October 14, 2020 · Issue #698 · View online
The walls of our campus rumble and resonate with claims to the moral imperative of health care as a human right.
Let’s not take the time today to discuss whether or not this is a “correct” view to hold or is in fact compatible with other views folks hold, rather, let’s play on “their” turf and accept that “we” should provide “universal health care.”
I know that is asking a lot on a college campus, but it is at least nominally what we say we are all about here.
Here are a few questions that you should demand of your “teachers” who tell you it is imperative to support universal health care. Don’t argue with them about whether they are right or wrong, just ask the questions.
You’ll get crickets of course.
What, exactly, do you mean by “health care?”
Do you think every single American should be able to get, for free, as much Tylenol as they can possibly consume? I'm all for that.
Do you mean that every single American should be able to walk into a primary care doctor's office for any reason at no cost to them?
Does every single American have the right to get breast enhancement surgery on a whim at no cost to them?
Should every American have the ability to get a new heart at the age of 80 when their current one tickers out?
Please spell out exactly what you think people should “have” and what you think they should have to go through to get it. We just want to know what you are talking about.
Who is included in this right?
Why do you limit your claims to universal health-care to just Americans? Don’t you know that in some countries in Africa life-expectancy at birth is still below 50?
Don’t you know that there are billions of people around the planet who are immeasurably poorer than even the poorest Americans?
If this is the case, then how can the right to health care be justified only for Americans? And if you suggest that indeed it would be consistent to support it on a global scale, please answer question (1) again.
And would you argue that some people should have access to more than others? If so, how do you plan on justifying what this amount is, and how you decide (and who gets the power to decide)?
Do you know if it is even possible, in theory, to give everyone "equal access" to free and universal health care, and to make health care access completely independent of income and other considerations?
Have you so much as considered this question?
What is your solution to the fact that the rich guy is going to get the service quicker, or get it at all while the poor guy in Eastern, KY may die from the burst appendix?
Do you plan on forcing the rich guy to wait until both he and the poor guy are standing at the front door of the Cleveland clinic?
Then do you have a lottery that each of them enters to see who is taken to the operating room first? What if the rich guy wins that lottery?
Or do you plan on banning poverty in Eastern, KY? Or do we have to build world class hospitals in every neighborhood? Should we permit migration? Why or why not?
Do you know, in practice, how successful existing “universal” health care programs have been able to be at eliminating income and racial gaps in the delivery of medicine?
If not, then how can you advocate universal health care here?