Plumb Lines

October 19, 2009

Fuzzy Moral Absolutism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Matthew Schmitz @ 1:56 pm

David, you say that:

“no one has taken what seems to me the correct position: loss of innovation be damned, we have a positive obligation to provide some level of basic health care to everyone in our society, since we can afford to do so.”

Isn’t almost the exact opposite the case? Nearly everyone, left or right, would agree with that rather elastic statement, and I daresay everyone at both First Things and Commonweal would. Does the principle simply require that we provide emergency-room care and a few other basic services? Or do we need cradle-to-grave provision for every medical need and more than a few medical whims?

There are good rhetorical and political reasons to not talk about the sacrifices required under any settlement. It’s fine if some people do, it may even be helpful, but it makes little sense  to attack people for not setting flame to their own political causes.

I don’t know where the correct course on healthcare lies, but almost everyone already has a claim on the principle you just put up for adoption.

-Matthew Schmitz

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1 Comment »

  1. Matthew
    It seems that very few actually have a claim to this principle, but have instead become wholehearted advocats of what we started to hear every night on the news: “millions of americans don’t have health insurance, and this is just too darned terrible. Something must be done!” Very few have endorsed the idea that, regardless of legal status, numbers involved (people, money), or political popularity or expediency, it is imperative for this country, if we are to properly call ourselves the “leaders of the world”, or even simpler, “civilized”, to create and mandate healthcare that covers a significant part of one’s possible medical expenses, eliminates the absurd possibility of becoming bankrupt solely through medical bills, and is affordable to everyone. While this latter requisite would certainly require payments to be based upon income, and thus give the same treatment to a poorer person for a fraction of the cost of a wealthier person, we seem to have no problem with this system as it pertains to the police, fire dept, roads, etc: all things which are considered vital to our societal health and infrastructure. And this is what health care should be. There should be no question of sacrifice, as no one considers taxes to support these organizations in any way a sacrifice. Whether one pays taxes because of apathy, citizen obligation, fear of IRS reprisal, or to render unto caeser that which is his, we all do so and we all enjoy the benefits (and share in the miseries) of our communities, be they local or larger. Similarly, whether you believe that healthcare as proposed is necessary for religious or patriotic reasons, it is encouraging but mostly disheartening to see that the debate is still, regardless of claim, mostly one of political claims, and seemingly devoid of real commitment. I know that my bias is clear, and that my statements over-simple perhaps, but I believe that this use of the healthcare issue as the issue du jour, open to all and any debilitating compromise and corruption, is what David was lambasting.

    Comment by zach — October 21, 2009 @ 7:35 am


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