Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Will We Allow... "Poor people to die just because they are poor"?

The Right’s Health Care Principles

by ELIAS ISQUITH on JUNE 27, 2012
For anyone who doubted my earlier post — in which I noted that one of the Right’s main complaints with Obamacare is its insistence on covering poor people — I’d like to present you with a bit of proof. Here’s an especially arresting quote from the widely read and respected libertarian economist Tyler Cowen. He’s outlining what he believes the Rightshould support rather than the Obamacare mandate:
2. A rejection of health care egalitarianism, namely a recognition that the wealthy will purchase more and better health care than the poor. Trying to equalize health care consumption hurts the poor, since most feasible policies to do this take away cash from the poor, either directly or through the operation of tax incidence. We need to accept the principle that sometimes poor people will die just because they are poor. Some of you don’t like the sound of that, but we already let the wealthy enjoy all sorts of other goods — most importantly status — which lengthen their lives and which the poor enjoy to a much lesser degree. We shouldn’t screw up our health care institutions by being determined to fight inegalitarian principles for one very select set of factors which determine health care outcomes.
DEFINITION:  A principle is a law or rule that has to be, or usually is to be followed, or can be desirably followed, or is an inevitable consequence of something, such as the laws observed in nature or the way that a system is constructed. The principles of such a system are understood by its users as the essential characteristics of the system, or reflecting system's designed purpose, and the effective operation or use of which would be impossible if any one of the principles was to be ignored.

Is a usual, inevitable, essential or desirable in the design of a health care system to allows some poor people to die?  Or is the above "principle" just an expression of self-serving greed. 

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