Letter: Balentine misses the point on health care

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John Balentine seems to have chosen a topic he’s not very familiar with, since he confuses the right to health care with forcing individuals to provide it. No one has suggested the latter. Does he think that individual teachers are forced to work just because education is publicly funded?

(And to suggest that medical treatment that ends in failure might be a violation of someone’s right to proper health care is just plain silly. We all die eventually. Having to resort to such a comment leads me to believe that Balentine doesn’t understand the basics of the issue.)

The notion of health care as a right stems from the idea that no one deserves not to have it. No category of people – by religion, gender, zip code, income level, race, sexual preference or any other criteria – should be denied medical help when needed. There are no moral grounds for this, just as there are no justifiable reasons that police or firefighters might respond only to some calls. If society provides the service, everyone must be equally entitled to it.

It is government, at some level, that is responsible for providing essential services. This is why a growing number of Americans are realizing that a single-payer health-care system is the only way to provide affordable care to everyone. Market forces and the profit motive cannot do the job fairly. We already tried that. Health care must be publicly funded, and available to everyone.

Nancy O’Hagan
Portland 

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