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Let Them Eat Health Insurance October 1, 2006

Posted by David Bookstaber in Government Spending, Healthcare, Social Politics.

All good slogans have three planks.  Basic human needs used to be, “Food, Shelter, Clothing.”  The French Revolution was “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite.”  As best I can tell, the Democratic Party’s new slogan is, “Health Insurance, Taxes for the Rich, International Appeasement.”

Of the three, the most incongruous to me is the first, and yet these days every socialist pol and left-leaning pundit takes it for granted that health insurance is a basic human right.  As if simply noting that 45 million Americans don’t have health insurance is a definitive indictment of the present government.

I have written about this question before, and it’s worth discussing.  But until we have a national debate and write it into our Constitution as such I don’t think health insurance is a human right.

Health is an individual choice, and as long as we give individuals the right to subvert their health, we should not coerce others into subsidizing it.  If our government ever did get into the business of guaranteeing health care, I hope it would also outlaw obesity, tobacco consumption, hard liquor, and not exercising regularly.  In fact, let’s work on those first, and once we have all those unhealthy behaviors under control then we can talk about socializing healthcare.


1. federalist - October 1, 2006

Examples of Liberal assumptions on this issue:

Ben and Jerry.

Ken Thorpe:

Ken Thorpe of Emory University in Atlanta says Bush has done little to help these people.

“We’ve had absolutely no federal effort or interest in insuring the uninsured since 2000,” said Thorpe, who was deputy assistant secretary for policy at the Department of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1995. “This has not been a priority of the Bush administration.”

One in six Americans did not have medical benefits; the proportion rose to 15.9 percent last year from 15.6 percent in 2004, the government said. The number with health insurance rose by 1.4 million to 247.3 million.

Rep. Joe Barton (R., Texas), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said a new law was needed to make it easier for people to buy health insurance by letting them shop for plans from any state, eliminating geographic limits. Rep. John Shadegg (R., Ariz.) has introduced such legislation.

“Plenty of working families may simply not want coverage for acupuncture, massage therapy and other kinds of care that their states mandate,” Barton said in a statement.

2. federalist - October 3, 2006

It may be we won’t have to wait so long after all for the government to police obesity and unhealthy habits.

Early this year, [New York City] quietly added diabetes, a chronic, noninfectious condition, to a list of communicable diseases that it tracks, such as syphilis. Now, when labs detect a high blood-sugar level in a sample, they are required by law to report that finding to officials. If you thought the results of a diabetes test were between you and your doctor, think again. The city records the fact that you, personally, have developed diabetes, and authorities are empowered to monitor your treatment and even to conduct what it calls “interventions.” Perhaps you will soon get a knock on the door from a city worker wanting to know if you are sticking to your prescribed regimen for dealing with a host of chronic conditions.

Undeniably New York, like other cities, is worried about the cost–in health-care bills and social problems–of an explosion of diabetes cases, which are often linked to obesity. Authorities are casting about for ways to make potential patients look after themselves.

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