Response to an article by Andrew Foy on US Healthcare Reform

The Healthcare Bill is probably the most important reform the congress of the United States has approved in over twenty years, granted, one of the most polemic subjects the country has encountered. The reform consists of providing medical care to people who do not have insurance. Republicans all over the country have protested endlessly, complaining about how this is a violation of people’s rights and the country’s principles.

Critiques towards the reform, such as Andrew Foy’s, have invaded the media.

His article quotes the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal […] Rights, among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. Every single person in America is entitled to such “Natural Rights”. However, what happens to those rights when people and their families lose their lives because they can’t pay for medical treatment? Should we alienate people from their rights simply because they are less fortunate? Denying health from certain people, is not only being racist, but also violating the Declaration of Independence itself.

It is shocking how the United States of America claims to be the most developed country when people question the most basic human right: The Right To Life.

Secondly, people against the bill are concerned about how this is a socialist motion. Foy refers to the Health Reform as “Government programs that involuntarily transfer or redistribute wealth.” Socialism in its simplest definition is when industry and resources are owned and controlled by the state or a collective of the people.

Achieving Universal Healthcare would hardly make the United States a socialist society; it would merely mean they have achieved a better level of general welfare providing access to medical care for everyone. Good examples of that are countries like France and Sweden, which have the best health services in the world – as rated by the World Health Organization – and have universal health care systems. Not only their death rate among all age groups is obscenely lower, their life span is longer, but only five percent tax is deducted from their salaries. In the USA you can get the most advanced procedures, but only if you can afford them; in those countries you can be certain that you will be helped despite your social condition.

Andrew Foy discusses thoroughly what he considers “immoral”. He says that “Theft is immoral. Likewise, theft via the government in immoral.” I find it outrageous that he would consider helping the less fortunate a “theft”. What is wrong and right is a question which has been debated for centuries. No one should state with such determination what is immoral without even considering the other side of the argument. Hence, I strongly believe that Foy’s concepts of immorality are vacuous and erronous.

Also, Andrew Foy disputes “What constitutes a need and who should decide?” In a free market, such as USA, the “prices perform the rationing function”, as the author states, and in theory that is true. However, it is irrefutable that the “free market” is only a theoretical situation. In actual life, price is a key factor, but the insurance company is what actually resolves what is a need, and who should get it. Private insurance companies have their own lucrative interest, as their true guide is not health and human rights, but profit maximization. A survey carried out in 2008 exhibited that fifty-eight percent of doctors favored a Universal Health Care because private insurers interfere too much with necessary treatments, even when the patient has adequate coverage.

Furthermore, a strong argument against Universal Healthcare is that we should not be forced to pay for other people’s illnesses. Andrew Foy discusses this point by stating “In a free society, does one individual’s needs constitute another individual’s obligation to provide? The answer is no.” However, this is already the situation. The vast majority of people that enjoy health insurance have to pay premiums and very high deductibles yearly. If someone under the same insurance company needs treatment, your premiums will be raised, let alone the fact that you also pay the shareholders. Experts predict a substantial decrease of these administrative costs as with the government, the premiums citizens pay will not go towards dividends.

Providing healthcare to several millions of households it is not only improving what the free market system cannot do for healthcare by allowing more people to take part, but it is also entitling ninety-five percent of people in America to their unalienable and natural rights. The reform does not empower the government to control the insurance companies but it enhances the social rights. These facts make Foy’s arguments purely ideological and a masquerade to defend the privilege of few against the effort to achieve the welfare of all.

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