Between the election and the inauguration, The Connecticut Mirror conducted a second round of community conversations. We met with college students in Hartford, people living with a behavioral health challenge in New Haven, people with young children in Bridgeport, and ALICE residents (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) in Waterbury.
In this installment we asked the Waterbury group their reaction to Gov. Ned Lamont’s belief that health care is a right. We followed up by asking what health care policies they think are most important for Lamont and the new legislature to focus on and why.
[A right?] Yes. At some point in our lives we all will need healthcare. Healthcare is a basic need and cultures historically have always taken care of their people.
[Priorities:] Expanding Medicaid so eventually we have a single-payer system option. Everyone should have basic healthcare, and/or the option to pay into additional private insurance. Assume everyone has a pre-existing condition and protect all people.
[A right?] Yes. We live in an industrialized society with the means to provide healthcare to all people without any real issues. The choice to not do so has only benefited the insurance industry and the wealthy.
[Priorities:] Medicare for all, including preventative care. Dismantle the insurance companies, by law. No one should go without care.
[A right?] Yes, healthcare is a basic right. No one should be without it, it is a necessity, and no one should be left out due to income, race, ethnicity, health, state of mind. No one should be penalized.
[Priorities:] The most important is establishing healthcare that is a right and provided and fair and does not go by someone’s gross income. Another is insurance rates we can afford. Having government closely monitor the privatized insurance.
[A right?] Yes. It is a basic foundational point for survival.
[Priorities:] Medicare for all. It is affordable and cutting costs for business and individuals.
Jacqueline McGrath Curtis:
[A right?] Yes, each and every individual should be and have a right to be healthy and illness free.
[Priorities:] Covering pre-existing conditions because they are costly for an individual. Low-income adults with no insurance coverage is catastrophic for employees and the economy, with a loss of productivity. The high costs of prescriptions is detrimental to elderly on a fixed income.
[A right?] Yes, everyone needs to be protected, but it has to be affordable coverage.
[Priorities:] Drug prices are crazy high especially if you have no drug coverage. Limit allowing drug company advertising to the public (versus doctors directly).
[A right?] Yes, no human being should be denied medical help because they can’t afford it. Human life is more valuable than money. Who pays for it? I’m willing to pay more taxes to make it happen possibly if it’s going to truly benefit everyone.
[Priorities:] Hold doctors accountable who provided irresponsible numbers of prescriptions. Forced intervention for opioid drug addicts.
[A right?] Yes, we all live in America and it should be for everyone to have healthcare.
[Priorities:] Make affordable, if not free, healthcare a basic right.
[A right?] It should be, but it’s not. Every man woman and child should have health coverage.
[Priorities:] Prescription drugs are very expensive and most low-income people cannot afford them so they go without. And opioid addiction is out of control.
[A right?] Yes, at an affordable cost.
[Priorities:] Protection for pre-existing conditions. This is not something you can eliminate or choose to have. The cost of prescription drugs is maybe $100 at one place and $50 at another. Drugs should be the same price everywhere. If you need it, it’s not a choice, it’s your health requirement.
[A right?] Yes, especially for those that don’t have health insurance like working families.
[Priorities:] Bring down the cost of expensive prescriptions. Protect insurance coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.
No Healthcare is not a right that government should be providing. Social Security is also not a right either. Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution does it say that citizens have a right to government provided healthcare or guaranteed income.
Our founders had far more character and integrity than our current set of elected leaders. And that is our eventual undoing. Especially for those seeking to rewrite the Constitution to suit their myopic purposes.
The intentional conflation of 1. medicine and 2. the way its paid for, leads us to the wrong conversation and to wrong-headed and rigid either/or policy choices. This confusion is intentionally promoted by politicians with particular, medically-related policy preferences and a media that tends to support those politicians and those choices. When you lump together the work of the medical professions with the manner in which the individuals in those provisions are resourced and compensated, you get the euphemism “health care”, and the insoluble argument is joined. If the conversation was more honest, we would break down essential medicine, that used to prevent and treat physical and mental disease, and distinguish that from all manner of elective procedures and techniques that do not have that characteristic. Then, the payment conversation could be conducted honestly. We might agree that life saving and pain relieving care should be treated as a right, and then we can argue about whether various forms of elective care, ought to be or not be.
Interesting that among all of the people in the “community conversations” not one recognizes that our individual health is a personal responsibility and not that of government.
While I agree that health care services need to be affordable and available, I do not see it as “right”.
Government’s role should only be one of assuring that the cost does not include obscene profits for the providers.
Is living in a safe neighborhood free from fear and illegally owned weapons a “right” ?
I having a good job a “right” ?
Is receiving a school diploma a “right” ?
College education a “right” ?
Free burials and medial care a “right” ?
Elected officials knowledgeable about college level business and finance a “right”. ?
Is only asking what society can give you a “right” ?
Growing up in a 2 parent family a “right” ?
There is only one “right”. Namely the duty and obligation to protect our great nation. By that standard most Americans avoid their duties, rights and obligations preferrring that others do the bleeding and dying for them. But still asking others to provide all their “rights” without even a hint of their subsequent responsibilities.
More than a few thoughtful Americans have written over 2 centuries that America’s flame will only be extinguished from those within refusing to “honor their obligations”. Given the headlong rush into Socialism those days may be here sooner than later.
We never observe those who pledge: “duty, honor, country” ever be concerned about demanding “rights”. Only those who avoid and disparage military service as beneath them.
We are our own worst enemies.
Some words, such a “a right”, have grown in usage to such an obscene extent that anyone can make a case for anything to be a “right”.
But think about it, the true “rights” such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the founders said were inalienable. However, the big discriminator which few on the left seem to consider is that these rights come without imposition on the “rights” and basic freedoms of others.
That is a big distinction, and to ignore that distinction is to claim that every person has a right to demand the skills, expertise and fruits of someone else’s labor simply by virtue of their humanity, which is something that is not earned and requires no merit or minimal level of effort to maintain. If healthcare is a inalienable right, we must then conclude that those who have dedicated their lives and made sacrifices to go into the practice of the Healing Arts, have somehow indentured themselves by their choice of profession.
Now, if you want to say that everyone should have adequate healthcare, adequate shelter, adequate food that’s a different story. We can, as a community, decide that we are going to provide these simply because we, as a community, don’t want to see anyone harmed for want of any of these basics, but they are certainly not rights in any sense of the word.
We really need to start thinking for ourselves, it is scary reading some of the comments above.
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