Healthcare is a Right

We’ve heard Democrats and hard-left liberals all over America repeat the chant: healthcare is a right. You should never, ever deny coverage to a person who needs it. To deny that coverage is sick and wrong. You’re inhumane if you do that. I get very tired of hearing that mantra being repeated.

There’s a few facts that liberals don’t take into consideration. First of all, if you’re not paying much for a good health plan, then yes – you stand a chance of being denied for certain coverage. My full-time job provides options for health insurance that is actually very good, and I have not once been denied coverage for any procedure I have ever needed. A month ago, while working out, I found a lump on my left bicep; lesser insurance plans wouldn’t have covered the ultrasound I needed to determine whether any other tests needed to be done. My insurance covered it without question. I pay more for it and get more out of it. That’s how insurance works. I’ve had friends and relatives denied for the exact same test, but upon further discussion I discover that they’re only covered by cheap companies that won’t shell out money for coverage on anything that isn’t essential.

Requiring that every insurance company and every plan cover everything from alternative therapies to essential services to some cosmetic procedures has sent premiums sky-high, but you won’t hear liberals admit that. Obamacare is important to them so they’ll put their hands over their ears and scream and shout until they can’t hear those of us who speak reason. They claim that “death panels” don’t exist in government healthcare – then they denounce Arizona’s Republican governor, Jan Brewer, for setting up exactly that on the Arizona government healthcare program, known as AHCCCS. The beef they have with Brewer is that her administration worked to cut funding to some services previously covered by AHCCCS, including some organ transplants. It cracks me up to think about all the vehemence that spewed forth from liberals, particularly from the likes of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, when talking about the Republicans’ use of the term “death panels” to describe the bureaucracy that would result if a single-payer government healthcare system were approved by the Democrat supermajority. Why? Because after Jan Brewer’s number-crunchers decided that the looming health care bill from the feds was going to put an undue hardship on the state, “Arizonans Against Brewercare” sprang up overnight and we had Democrats decrying REPUBLICANS for “death panels.”

Should I feel vindicated? Because in a way, I do.

The latest news out of Pennsylvania angers me almost beyond description. I am infuriated at Democrat governor Ed Rendell right now; multiple mayors of Pennsylvania cities, including Philly mayor Michael Nutter (his name is fitting, I think), supported his decision to veto a bill that would have eased restrictions on worker’s compensation for firefighters and other EMS/rescue workers who are diagnosed with certain types of cancer.

A lot of people don’t know that the last few years have produced a great deal of information on firefighters and cancer. Male firefighters are highly prone to testicular and prostate cancer, while all firefighters are highly prone to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cancer of the blood) and multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow). Firefighters and their support crews are exposed to smoke, ash and soot, all of which carry multiple carcinogens (particularly when the burning building they’re trying to put out is made from now-banned building materials). For a long time, in many states, cancer has been one of those conditions that firefighters have had to prove that their cancer is directly related to their job, and with all four of those cancers – as I said, prominent among firefighters – it is very difficult to prove that. The Cancer Presumption Bill, as it has been dubbed, would have put the burden on the fire departments to prove that the cancer actually wasn’t a product of decades of fighting fires and protecting the public. It would have provided much-needed benefits for firefighters whose insurance and other benefits wouldn’t completely cover it.

Why did Rendell veto the bill? He’s bitching that it costs too much. What’s more, he’s apparently a complete idiot about which forms of cancer firefighters are most susceptible to. He only wanted a bill to cover lung cancer, and believe it or not, the others I mentioned are MORE prevalent.

Please, somebody, explain to me right now exactly why liberals were so irritable when Sarah Palin warned of government death panels over the cost of healthcare. Olbermann, Maddow, Pelosi, Reid, and the Big O himself all barked in laughter at the notion that bureaucratic panels would convene to decide what the government would be willing to pay for and what would be too expensive. The aforementioned journalists took it a step further and openly insulted conservatives like us for suggesting such a notion, denying that they existed…nevermind the fact that they do exist in England, Canada, Spain and other nations.

We now have proof positive in two separate forms that government control of healthcare would be a disaster waiting to happen. As an EMT studying to be a paramedic and hopefully to be a firefighter, I don’t want to one day find that my desire to do something worthwhile in this world has resulted in a medical condition that not only can I not pay for, but the public I served refuses to cover because the government they elected isn’t willing to help. This ranks right up there with Robert Gates suggesting that military healthcare benefits from Tricare be more expensive for our veterans, if not done away with entirely.

I have never been the kind of person to attempt to use my status to get anything for free. Those I respect the most don’t think that we deserve special treatment. Part of it is humility. Part of it is giving back. When it comes to the hazards of our job, though, we’d like to have some backup from the governments we work for.

As for the liberals wailing about healthcare reform…you’re all a troupe of liars and thieves who base your entire set of arguments on irrational emotions rather than logic. I’m sure we’ll never hear a single apology about the insults we took over death panels, but you’re making hypocrites out of yourselves and everyone knows it. Illegal immigrants and prison inmates get better care than rank-and-file citizens, better even than soldiers, police officers and firefighters. How about we make those guys work for their own damn healthcare and give all that money to those who are more deserving?


9 thoughts on “Healthcare is a Right

  1. You’re exactly right, Mel. Firefighters are knowingly risking their lives and future health for *us*. I feel perfectly comfortable in saying we owe them something back, and coverage of the cancers they are prone to from job related activities is the least of it.

    It’s utterly ridiculous that someone would argue against this, and then that SAME person argues that health care should be free and all encompassing for the indigent. While I don’t like the idea of people being denied health care (and having had times in my life where we had no insurance, I’m also well aware that there are free clinics almost everywhere that charge on a sliding scale – so I fail to see some of the urgency here), I DO believe that we get what we pay for.

    And it sucks, but that is what it is. I’ve been on both sides, and I will say that having no insurance sure motivated me to finish college and get a job with excellent insurance coverage.

  2. If I were to play Devil’s advocate here I would say that regards the firefighters no one solution is proper.
    Firefighters are required to utilize safety standards and equipment. I’ve also never failed to be amazed at the prevalence of risk behaviors found in firefighters such as smoking. One of my weirdest memories as a paramedic was watching a Boston firefighter take off his Scott Pak mask and lean out a second story window and light up a smoke.

  3. Things are different today. Not a single one of the firefighters I know smokes, and I work in a big city. They keep two sets of turnouts now, so when they go fight a fire they put the set they used in the cleaner and pull out the second set. The only piece of gear they allow to remain dirty is their helmet, and I’ve seen some rookies put their helmets in the oven to try to blacken them.

  4. ” Olbermann, Maddow, Pelosi, Reid, and the Big O himself all barked in laughter at the notion that bureaucratic panels would convene to decide what the government would be willing to pay for and what would be too expensive.”

    Umm….that is kind of exactly what health insurance companies do. Health insurance companies look at the cost of medical procedures, their benefit and how a procedure fits the patients given needs. Any health insurance company that pays for it all will go bankrupt. Any national health care system that pays for anything and everything will go bust too.

    I wonder what Then there was that incident about two years ago in Canada. A woman was about to give birth to indentical quadruplets. She could not find a maternity ward in Alberta that had a bed. So, she and her husband drove to Great Falls, MT to have their babies. No disrepect to the people of Great Falls, but it is not a medical mecca. I guess birthing four babies at once is not a big deal? It certainly wasn’t in Great Falls. Funny how in an entire province not one bed could be found for this woman. Either Canadians have very few materinity wards or their people love to make babies and a rapid pace.

  5. “You should never, ever deny coverage to a person who needs it. ”

    Huh? So if I run an insurance company I have to by government authority enter into a contract with someone where I will lose money AND I know this before I sign the contract? Name one other business where that is the law?

    ONe can argue highways and freeways are a right. But, that doesn’t mean we make construction companies build them for zero profit or at a loss.

  6. I work for a church and we naturally try to help people who come in asking for it. But we can’t help everyone either. We have to balance what we have to give and what we can do and too what the person actually needs (like asking 3 churches for Thanksgiving Baskets) versus wants.
    It infuriates me to hear that health care is a “right.” I had no healthcare for several years but luckily I’m single so no one was depending on me. One thing that made me take this job (other than my uncle was dying and he wanted me to take over) despite the not great pay is that it had healthcare. It made me want to try harder to get an added benefit.
    When will they be calling free cars a “right?” Please don’t make me take a Government Motors one! I have enough problems Found On Road Dead;-)
    AndyB, NH.

  7. John – I think there’s a continuum of denial, if that makes any sense. Some things should never be turned away.

    For instance, I agree that emergency rooms should not be able to turn away people in life threatening circumstances despite an inability to pay. However, because of fear of legal action – NO ONE is turned away at the emergency room, no matter how ridiculous their reason for going is. I wish I had an answer for this, but the only thing I can think of is reforming our legal system.

    Which I actually think is VASTLY overdue for an overhaul. I’d like to see a loser pays provision for civil suits, for starters – but that’s aside from the overall point about health care.

    Other than that, as much as I hate to say it – we do become stratified according to our ability to pay for health care, and we are STILL stratified even if the gov’t steps up to cover people. Resources are not infinite. And that will smack me in the head as soon as it will smack anyone else, because AF Family is far from rich. I don’t even get a yearly physical – I go to the doctor only if I have a medical condition that needs attention. I have better things to spend my co-pay on, quite frankly.

    It’s worked pretty well for me so far. I rather wish more people would try it, because from what I’ve seen, most “preventative” health care doesn’t really prevent much, it just makes a lot of people junkies for Dr. visits.

  8. “Other than that, as much as I hate to say it – we do become stratified according to our ability to pay for health care, and we are STILL stratified even if the gov’t steps up to cover people.”

    I totally agree AFW. Here in CA good luck finding any doctor, dentist or even a supplier of hearing aids or eyeglasses that accepts Medi-Cal (Medicaid). Being poor in CA and being on Medi-Cal can be almost like having no insurance. If you can’t get access to a doctor, then what good does Medi-Cal do? That state all but herds people to the ER.

    If there is a government run option then that insurance or this insurance exchange program that is to come will only be as effective as the medical providers who accept that form of coverage. If enough of them opt out, then we are where California is with Medi-Cal, plenty of people on the program and few businesses that will accept it.

    If you were to all ask me what I think the best solution is then I would share this:

    Eventually every human being that is alive now will die. There is no way out of that. But it is how we pass on that can make or break the budget and more important the quality of our respective lives.

    A former boss of mine lost his wife to lymphoma. She was over 70 years of age. She lived a rich and rewarding life. When she was diagnosed she wanted to go after the cancer with everything that was out there. Indeed, that is what happened. But for a very brief remission of 4 months, her final two years on Earth were horrible. Chemo, radiation, and all of the side effects that went with it. I don’t know how much all of that cost and that really isn’t the point. Rather, how much better would her life have been if less aggressive measures were taken? She may not have lived any longer. But I am certain it would have been a higher quality of life.

    Sadly her husband (my boss) was diagnosed with bone cancer a year after she died. He elected to let nature take its course. He chose hospice. He had a good death. He did not suffer unbearable pain or the side effects of cancer treatment. He got to make his peace because he knew what was coming.

    If your loved ones do not know how you want your end of life care to be handled, then do your loved ones a favor and let them know. Make the choice now because it is your choice. Let the ones who will make the decision know what your decision is now because a day may come where you can’t communicate that. If that happens then your loved ones can only guess and family tends to guess on the safe side of more intervention not less.

    So if we all accept one day we will die and we make our wishes known regarding end of life care, then we are on our way to a better health system and better quality of life. As it stands now, end of life care costs us $30 billion dollars a year. Those costs are not going down and our nation is getting older.

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