Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Death by Lack of Insurance III

A young (that is, younger than me) individual died of treatable natural causes because the medical condition was not treated. Surgery likely could have corrected, or at least temporized, the problem. Medical treatment (medications) could have helped in forestalling the inevitable. The individual didn’t get treatment because of lack of medical insurance coverage. That should not happen.

I have had many discussions regarding the “right” to healthcare over the years (I founded and ran a free medical clinic, so you can imagine I support the position that it is a right). I recently ran across a quite good and succinct explanation of why it is just as much a right as others we hold dear.

The government provides a basic education as a matter of right because we in America believe that the rights of citizenship are meaningless if you can't read, and also that a country whose citizens are ignorant and ill-trained will be a poor and weak country. That the same arguments apply to health care is obvious: the rights of citizenship mean precious little to people who are suffering from untreated asthma or ulcers because they can't afford health insurance, or who are afraid to open their mouths because their teeth have rotted away after too many skipped dentists' visits.

As this issue continues to force its way to the fore, remember that people are dying because this “right” is unfulfilled.

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