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The second amendment reads:

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free  state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be  infringed”.

Would it not be better for today’s world were it modified thusly?

“Health, being a necessary foundation to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness (see declaration of independence), the right of the people to receive healthcare, shall be guaranteed”?

No point in beating around the bush: The United States of America, the world’s richest, most prosperous country has the second worst infant mortality rate in the modern world (ranking 50th globally). With more than three times that of Japan (the country with the lowest infant death rate), the US has fallen behind Cuba…CUBA! The United States also fares poorly in life expectancy ranking 50th in the world.

There are many factors which contribute to these numbers, but it  would be idiotic to ignore the elephant in the room. An estimated 45-50  million people in the United States are uninsured. Children born to  uninsured low income mothers have a 50-60% higher mortality rate than children born to insured mothers, nationally. In West Virginia, the infant mortality rate dropped from 3.5 to .7 percent after the introduction of prenatal care; the relationship  between uninsurance and infant mortality is blatant. And we live in a  culture of life?

Uninsured adults below the age of 65 have a 25% greater mortality risk than insured adults. A study published by Harvard University estimates that 45000 people die each year because of lack of healthcare; Obviously these are not all people being  turned away from emergencies; most hospitals do not turn away the dying  just because they have no insurance (…though I’d like to see what  happens if a homeless guy were to walk up to the front desk at one of out premier hospitals). But the uninsured are far more likely to wait until it is too  late. The uninsured are 40 percent more likely to be diagnosed with late stage breast and prostate cancer, and uninsured women are 40-50 percent more likely to die of breast cancer.

Are we saving money by not having insurance for everyone? Nope! The US spends more per capita than any other industrialized nation. The US spends more than 5200 dollars per person (insured or not). With  its low infant mortality and high life expectancy, Japan spends less  than 2000. Canada, a country with a similar demographic to the US spends  half of what we spend per capita and insures everyone.

Many times have the American people had the opportunity to adopt a  universal system, and many times has the insurance industry risen to the  occasion to make sure that the initiative would fail. Truman began his  push for healthcare with overwhelming popular support (75%); the  resistance from the insurance lobby was formidable; it even went so far  as to launch a campaign in the south which warned that nationalized  healthcare would mean racially integrated hospitals and waiting rooms.  When Clinton tried to tackle the problem, the health insurance industry  ramped up lobbying to the tune of 100s of millions of dollars (remember  the despicable Harry and Louise ads?) making sure that the proposal  would be stillborn.

The insurance industry is only part of the problem. Of equal or even  greater importance is ignorance and gullibility. Too many Americans live  in an isolated insulated bubble. They swallow whole the propaganda that  the healthcare lobby feeds them because they have little contact with  the outside world.

Long lines in Canada?

…It must be so!

Ever been there?

…Nope (why would I want to stand in line?)

We think of national healthcare in terms of long lines, dated  procedures and hopeless bureaucracy; we do so from a country whose  healthcare performance is number one only with respect to cost. 3000  people died on 9/11, rightly or wrongly we have mobilized enormous  resources to protect us against terrorism. Lack of healthcare kills ten  times as many people every year; is protection against illness not worth the …huge savings in cost?

There is another way that lack of universal healthcare hurts us; it’s  bad for business. Many US companies pay for their workers’ healthcare.  They will often compete against companies from countries which don’t.  Prior to the economic crisis, General Motors has been hemorrhaging cash  for 6 quarters. They have to charge an extra $1500 per vehicle to pay  for healthcare; how can they be expected to compete with such a  handicap? Because of this many automobile plants are actually moving  plants north of the border to Canada, simply to be able to compete.

The second amendment allows us to be cowboys in the 21st century. Great!

Is this how we plan to face upcoming the daunting challenges of the  future? Wouldn’t we be better off being a little more healthy and  competitive?




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Comment Preferences

  •  why be so cruel (0+ / 0-)

    “Housing, being a necessary foundation to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness (see declaration of independence), the right of the people to receive housing, shall be guaranteed”?

    “Food being a necessary foundation to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness (see declaration of independence), the right of the people to receive food, shall be guaranteed”?

    “Clothing, being a necessary foundation to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness (see declaration of independence), the right of the people to receive clothing, shall be guaranteed”?

    “Entertainment, being a necessary foundation to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness (see declaration of independence), the right of the people to receive TV/Books/Concerts/Cable/Internet/Etc., shall be guaranteed”?

    “Money, being a necessary foundation to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness (see declaration of independence), the right of the people to receive cash, shall be guaranteed”?

    •  reductio (0+ / 0-)

      I get your point, but it does not have to be absurd. Change housing to shelter. Leave food, and drop entertainment and money.

      More generally, the question needs to be asked of us: "what to we consider a basic right?"

      I think you would find that most people would agree on things like food, shelter education, basic healthcare....

      •  they are needs (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pee dee fire ant

        not rights.  The other idea i had to make the point was

        “MY Health, being a necessary foundation to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness (see declaration of independence), the obligation of everyone else to provide it to me, shall be required"

        •  Rights with capital R (0+ / 0-)

          Whether they are Rights or not depends to some extent on us. In most countries basic healthcare is, along with things like education, regarded as a Right with a capital R. And federally guaranteed and regulated.
          I believe that in the US, and certainly among DK readers, most are able to distinguish between entertainment (to use your example) and Healthcare, and most would say that it should be a right.

  •  The right to bear arms (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    1918

    does not require the government to purchase a gun for me.  The right to free speech does not require the government to purchase me a printing press, radio or TV station.

    The problem with a constitutional right to healthcare is that it has no limiting factor.  If I need a heart transplant and I have a right to healthcare, then whose heart do I get?  It's my constitutional right, after all!

    Now that doesn't mean the government can't provide healthcare as a benefit that we mutually think is desirable.  Congress and the President can craft legislation based on changing needs.  I don't have a constitutional right to fire protection, but that doesn't mean we don't fund fire districts to provide it.  

    A constitutional right would, in effect, make the Supreme Court our national medical board.

    •  constitutional rights (0+ / 0-)

      Plenty of countries have the right to healthcare in their constitutions. They do not have the problems you describe.

      •  Then they ignore them (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        1918

        It's relatively common for people to list rights in their constitution that they don't really honor.  Would you say that those countries provide excellent health care for all their people? A lot of countries have relatively large constitutions which are more of a political statement than a controlling document.

        In U.S practice, since our constitution is relatively small and has relatively few rights we take them pretty seriously.  We are also more litigious than most countries so any constitutional right will be stretched to the extreme by legal action.

        There's no need to have a right in the constitution to provide for a government benefit.  Clearly with Medicare and Medicaid, we've established the right of Congress to provide far reaching care.

        •  other countries (0+ / 0-)

          The last time the WHO did a "ranking" was 12 years ago. so things may have changed a bit, but going by that, several countries that do have HC as a constitutional right do quite well. Others do well without one. They all share a federal guarantee one way or another.

  •  The blockquote below is Preposterous (0+ / 0-)
    The United States of America, the world’s richest, most prosperous country
    then you proceed to show my word "Preposterous" true

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