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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  • single payer

    Medicare for ALL……….

  • Bowdoin81

    “confuses the right to health care with forcing individuals to provide it. No one has suggested the latter.”
    Well, actually ALL discussions of subsidized medical care do suggest exactly that. We ought to at least be aware of the reliance on force, even if we still think it’s the way to go.
    Government has no resources to provide anything to anyone without first taking those resources by force from people’s bank accounts or paychecks.
    You do not have a right to my daughter’s paycheck, nor do you have a right to have medical services provided to you at her cost.
    Should Americans all be forced to chip in to pay for each other’s health care?
    Go ahead and make that argument. But don’t call it a “right.”

    • llskinner

      And who pays for your daughter’s medical services, assuming she has health insurance? All other developed nations willingly pay so fellow citizens have rights to health care. In that regard, and others, America is an anomaly among civilized countries.

    • pjkslk

      How are the roads built and maintained that you drive on everyday? And do the fine folks who perform that building and maintenance do it by force? Roads are necessary for a functioning society, therefore taxes pay for them. The same argument can (and should) be made for healthcare.

    • Kevin McCarthy

      “…reliance on force… Government has no resources to provide anything to anyone without first taking those resources by force from people’s bank accounts or paychecks.” This is an example of how debate gets degraded. What is meant by “force?” In the context here it strongly suggests a physical taking against one’s will. As such, it’s a lazy concept meant to elicit an emotional response. The Constitution expressly authorizes Congress to impose and collect Taxes, the 16th Amendment expressly provides for an income tax, and there is ample federal, state and local statutory law relating to the imposition and collection of all kinds of taxes. Whether any of those items are appropriate is an entirely different matter. But don’t equate Constitutional or statutory law with “force.”

  • Chew H Bird

    What is missing here are that public services are basically cookie cutter services… The primary purpose of a fire department is to prevent and extinguish fires, and residences and commercial structures adhere to a fire code when built or renovated.

    Roads and bridges are built to specifications and maintained as policy mandates.

    Schools provide standard education services for all.

    Police enforce laws.

    It is when exceptions are made to the core purpose that costs rise astronomically.
    It is when smaller population groups demand more than standard services that inequality becomes an issue.

    Every person has a unique medical footprint. While there are some general standards regarding health, there is also significant uniqueness in all aspects of life regarding medical services. As such, we should have, (in my opinion), either a single payer system or a free market system. What we have now is unsustainable and the proposed changes to promise the same unsustainable result.