a question for opponents of Obamacare

Bruce Webb, who blogs at Angry Bear, asks “Should every American have access to affordable health care?”.

Suppose your answer is a firm “No.”.

7) No. Health care is an economic good that should be delivered entirely according to ability to pay. As for that matter are food, shelter, and education. Maybe we should provide the bare minimum of each needed to sustain life but in the end I am not my Brother’s Keeper. If I choose to freely offer charity then fine. Otherwise not my problem. ….

Now I have reasoned responses to people who answer with some variant of answers 1 to 6 [“Yes, although not this particular way”]. ….

But if truth be told opponents are really starting from “No.” … then there is only one path left open to me. Because what is left over is no longer a question of economics but of fundamental moral world views.

To put the matter in a different light, if your answer to the question falls somewhere in the range of “Well universal access is an ideal, but one that can’t be achieved because of X, Y, or Z” then we have something to talk about. On the other hand if your answer is in the range of “Well no, that is not in fact a social good to be provided socially” then we are just talking at cross purposes. And supporters of ACA [Affordable Care Act] who turn around and ask “What then is YOUR solution?” are asking the totally wrong question. Because if there is no problem there is no needed solution. ….

Well alrighty then. At least that is an honest answer.

Bruce Webb, “A Question for Opponents of ACA/Obamacare“, Angry Bear, 5 October 2013.

Click on the link to read plausible answers 1 through 6, which I found very instructive.

I correspond regularly with an American economist who supports the Tea Party. On healthcare reform, our dialogue has been senseless because, I now realize, my friend’s answer to Mr Webb’s question would be a firm “No.” whereas mine would be an equally firm “Yes.”, preferably with a single payer. We have nothing to discuss, because of fundamental differences in our understanding of morality.

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4 Responses to “a question for opponents of Obamacare”

  1. Bruce Webb says:

    Thanks for stopping by AB, and for the thoughtful comment, and for that matter the link. Frankly you have been the only commenter so far that actually made an attempt to get at the point of the post.

    So thanks again.

  2. You are most welcome. I liked your post very much, and learned from it.

  3. A loyal TdJ list member has initiated a debate on this topic. To view it, go to http://angrybearblog.com/2013/10/a-question-for-opponents-of-acaobamacare.html and scroll down to “Douglas O. Walker” – October 7, 2013 1:24 pm. This is a somewhat revised version of his previous comment, posted earlier (October 7, 2013 at 10:59 am).

    My favourite, of the responses to Douglas so far, is that of Coberly (October 7, 2013 5:25 pm), who writes “As long as you are paying taxes for bombing people, you have not even the beginning of a ‘moral right’ to worry about ‘health care’ related to someone else’s sexual activity, and the decisions they make about the consequences of that.”

  4. For those who have not visited Angry Bear, so have not seen the exchange of views between Douglas Walker and others, here is a small ‘taste’ of the action.

    Bruce Webb, you will recall, suggested seven possible ways that opponents of Obamacare might respond to the question “Should every American have access to affordable health care?”. Six of the suggested answers are affirmative, and the last is negative.

    Here is the first answer:

    1) Yes. And every American has access via Emergency Rooms.

    Douglas accepted this, and elaborated as follows:

    Yes, it is true that anyone who walks into an emergency room is treated whether they can pay or not. And they will send you to some other facility for longer-term care if you need it, again at no cost if you are destitute. Now, the care you receive may be minimal (don’t expect to be treated as if you had a concierge doctor and a private room with flowers) but you will be treated.

    Bruce responded with the following statement:

    [O]n Walker’s point 1. You cannot get meaningful preventive or continuing care for a not currently critical condition in an Emergency Room. That is you can be chronically ill with diabetes or a heart condition or even early onset cancer and be given at best palliative care or a temporary prescription and a referral to some community free clinic.

    That is not health care as most people would define it. And … the hospital has to serve you and in most cases has methods to be reimbursed for non-compensated care and so may not come after you with debt collectors (and if like Catholic order hospitals like Sisters of Providence probably won’t) that is not true for the ambulance that may have delivered you there or often for one or more of the physicians who treated you. That is unless you don’t mind having your credit ruined for years and/or harassing phone calls from debt collectors or debt buyers hoping to collect on that bad debt that care is not free to you. Of course it would be if you were poor enough to be Medicaid eligible, but God forbid you actually have a job that just allows you to scrape up rent and a car payment. Because you will never be able to pass a credit check from that next landlord or car dealer. Because nothing is as free as Tea Party theories assume.

    For more, go to Angry Bear.