new videos
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.

more videos from
the PDC here.
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Is health care a human right?  RSS feed

 
                    
Posts: 0
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
I came very close to arguing about this with my grandma yesterday.  She's in the hospital for side effects of treatment for lymphoma, and I called to say hello.  She mentioned that she's thankful for their health insurance, as my grandparents would not be able to pay for her treatment without it.  Then she said that she's glad that "nothing will change even though they want to give health insurance to immigrants".....I think she was referring to the GOP's win in Massachusetts yesterday.  Forgive her, my family lives in the reddest state of the union (wyoming).  I asked her if she thought that health care was a basic human right, and she said that health insurance was something to be earned, that it's not in the constitution.  but....gah!

So here are some things I did not say to my grandma, because it's not worth it to argue with a sick loved one. 

Firstly, health care and health insurance are not the same thing.  And, if health care is something to be earned, how can a child whose parents cannot afford health care or insurance earn the privilege of seeing a doctor?  Should that child be punished for their parents inability to provide for them?  Even if that child is not a legal citizen?

Secondly, and this gets to the heart of why our method of providing health care to people in this country makes me sick (not literally, yet), health insurance companies, as we have it structured, only make money when people are sick.  As they are for-profit corporations, it makes sense that they'd want to make the most money possible while keeping their costs low, as any other corporation does.  What's the incentive to keeping people healthy?  There's a built in incentive to keep people sick, it seems to me.
 
Leah Sattler
Posts: 2603
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
health insurance companies only make money when people are afraid they will get sick and don't! they have a much higher chance of  loseing money when people actually get sick.

is it a right? that is a moral problem that is rather new. I am not sure that "right" is the correct word in the context people want to use it in.

is it right as in a moral obligation? that is a difficult question. should we force doctors upon threat to provide healthcare? should we force others to in the roundabout way of using thier income?

I think our system needs some serious overhaul. however I am not prepared to hand the reins to the government entirely. I wish that some proposals would be made that had practical applicable solutions that will allow us to make small steps to improvement and gage its affect until we finally have some acceptable middle ground. for instance. step number one imo should be to prevent the advertisement of prescription drugs. I think that would save our health care system a huge amount of money. I firmly believe that the advertisements lead to more prescriptions, more diagnoses of somewhat "phantom" illnesses and problems, and the medical consequences of those drugs trickle down into the system also. and I don't want drug companies giving people information about their health. it is a conflict of interest. 
 
                    
Posts: 0
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Well, I know that many people don't think it's a "right" and that's why I posed the question.  Might be important to note that I was only thinking of the USA, not globally. 

Moral obligation is a better term, in my opinion.  And yes, there are conflicts of interest all over the place.  To us it's a conflict, to a corporation it's just another form of revenue.  Corporations have no moral obligations, and this is another maddening aspect of living in this world. 

But, without the incentive of profit, what drives/funds research?  I got no answers for that one.

I guess the main thing that frustrates me is the utter lack of incentives for healthy living.  Do any ol thing you want to your body, modern medicine will be there to fix you up - if you can afford it.  I was thinking about this pretty hard the other night, while being forced to watch this tv show "nitro circus" at a friend's house.  Perfectly healthy young people doing all kinds of dumb things to try and hurt or kill themselves, for our entertainment.  Would they do these stunts if there wasn't a full support team there to stitch them back together?  Pills for their pain in later life?  I can't really fathom the psychology of it all, other than they must be really really bored.  My partner thinks it's leftover instinctual adrenaline seeking from our current lack of "the thrill of the hunt" and whatnot. 

It's also my arrogant opinion (to borrow one of paul's qualified statement precursors) that the vast vast majority of illnesses here in the US are linked to a grain based diet and a sedetary lifestyle.  We'd save a lot of money as a nation by changing how we eat and moving our butts around more frequently.  Period.  But there's no money to be made from that, and so we probably won't ever see a broad reaching public support of this idea.  Until our expected lifespan drops another ten or twenty years, that is.  We'll just wait and see how long the current generation of children lives, after building their bodies on GMOs.  Unfortunately it might take something truly awful like "sudden death syndrome" that will make people wake up! 

Allopathic medicine treats diseases of the body like battles to be waged.  There's no systematic observation of a person's whole life to see what caused which illness.  Just take this pill and sit under this radiation machine for awhile.  You might get better, after you feel really awful for a bit.  Modern medicine is amazing for traumatic injuries, and kind of awful at a lot of other things.  My poor grandma has possibly permanent lung damage from her radiation treatment of lymphoma.  Is that a cure? 

Ayurvedic doctors in ancient India, I've been told, were given a certain number of families to watch over.  When their patients died, their pay was reduced.  Is that an incentive to keep people healthy or what?
 
tel jetson
steward
Posts: 3381
Location: woodland, washington
81
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
pretty loaded question, that one.  I think health insurance companies have a lot of problems, but I don't think it's fair to lay the majority of the blame on them.  doctors are generally payed per treatment performed, and so are hospitals, so it's also in their financial interest for folks to be sick or at least have a lot of procedures performed.  additionally, patients will often demand the absolute most treatment or diagnostic testing or most expensive pharmaceuticals that their insurance plan will pay for, which also inflates costs.  right now, the healthcare industry accounts for an enormous fraction of the US economy.  that means that, much like money spent to clean up an environmental disaster shows up as beneficial economic activity, there really won't be much motivation at a legislative level to curtail healthcare spending.  health insurance companies are an easy scapegoat, but blaming them entirely prevents us from examining the rest of the system.  there was a good This American Life episode about health care.

for myself, I don't think I would want to be entitled to the health care that insurance would provide for me.  the answer to the extreme expense that I like is to take health care out of the hands of specialists in giant institutions.  medical school teaches folks an incredible amount of information about the way human bodies function, but I believe they also teach some pretty harmful ways of thinking about our bodies and the medical treatment of our bodies.  many of the useful procedures and treatments performed in hospitals and clinics by specialists could be performed safely at home by folks without conventional medical training.  I think there's a pretty strong case to be made that modern medicine is making more people sick than it is healing.

I do think health care is a human right, but a right that ought to be provided for by our friends and neighbors and ourselves, not by corporations and governments and institutions.

I'm kind of jumping around here and probably not making a whole lot of sense.  it's a big topic and I'm trying to cover more ground than is probably reasonable in one forum post so I'm going to drop it.

I've mentioned it elsewhere on the forum, but Ivan Illich's Medical Nemesis is a really good read.  I don't buy every one of his arguments, but it's a pretty difficult to argue against all of them.  I also like Healing with Whole Foods, by Paul Pitchford.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22169
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
I would very much like to have the right to not use my money to make health insurance companies rich.  Either directly or indirectly. 

I like the idea that a doctor's office might charge $120 per visit to people with insurance, and $40 per visit to people without insurance (prepaid, cash).  The difference being the amount of work involved in dealing with the insurance company. 

I like the idea that I can go into the doctor's office and not provide my SSN.  I like the idea that I could have something looked at without providing my name, address, or anything other than $40 cash. 

I like the idea  that all aspects of health care need to be more transparent. A cost for a visit, the typical costs for certain ailments needs to be published. No more of this stuff where you don't know the cost of a facility until a month after you were there.

I like the idea of signing something that limits what I can sue the doctor for, and that by signing that, it cuts the doctor's liability, and, thus, less need for malpractice insurance, which is another form of health insurance.  And it cuts out the lifeblood of a lot of lawyers too.  After all, when somebody sues a doctor, who is really paying for that?  The doctor?  Hell no!  The insurance company?  Double hell no!  It's spread out to all of the other patients.  So I like the idea that if I sign something like this, I can pay a lot less. 




 
Sharon Carson
Posts: 49
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Gee... I need to move to where you are. Here It cost a min of?150 just to see a dr. It takes a couple of months to get an appointment. My though is IF you are my DR and I have a problem will it take a couple of months to see you? I could die by then. Whats the point . Might as well go to one of those outpatient places that dont have drs .That cost a min of $80 . I haven't seen a dr in 5 years. Got a letter from her that she quit at the clinic . I just try to eat from my garden to stay healthy.
 
David Livingston
steward
Posts: 3475
Location: Anjou ,France
163
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Every time I read threads like this I thank (insert god of choice ) I live somewhere with universal healthcare .
So the answer to the op is YES!
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 235
8
bee duck fish food preservation forest garden fungi trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
We'd save a lot of money as a nation by changing how we eat and moving our butts around more frequently. Period. But there's no money to be made from that, and so we probably won't ever see a broad reaching public support of this idea.


I fully agree! As a fat, meat eating, semi-sedentary primate I fully agree that if I would just exercise, eat right and not take harmful substances into my body I would live longer and healthier, place fewer demands on society and be able to help others more. The question though, is how much of a right does society have to force me to behave. Also, linked to this, what are the limits on the demands I can place on society.

Realistically, I believe there have to be limits on the demands society can demand of us and demands we can make on society.

No individual or society has endless resources. What is your fair share? This is really what the argument is about. That, and who oversees the division. In a worst case scenario, do I have the right to force dozens or hundreds of people to work a good part of their day just to keep me in vegetative state?

In the parable of the of the prodigal son, the son asked his father for his inheritance, blew it all on wine, women and song, then ended up coming back, (he was hoping to be taken on as a servant because he was starving). In the parable, he is brought back in as a son, but he doesn't get more inheritance, what's left belongs to his brother. (the brother behaves badly, my take is that he's worried that dear old dad will divide up what's left and give the prodigal son another inheritance, out of the brothers share). An examination of the story shows that the brother is taken care of, but with limits. seems to make sense to me. Problem is, politicians are often all or nothing kind of people. (Balanced reason doesn't make headlines and will probably piss everyone off).

Historically, health care was up to the individual or at least their family/clan, but then so was feeding yourself, clothing yourself, and wiping your own rear end. There have always been huge differences between the top and bottom of society as far as how much actual effort they had to expend to do this.

I don't see how to make the differences between the top and bottom of society go away. Even in socialist/ communist countries my understanding is that it's a lot better to be one of the elite. You get more perks and have access to more benies. It's obvious to me we can't all live like an Arab prince. I read one time that there are Gods poor, the Devils poor, and the poor devils. So, leaving aside the question about those whose lifestyle (drugs, alcohol, extreme sports injuries, eating bacon) have placed them on the list needing help, what is reasonable for us poor devils.

I have a story that pulls the argument back a step, maybe making it easier to see the real arguments. Back in the late 70's California tried to force a motorcycle helmet law through (unsuccessfully at the time, I think). The proponants of the law argued that idiots were getting seriously hurt riding motorcycles helmentless and the state was having to pick up the bill to care for them, so the state should have the right to force helmet compliance, thereby reducing the money it would pay out. The opponents argument was, basically, "You don't have the right to force us to care for ourselves. It's our lives. If we get hurt, let us deal with it or die. It's not your call." I see the argument isn't settled yet, although helmet laws are now a given. The nanny state creeps forward. It's funny how things that at one time were controversial and a question of human rights eventually go away and become the accepted norm.

The best tool I can see is some sort of contract or insurance that we can sign with clearly listed responsibilities, duties and limits of liability. This could work, either with a company or the govt.

My problem with a company is that is that insurance companies are in it for the money. I have a friend who is an attorney and his entire business is fighting insurance companies every day. He says he loves it because he has a clearly defined bad guy. He says a part of every day is sorting through the cases people want him to take. He says most of them are valid but mainly he's looking to find the ones that will see him (and the client) paid enough to make them worth his while. He can't handle even that caseload. He deals with work place injuries and says he is always working with people, severely and permanently injured and in constant pain that have been fighting the insurance companies for years. The companies just wait for them to die or try to get them to take a few thousand that won't even cover the dr bills. I once had a carpet laid by an old man who was dying. He said the drs gave him about two more months. A company he was working for had used the wrong chemicals in a job and it burned up his lungs. It was in the courts, but would be held up for years. I asked him what he was doing laying carpet in that condition and his reply was "I have a wife to take care of". Broke my heart, because the man was just kind of resigned about it, not really bitter or anything, just kind of "these things happen" attitude.

I guess a govt back insurance might be better, but I have worked for a govt. agency for 30 years (don't judge me too harshly) and I've never been real impressed with the governments ability to accomplish anything in a reasonable way either. The individuals may be competent, but the beurocratic method of doing things is so screwed up it's amazing. I also don't trust the govt to not either give away the farm or cut us off too short. Good judgement is not the governments best asset, overall.

So, I guess I probably just threw a little more gas on the fire without offering a real solution.
 
David Livingston
steward
Posts: 3475
Location: Anjou ,France
163
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Society will not force you to take medical care just like it does not force you to drink it's up to you . Suicide has been legal for many years
As for the argument that what ever the govt does is inefficient I agree BUT in France where I live medical care is 9 % of GDP in the UK 10% in the USA 15 ...... So I would suggest this indecates that the private sector covering not 100% is less efficient than the public sector covering 100% .

David
 
Mick Fisch
Posts: 235
8
bee duck fish food preservation forest garden fungi trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Suicide has been legal for many years


This is a side note, but suicide being illegal always struck me as strange. What are they going to do if you try to commit suicide and fail? Kill you?
 
David Livingston
steward
Posts: 3475
Location: Anjou ,France
163
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
Historically yes it was the death penalty plus you could not be buried in a church yard and you would not go to heaven as a result .

David
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9893
Location: Portugal
891
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Report post to moderator
This thread seems to have moved very much into cider press territory.

I'm going to lock this one. If anyone with enough apples wants to continue the discussion in the cider press, they are more than welcome.
 
Are you okay? You look a little big. Maybe this tiny ad will help:
Learn, Design, Teach, & Inspire with Permaculture games.
FoodForestCardGame.com
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!