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For those of you who believe everyone has a right to health care, do you believe everyone has a right to equal health care? If so, does that mean everyone gets access to the best treatment available, and if so, how do plan to pay for it? If not, should wealthy people be denied certain treatments they were previously able to afford? If people only have a right to a certain level of health care, how do you decide what level that is? Does everyone have the right to a heart transplant? If so, how can you guarantee that right is protected if there is an insufficient number of donors?
"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire
For those of you who believe everyone has a right to health care, do you believe everyone has a right to equal health care?
If not, should wealthy people be denied certain treatments they were previously able to afford?
No. They're always free to buy supplemental private insurance.
If people only have a right to a certain level of health care, how do you decide what level that is?
As with any private insurance policy, there would be caps on payments. Those caps would be determined by budgetary and actuarial calculations similar to those used by private insurers. Those who feel the caps are insufficient would have to buy supplemental private insurance.
Does everyone have the right to a heart transplant? If so, how can you guarantee that right is protected if there is an insufficient number of donors?
No. Heart transplants should be on a waiting-list basis only, with no way to "buy" your way to the head of the list. Obviously, if somebody wants to give a kidney to a family member or other compatible individual who needs it they should be free to do so. If somebody wants to "buy" organs they'll just have to go to China to buy those harvested from executed prisoners.
Certain types of medical care, such as prenatal care, can benefit society on the whole. With good prenatal care, and other, basic forms of healthcare, low income people are more likely to become well-educated, healthy, and productive members of society.
On the other hand, some types of health care only benefit the individual that gets them. A 50 year old with cancer should not have his healthcare provided by the government because it is damn expensive, he had the opportunity to secure private health insurance, there's a good chance he has genes or behaviors that contributed to his condition, and his treatment will only contribute to his own wellfare.
Ensuring that a the healthcare system works well (quality care for a low price) is a much more important and much more difficult to work out question than what things should be provided by private vs. public insurance. Simply privitizing healthcare can result in increased costs and worse care if it is done poorly or poorly regulated. Health care is a complex issue; I don't understand the state of healthcare in the US now.
The real problems are the proliferation of malpractice suits and the stranglehold that doctors have on healthcare. There are plenty of things that other, less well-paid professionals could do as well or better than doctors that require the involvement of doctors for legal reasons. Also, the training that doctors undergo is absurdly excessive for many tasks, and the limits that exist on the number of doctors trained drives up costs. Plus, insurance companies actally add more to the cost of health care than many foreign governments, for god only knows what anti-competitive practices and legislation exist...
The solution I propose is to implement mandatory capital punishment for all doctors, lawyers, and insurance company executives. This might have a small, temporary detrimental effect on the quality of health care, but I'm sure you'll agree that the immediate cost savings and long term benefits justify the short term problems.
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