Free to Die (Quickly)

Paul Krugman weighs in on Ron Paul’s “let ‘im die” sympathies.

The incident highlighted something that I don’t think most political commentators have fully absorbed: at this point, American politics is fundamentally about different moral visions.

Now, there are two things you should know about the Blitzer-Paul exchange. The first is that after the crowd weighed in, Mr. Paul basically tried to evade the question, asserting that warm-hearted doctors and charitable individuals would always make sure that people received the care they needed — or at least they would if they hadn’t been corrupted by the welfare state. Sorry, but that’s a fantasy. People who can’t afford essential medical care often fail to get it, and always have — and sometimes they die as a result.

The second is that very few of those who die from lack of medical care look like Mr. Blitzer’s hypothetical individual who could and should have bought insurance. In reality, most uninsured Americans either have low incomes and cannot afford insurance, or are rejected by insurers because they have chronic conditions.

Krugman goes on to argue that the “moralists” of the Right think it is more moral to allow the poor, even poor children, to die, than to subsidize any part of health care with taxpayer dollars. This include poor children, as witnessed by the fight over S-Chip.

10 thoughts on “Free to Die (Quickly)

  1. I think this whole charity thing for sick people will work out just fine.
    This may be more practical than ‘chickens for check-ups.’

    I mean, just look at all of the people charitably doing barn-raisings for their neighbors in Texas, and all of the people doing home and bridge raisings in Vermont.
    Just like in the good old day, right?
    And then, they’ll all charitably help to rebuild the roads, sewars, schools, and everything else that got burned or drowned.

    So, instead of paying for health care, we can all purchase baking supplies and make cookies to sell to help our neighbors, who will charitablty buy up all that’s needed.
    ‘Oh, good neighbor Sally, don’t fret about that $1 million dollar fee for your operation and recovery. Why, that’s only a million $1 cookies we your neighbors have to sell. Or, look on the bright side – two $500,000 ones!”

  2. The other catch all besides the warm hearted doctors and charitable individuals seems to be the churches. Somehow I can’t imagine high rolling mega church pastors giving up too much of their lifestyle to save a few measly poor people. It would take precious few medical interventions to pull a few millions out of the church coffers, so my guess is that it would be another time for some “tough love”.

    There is the well known Harvard Medical School/Cambridge Health Alliance study that estimates that 45,000 Americans die each year because they cannot afford health insurance. This doesn’t count those who are disabled or whose quality of life and productivity are diminished. i wonder why they don’t consider this to be a problem.

    Of course Krugman will be further demonized for making a well reasoned argument. That’s a big crime on Bizarro World.

  3. What can we expect from a nation that votes down a UN Declaration, “Every human being has a right to food” – during the Reagan presidency, J. Kirkpatrick representing us at the UN.

    It boils down to no human being has a right to anything even if it will sustain his life.

    (As an aside, has anyone ever questioned whether, say, Standard Oil has a right to the oil in the ground? After all, Standard Oil didn’t create the oil in the first place.)

  4. John Locke; Thomas Jefferson; Ben Franklin; Abraham Lincoln– all rolling over in their graves. William Golding– more prophetic than, I am sure, he hoped.

  5. So with this and the applause for Gov Perry’s kill rate, exactly who is The Party of Death?

    And why have we not once heard a whisper of this rhetorical question during the current shenanigans? Must have something to do with the Democrats’ total incapacity, seemingly based on unwillingness, to make a case for its own side.

  6. How moral…those moralists. It has taken far too long to come out and say what everyone has known all along — that the right’s motivated only by their idea of some god-given right for all of their taxes to go only to them. If you follow that to its logical conclusion then no one pays taxes and that there could be no insurance. After all, insurance payments go to others with catastophic illnesses don’t they?

    When they die the think they can have zero on the balance sheets…owing no one and not being owed by anyone. How does one measure this without a yardstick, or does one invent their own? This type of insecurity ensures that no one will have security.

    The argument government instituted healthcare would have one paying for others is a thinly disguised attempt not to pay in until they need to make a withdrawal. That would never work and would be like having no insurance at all. This nonsense makes no sense until I remember that many really mean the opposite of what they’re saying. Though it sounds like “I’m not paying for those people” it’s really “When I need it those people need to pay for me.” Every man is an island until their lives depend on something not on the island.

    Maybe their freedom to be stupid needs to be regulated.

  7. Got to wonder if the opponents of mandatory universal health-care realize that the fewer the subscribers to health insurance (because they can’t afford it) the higher the premiums to those who have health insurance. (Actually, I’ve long thought that today’s Republicans are brain-dead so incapable of ‘realizing’ much of anything.)

  8. As to the US voting against the UN Declaration – The US and Israel were the ONLY two countries to vote against the Declaration.

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