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March 09, 2009


A true fundamental right is something you could demand on a desert island you share with one other person.

If you really believe you would be justified in forcing the other person to provide you with free healthcare, you would make a great tyrant.

Yep. There's nothing more tyrannical than taking care of one another.

I'm not sure I really like the language of "rights" here -- I tend to think of rights as your freedoms against bad things; or the freedom to do good things. The right to free speech; the right against unreasonable search and seizure.

Also, rights tend to be argued in the absolute (though, certainly, as in the two instances above, there are limits).

I also think that the argument "right or privilege?" makes it too easy to get lost in ideological nonsense from the right wing.

Everyone in this country should have access to health care, regardless of their financial condition. It's reasonable to expect the wealthy to pay something for that; and it's unreasonable to expect the destitute to pay equally as the wealthy. No one should be denied treatment - including preventative and routine treatment - because of their station in life. Period.

Not only is it the decent and humane thing to do as a civilized society, but it's actually cheaper for taxpayers to provide health care at the preventative end rather than at the emergency-room end. (That's how Peter Orszag can argue that universal health care can be accomplished in a deficit-neutral way.)

We can argue all day about whether it's a right or a privilege, and that may be a satisfying happy hour discussion - but that's an argument that lets the right wingers off the hook. "It's not a right!", they'll scream, and some Americans will agree with them. If the entirety of our response is "Yes, it is!" then we will lose this policy battle.

Amen, Kari. You've nailed it. I am for universal health care, but it's a policy choice, not a "right." Calling it a "right" invites quasi-religious arguments, which are almost always unfruitful.

I've pointed out in a previous comment, by the way, that the U.S. is a signator to the "civil" part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but has never become a signator to the "social" part of the UDHR. That's the part that adds the right to health, housing, education and other such things to the UDHR.

Before we tackle the delivery of universal health care, we ought to reform the uneven way public education services are delivered in mostly excellent public schools in affluent neighborhoods; mostly good-enough public schools in middle class neighborhoods and mostly bad public schools in low-income neighborhoods.

Perhaps the poor should receive education and health care stamps to go along with housing vouchers and food stamps and the affluent can pay in full for the Cadillac services they demand.

After watching Sicko, I have narrowed my move to Cuba or France.

Vive la France! Or any other country with government-backed universal health care.

As I've told Craig before, legal shmegal! The UN Declaration of Human Rights says unequivocally that health care in a right. That the US isn't a signatory speaks ill of this nation, not of the moral correctness of the UN position.

And Kari, in no way is the right versus privilege argument the "entirety" of my post. Read beyond the headline. (It did attract attention, I must say.) I simply argue (via Donna Smith) that if profit isn't removed from health care, beyond paying the providers --doctors, nurses, et al-- then the out-of-pocket costs for health insurance for average working Americans will rise and universal coverage will never be achieved.

I may be wrong, but it really galls me to see Obama sitting down with the insurance companies to craft health care reform. He ventures into the lion's den, as did Hillary 15 years ago.

Give 'em hell, Terry.

"Rights" aren't what the DP/RP elites say they are; they are what we, the people of the world, say they are. The U.N. declaration is only one expression of that. Another expression is in polls of members of the DP, although Obama worshipers like Kari don't like to hear that.

I'm with Harry. Since when is talking about rights something to be ashamed of? I think it makes things very clear. Equal access to education, healthcare and housing should be "absolutes". Otherwise you are still supporting a system that promotes "survival of the fittest".Sorry Kari and Craig--those old sayings like "An injury to one is an injury to all" are still important and valid.

Please define "equal access to education". Does Oregon currently provide it? Why leave out "equal access" to nutrition?

I just can"t let you walk away

Forget the love I had for you.

Every single art form is involved in film, in a way.

Those are super cute. I like you on Facebook.

I like ANMJ on FB & just subscribed to the email feed! :)

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