A moral issue

23 Sep

I’ve been reading T.R. Reid’s The Healing of America lately. He opens the book by telling the story of a 32-year-old woman who was diagnosed with lupus. Her health insurance company canceled the policy, so she couldn’t get the treatments she needed. As a result, she died much sooner than she would have if she received medical treatments. Reid notes that other “first world” nations (Germany, the U.K., France, Japan, Switzerland, etc.) have different health care systems where the lupus victim would have received treatments she needed.

Reid creates an interesting frame for discussion: Other nations have made the decision that it is immoral to let people go without medical treatments they need, and that this immorality is worse than whatever problems might be caused by making sure everyone has real access to health care–whether it’s mandatory insurance, higher taxes, etc. Here in the U.S., however, we seem to have made the opposite moral choice: better to let some people die than deal with the negatives of a universal health care system.

I’m still working my way through the book, so I am not reaching any conclusions yet. The frame Reid has created, however, is disturbing. We’d better give this question some very serious thought.


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