August 6, 2009 by Daniel Stack
In today’s Washington Post Dana Milbank has a column about a woman memorializing her husband who died the day debate on health care reform began. It is an excellent column which, in my mind, explains why reform is needed and why it should be considered a human right. In it he writes:
At home in the family’s apartment on Connecticut Avenue NW, Fred Holliday succumbed to kidney cancer at age 39. He probably had had the disease for years, but with no health insurance, he couldn’t afford the tests that might have explained the night sweats, fatigue and bloody urine. By the time he finally got a job that came with health coverage and got the tests he needed, it was too late: The cancer had spread and was inoperable.
My previous post on my thoughts on health care reform being a human right drew a fair number of comments, at least by the standards of my blog (I’m just an opinionated and well-informed guy, not a journalist). I think this case explains why the system is broken and why reform must include government subsidized health care for those who cannot afford it. Yes, that means your tax money going to pay for somebody else’s care. It is simply inhuman to allow someone to die due to health care. Should those with an ability to pay contribute to their own health care? Absolutely. Should there be reform to make it easier to obtain insurance? Certainly. But at the end of the day there will be people who cannot afford health care. To let them die of neglect is an act of evil. Does this mean socialism? To be honest, I could really care less.
Former President George W. Bush stated that there is universal health care: a hospital emergency room will not refuse treatment to a person in a medical emergency. But a hospital emergency room will not diagnose the early symptoms of a cancer or other illness.
So you know what? I make a decent salary. I’ve got excellent health care through my employer. Raise my taxes to help pay for the health care of those who cannot afford it? To help people, possibly even me should I find myself unemployed? Go for it.