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Is Health Care a Right?
The New Yorker, by Atul Gawande

Original Article

Posted By:bemused conservative, 9/27/2017 9:15:38 AM

Is health care a right? The United States remains the only developed country in the world unable to come to agreement on an answer. Earlier this year, I was visiting Athens, Ohio, the town in the Appalachian foothills where I grew up. The battle over whether to repeal, replace, or repair the Affordable Care Act raged then, as it continues to rage now. So I began asking people whether they thought that health care was a right. The responses were always interesting. A friend had put me in touch with a forty-seven-year-old woman I’ll call Maria Dutton. She lived with her

My answer:Yes.

Long article, worth your time and you should read it before you comment. I´ve lived in Sweden for 20 years and the USA, my native country, is the only Western nation fighting over this question. We can provide universal health care coverage, there´s several ways to do it, and it needs to happen if we´re really serious about MAGA.


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Reply 1 - Posted by: Namma, 9/27/2017 9:22:54 AM     (No. 11397549)

My answer is No. it is not a right. Take responsibility here. When the government gets into things someone has to lose. It´s Americans health care that will be compromised We use to be able to see a dr within days. Now it´s months. before obama screwed up our health care there was a federal law that anyone who did not have insurance received medical assistance free. And by the way we don´t have a right to vote either. We have a duty to vote

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Reply 2 - Posted by: Whamdbambam, 9/27/2017 9:28:59 AM     (No. 11397557)

Our rights as citizens of this country are enumerated in our Constitution.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: Jethro bo, 9/27/2017 9:29:19 AM     (No. 11397559)

If it is a right, then the goobernment can force someone else to provide it. In essence, slavery once again. Just the slaves will be healthcare providers.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: Bevan, 9/27/2017 9:34:40 AM     (No. 11397572)

OP, you do not have the right to another´s labor. That´s slavery. The reason you have the "right to an attorney" is because the state is accusing you of a crime.

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Reply 5 - Posted by: jimjr, 9/27/2017 9:36:14 AM     (No. 11397576)

There are only 2 ways to have "universal" health care (i.e., health care is a right").

1. Rationing. The less "productive" you are deemed to be, the less health care you will receive. The very young, old and socially unfit (overweight, smoker, etc) will receive none.

2. Slavery. The government will force doctors, nurses, etc. to provide care to others for little or no compensation.

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Reply 6 - Posted by: GhostofChesterton, 9/27/2017 9:40:43 AM     (No. 11397585)

Absolutely not. It is a product and service. If it becomes a "right" you will get less, and less quality. If we subject it to the free market, we will get more options, higher quality, and at lower prices. Works every time it is tried if government keeps its big fat mitts off it.

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Reply 7 - Posted by: wilarrbie, 9/27/2017 10:01:42 AM     (No. 11397620)

It is a necessity certainly, like food. Is food a right? And if health care is declared a right - how much of it? For any and all reasons? The ´volunteer´ unhealthy like alcoholics, druggies, smokers, overweight, etc? What about open ended mental health sessions? What about non-citizens? Who pays for it? If health care is a right, guaranteed to all, who then oversees, regulates it´s distribution and quality? And then - if it is a right - why then would we need insurance companies?

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Reply 8 - Posted by: Salt5792, 9/27/2017 10:05:03 AM     (No. 11397627)

I just re-read the Constitution. Nothing in it about health care.

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Reply 9 - Posted by: D S Craft, 9/27/2017 10:17:26 AM     (No. 11397647)

I´m surprised at the number of people who fail to understand that with our Constitution it is literally impossible for health care to be a *right*. The Constitition contains no rights to receive anything - health care, housing, a job, etc. because to do so would *constitutionally* require someone else to provide that service, which would violate their rights. It sets up a catch-22.

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Reply 10 - Posted by: mickturn, 9/27/2017 10:33:40 AM     (No. 11397672)

This whole argument has gotten twisted up and the real issue is totally lost.

What we need is the Government to get the hell OUT of our business. I would only support government rules that actually facilitated the smart business way to solve the problem but we DO NOT need government involved. This is an issue that is between our Doctor and Patient, PERIOD! As for how to solve the mess we have, let the free market, with some controls to prevent fraud and over billing etc. be put in place and let the free market solve the problem. The current situation is all wrapped up in Socialist/Communist types in this country demanding a ´Right´ SO THEY can control everyone. Look at Obamacare, it was nothing but a Communist solution shoved down our throats, we need to get totally away from that approach!

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Reply 11 - Posted by: Iconoclast, 9/27/2017 10:39:08 AM     (No. 11397684)

Health care is a service (and a product) one pays for. Just like lawn care or having the roof fixed. Health insurance is also a product.

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Reply 12 - Posted by: curious1, 9/27/2017 10:47:22 AM     (No. 11397694)


As #10 posted, the fedgov needs OUT of our lives, not into them further.

OP: The rest of the western nations are jumping off the cliff, so we should too?

Previous posters already covered the obvious (except to leftists) reasons why ´making´ it a ´right´ would actually destroy medical care.

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Reply 13 - Posted by: mamafrog, 9/27/2017 11:14:31 AM     (No. 11397733)

In Australia basic medical care is a right - but if you want better than the local clinic you get a supplemental policy - much like most of us who have Medicare do. Currently we have most of the poor using the Emergency Room as their health care provider. Because they have to be treated we have single payer health care - and the payer is those of us who have insurance.

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Reply 14 - Posted by: dvc, 9/27/2017 11:18:46 AM     (No. 11397738)

No. Health care is a service and it requires trained professionals to take their time to provide the care. This requires payment for their time, although some donate a portion of their time, and often religious organizations have provided medical services as charity because they are good people.

Health care is a service, absolutely no difference between it and getting a car fixed, a house painted or your yard mowed.

Just because someone thinks it is very important (and it can be) it is not a right.

You are entitled to as much health care as you can pay for or that generous people may give you for free. Not one bit more.

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Reply 15 - Posted by: Bubby, 9/27/2017 11:22:51 AM     (No. 11397745)

#8 is correct it´s not a right if OP wants it to be a right Amend the Constitution and good luck with that. I don´t care what they do in Sweden or the rest of Europe. Single payer healthcare run by the Federal Government would be the worst healthcare possible for everyone. So no thanks. Where does it end? shouldn´t food, water, housing also be rights? Forgetaboutit!

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Reply 16 - Posted by: tank, 9/27/2017 11:27:40 AM     (No. 11397759)

Excellent article, and very thought-provoking. Thank you for posting. I like when I can read something that challenges my assumptions and views and makes me reassess.

My short answer is no. However, this article tackles - very effectively, I might add - the tensions between what is a "right" and what is a shared benefit. Finding an acceptable balance that preserves individual rights yet acknowledges our interrelationship with our fellow citizens´ needs is the key. as with most things, we won´t get it perfect, but the USA, given it´s history and shared values, can do it.

Of course, that requires serious "leaders" who will tackle the issues head on and actually work to a solution. We currentl;y don´t have that.

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Reply 17 - Posted by: bobgray2, 9/27/2017 12:10:16 PM     (No. 11397821)

Nope. No one has a right to anything that is provided by someone else. To make a claim on somebody else´s labor without compensation agreed to by both parties is called slavery. It is irrelevant whether the claim is on the labor of the medical practitioners, or an anonymous taxpayer.

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Reply 18 - Posted by: nhsailmaker, 9/27/2017 12:15:41 PM     (No. 11397830)



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Reply 19 - Posted by: Marzon, 9/27/2017 12:49:36 PM     (No. 11397876)

Some people don´t know the difference between a right and an entitlement.

"universal medicine is the keystone of the socialist state" -V. Lenin

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Reply 20 - Posted by: Italiano, 9/27/2017 12:55:00 PM     (No. 11397879)

Nope. Then again, neither are food, clothing, shelter, child care, education, Obamaphones...

But that ship long ago sailed. And here we are.

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Reply 21 - Posted by: Bur Oak, 9/27/2017 12:58:49 PM     (No. 11397883)

Here´s some information from Wikipedia about the author. "He directed one of the three committees of the Clinton Health Care Task Force, supervising 75 people and defined the benefits packages for Americans and subsidies and requirements for employers."

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Reply 22 - Posted by: Yorkiemom, 9/27/2017 1:15:04 PM     (No. 11397900)

Wonderful article by a wonderful doctor. Dr. Gawande covered many people´s stories knows this is a huge issue. Many people think one way about health care until they are in desperate need. My take is health care is already available for everyone and many of us pay for, not just our families, but for others.

Dr. Gawande´s book Being Mortal is excellent.

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Reply 23 - Posted by: OhMy, 9/27/2017 1:17:12 PM     (No. 11397903)

Many posters made the point that nothing is a "Right" which creates a burden on others to provide that right. I agree totally. The other point is that the rights in the bill of rights are a restraint on the power of government over their citizens. All rights involve the government NOT doing something to the citizens in respect for their freedom. Obama talked about this before his first election saying the Warren court didn´t go far enough, even though it was regarded as liberal, because it did not rule on what the government must do on behalf of ( some ) citizens. We must learn to demand that people who talk about "Rights" define some limit to their demands. They never limit them so the demands will never be satisfied. Talk of "Rights" is a recipe for social discord. Each persons attention is focused on what they expect to receive from others - something they have little control over which probably will not be satisfied, rather than on what they should render to others - something they do have control over! Obama referred to this as "negative rights" but that is exactly what we have in the Commandments of God. Each persons attention is focused on what they must NOT do to others - Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal etc. Nobody has improved on these laws. It is good to see Roy Moore who respected these laws in his courtroom headed to the senate!

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Reply 24 - Posted by: Blue-Z-Anna, 9/27/2017 3:40:04 PM     (No. 11398069)

We have a Space Station but that doesn´t mean you get to ride it.

We have advanced medicine but that doesn´t mean someone owes it to you for free.

Anyone who thinks that everyone should get the "Best" care would have to believe that everyone gets a Ferrari.....everyone gets a Gulfstream IV.....

Medical care is important but it must be delivered by others at considerable expense to someone. To call it a "Right" is to trivialize our real "God Given" rights which come at no expense to others and may not be diminished by Government without due process or extreme circumstance.

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Reply 25 - Posted by: Amereagle-redux, 9/27/2017 4:09:50 PM     (No. 11398115)

Generally speaking, particularly as a descendant of several of those who signed the Declaration of Independence, whenever I hear the phrase "America is the only advanced nation that doesn´t ..." I stop reading there and think "Yah, that´s kinda the point."

Having said that, I will read this article when time allows.

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Reply 26 - Posted by: chance_232, 9/27/2017 6:30:52 PM     (No. 11398292)

Yes.....you have a right to healthcare, If you can pay for it.

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It’s billions of dollars over budget and seven years behind schedule, and appears to have no plausible way of living up to its goal of getting riders across the state in three hours or less. Welcome to what’s arguably the nation’s largest infrastructure project and California’s biggest boondoggle. The highly hyped bullet train has been a challenge from the start. No one thought it would be technically, financially and politically easy, but the way the project has been mishandled has some Californians fed up and demanding answers. Just this week, the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the organization charged with overseeing

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