Saturday, April 11, 2009

Of course it's a moral issue...

Ramesh Ponnuru has an op-ed in the New York Times addressing the issue of universal health care. In response, he recieved a note from a Ph. D. who has "been in health care service and policy for forty years" and disagrees with Ponnuru's take ("the goal should not be universal coverage"). In the course of that disagreement, he says that:
Health care is, firstly, an issue of principle. Firstly, health care is a moral not a financial issue. That is were you on the right miss the soul train every time. A fully (and free of personal cost) healthy populace; a fully (and free of personal cost) education system is the only way to assure the base platform for a vibrant democracy.

Dear sir,

I fear that this comment indicates your failure to understand the conservative position on this issue. Of course health care is a moral issue. There may be some conservatives opposed to universal health care on "financial" grounds - that is, they oppose it on the grounds that it would cost the government too much money, but would support it they believed it would cost less. But I don't believe that represents anything like a majority position. I know that I oppose it, not because it would cost too much money, but because it would require an immoral transfer of the fruits of labor from one group to another.

Health care is provided by some people, who have invested their time, energy and financial resources into becoming doctors, nurses, pharmaceutical researchers, phlebotomists, paramedics, or one of dozens of other specialized occupations. Those people then provide the fruits of their labors to others. Those others have the right to buy medical services, but they have no right whatsoever to have those services provided "free of personal cost." It is immoral to say that any person or group of persons has a right to have those goods and services provided to them.

So it is a moral issue. As is everything that a government does. Every line in a government budget is a moral statement. Whenever the government spends a cent on any activity, product or service, it is saying that it has the moral authority to take, by force if necessary, from its citizens in order to provide that activity, product or service. Whether that means buying guns, planes, food, dams, roads, housing or health care, it is a moral statement about the legitimate authority of the government.

Obviously, reasonable people can reasonably differ about what the correct moral take on the health care issue is. But to state that conservatives do not recognize that this is a moral issue is to reveal a lack of understanding of the conservative position.

Labels: ,



Post a Comment


<< Home

Links to this post

Links to this post:

Create a Link