Buy My Book Here

Fox News Ticker

Please check out my new books, "Bullied to Death: Chris Mackney's Kafkaesque Divorce and Sandra Grazzini-Rucki and the World's Last Custody Trial"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wealth, Health Care, and Fundamental Rights

In today's Huffington Post, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. makes this stunning suggestion.

Because our current economic crisis is forcing us to think outside the box, one topic worthy of renewed discussion is health care. What if the Constitution said: "All citizens shall enjoy the right to health care of equal high quality and the Congress shall have the power to implement this article by appropriate legislation?"

Beyond the obvious benefits of greater and better health care itself, imagine the economic consequences: thousands of doctors and nurses being trained; new medical colleges established and older ones expanded; increased medical research; a massive preventive health care industry springing up; new hospitals in needy urban and rural areas with the private sector, federal, state, county and local governments all working cooperatively under the authority granted by the Constitution and Congress.

The absence of this human right as a health care constitutional amendment has major economic consequences as well. Preventive medicine is almost entirely missing from our current health care system, which costs taxpayers billions.

As such, Congressman Jackson Jr. doesn't merely believe that health care should be a right, but he wants the Constitution to be amended so that the right the quality health is forever ingrained into the Constitution. Even more stunning is the comparison Jackson makes to "prove" his point.

The Constitution is the wall that surrounds everything within it. The current wall consists of material from two central sources: a supreme law and the free enterprise system. The Constitution gives direction and authority to Congress, the president, federal agencies and to the states (under the Tenth Amendment). It is this sacred document that also grants the free market, our laissez-faire capitalist system, the legal authority to operate.

The First Amendment illustrates the interaction between these two wall-building materials -- the public and the private sides. That familiar amendment states that Congress shall make no law prohibiting or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. That's it! The Constitution doesn't say USA Today, New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Defender, AM, FM, Satellite Radio, Newsweek, Time, Channels 2, 5, 7, or 9, PBS or CNN. Nor does it state cell phones, i-phones, the internet, and on-and-on. So, while it's impossible to truly determine the economic impact of the First Amendment, the Constitution clearly has a major impact to our nation's economic vitality

It's true that media has proliferated in part because none of them are worried that the government will step in to silence them. That said, the government is not doing anything to threaten someone from entering the health care field despite health care not being a right. The comparison is totally ridiculous and fallacious. Jackson Jr. doesn't stop there. He sees the right to health care as a necessity because we are already spending an enormous amount on health care.

How can we afford such a system? Without a constitutional right to health care we already spend nearly twice as much as any other developed nation in the world -- about $2.5 trillion or 16% of our GDP -- yet nearly fifty million Americans are without health insurance and often receive their care in the most expensive manner possible, in the local hospital emergency room.

With a health care constitutional amendment, instead of plugging a hole in the dike, we would be building a wall with a strong and solid foundation. Instead of spending money on more band-aids, a revised Constitution would give direction to a unique American purpose and, over time, solve an historic problem. And with American innovation we could put millions of Americans to work expanding a more balanced economic system on the solid foundation of health care for all. Health care would be a human right protected by the American people in our Constitution.

In other words, in the view of those like Jackson Jr. anything that we spend an enormous amount of money on needs to be considered a right. This sort of a thought is extremely dangerous. There are lots of things that government spends an enormous amount of money on: housing, food, jobs, research, etc. By Jackson's line of thinking, all of these things should also be rights. After all, our country spends hundreds of billions yearly on housing and yet not everyone has their own home. If you think as Jackson does, the only way to make this a reality is to make home ownership a right. This is frankly exactly the sort of thought process that eventually leads right to Socialism.

No comments: