Lawyer and blogger Doug Masson blogged yesterday about “Ron Paul’s ‘Let Them Die Question.'” I’m no Wolf Blitzer, but I have a few questions of my own.
Just as a reminder:
Wolf Blitzer posed the question to Ron Paul of an apparently healthy thirty year old who decides not to buy insurance because he thinks he’s healthy; but then something unexpected happens and he requires expensive medical treatment. What should happen to that guy? Rep. Paul responded that a guy should be able to choose their own risks. Blitzer pushed just a bit further, “should we let him die?” The obvious, though unpleasant answer to that — following Rep. Paul’s logic to its conclusion, is yes. Paul hedged on saying, “yes.” But, members of the audience shouted out the answer for him; perhaps with undue enthusiasm.
(Doug Masson’s summary) To that, I would add that Blitzer said the 30-year-old could afford health insurance, which strikes me as relevant.
- Suppose that 30 year old was leasing a BMW 5-Series or Mercedes E-Class with the money he could have spent on insurance.
- Would that matter?
- Would that be self-indulgent, and a tacit refusal to get into the insurance pool to the likely benefit of neighbor?
- Is he referring to the 30 year old?
- If not, why not?
- Is the 30 year old exempt from the charge?
- Who else is exempt?
- When the bills goes unpaid, will it tend to increase doctor and hospital charges to those who can pay?
- Will that tend to increase health insurance premiums to those who defer the BMW/Mercedes gratification in order to pay for health care?
- Is that fair?
- Wasn’t that a rhetorical question, to which everyone knew the answer was “no”?
- Did God reprimand him with “Yes, you are”?
- Did God even imply “Yes, you are?”
- Wasn’t the real problem not that Cain had, like the priest and Levite, passed by wounded Abel, but the he’d killed him?
- Did God refuse to let Cain change the subject to gaseous platitudes about “brother’s keeper”?
- What question was Jesus answering when he told the “Parable of the Good Samaritan”?
- If this parable were played out today in the USA, outside of Minnesota and Vermont, would the priest and Levite be legally obliged to do anything to help?
- Why then is some unidentified someone tacitly obliged (assuming that Blitzer’s question really was passively voiced, i.e., “What should happen to the guy?”) to pay the 30 year old’s medical bills?
- How dare they?! That parable is from the Bible! I thought we had separation of Church and State!
- What business is it of government whether I “inherit eternal life”?
- In your Christian America, would we care for the 30 year old on the basis of the Good Samaritan “precedent”?
- Would we instead leave the 30 year old to die because “if anyone will not work, neither shall he eat,” and in this case “work” means “buy health insurance”?
- How do you decide?
- Which Biblical experts get to have a say? Must they be Real Christians® – i.e., Evangelicals with theonomist tendencies?
- Where, if not from stories like the Good Samaritan, do you get the idea that we’re obliged to help those who are in a bind because of stupid choices like traveling alone on the road to Jericho or “going bare” of health insurance?
- If we’re not a Christian nation, whence arises the national obligation to do things Christ commended to individuals as a means to their inheriting eternal life?
- Would you care to retract any words you’ve uttered about the baneful effects of Christianity?
- Do people have a right to health care?
- Is that a basic human right?
- How good and cutting edge must the care be to comply with this human right?
- If someone chooses to move 60 miles beyond the end of the power grid, do the rest of us have an obligation to extend the grid, and to build and staff a hospital, to protect that human right?
- What’s the difference between a “want” and a “right”?
I could probably go on all day and all night, but I wouldn’t respect me in the morning. Feel free to chime in with your own similarly pointed questions (pointed at either side), provided you don’t expect answers from me. What do I know anyway? I’m just full of questions.
I’ve assumed for decades that national health care was inevitable, not because it answers all these questions but because health care is not an unlimited resource, and we’re likely to settle on national health care as at least being a democratic way to allocate it, “Democracy” having become more highly valued than “freedom.”