No doubt you've heard the story of 24 year old Kyle Willis, the Cincinnatti man who died of a tooth infection this week. The much ballyhooed claim is that the health care system failed him. The health care system did not fail him. When a dentist told Mr. Willis the tooth needed to be pulled, he chose not to have it done.
Later on, when his face began to swell, Mr. Willis went to the local emergency room, where he was seen by a doctor. Of course, emergency rooms are required to see everyone, whether they can (or want to) pay or not. This is one reason health care costs are so high. Nothing is free, so those who are willing to pay are forced to foot the bill for those who choose not to pay.
So, Mr. Willis was seen by a doctor and given prescriptions for pain killers and antibiotics. The total cost for both-- a whopping $30. The pain killer was $3, and the antibiotic was $27. Mr. Willis chose not to get the antibiotic filled. Claimed he couldn't afford it, yet Wal-mart offers the generic of that very same antibiotic for $4. Yes, that's right. Four Dollars-- bringing the grand total of his medications to --yes, you added right-- $7.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess -- I don't know because I don't have it-- that cable/ satellite TV costs way more than that. We won't even mention internet access and cell phones.
Yet, this incident brings to the forefront the same old question that is often asked by the left these days:
Is health care a right or a privilege?
The question itself is a bit misleading, because everyone in this country already has the right to access the finest health care system in the world. If you want to see a doctor, just pick up the phone and schedule an appointment. You need surgery, just schedule it with your doctor. You need medicine, talk to your doctor, then just go to the pharmacist and get your prescription filled. No waiting lists, no government committees, no one weighing whether it would be more cost effective to treat you or to let you die. You just go. You do have that right.
But you see, when the left claims that something should be a right, what they really mean is that they don't want to pay for it. Like spoiled children, they want to spend their own money on their toys: iPhones, Satellite TV, the latest gaming system, fancy cars, or whatever. But when they get sick, they want someone else to take care of them.
So to answer the question whether health care is a right or a privilege, the correct answer is neither. It is a RESPONSIBILITY. And it is your responsibility to provide the means to pay for your own health care, and that's the crux of the matter. If you want high quality health care, then you have to pay for it. By insisting that someone else pay your medical expenses, you are denying them their right to keep the dollars they worked so hard for. Why then should your "rights" take precedence over other people's rights? Why should they give up their right to keep what they have earned, to give you what you did not earn?
As for the follow up question then, "who then is entitled to receive health care if it is a privilege?" the answer is, those who are willing to take the responsibility to see that they have the means to pay for their health care. Those who forgo the satellite TV, x-boxes, 3G networks, expensive clothes and jewelry, and high speed internet if necessary, and buy themselves some insurance.
And that's it in a nutshell.
I do recognize that there are some people who truly cannot afford health care. There are those rare individuals who don't have cable, internet, cell phones, and still can't afford it. They are still not without resources. Private charities and local churches will usually provide assistance to those who truly need it. Many churches provide free or low cost clinics in their communities, where donations by the congregation support the costs of providing medical care to those in need. The issue I have is with those who can afford health care, but are just looking for a free ride.