Is health care a right or a privilege?

Published 9:55 am Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Is health care a right or privilege? Should every person be guaranteed health care by the federal government?
It is a debate that has divided our nation. There are reasonable people on each side of this question. Those who think it is a right and base health care on moral grounds, saying it is essential for life and the pursuit of happiness. Denial of health care is a denial of a basic human need, and the matter is as simple as that.
Opponents say making health care a “right” means free health care for anyone who cannot or will not pay for it, which means the government must pick up the tab. The costs would be huge, and there are is only one way to pay for it — higher taxes.
The reforms resulting from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) over the past seven or eight years have led to increases in health care coverage. There is broad consensus that an estimated 20 million to 22 million individuals have obtained health care insurance since 2010 — 14 primarily through the expansion of Medicaid, coverage through parents’ policies for young adults until age 26 years, and the health care exchanges. But that leaves more than 25 million U.S. residents without health insurance.
Is the United States a just and fair society if so many individuals lack health care coverage? The United States guarantees all citizens an education, access to fire and police services, a national postal service, protection by the military, a national park system, and many other federal and state-funded services. But the country has not yet committed to ensuring that all of its citizens have health care coverage.
Congress has yet to reach a consensus on health care. There has been a lot of talk about health care, how to provide it and how to pay for it, but, thus far, neither the House or Senate have been able to garner enough votes to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a new health care law.
Almost everyone agrees that the ACA needs to be modified, even though it has accomplished a great deal, principally by expanding the number of newly insured individuals. However, much remains to be accomplished, including how to ensure high-quality, affordable health insurance for all residents and how to control the continual increases in annual health care spending, now exceeding $3 trillion.
Americans pay high premiums for insurance. They also pay high prices for prescription drugs. If it were not for insurance, many Americans, especially senior citizens, would not be able to pay for their medications. At the same time CEOs in the Health Care and Insurance Industry are being paid huge salaries which keep increasing each year.
The Republicans are trying to wrangle health care legislation through Congress without Democrat support. Oh, for the days when Republicans and Democrats were willing and committed to working together to find answers to America’s problems.
President Donald Trump does a lot of talking and tweeting, but he has yet to say what he would like to see in a health care bill. He has yet to give Congress a detailed plan for America’s healthcare. It’s easy to talk big, but getting the job done requires more than talk.
It’s easy to promise things on the campaign trail, but it’s quite another thing to deliver results.
Health care should not be a privilege available and affordable only for a majority and those who can afford it. It should be affordable to all. The solution for how to achieve health care coverage for all may be uniquely American, but it is an exceedingly important and worthy goal, emblematic of a fair and just society.
We have a two-party system in this country, and it is time for Republicans and Democrats to sit down together and work this thing out. It is a problem that affects all Americans, both Democrats and Republicans, and it requires a bipartisan solution.

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