Why health care is a civil right

I want to clear up a misunderstanding often voiced in the healthcare blog universe: namely, whether health care is a right or a service. Our answer to this question will affect how we approach healthcare reform in the next Congress, so let me say plainly: health care is a civil right.

Civil rights are what we call those claims necessary to secure free and equal citizenship, secondary to basic rights. For example, we don’t have a right to vote for any natural reason; we have the right to vote because society is ordered in a way that makes voting both possible and essential to our free and full participation in society. Voting is a civil right.

Health care is a civil right because society is ordered in such a way as to make it both possible and essential to the free and full participation of the sick, injured and disabled — i.e. ‘patients’ — in society. I’m a patient, and I can tell you: lack of health care makes it impossible for me to participate freely and fully in society. Among the reasons …

  • I can’t choose my work. Because health care is tied to employment, and not all jobs have benefits, I can’t do things that might be socially useful or personally satisfying but lack benefits. I can never start a business, for example, because I wouldn’t have health insurance.
  • I can’t buy the things I need. Patients are denied the free purchase of goods and services by restrictions on the healthcare market: FDA regulations, prescription requirements, doctor licensing, insurance rules. These restrictions help make health care safer and more effective, but they also sharply curb supply of medical goods and increase their price, which is paid disproportionately by patients.
  • I can’t participate fully in the political process. I rarely volunteer in my community — dealing with my healthcare takes up most of my free time. I can’t give money to causes or candidates I support, because I don’t have any to spare. Moreover, a sick person is less likely to risk losing employer-provided insurance by organizing a union, whistle-blowing against fraud, or reporting discrimination in the workplace.

None of these exclusions is intrinsic to illness, but due instead to the structure of our society. And each reason is more compelling to the extent illness and injury are produced by pollution, toxic products, and other societal causes. A patient’s basic right to justice requires us to respond to the likelihood that we — as a society — had something to do with their illness.

One of the counter-claims made against this line of reasoning is that nobody is entitled to claim a health provider’s labor as a right. But there are many other professions which are subject to civil rights claims: teachers, firefighters, lawyers, to name a few. Moreover, physicians and other providers are able to do their job effectively in large part due to public investment in research and technology.

Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act did not go far enough to guarantee patients right to health care. Access to insurance is not the same as access to care, as any patient will tell you. The ACA was a small step in the right direction, but we still need legislation recognizing patients’ right to health care. Whatever the outcome of the election, health care must be acknowledged as a civil right.

Duncan Cross blogs from the perspective of a chronic patient at his self-titled site, Duncan Cross.

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  • http://twitter.com/jmflahiff Janice_Flahiff

    I’ve always believed access to government information is necessary (and thus a right) for any democracy to work…now I can more adequately back up my beliefs that health care is a right also.
    Thank you.

    • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

      And give HHS the right to your private info?

  • SpringTexan

    Great post! This is also why (despite all the blather about driving being a privilege) driving is also a civil right. (Thus, laws against women driving — in Saudia Arabia — or undocumented immigrants driving — here — are yes infringing on human rights.) THANKS!

    • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

      I think you need to differentiate between “human” rights, “civil” rights, etc. As it stands anyone can get medical care if they need it. So, your supposed “right” is not violated…what you want is the right to make the taxpayers pay for it…then you need to figure out how we will do that….and what healthcare is a “right”….is it physical exams, toe nail care, or just catastrophic care? Immigrants driving here makes me nervous because as you stated they are “undocumented” which means they can wreck havoc and we can’t always trace them. Women’s rights in far away lands is a worthy topic, but I am not sure I see where it fits in here. Last I heard they often had trouble wearing a pair of pants in public, so the privilege of driving must seem downright gleeful.

      • ninguem

        The woman has a right to wear her pants in public (in the USA). She has a civil right to wear whatever she wants. The true libertarians would likely argue for her right to walk naked in the streets if she chooses, as a civil right.

        “Healthcare as a civil right”, means I have to buy her pants.

        Oh, and she says she wants Armani pants with Manolo Blahnik shoes, or she’s filing civil rights litigation.

        • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

          Ha! Well….I would expect no less….gotta look good if you’re doing civil service…ya’ know…it’s a public service on the eyes of the beholders!

  • w_km

    Thank you for stating the often confused clarification between basic and civil rights. I agree with this assessment but feel we, as a society (nationally and globally), are not prepared to enforce healthcare as a civil right. Therefore, saying the ACA “did not go far enough to guarantee patients right to health care’” is a mute point. Of course it didn’t, because America CAN’T. We can’t even balance a budget, or free other countries of tyrannical rule, or extinguish diseases like malaria, which still ravage populations in Africa. Before we tackle the nitti-gritties of enforcing healthcare as a civil right, we must focus our attention on more tangible goals. Though I would agree that we never forget, especially as healthcare workers, that healthcare is a civil right.

  • Duncan Cross

    Thanks for the feedback so far. For w_km: Think about it as analogous to education: we consider education a civil right, so that every kid should have access to adequate education, but we don’t guarantee every kid can afford to go to Stanford. We can organize our health care system so that everybody has access to adequate care, even while recognizing that not everybody is going to get the best possible care. That seems to me a very tangible goal. And if it is not, advocacy and activism for the civil rights of the sick and injured is the first step towards making it so.

    • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

      This is a worthy goal…but labeling it a “civil” right seems so well-intentioned, but I still I am really stumbling over this. I volunteer in the innercity and do what I can to ease the suffering of mankind…but we have so much entitlement going on at times I am overwhelmed. I am impressed with your passion..truly…but the reality is we can’t afford this kind of medical utopia. And one wonders where this “civil” rights argument ends…..dystopia.

      • Marc

        All other developed nations do well with universal healthcare. There’s no reason a national insurance system that people pay into when they are earning can’t work in the US; after all, Medicare works very well for what are mostly uninsurable people in the private market.

        • ninguem

          Medicare is heading toward bankruptcy.

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

            Response to Marc: No all other nations don’t do healthcare well. WHO does not have equality in their data. America reports things differently and we have a lot of crap to clean up that is reported (one item is when a child in the womb is a human being…and I do hope the people posting here about civil rights would willingly admit abortion is wrong and a true human rights problem). Have you studied France, Canada, the UK? You want waiting lists? Lesser care for everyone so we are all equal?

      • Duncan Cross

        Alice — in fact, the civil rights argument begins in dystopia. The health care system we had prior to the ACA, and still to a large extent have now, is terrible for millions of people who truly need health care, yet that system is the richest in the world. In that context, acknowledging health care as a civil right isn’t a question of ‘afford’, it’s a question of justice and fairness. Your line of reasoning would have us in segregated schools because we can’t afford to educate everybody, and women denied the vote because we can’t afford the demands they would make on our government. These arguments were tried and failed, and we are better off for their failure. I am not hoping for utopia; I am insisting on justice.

        • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

          Duncan you are a progressive? I do find a fault in your thinking and your assumptions. My line of reasoning would not have us in segregated schools…so it seems words to you bring assumptions and that’s how you are getting to the civil rights debate. You think…maybe…because Duncan thinks naively so…it should be??? Actually, I am for a truly fair education….school choice…charter schools. I have homeschooled for 25 years to avoid the mind think that thinks everything is a right. I want less government. Your justice has been served…no one is denied healthcare if they need it. And it didn’t labeled as a civil right.

          • Duncan Cross

            I am a patient, and sorry to inform you that many patients are denied health care routinely in our society — for lack of money, but also by insurance companies. I have been denied health care. I *am* denied health care, right now: I am not allowed to do the things I need to do to take care of myself, even in the privacy of my home. If you truly believe in less government, abolish the FDA, abolish physician licensing, abolish the DEA, abolish the tax exemption for health insurance, abolish Medicare and Medicaid and the VA — make health care truly a free market. That would be fairer than what we have. Because whether or not those policies are necessary, they affect the health care market by making that care more difficult to obtain for people who can not get insurance. That is a present and persistent injustice, and part of what makes health care a civil right.

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

            So you are an all or nothing kinda guy? You aren’t on Medicaid, so is it your employer denying you? Why do you go to extremes? Do you want complete government care, or employer mandated insurance? You may not mean to, but you dismiss detractors with extremism. These extremes don’t help validate your original point. I am not a Ron Paul libertarian. He is a doctor who would just about do as you shared, then make these agencies qualify themselves. Neither extreme is helpful to the masses….they are helpful to a segment of society and that doesn’t help your argument. So if I have it right you are a victim….you feel discriminated against, and therefore, you want this to be a civil rights issue…when it may very well be your own issue???. You know I feel a bit victimized by cancer. It seems terribly unfair…but often it doesn’t discriminate. It’s great to passionately proclaim ideologies that benefit yourself….but realistically hurts a lot of people.

          • Duncan Cross

            I have done relatively well in our health care system, but have seen enough to know it’s unjust and broken. My insurance company does the denying, although my employers are complicit. Still, I have right now what is considered ‘excellent’ coverage. A just health care system might well diminish some aspects of my care, but would nonetheless guarantee my access to adequate care. I would rather have the right to health care than the empty promises of my insurer.

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

            I really do understand. Denials are painfully frustrating (one in particular was a cancer treatment we needed). I, too, have been flustered with everything from doctors, to insurers….bare with me here:) I have two children with preexisting conditions. One works for a large employer, so his previous brain tumor hasn’t been a problem. But it’s been a huge problem with denials for other unrelated, employer ordered tests (DOT government mandated alertness tests, etc.). My daughter is in college, but her employer offered her healthcare…even with the preexisting condition….but her denials for expensive treatments are bothersome…but persistence pays off. I get calls almost daily from lawyers or collectors for bills that were paid, but sold by Cleveland Clinic far too soon.

            The real point I want to make is that denials are possibly more common with government care. Look at Medicare and Medicaid denials. In Colorado one lady showed a denial letter that came with an offer to help her accomplish assisted suicide (I *think* that may be the state where the old gal is/was selling suicide kits for profit). In countries with universal care there are denials and frequently….for everything from newer drugs to treatments…old equipment that leaks radiation. I find that terrifying considering my daughter’s cancer may very well have come from a machine like that in her old orthodontist office…and her cancer spread. One young lady in the UK was denied a life saving treatment…too expensive…it was $25,000 to keep her alive. And sometimes you can’t pay cash because they fear precedents. My friend was denied an operation to save her husband’s leg. And with the appointed patient panels I can’t imagine it will get any better. You can often die, or cancer spreads while waiting on government care.

            Justice in healthcare is the utopia we discussed…..the reality is the peripherals. Patient accountability for their own health instead of pieces being picked up from bad choices (and patients don’t like being told what to do)….the dreaded death panels to contain costs….and much higher taxes like France and the UK…or VAT’s, etc. The bureaucracy is simply crazy….treatment denials…meds denied…..waits…..lack of new machines….unlearned procedures.

          • Duncan Cross

            Alice — I think you’re wrong about about the horrors of systems like the UK — I have lived in the UK, and thrived despite arriving quite sick — and even wrong that justice requires a system like the UK’s. But more importantly, you’re missing the larger picture. I don’t want a health care system that is perfect. I want a health care system that does not prevent me from pursuing and exercising my broader rights as a citizen and human being. The worst part of our current health care system is that it denies patients the right to choose their work, to participate fully in the political process, to spend our money as we wish, to pursue our happiness as we see fit. For tens of thousands who die for lack of access to care, our system denies them their very lives. Even for those with coverage, it prevents them from enjoying more basic rights. Health care is a civil right in part because it facilitates more basic rights.

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

            You lived in the UK? With private insurance Americans get there? Much better. All my relatives still live there (my hubby is a Brit…I married my aunt’s neighbor). So you are British? Otherwise you had to pay for care without a National Health ID. There is no way you had a serious illness and got great care. The stories out of there are so scary, when we travel there we live in terror of ending up sick while there….unless it’s an ear infection. They are great with care for mundane things that usually heal on their own. Healthcare is so fractured there my friend is married to a diplomat. While serving in London they had care above the usual. She had the same OB as Princess Diana and after delivering one child, she flew home to have her second. She was like, “Never again!”

          • Duncan Cross

            I was a student. I had NHS. I was very sick. I got reasonably good care. My physicians were reasonably well paid. Maintaining my care did not interfere with the rest of my life — did not prevent me from doing the things that I wanted to do. I could not have gone to school here full time under the same circumstances — student insurance policies are too stingy. Even paying full tuition, it was cheaper for me to go to school over there. But I am an American. My home is here. I want to live here, and to live freely and fully. To do so, I need adequate health care.

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

            Duncan something is wrong with the picture you paint. You either have to be a citizen, have a national identity number, or private international student insurance. But sometimes they will treat for free for minor problems (they bill travelers if it’s more than just primary care). If you were really sick you wouldn’t be a student there, so I am trying to figure out if it was a flare up….not long term care for free…and not good long term care. I can get free care there…no thanks:)

            So is it right that people who accept Medicaid and Medicare and systems like Canada and the UK who take your assets for your care? Is that a civil rights issue too? I had to sign a Medicaid Asset Recovery statement when my parents went on it….same with my mother in law in Scotland (which the NHS managed to kill with neglect. She would have, more than likely, lived here…it was a simple procedure. And they can unplug life support without family approval and we have never been successful at viewing her medical records. They belong to the government. The doctor lied. He perforated her bowel and sepsis killed her. Sure that happens here, but with government care you lose rights and better care.

          • http://profiles.google.com/reesie22 Reesie 22

            Well said. I agree.

        • http://profiles.google.com/reesie22 Reesie 22

          Duncan, go live in Indonesia or Pakistan and then tell me what we have in American is “terrible”. What you want is Communism and it has been tried and does not work and millions of people have starved to death or been executed because of it.

    • Marc

      In healthcare, unlike education, we can do better than adequate – there’s no reason not to give the current gold standard of care. In fact, anything less would be negligent.

      You also say; ‘I can’t buy the things I need.’ Not so – you can buy any health service you like in the US, although you do note the high price. But again, what you actually need is the current standard of care, as above. And the standard may well not be costly.

      • Duncan Cross

        For many things I need, I cannot buy them without a prescription — at any price. For some, I truly am not allowed to buy them (J695, TSO). This is interference with my economic rights — justifiable interference, but that does not mean we can ignore the consequences of that interference.

  • mark ard

    While I completely and wholeheartedly disagree, I’d rather not troll. I do wonder how while defending this premise, you can argue against such things as cars, food, shelter, clothes, (haircuts, Internet, electricity, cell phones) not being civil rights? You leave open such subjective arguments that the labor of others is necessary, or at least desirable for a functioning society.

    • Duncan Cross

      Food is widely recognized as a human right. The fact that we have equal housing laws makes shelter a civil right. Some countries are recognizing access to the Internet as a civil/human right. The case against cars, haircuts, and cell phones is that the government does not interfere in those markets to the extent they do for health care (or food, or housing). You can buy a cell phone, car, haircut without a prescription, and you don’t even need those to live. I cannot buy my $80 medicine without a prescription, and I need it to live. That seems to me all the difference in the world.

      • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

        So if the FDA makes many prescriptions OTC would that be fair? Should we pay for that too?

  • http://www.thehappymd.com/ Dike Drummond MD

    Great post. Every other western democracy would agree with you and has structured their healthcare systems to honor and support a minimum standard of healthcare as a civil right. Switzerland was the last to NOT have national healthcare and they voted it in by a national referendum years ago when the general population was outraged by an uninsured rate of 7%. Ours is 15% and no outrage. Curious. Have we got it right and the entire rest of the world got it wrong?

    Dike
    Dike Drummond MD
    http://www.thehappymd.com

    • ninguem

      The Swiss pay more out of pocket for healthcare than we do.

      It is reflected in access problems for lower-income Swiss. Same as we get in the USA.

      French Medicaid is Coverture Maladie Universelle (CMU). The French newspapers are filled with articles about doctors refusing their Medicaid, same as the USA.

      A French newspaper, the reporter says she called doctor’s offices, saying she has CMU, wanted an appointment, to see what happened. She says sometimes the doc just slammed down the phone on the reporter. At least my office takes the time to say “Sorry, we don’t accept Medicaid” and suggest the names of clinics that do.

      You do, of course, notice the difference between what you say “a minimum standard of healthcare is a civil right”……and the original post……”healthcare is a civil right”.

      As in, “my civil right to healthcare is whatever I say it is”.

      • http://www.thehappymd.com/ Dike Drummond MD

        Hey @ninguem .. .I assume you have private health insurance and that this discussion has no personal ramifications for you as an individual. That is true for me … so we can have an intellectual discussion here … yes ?

        Yes … I agree with the author … healthcare is a civil right AND
        in the real world where government has finite resources … that would be reflected in a minimum standard that it could afford to provide to all citizens. All government programs that support civil rights are supporting a minimum standard … it can’t be otherwise in the real world.

        If you want a higher level of healthcare services and can afford them .. you are free to purchase more. That has always been true here in the US and in any other country worldwide since the beginning of time. If you can afford premium services you can find a premium doctor to take your money and provide that care anywhere in the world.

        And where healthcare is considered a civil right — everyone is assured a floor level of care. Obamacare is attempting to do this within our flawed system by forcing the purchase of private insurance to fill in the gap … most likely a “solution” that is doomed to fail IMHO.

        And Yes … any system designed to express this civil right will be imperfect. There is nothing that resembles making sausage better than the provision of healthcare. That doesn’t mean you don’t do what is right. BTW, medicaid and medicare already provide this minimum standard to large swaths of our population IF you are old enough or poor enough.

        Your thoughts?

        Dike
        Dike Drummond MD
        http://www.thehappymd.com

        • ninguem

          Well, the first thing you need to do, is pick up a dictionary and look up the phrase “civil right”, and try to explain where healthcare, or any service provided by another human being, fits into that definition.

          I do not have a right to your services. You do not have a right to my services.

          I don’t accept Medicaid. Someone just called and asked for an appointment, my receptionist said, appropriately, that I do not accept Medicaid. Did I violate that person’s civil tights? The ER near your house is shortstaffed this Saturday night. Can I dragoon your services to the place? That’s not a fanciful statement, they tried to do that to GP’s in Quebec in 2002.

          But I thought you said healthcare was a civil right?

          Of course, actually, you say a minimal level of healthcare is a civil right. The original post is “HEALTHCARE” is a civil right. Whatever I say it is. My chiropractor says I need three manipulations a week, forever. You’re denying me my civil rights.

          • http://www.thehappymd.com/ Dike Drummond MD

            Hey ninguem … looks like you are on a personal crusade to stamp this little brush fire of a concept out. Good luck with that. There is room for a difference of opinion here … and I honor and respect your views. Hope the feeling is mutual.

            How do you feel about the 6th amendment and the right to an attorney?

            Dike
            Dike Drummond MD
            http://www.thehappymd.com

          • ninguem

            I can tell by your snarky remarks about “personal crusade”. Yeah, lots of honor and respect all right.

            6th amendment……sigh…….

            In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a
            speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district
            wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have
            been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and
            cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against
            him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor,
            and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

            Read the first four words until it sinks in.

            You have the right to an attorney when the state takes action against you in a criminal prosecution. You don’t have the right to an attorney in a civil matter against your neighbor. And you don’t have the right to a slick high-profile criminal attorney.

            I don’t have the right to an attorney for any reason, I have the right to an attorney in certain limited conditions, as when the State tries to deprive me of my civil rights, like throw me in jail.

            To just wave your hands and say health care is a “civil right”, is just feel good talk. It accomplishes nothing. I hope it makes you feel better. It means Ihave a right to whatever I say is “health care”.

            Sewer systems and fire departments are not “civil rights”. You don’t pay your sewer bill, you better be a hardship case to the local government’s satisfaction or you don’t get the service. You don’t live in a fire protection district, you don’t get fire protection and your house burns down. The fire department may show up to save lives, and to save the property of people nearby who DID pay for fire protection.

            You brought up the Swiss, what they agreed to is universal catastrophic coverage. That sounds fine to me. Bring that proposal to the USA or to my state, I’d love to look at it. You still pay cash for the routine meds. Otherwise that nine-dollar contraceptive in the open market becomes a ninety-dollar covered drug.

          • http://www.thehappymd.com/ Dike Drummond MD

            Honor and respect does not mean agree ninguem. Thanks for your thoughts here and I understand your position. I wouldn’t have asked if I wasn’t interested.
            Have a great evening,
            Dike
            Dike Drummond MD
            http://www.thehappymd.com

          • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

            Clarity is a worthy goal. I think these discussions are of high interest. I do watch these conversations closely. What seems so ideologically clear to Duncan causes me much interest. I am pressed to ask how much volunteer work the posters here are doing….particularly, the altruistic ones who want the government to pay for everything. Are they helping the poor? Are they doing something beyond proclaiming all these good intentions? While expecting doctors to take less fees, even work for free. Ultimately, it will hurt our care. I have a daughter with cancer (my second child with cancer), I have lived in the UK, and help in the innercity. It’s not a lack of understanding or an agenda….it’s an opportunity to discuss…but I fear we are giving away our rights under a false premise that just looks so startlingly good. Yes, Duncan rile the masses….but make sure you are willing to give of yourself if you feel this impassioned. Don’t expect the taxpayers to pay for your crusade. Start with yourself and one person….pay it forward. Because at this point don’t you think we owe China enough? Which I know is off topic….but what you are truly arguing for is national health….socialized medicine under the guise of civil rights?

  • ninguem

    But there are many other professions which are subject to civil
    rights claims: teachers, firefighters, lawyers, to name a few.

    Uh, no you don’t. There is nowhere in the country where you have a civil right to those services.

    You get the teachers, quantity and quality, that you choose to pay for in a community. You hire them yourself, or you contract with a nearby community for schools. You get what your government agrees to provide. You have a right to an attorney only in criminal matters with the State. You want to sue the grocery store on some slip-and-fall, or an auto accident, etc., you have to pay for that lawyer, directly or contingency. Same with firefighters.

    A friend of mine made the same comparison. We have arranged for fire protection, police, etc., why not medicine?

    Uh……….you (the friend) live up a hill on a dirt road. A regular pumper cannot make it up that road UNLESS YOU PAY TO IMPROVE THE ROAD, and your well would run dry real quick UNLESS YOU PAY TO HAVE WATER PIPED TO YOUR HOUSE, so no, your right to fire protection……..the VOLUNTEER services of that community…….is in fact very limited.

    Oh, and who is your police protection? You (friend) choose to live outside the township, low taxes and all that. What’s your police protection? The sheriff is all.

    You don’t have a civil right to these services, you get what you agree to pay for as a community.

    Refuse to pay for it as a community and you get nothing.

    My garbage service, I don’t have a civil right to that either. I pay by the can or by the bag. If I don’t want to pay, I can haul my own garbage to the dump and pay their fee. I could be like the radical recyclers and composters, and end up generating a can of trash a month. But no, I don’t have a civil right to have the garbagemen pick up my trash for free.

    • Duncan Cross

      Ninguem — reading this and other comments, you seem to misunderstand the scope of civil rights. You have a civil right to education in that you cannot be excluded from your community’s schools for reasons of race, religion, gender, and — this one is important — disability. The police and firefighters cannot refuse to protect you based on your race, religion, gender, and disability. Fire services in my community are not volunteer, incidentally — they are professionals, and they do not and cannot choose whose fires to fight. The fact that I have a right to an attorney in criminal proceedings is exactly what I meant; you also can represent yourself, along with a number of provisions which prevent you from being excluded from the justice system. You may also be surprised to learn that the Supreme Court disagrees with you at some length: Brown vs. Board of Education ( education is a civil right); Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer (housing is a civil right), etc. To the extent that our society has a health care system — and it does — sick people have a civil right to participate in that system.

      • ninguem

        Are you saying you have a right to walk in my office and demand treatment?

        • Duncan Cross

          Is your office a hospital? Then yes. In fact, the EMTALA already gives me that right, but it puts a tremendous burden on emergency departments. We would do better for patients, providers, and hospitals by acknowledging the broader right to healthcare and providing for preventive and primary treatment adequately. More specific to you, do you enjoy the protections of professional licensing? Did you get any Federal student loans during your education? Were any of the techniques, treatments, or medicines you use in your practice developed with public resources? Then I do think I have some claim on your skills. So, yes, I do think I should have the right to demand treatment from you — but also that you have a right to be fairly compensated for that treatment. Neither of us in fact enjoys those rights under the present laws.

          • ninguem

            Not a hospital, EMTALA does not apply. My own private office. I pay the bills.

            So, you think that you have a claim on my services? Because, what, I walked on a sidewalk or flushed a toilet into a sewer? Because I want to a public school? The same schools and sewers and sidewalks you use as well?

            Good.

            I think I have a right to demand that you come by and clean my office.

          • Duncan Cross

            You do not need a clean office to live. I did not make your office dirty. I need health care to live. Your license helps make health care expensive. It’s not apples to apples.

          • ninguem

            And I’m out of here, I’ll leave you loons to yourself.

          • http://profiles.google.com/reesie22 Reesie 22

            You do need a clean environment to practice medicine and care for the injured and sick. Germs kill. People trip over clutter and get hurt. THen OSHA (the govt) attacks the physician and fines him and puts him out of business. What are the protections his license gives to him? It’s bureaucratic red tape that makes govt bureaucracts get money from the person risking his money and time to create a business that creates jobs. A person sacrifices 16 yrs of their life studying, learning, being on call for days at a time…they sacrifice sleep and time with their spouses and children in order to become proficient enough to care for our lives and save our lives. While Duncan is at his kid’s ballet recital and baseball game, and at dinner every night with his family and going to entertainment venues, and hanging out at the bar watching football, the physician is bound to provide on call care to patients who are sick and dying. That physician doesn’t make much money at all until he/she is in their 40s. So if it takes them that long and they have to work that hard, so that finally in their 40s they can get a nice car and house, then more power to them and thank you to them from the bottom of my heart for all the years they sacrificed and went into debt to become a physician to save me and my family’s lives. I don’t have a right to demand services from them or force them to work for nothing in return. Just like they can’t demand that a carpenter come to their house and build them an add-on room to their house for free. Nothing is free. When you demand free services and products from people, you take away their incentive to work. Have you not studied the evils of Communism, i.e. Joseph Stalin, Vladimir Lenin, Mao te Sung, Kim Jong Il, Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro. It doesn’t work!! Socialism and Communism have failed everywhere they’ve been tried throughout history. I think I have a right to the food in Duncan’s refrigerator and I should be able to live in his house, and drive his cars…because I need that and it is my right.

  • http://www.twitter.com/alicearobertson Alice Robertson

    Every worthy cause is no longer a “civil right”. Are you saying it’s a right or a responsibility of mankind. There is a difference.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002576603506 Tom Keeling

    For every right, there is a responsibility. Unless a citizen is compliant with medical advice and agrees to not fill their body with drugs, on a daily basis, they should not expect to enjoy these so called civil rights, IMO.

  • Mark

    You’re insane. As a physician the fruits of my labor are no one’s rights. You need to stop advancing your worthless liberal agenda.

  • birdmom3

    Why should a person who has no health care and cannot afford the premium for the health insurance be forced to buy it? The reason I do not have health insurance and have not seen any doctor or gone to a hospital emergency room is that I cannot afford to pay their bills later on. And also be able to pay my rent, electric, telephone and food bills. That is why ACA does not help me. It only helps the Health Insurance companies. What good is buying the insurance if I cannot afford it and cannot use it. I just priced Broadband computer internet services for my home computer. And after 3 months the price goes up to a higher price– out of my budget. I turned it down. But I am not forced to do that. Nor am I forced to buy car insurance when I do not have a car. I cannot agree that ACA has helped anyone who cannot afford health care, to help the uninsured. I worked 25 years and I am on my pension and social security, so do not tell me that I am a bum who does not care about my health. I am sick of all of you missing the point. If it is too expensive, then that is why we cannot afford it. And ask any Doctor that if I had no money and I was sick, I am sure you would not treat me for free. Nor on a treat me now and pay later. Not when I do not have credit. And hospitals will garnish an unpaid bill. I have been there. Remember– NOBODY LISTENED TO THE PEOPLE. We did not want the ACA ACT..

    • Taradino C.

      The ACA provides subsidies for those who can’t afford the premium, so yes, it does help you.

  • birdmom3

    You have to 400% below the poverty line to qualify for free State Health Care. My social worker at the charity checked for me. The income guidelines are somewhere in the bill in the 2000 pages of the law. I do not qualify. My social security and my pension make me above that line. I live in S.C. and Gov. Haley already told the President Obama she will not follow the guidelines for the ACA act in this state. And I am 63 suffering from Meniere’s disease. Slowly going deaf. Is this any way to treat me. I do not think so. When I priced out the cost of a visit to an Ear doctor I was told I needed to see an internist first. And I do not have health insurance now. And when I asked if I could have my medical file sent to the new ENT doctor from my old one since I had moved away from the other city. I was told I had to go through a gate keeper exam anyway. That would cost about $300 not counting tests. I could not do anything. I am without medicine to keep the hearing from deteriorating and it is frustrating. Health Care is a mess in the USA. I hope you understand that some of us have hardships. Retirement was supposed to be something we can look forward to. After being a good citizen and paying an estate tax, we needed to live on pensions. And that is not easy with the cost of living. The entire system in this country needs to be fixed. Politicians seem to do nothing but bicker like children while getting free health care.

  • David T.

    There is some weapons grade stupidity in these comments. Physicians are not slaves.

    After Tuesday, Obamacare and socialism is going to be finished for this generation. See ya in 100 years, progressives/communists/whatever you call each other now.

  • Sheryl

    I am a nurse currently with no insurance. I am post op 4 months total hysterectomy, bilateral inguinal removal. This is secondary to cervical cancer. I basically want to know one thing? What, where, and who can help me in this predicament? I have worked my entire life and paid into the system so to speak. I started a new job but have to wait the 90 day standard for benefits. I have also relocated for this position. I want to be compliant and take care of myself. Anyone have any suggestions in how I can see an oncologist/ gynocoligist. I make too much money for any type of health care insurance program. Are there any resources available to me? Can you call up and just make a payment plan? I have called several hospitals and referrals and to know avail here in CT. I have been told I can’t be seen with out insurance. Any suggestions? It would be appreciated.

    • Sheryl

      Forgive error using phone (typo) – to no avail.

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