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Letter: Health care is not a 'right' — it is a responsibility

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  • ECR Burke, VA
    July 1, 2012 5:46 a.m.

    "Obviously there are and always will be exceptions to the rule and then local government should provide assistance."

    Of course, whenever there are circumstances where "private industry" can't make a profit, then the government should step in to help out. That has been the mantra of the private sector throughout history. Home insurance in hurricane zones, housing the poor and low income, whatever, the private sector wants no part of it if they can't make a buck.

    "Shouldn't we be teaching our children to prepare now for their future?" Tell that to a three year old boy diagnosed with juvenile diabetes whose parents have discovered that not one insurance company will cover them because they own a small business and their "group" is not big enough.

    And what do insurance companies do for us anyway, besides taking 30% off the top of our premiums and put it in their pockets? I don't know if healthcare is a right or a responsibility, but before we put one more dollar in the pockets of insurance companies, military contractors or give special tax privileges to private equity firms, we should take care of the health of our citizens.

  • Makid Kearns, UT
    July 1, 2012 6:41 a.m.

    The CBO estimates that the ACA will reduce the deficit by $250 Billion in 10 years. That is a reduction, not an increase. Repealing it adds the reduction back to the deficit.

    Health Care is as much a right as school is. The same logic that requires me to pay for other families children to attend school requires that others are responsible for their own healthcare.

    A healthy society is needed just as much as an educated society.

    If you are against ACA or healthcare requirements for individuals, than you are also against the requirement that everyone, with or without children, pay for schools. Where is the uproar with that.

    Oh, one more thing. You may not know this but the ACA that was pushed by Obama, it is the same health care plan that has been pushed by Republicans since the late 80's. They all wanted it until Obama decided that it would be good. It was pushed by the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute. The 2 most conservative groups in the county.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    July 1, 2012 7:33 a.m.

    "Then logic kicked in. We are going to add 30 million people to the health care rolls at no extra cost? " First of all these people are all ready on the health care rolls, and you are paying for them. Secondly the 30 million are being added to the insuraned rolls and they are paying premiums so yes they are taking responsibility for themselves (I know..some of the premiums are being subsidized, but they are being forced to be responsible).

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    July 1, 2012 7:52 a.m.

    This letter is hogwash. There is no point in debating the issue when misleading propaganda is the rule. I am not sure I have ever seen such a mischaracterization of this issue as I see here.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    July 1, 2012 8:06 a.m.

    Mr. Carabine, like many others on the right side which is really the wrong side, completely ignores the fact that the ACA is requiring personal responsibility. At long last, anyone who can afford to pay the premiums MUST buy that coverage.

    He is ignoring the fact that all of us who have been responsible in the past have been paying a hidden tax to cover those who were either irresponsible or who simply could not afford exorbitant premiums. We paid for them under Reagan's requirement that allowed them to receive free emergency care when needed.

    ACA is the epitome of personal responsibility. Isn't that what people like this writer have been demanding?

  • glendenbg Salt Lake City, UT
    July 1, 2012 8:20 a.m.

    The author missed an important point - no is claiming we can "add 30 million people to the health care rolls at no extra cost." The Affordable Care Act include mechanisms by which we can add those people and pay for them. The mechanisms include some new taxes but also a variety of mechanisms to help keep insurance premiums affordable, and to alter the ways in which health care is delivered in order to control costs. The ACA may not go far enough but it represents a serious attempt to control health care costs. It includes a wide array of experiment - i.e. health exchanges in the states, funds studies to identify comparative effectiveness of treatments - to control costs.

    The reveal, however, comes when the author claims health care is not a right but a responsibility. Everything else in the letter is written to justify that position.

    Compare our health care system to those in other nations with universal health care; the US pays more and gets lesser outcomes than do any of those nations. That creates a competitive disadvantage for American businesses. So it's not only good policy, it's good economics.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 1, 2012 8:39 a.m.

    Republicans are not 'realists', they have no plan at all and are happy to see you go under the bus. Yes, we need to change the role of insurance companies; we need to get them out of health provision entirely. Health is not an insurable commodity, and health care is something we can provide to one another. There's plenty of room to cover everyone if we take out insurance bottom lines and infrastructure. Besides, a lot of those 30 (or 40 or whatever) million are going to end up costing us all in one way or another.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 1, 2012 8:43 a.m.

    Health care is not an enumerated duty found in the Constitution. People either cannot read or they refuse to read the list of duties that must be performed by the Federal Government. That list is very short. It contains only seventeen items. Health care is NOT on that list.

    That does not mean that "government" should not somehow be involved in healthcare, but if we are a nation of law-abiding citizens, we know that the FEDERAL level of government cannot legally perform healthcare (except to tax us, as the provided in the last ruling).

    Amendment 10 provides the answer. If we want government to provide health care, then it is up to the STATES to provide that health care - just as Romney did when he was governor of a State.

    Things are so simple when Congress doesn't try to "improve" on the Constitution by writing legislation that they are not authorized to write.

    John Roberts essentially told us that it is our duty, as citizens, to throw out those who voted for the ACA. When we do that, perhaps, just perhaps, Congress will realize that we are serious about the Constitution.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 1, 2012 10:09 a.m.

    wah wah wah, does the right want some more cheese with their whine today?

    Whenever I see folks like Alan write, "Health care is a responsibility" the obvious translation is:

    "Health Care should ONLY be available for the rich or who don't have any pre-existing conditions. The rest of you? You don't deserve health care."

    Furthermore, I haven't seen a letter written with so many inaccuracies. The ACA actually lowers the deficit, as we're already paying for people to get health care. The difference now is that they cannot be denied coverage, cannot be dropped because they get sick, and are now going to actually PAY for insurance.

    See, that's the thing that repub "realists" don't understand. It's a simple concept really. When uninsured folks gets sick, we all end up paying for it. Either through the insurance company charging us extra or by their declaring bankruptcy and those costs are passed onto us.

    The ACA helps people take responsibility and eliminates these costs from being placed on the rest of us that otherwise would.

    Furthermore, when have repubs been realists about anything? Climate change, war, tax cuts, trickle down economics.....

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    July 1, 2012 10:15 a.m.

    Uh oh, logic just kicked in. You add 30 million people to any risk pool and suddenly the risk goes down by a vast magnitude. It actually should mean much lower premiums. (This is real logic, as opposed to right-wing "logic," an oxymoron....)

  • Moderate Salt Lake City, UT
    July 1, 2012 10:27 a.m.

    I was completely fooled by the title "Heatlh Care Is Not A Right - It Is A Responsiblity".

    I thought the letter would outline why individuals should contribute to their own health care. Instead the message was "bury our heads in the sand and pretend nobody ever gets sick".

  • ugottabkidn Sandy, UT
    July 1, 2012 11:15 a.m.

    Alan, while I feel the ACA should only be the first step to a real universal healthcare system I am a witness that since 2010's intial implementation it saves money from the consumers pocket. You assume that people are in the same circumstances as you and since you never get sick and you have good health insurance policy that everyone is in the same boat but brother that ain't true. Clearly 1/3 of the deficit has been caused by the "mandate" from Congress in 2004 that said Medicare must pay full retail for prescriptions. They refer to this as the donut hole. Think about it, full retail. I am looking at a prescription bottle right now that costs $242 monthly at retail. Of course you righties love that Americans subsidize the world for pharma. Now they will negotiate prices which is only fair since we pay for the research of drugs. When shopping for a universal healthcare system, Taiwan studied every system in the world. Their conclusion was the U.S. is exactly what not to do.

  • Hank Pym SLC, UT
    July 1, 2012 12:31 p.m.

    re: Mike Richards 8:43 a.m. July 1, 2012

    "John Roberts essentially told us that it is our duty, as citizens, to throw out those who voted for the ACA. When we do that, perhaps, just perhaps, Congress will realize that we are serious about the Constitution."

    He did this by voting w/ the Liberals & upholding a Govt mandate? He must be worlds greatest Agent provocateur?

    Seriously, until Joe Average can pay members of Congress like special interests then things will continue to spiral out of control.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    July 1, 2012 12:38 p.m.

    This is an interesting letter. To paraphrase: "I was almost persuaded by facts, persuasively, logically and cogently presented. Then I remembered my ideology. Whew. Close call there."

  • The Politics of Listening A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    July 1, 2012 3:15 p.m.

    Voter support for President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul has increased following the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling upholding it, a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Sunday showed.

    Among all registered voters, support for the law rose to 48 percent in the online survey conducted after Thursday's ruling, up from 43 percent before the court decision.

    The survey showed increased backing from Republicans and, crucially, the political independents whose support will be essential to winning the Nov. 6 presidential election.

    Thirty-eight percent of independents supported the healthcare overhaul. That was up from 27 percent from a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken days before the justices' ruling.

    This is a win for Obama. This is his bill. There's not really any doubt in people's minds, that it belongs to him. "It's his baby. It's literally been labeled Obamacare which maybe it works in his favor now that there's a little bit of a victory dance going on."

    Live with it.

    Obama
    2012

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 1, 2012 3:37 p.m.

    Health care ins not a right. But it could be.

    All it would take is for honest, humane, caring, unselfish, decent people to wrest control of our government from the people who feel that they have a right profit from other peoples misfortune. And live off the labor of others.

    The rights that we enjoy are the rights that our society gives to us and are secured and enforced by our strong national government. The people who would limit, starve and destroy our national government would take away the rights that are promised to Americans.

    When we talk of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we should realize that the most important factor of each of these is health. And without health care there is no protection from the ravages of illness, disease and trauma.

    There is no enemy that harms us and takes away our freedom than the things that effect our health. Is our government not supposed to protect us?

    There is no greater commonality of the danger. So why is it not a right like the other rights we have?

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 1, 2012 4:12 p.m.

    Mike Richards.

    When we elect a president, we are not electing him to be a janitor. As our main representative we expect him to manage and direct the nation mainly as we would do if we were in his position. We also expect him to do his job as a person in today’s world and not that of 200 years ago.

    You seem to overlook the part of the Tenth Amendment that says that the people have just as much authority in their government as do the “states”.

    Just because the criminal unscrupulous people in state government have acted to prevent the people from having their say, doesn’t change the fact that the Constitution says they have the same authority as the “states”.

    The facts are that when the other mechanisms for supplying and providing for the people fail in their mission, people will look to their government for help.

    It is the lack of proper health care that prompts us to look to government.

    If a private solution to our needs can be found that is less oppressive and harmful to us, we would choose that over government action.

  • red state pride Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 1, 2012 6:34 p.m.

    I concur with the letter writer. I completely disagree with the notion that just because you were fortunate enough to be born in the US you are automatically entitled to certain benefits. At least people who are eligible for the GI bill actually did something for their Country.
    The fact is (as the writer stated in his letter) we're already bankrupt so nobody's getting free anything. Either taxes are going to be raised dramatically or benefits are going to be cut for la-de-da-dee everybody. There's no other way around it. The money just isn't there- unless you're the kind of psychopath leftist who wants to kill the entire economy and take 95% of everyone's income.

  • Nonconlib Happy Valley, UT
    July 1, 2012 9:49 p.m.

    "Republicans are realists." Really now. If this were true, they would significantly raise taxes to pay for the deficits their policies and unfunded wars have created. We can afford the Affordable Care Act. But the Republicans won't allow a tax increase. Tax rates are at ridiculously low levels. I sit firmly in the middle class, but I can afford to pay more, and I am willing to pay more for all the benefits we've already committed to.

    As for health care not being a "right," well, only to the American Right. Every other developed country and many Third World nations consider health care a right. They deliver good quality at half the price America pays. Are we so "exceptional" that we can't learn anything from other countries who long ago figured this out?

    And Mike Richards, of course the Constitution says nothing about health care. Why would they mess with the proven success of administering calomel (which we now use as an insecticide) and bleeding the patient at every turn? Please join the 21st century.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    July 2, 2012 10:33 a.m.

    You can not be against ACA and for medicare.
    Any argument against ACA can also be used against medicare.

  • Utah Businessman Sandy, UT
    July 2, 2012 11:07 a.m.

    @ Ultra Bob

    "If a private solution to our needs can be found that is less oppressive and harmful to us, we would choose that over government action."

    ..............................

    PRIVATE SOLUTION--GREAT IDEA! I asked this question of the Utah Hospital Association:

    "As a businessman with an education and background in accounting, I would like to ask a question of you folks. I asked this question of Mr. Bill Barnes of IHC but received no answer. Background information: I know that in about 1970 the average cost of a day in a SLC hospital was about $100.
    My wife has had several stays in IHC hospitals, beginning in 2004. The average cost per day for those stays was about $10,000. By observation and experience, I know that since 1970, salaries and wages (including nurses salaries) have increased 5-10 times. The same can be said of real estate costs, food costs, maintenance costs, etc. Much high-tech cost (eg computers) has DECREASED considerably during that period. Question: Considering the above, what are some of the major hospital costs that have caused that average one-day charge to increase by 100 times since 1970?"

    More later.

  • Utah Businessman Sandy, UT
    July 2, 2012 11:51 a.m.

    Please see previous post quoting my question to the Utah Hospital Association about three weeks ago--here is their immediate response (from Jill Vicory):

    "Thank you for your enquiry. One of our team members will contact you shortly."
    (no additional response yet)

    As mentioned in the question to UHA, I previously asked that same question of Mr. Bill Barnes of IHC. The beginning of the correspondence with Mr. Barnes was a 1/2 hour phone conversation. I subsequently sent him several email messages containing much detail and explanation backing up my position that the BASIC PROBLEM with our health care system is that Americans (going back many years) abandoned the basic principles of personal responsibility and accountability, the result being skyrocketing costs and the mess that we are now in. The statement below pretty well summarize the responses I received from Mr. Barnes and IHC:

    "I agree with much of what you say."
    "IHC has some of the lowest health care costs in the country."

    Mr. Barnes referred me to a Barbara Reiser whom, he indicated, would answer my specific questions regarding IHC charges. In essence, Ms. Reiser simply said the $10,000 a day is "a bargain".

  • Utah Businessman Sandy, UT
    July 2, 2012 12:12 p.m.

    Please see my previous posts, beginning July 2, 11:07 AM

    Here are some direct quotes from my last email message to Mr. Barnes:

    "As I visited with Barbara, it became very obvious that she is either in total denial or she has essentially no understanding of basic economic principles. She let me know that she has been in the business for 40 years, yet she exhibited absolutely no understanding of the fact that health care costs have risen approximately 20 times more in that 40 years than any other category of living costs in the U.S. She gave no definitive answers to any of my questions or concerns. After wasting 45 minutes of my time and hers, I finally gave up trying."
    "I have been trying for at least 5 years to get some kind of response from IHC that makes any common sense whatsoever, and I have gotten nothing but platitudes, double-talk and gibberish. I have had to beg, plead and cajole even to get the platitudes, double-talk and gibberish--most of my inquiries have been met with absolute silence."

    Mr. Barnes' response:
    "Thanks – I have passed your comments along."

    Crying need--ACCOUNTABILITY!

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    July 2, 2012 12:29 p.m.

    It's my responsibility to take care of my body.

    It's my right to choose NOT to have "Health Care" either private or government. It's all about freedom. Happy July 4th!!

  • Redshirt1701 Deep Space 9, Ut
    July 2, 2012 12:57 p.m.

    To "The Politics of Listening" unfortunately a majority of americans still favor repealing the ACA. According to Rassmussen reports "Health Care Law" study, 52% still support repealing, compared to 39% that oppose repealing the bill.

    To those who think this will reduce the deficit, have you bothered to ask how it reduces the deifict? It does it by assuming the government has a 25% profit margin on the taxes that it will end up charging to cover healthcare. It may reduce the deficit, but it will end up taxing the poor and middleclass. But that assumes that it matches up with the CBO estimate.

    The scarriest thing is the fact that the CBO has a very poor record at accurately estimating costs of healthcare bills. Remember the Medicare Drug program, that was supposed to save money, but now it costs us a lot more than predicted.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    July 2, 2012 2:11 p.m.

    Other countries are providing health care costs to everyone for half what we spend to not cover everyone. Where is your "realist' logic?

    A realist looks at the real world and realizes that he is being selfish to keep healthcare privatized in order to sustain his religious myth that the free market always works in every situation.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 2, 2012 3:24 p.m.

    re:Utah Businessman

    A somewhat interesting discussion of the rising costs of medical care can be heard on-line:
    Arthur Kellerman from the Rand Corporation: "Rising Costs of Health Care."

    Officials at IHC and UHA are just trying to doing their jobs and stay in business.

    Why do people in other countries, Japan for example, pay only $160 for an MRI while Americans are charged 4-10x's that amount?
    Why do Americans pay significantly more for prescription drugs?

  • Utah Businessman Sandy, UT
    July 2, 2012 4:02 p.m.

    re: Truthseeker

    The BASIC reason (there may be a thousand details) we pay so much for our health care is because WE do not pay most of the bill initially--the insurance company or the government program does. Of course at some point we DO pay the bill PLUS all of the added costs of running it through all kinds of entities, paperwork, regulations, etc.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    July 2, 2012 4:38 p.m.

    Utah Businessman, you are still ignoring the real world of developed natiions that spend half as much as we do and the citizens HAVE NEVER SEEN A BILL for thier healthcare.

    Canadians give you a blank stare when asked how much the bill was for that shoulder surgery. The French look at you like you are a numskull. Both those countries spend much less than we do per capita on healthcare. It blows your theory out of the water. Even the Japaneese have no idea what you are talking about since they go to the Dr 3 times as much as we do and are the healthiest people on Earth.

    Your fictional senario does not exist. I know because if it did the republican talking points would polint to Somalia and Columbia as healthcare perfection.

  • Mike in Texas Cedar City, Utah
    July 2, 2012 7:17 p.m.

    No Alan, it is a right. And a responsibility. Our history is stamped with the sad fact that when we rely only on personal and and non governmental approaches to providing health care, we fail. We currently have some 50 million people adequate healthcare coverage. True, some of these choose not to buy insurance when they could, but the vast majority simply cannot either afford it, or cannot obtain or retain it because of Insurance Company rules and premium costs. That is our sad history.

    Tell me Alan, how do we provide "life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness". Can we do it without the benefit of universal health care? History tells us that either we can't, or even worse, that we don't. I for one am not willing to wait an eternity for some hoped for rise in personal morality and rise in personal responsibility,

    I hear the conservatives say that they will repeal the ACA, or will not implement it, but what I don't hear is anything from them or about what and when they are going to do about those uninsured or uninsurable under the present approach to providing health care.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    July 3, 2012 12:48 p.m.

    To "Nonconlib" and who is going to pay for the " to pay for the deficits their policies and unfunded" welfare programs that the Democrats have given us?

    You realize that under Bush, his average deficit was about $400 billion, while Obama's average is around $1.3 Trillion.

    If you can't afford to pay any more, then why support those who expand government and spending. Wars eventually come to an end, welfare programs don't end until the people are so tired of being oppressed that they revolt and overthrow the tyrants in the government.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    July 3, 2012 1:31 p.m.

    Here is why healthcare is a right:

    To you "free marketers".

    If you will not allow me to have access to barbituates and every known drug in the "market" to cure myself, if you insist on regulating those and any drug I could use to cure myself and forgo the use of a doctor and hospitals then I do have a right to the Dr YOU by regulation make me see to obtain the cure. If you will not allow anyone who cares to open a "dr's " office to do so without regulation, then there is no free market and you have forced me to your solution. Therefore, healthcare is a right by simplicity of you having left me no other option.

    Or you can deregulate all drugs and not require any liciense in the medical profession.

  • Nonconlib Happy Valley, UT
    July 3, 2012 8:02 p.m.

    Sorry, Redshirt, but the most recent poll, released since the Supreme Court made its ruling, shows that 56 percent of Americans do not want ACA repealed.

    And please don't compare apples and rutabagas. Obama's deficits must be seen in the context of radically reduced revenues due to the so-called Great Recession, ultra-low tax rates on the wealthy, inherited wars, and government infusions to keep the economy from collapsing. Ordinary government spending has actually not escalated beyond normal parameters. But we can thank Bush for the low tax rates that have enriched millionaires and drastically reduced revenues. Remember those Clinton surpluses? Neither do I.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 3, 2012 8:03 p.m.

    Screwdriver,

    On Sept. 8, 2011, the Rand Corporation reported that 17.6% of this nation's GDP was spent on health care. Per person spending was at $8,000 per year.

    Are you still going to believer Obama when he claims that he can give us $10 worth of service for $0.10 of cost? Does that seem reasonable to you? Does it pass the "truth" test? How many bankers and accountants believe him? How many doctors? Why should anyone believe him?

    You can try to joke about the deception coming out of the White House. You can pretend that what he did to get that bill passed, what he's done since it passed, and what he's telling us now is the truth, but please don't stand in front of his nose, unlike Pinoccio, these results will mean life or death to those who won't march lock step with his supporters.