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You Don't Have a Right to Health Care

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Americans are in an uproar about health care these days.  What the controversy really comes down to is what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander.

Nadya Suleman is the new poster child for abuse of the health-care system.  She is now shamelessly begging the public for donations to help her support her 14 children on a web site put up by her  former publicist.  Three of her original six children -- 50% for the statisticians -- are disabled to the point where they receive Social Security benefits of about $600 each - or $21,600 per year.  The odds are good that some of the new children will also be able to qualify for Social Security benefits as well.

Americans are outraged that Suleman was able to go to an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Clinic and get “knocked up” in this manner.  Calls to punish the doctor who performed this procedure are abounding.  Some suggest that he should be required to pay child support for all the “offspring” he helped to create.  The argument is that an unemployed or poor woman should not be allowed to elect this type of procedure.  If she was employed or rich, and was not receiving any form of government assistance, then nary a word would be said.

Others are arguing that all of her children should be taken from her and put up for adoption because she is an “unfit” mother.  What makes her unfit is the simple fact that she is unemployed and receiving taxpayer assistance.  If she was not receiving taxpayer money, then once again, nary a word would be said.

No one can argue that Suleman is totally lacking in the common sense department.  Anyone who has children they cannot afford falls into that category to one degree or another.  Suleman is not alone in that department.  Tens of thousands of children are born each year to parents who are lacking in common sense.  Born to parents who cannot afford to raise them without any financial assistance.

The Constitution guarantees people the right to procreate, and to not procreate. To punish Suleman or her doctor in any form or manner would ultimately be unconstitutional.  Any law that would deny IVF procedures to people based on economic conditions would also be unconstitutional because it would be discriminatory.  A basic right cannot be conditioned on financial ability.

Suleman has the “right” to procreate or reproduce as much as and as often as she wishes to.  She however, does not have the right to health care.  Her children do not have any right to health care.  To put it even more basically, no one in America has any legal right -- no constitutional right -- to receive health care.

The ability to receive health care is a basic human right as codified by The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.  The Bill of Rights also guarantees Americans the right to “life,” but is silent on whether that right extends to people who cannot afford to pay for maintaining life.  Doctors can refuse to treat you if you do not have money.  Hospitals that do not receive federal funding can also refuse to treat you.

Americans are now complaining about the changes to Medicare which will restrict the types of treatments that they can receive, and establish a cost effectiveness standard.   The government will decide what treatments are appropriate and what percentage recipients should pay for those treatments.  Older people will have to shoulder a larger percentage of the cost for a procedure than a younger person.  People complain because they believe they have a right to require taxpayers to pay for their medical treatment no matter what..  On the other hand, they would like to deny health-care payments to others whom they believe are “less deserving.”  People like Nadya Suleman.

In many countries around the world, health care is available only to those people who can afford to pay for it.  No money means no health care will be provided.

In China when you go to the doctor or the hospital, you pay for services in advance.  Need an x-ray?  Pay first then go get the x-ray.  Need a pair of crutches?  Pay first, then you can hobble out of the hospital with your new crutches.  There is no such thing as medical treatment  “on credit,” which means that the incidence of “medical deadbeats” is virtually eliminated.  Of course, doing things this way does keep medical costs down.  For example, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)  will cost about $60.  An eye examination will cost less than $2.  A private room in the hospital will cost $30 per day.

Of course, in China, people like Suleman would not be an issue.  China’s “one-child policy” would avoid that problem almost completely.  People who have more than one child can be fined.  They also can be forced to be sterilized if they don’t learn from the fine.  For China, the “one-child policy” makes sense.  It is in the best interest of society.  The country already has more people than it can reasonably support.  Even before the recession there were not enough jobs for everyone.

Americans believe that they have a “right” to health care.  All of the nasty “do-gooders” want top-notch, quality health care for the unemployed, those on welfare, and the homeless.   The motto of The National Health Care for the Homeless Council  is “Because Health Care is a Right, Not a Privilege.”  Many homeless people are drug addicts and alcoholics.  They want the taxpayer to foot the bill.

Since there is no legal right to health care, the taxpayer should not be required to pay for medical care for those people who cannot afford it.  Most people will support not providing medical care to prisoners.  That group is hardly deserving of that type of expense, and truly do not deserve that from the taxpayer.  At the same time, all the people on welfare should lose their entitlements to health care.  And while we are at it, let’s empty out the nursing homes since most people there are receiving Medicare benefits, which are paid for by taxpayers.

Billions of dollars can be saved.  Some may wish to argue that there should be limits -- deny taxpayer dollars to some, but not others.  Unfortunately, the US Constitution does not permit that to happen.  All people must be treated the same. It is called “equal protection.”

Nadya Suleman is an example of “rights” that have gone wrong.  Those who advocate restricting and punishing her or her doctor for her exercising her rights, are on a slippery slope.  Once a government starts restricting rights based on social status, it is no longer a democracy.

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Doc is retired, currently living, working and investing in Orlando. Background in medicine (trauma), business and education. Neither a progressive or a conservative; more of a centrist/libertarian who is a strong proponent of personal (more...)

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