Is universal health care a right or a privilege for Americans?

Published 9:05 am Wednesday, August 19, 2009

To the Editor:

The United States provides the best health care in the world.

Unfortunately, access is limited to less than the entire population.

The United States has the highest malpractice insurance rates in the world. Unfortunately, it permeates the system to the level that nurses too must carry malpractice insurance.

That same legal profession, which permeates the legislature at every level creates the laws that govern and regulate health care delivered at every level. This monopoly enables lawyers — and lawyers only — to create and decipher health rules.

There is no tort regulation beyond what the legal profession allows.

The insurance companies involved in health care access are also the “deciders” of what is allowed, under what circumstances, and to whom.

Insurance companies work with the legal profession creating health care deliverables, pricing, inclusion and exclusion, etc.

Yes, that combination determines pre-existing exclusions, limits on coverage, and, again, rates and access to the health care delivery system.

A very basic question begs an answer — Is universal health care a “right” or a “privilege”? I have yet to hear that question crisply addressed.

Like in the “flu pandemic” threat — only the government can respond properly, so the Centers for Disease Control operate under the presumption that fighting microbe invasion, like a hostile nation invading, requires a government response, ergo in this case, it is a right. The government protects all the citizens. There we have two examples of the government doing what “only” the government can do —martial the resources to provide an adequate defense for the citizens. Those are two examples of a “right.”

In the matter of “privilege,” we have two examples of federal and/or state governments deciding the matter of a federal firearm license or a state driving license as examples of responding to privilege.

These are examples of privilege, of qualified citizens to acquire said licenses. That is what government does: differentiate and manage rights or privileges for the citizens.

Currently, in the area of the heated discussion on health care across the United States, we have mass confusion.

After seeing government step all over banking, finance, auto industry, unions, insurance, etc. (and those are just the obvious) we now see Congress unleashing all its power on the health care issues and matters, all lumped together into several simultaneous discussions tearing the country apart.

The populace is terrified, untrusting and scared.

In the eyes and minds of many citizens, we are marching toward socialism. It is time to slow down, take a good look and see what is happening.

Maybe answering a couple of the preceding questions is in order.

John Murphy