designed to "cut costs" almost bankrupted the entire government in less than five years.)

Health care costs all you have, and then some, once it becomes a statutory mandate. Just as we can't afford a destroyer and a company of Marines for every beach house, we can't afford to pay for every chemotherapy.

But we won't admit that, so we'll trap ourselves in health care instead. And gradually, that will absorb our work and innovation as well as our capital.

But we're not doing it from ignorance. We're just pretending that this time, here, with our experts in charge, it will be different.

You know, like Prohibition, Vietnam and Iraq.

Mikee said...

Government mandates, as in entitlements such as welfare, social security payments to retirees and education of minor children at public expense, are not rights held by individual citizens. These programs are tax supported, legislated and regulated activities that the populace has agreed to allow the government to perform. They are redistribution of wealth from one segment of society to another, for supposed purposes of public welfare.

Rights adhere only to individuals, not groups, not governments. Rights are limits on government activities against individuals.

These entitlement activities of the federal government could all be ended tomorrow with a vote in Congress and a presidential signature, unlike individual rights, which cannot be legislated away. Social Security could be closed down, public education could become a local issue without any federal involvement, welfare could disappear, and no one person's individual rights would be violated.

That the author of this blog does not understand the difference between an individual right, restricting government action against individuals, and an entitlement, which redistributes property from one individual to another, is alarming in the extreme.

By the way, I came to this blog via Kevin's blog post on your ridiculous claim that education is a right.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Brown v. Board of Education was not about whether education is a Right or not, but about the Right to equal protection under the law. IF the government is going to provide and require education, it must provide it equally for all. That is why the cornerstone of the case was the idea that "separate is not equal." The government does NOT have to require or provide any form of education whatsoever. Education is not a Right.

There are two kinds of Rights - Passive and Protective. Passive Rights do not require anyone else to do anything except leave you alone. This is the concept behind the 1st Amendment. You are free to speak your mind, worship as you see fit, and publish what you want without interference from the government.

Protective Rights exist to protect people from the government. They come into play when the government tries to do something to you, such as prosecute you for a crime, or search your home or person without your permission. At that point, the government is obligated to meet certain requirements - such as providing you with an attorney at the government's expense, if you can't afford one yourself. Your Right to an attorney is a Protective Right. Protective Rights can require actions by someone else, but only in response to their actions against you.

Health care (and education), is neither of these. It can not be a Passive Right, because it requires someone else to provide you with something (whether they want to or not). It can not be a Protective Right because no one is acting against you - they are not making you sick, either deliberately or through their negligence.

Forcing someone to provide another with a service against the provider's will is not a "right" of the recipient, it is slavery.

Markadelphia said...

"Forcing someone to provide another with a service against the provider's will is not a "right" of the recipient, it is slavery."

Calling LabRat! Hmm....I wonder if Kevin's posters will heap Jake with vitriol like they did with me when I said something similar.

Different Rules...

juris imprudent said...

The other rights in the constitution are collective, and implied. The army and navy clauses imply national defence.

WTF? The power to provide for an Army (though with no appropriation for greater than the term of Congress) and a Navy has NADA, zip, zilch, rien, nothing, No, NOT ONE FUCKING THING to do with rights. National defense is the most fundamental raison d'etre of the federal govt. But it ain't a right, collective or otherwise.

juris imprudent said...

I wonder if Kevin's posters will heap Jake with vitriol like they did with me when I said something similar.

You said something similar as in black is white, where black and white are both colors - therefore in your mind "similar".

IOW it wasn't even remotely the same and you SHOULD know that. That you don't is just more the pity.

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