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Health Care for Americans: A Right or a Responsibility?

By       Message Ross McNamara       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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Right. Responsibility. Those were the two sides of the coin that debate moderator Tom Brokaw offered our presidential candidates. Surprisingly, both were willing to choose. But while the two words appear in the dictionary separated by only a few pages - the implications each brings to our country's medical system could not be more estranged.

John McCain is interested in stimulating the free market for health care and in ridding the country of its current employer-based system. His plan provides a tax credit of $2500 for individuals and $5000 for families. His plan then taxes the employer-sponsored health care, seeing it as a source of income.

Yes, McCain chose 'Responsibility.' For McCain, moving America forward means working families need extra taxes and billion dollar health insurance companies are in dire need of a free market and more profits.

Free market. Some of the most common words on the airways today, typically in conjunction with the reasons behind our current economic disaster. Surely Mr. McCain can't believe in an ideology that has put all of our money at risk is also the correct solution for health care. Surely Senator McCain didn't write an article saying, "Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the excesses of state-based regulation."

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Oh, but he did.

Conversely, Senator Obama's plan looks to build upon our current employer-sponsored health care by creating government-sponsored programs as an alternative until everyone who wants coverage has it. His plan also mandates that children be covered.

Mandates. Yes, Obama chose 'Right.'

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Medicare and Medicaid are two glowing examples of a right to health care. Our country has decided individuals over 65 have the 'right' to insurance. And when I say our country, I mean Democrats.

Remember the government shutdown of 1995? That was the Republican's trying to get rid of Medicare.

However, while senior citizens deserve quality health care, it is also important to remember that they have on average only a few decades of life remaining. They certainly have earned the right to live out their golden years with the peace of mind that their health care needs are taken care of. Yet, our country has not yet decided that children, who cannot possibly be responsible for their own health care and have perhaps a century of life in front of them, do not have a 'right' to health care. No, our government doesn't yet feel a need to insure our nation's future by protecting its youth.

Children, no. Senators, yes. Both senators, even one with a checkered medical record, have the best insurance and health care our country can provide. The United States of America believes they have a 'right' to it.

McCain thinks that right stops there. Obama thinks it should keep going.
Seniors have a right to it. Senators have a right to it. Our judges have decided death row inmates' have a right it. But several recent studies estimate that under McCain's plan 20 million Americans will lose their health insurance. McCain's plan will add 20 million Americans to the already 47 million who are already without health care. No way.

Maybe the dictionary definitions aren't that far off after all. There are only a handful of definitions for 'responsibility,' with most pointing to a person or thing for which one is responsible. Fine. 'Right' on the other hand has 54 definitions and uses. But it's hard to find one that doesn't fit:

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-What is good, proper or just.
-What is correct in judgment, opinion or action.
-That which is due to anyone by moral principles.

Our country has a responsibility to uphold its citizen's rights. And while the right chose responsibility, the left chose right - and I mean that in every sense of the word.


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Ross works and eats in Minnesota.

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