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ChiefJoJo

Is decent/affordable health care a moral cause?

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I watched 60 Minutes last night, and there was a great story about Paul Farmer, an American doctor who put together an initiative that helps provide free health care at various clinics in Haiti and other poor countries. I was particularly amazed at the numbers of people he said die each year of treatible diseases... perhaps 10M/yr. So, basically if you are born in Haiti or Zimbabwe, there's a decent chance you may die of a disease for which there are treatments widely available in wealthier nations. I was also taken aback when he said that there are patients in his clinics in Haiti that receive better health care treatment than some Americans, and his organization has set up programs in America as well.

video link

What does this say about America when we have the capability to treat these diseases, and still millions overseas and here within our borders go without basic healthcare treatment. So, is decent healthcare a moral issue with a corresponding moral imperative for action? If not, how should the issue be framed?

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I believe that our obligations lie first within our own borders. When we get our own mess under control, then we can help others. Healthcare in the US is broken. I don't support more of a hybrid between socialized and private healthcare. A hybrid would have a sliding scale based on income that would determine what percentage of your bill the government would pay. If you make above a certain amound of money per year, the government would pay zero and if you make under a certain amount, the government would pay 100% and so forth. The rest of the tab could be either paid by you, an insurance company, or a combination of the two. I think this would ensure that those who need the help actually get it and those who can more than afford their own pay for it, leaving free the healthcare dollars for those in need of them.

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I think the terms of debate surrounding healthcare have become increasingly moralized in the past couple of elections. It's clear that privitization leads to extremes of excess and need, which is in itself a moral problem. I don't know if government intervention is the best solution, but it's the most realistic plan on the table right now. In any case, our national state of health is a disgrace to the first world and needs to be a top priority for the next 20-40 years.

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I don't understand why the concept of health care being handled by the government is so unimaginable by Americans. How would we feel if our homes caught on fire and the 911 agent first asked if your home was insured, and if it wasn't you'd either get the crappy fire department or none at all because you were unable to pay back the service of fighting the fire. Same with police or any other rescue operations out there by the government (Coast Guard, searching for lost folks in the wilderness, etc). We readily accept that we need to pool our resources to protect our property and ourselves from accidents, but our health...not that, oh no, that's socialism.

It should be embarrasing for people, especially those that claim to be religious, to accept living in such a wealthy country while making basic healthcare unattainable to many and so expensive to be burdonsome to many that do have it. Maintaining your physical health shouldn't damage your financial health.

I'd find it less immoral if so much of my health care dollars didn't go to actual health care, but to the administration of health care, the stockholders of insurance companies, and overall overhead that in no way directly helps anyone but those who cash in on it. I live near the largest hospital in Charlotte, so I have a lot of health care industry neighbors, many of whom are very wealthy, yet aren't doctors, nurses, or in practise at all. So many in the field pilfer the money that does get collected but provide no real service to anyone.

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ABC had a great report on health care. it basically put the blame 50% on the system and 50% on the people. most people don't care to learn and just go to whatever doctor is listed in the book for their insurance company. most doctors don't even know their own charges. if people paid more attention to health care and only went to a doctor when absolutely necessary, we wouldn't be in this mess. if people shopped around for the cheapest doctor, we wouldn't be in this mess. there's a lot that goes into it, a lot more than you think. it's a very complicated subject and simply socializing it is not the answer. there are plenty of people from canada coming to the US to see doctors because they can't easily get appointments or don't have the same quality of care. in order to fix the system, we need to get people thinking more about their health care rather than blindly leaving it up to insurance companies and doctors. too many believe that instant care should be the norm... and they go to the ER because they have a cold. that shouldn't be happening. i forget which company, i think it's whole foods or starbucks, has a health savings program rather than insurance. it forces the individual to become more involved with their own health care and it works for them.

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^ I agree with you that it is complex, and I don't pretend to know the answers.

I do know for a fact that doctors in certain sectors of the profession block new medical schools or existing schools from accepting more students to keep doctors in high demand and keep their pay up. There are also millions of people who work hard, but earn enough or simply cannot afford decent health care. I also know that we are supposedly the richest nation in the world, yet we have 40-50M Americans with no insurance... and that does not sit well with me.

So, in this great country of ours with so many brilliant and creative minds, there has to be some way to design a system such that people who really need care can afford it, without making it a money pit and a drain on everyone.

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I think universal healthcare is a moral issue.

I also think it is a National Security issue. How can our country be secure when millions of us can't even go to a doctor when we're sick?

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