What the hell is wrong with you people? (part LXXII)
I saw a bumper sticker on an SUV today that said "Health Care is not a right." I thought that was slightly nuts, so I checked out the organization that sponsored that enlightened sentiment, Americans for free choice in medicine.
Here is a snippet of one of their arguments (taken from here) :
The American concept of it is officially stated in the Declaration of Independence. It upholds man's unalienable, individual rights. The term "rights," note, is a moral (not just a political) term; it tells us that a certain course of behavior is right, sanctioned, proper, a prerogative to be respected by others, not interfered with—and that anyone who violates a man's rights is: wrong, morally wrong, unsanctioned, evil.
Now our only rights, the American viewpoint continues, are the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. That's all. According to the Founding Fathers, we are not born with a right to a trip to Disneyland, or a meal at Mcdonald's, or a kidney dialysis (nor with the 18th-century equivalent of these things). We have certain specific rights—and only these.
It descends into more madness from there, including a bizarre bit about barbers.
What these pillars of the community fail to realize is that without providing basic health care to all, we run the risk of people going to emergency rooms only when they are really really sick instead of taking advantage of preventative care or seeing a physician when a problem is treatable cheaply. Of course, common sense isn't going to change their minds, since medical care isn't their main goal. This messages of rights is simply code for "brown people who aren't from here, illegal or not."
These immigrants, legal or not, provide a huge amount of labor that, quite frankly, we Americans don't want to do. Do you want to spend 6 days a week stooped over cutting artichokes? Do you want to clean my toilet? Do you want to cook my food? These highly moral folks want all of the benefits of an economy where prices are kept artifically low via the use of this incredibly cheap labor, but don't want to give these same people vaccinations or decent medical care.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has a great article on the types of health problems present in immigrants and refugees. In a nutshell, they do have some health issues that need attention and until we decide on a sane and sustainable immigration policy that lets the people who want to work come here and work within the system, these health problems can just as easily affect everyone.
Who gives a fuck whether the Declaration of Independence mentions health care? Providing it to everyone (even those morons with the bumper stickers) who needs it just makes sense.