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"Right to Health Care/Right to Life/Slavery" arguments

Discussion in 'Political Discussion' started by PatsFanInVa, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. PatsFanInVa

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    There are a number of bumper-sticker style arguments out there that change to suit the situation, regarding a "right to life," "no right to health care," "no responsibility for those who don't work," etc. One recent broadside that got a lot of support here recently was Ron Paul's declaration that if a Doctor has to work for a health care system w/government involved in the insurance system, it amounts to slavery... and on and on.

    We all remember the Terry Shiavo case a few years back. It was about removing a feeding tube from a woman in a vegetative state.

    Let's just say that removing the tube would be an invasive act that amounts to a murder. This was the religious right position, and we'll start the conversation from there: the tube must stay in, because we're stipulating the religious rightist position that letting nature take its course is wrong in this case.

    I would like to figure something out here, based on the above-mentioned bumper sticker arguments.

    The tube itself doesn't fabricate food paste out of thin air.

    There are trained personnel who hang bags of food once a day and turn on a pump to get the food into Terry's belly.

    Someone hangs that bag, and someone turns on that machine. And of course, someone pays for that machine and for the people who hang the bags and the like.

    1. If we dictate that they must hang a bag of food and turn on a machine, isn't that slavery?

    2. If we can't deny an obligation to hang the next bag of food paste, how do we deny an obligation to treat any other condition that will end in earlier death?

    So how about it? Can you COERCE medical personnel to hang the next bag of food paste or fluids, and turn on the machine?

    Remember, nobody's talking about that affirmative act of removing the tube. We're just not turning the machine on again or hanging another bag of paste.

    We won't even get into the "No-work-no-eat" meme. We'll stick to "right to health/Right to life" stuff for the time being.

    PFnV
  2. Hamar

    Hamar Rookie

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    I did not see that situation in the same way. What I heard over and over was that only God could decide if she lived or died. The incredible part of all that was that people could not see that God had already made a decision.
  3. Harry Boy

    Harry Boy Look Up, It's Amazing PatsFans.com Supporter

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    There are some that say "we shouldn't play God and remove the tubes, they say we should keep the vegetables alive"

    I say "we shouldn't play God and put them in there in the first place"

    GOD IS CALLING THAT VEGETABLE HOME. LET THEM GO.

    I have "No Life Support" all over my Will, every doctor in New England knows they better not put those f-cking tubes down my throat.
  4. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    And the point, or question, is what exactly?
  5. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    I am not sure why you thought that idea came from Ron Paul, but let's put that aside. Why are you convinced that the philosophical difference between claim rights and liberty rights (or negative rights vs. positive rights) comes from a bumper sticker? It predates Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms" starting with the rise of Socialism. In the 1850's Bastiat addressed the idea of the law being used to guarantee claim rights:

    Bastiat: Selected Essays, Chapter 2, The Law (Cain translation) | Library of Economics and Liberty
    The idea that "rights" are centered around liberty is much older. Everyone's favorite demography bore and Islamophobe had this to say just a couple of days ago:

    Mark Steyn: The all-you-can-eat salad bar of rights | rights, government, free - Opinion - The Orange County Register
    If the family is saying "we won't pay" and the State backs them up, then sure. Presumably the hospital/hospice staff were paid in the case above. If the State said that the obligation fell to the manufacturers and the local union for nurses aides then that would be compulsive labor. I believe that Terry's care was funded by a guardianship account.

    What you are missing is that cases like this arise when the person on life support does not have a legal document outlining their wishes and delegating someone to make decisions (living will/healthcare proxy). That leaves people in a position to try and guess what they would have wanted. One group wants to err on the side of keeping them alive while another group views things in terms of limited resources. We get it that you have no respect for the first group.

    This appears to be a case like emergency room care. That is another scenario where you cannot be refused care regardless of ability to pay so a "right to healthcare" has existed for sometime now (although when arguing about the HC situation pre-Obamacare single-payer advocates denied that this provided any protection for those in dire straits at all). The difference to me is that it puts some limits around the availability of "free" care. Can you imagine if the law stated that the same rules applied to every single medical provider? There wouldn't be a need for insurance (Google "free rider problem"). That is where the idea that HC is a "right" leads.

    How were Schiavo's caretakes coerced? The bills were paid. If it ended up being one of those cases where the assets had been exhausted and now the hospital or the state was getting stuck with the bill, then we are closer to what I think you are trying to bring up.

    Actually, it sounds like you are talking about who will cover the bill. The people in your example were all paid.
  6. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #12 Jersey

    Kind of strange you would feel confidant enough to make that statement, Brandon, seeing as how you really know nothing of what our family has or has not done in this very situation. I can confidantly speak for both MrP and myself in saying that we have the utmost respect for any family member who is called upon to make such a decision, regardless of what their decision ends up being. We recognize that each case is individual and must be judged as such.

    I don't thnk that's at all what he was trying to bring up - but since you've "gone there" let me point out that if anyone lives long enough with an artifically prolonged life, the hospital or the state is definitely going to get "stuck with the bill," because Medicare and private insurances do not cover nursing home care beyond 30 day at full price and the next 60 days at partial payment and beyond that - nothing at all.

    Yes, they were....by Medicare and Medicaid.



    Schiavo Case Puts Face on Rising Medical Costs (washingtonpost.com)

    I don't think the getting paid, not getting paid or who pays it has anything to do with the morality or immorality of a decision regarding the removal of life support systems, however. At least it has no bearing on anything MrP or I would decide. Perhaps you feel differently, however, and that's why you've brought it up.
  7. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    Who said anything about your family? I was talking about the Schiavo case and others like it. Get over yourself.

    If the assets have been exhausted. Which (as you stated below) they hadn't, so why was Medicaid picking up the tab?


    How is that slavery for the people who actually provided care?


    It has to do with whether the work required is slavery. Please refer to the OP.
  8. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #12 Jersey

    Well, if "my family" has been involved in such a decision, wouldn't that qualify as "and others like it?"

    Because when a couple is married, assests are considered "joint," and, while I have no idea of how a settlement is included in that, apparently it is.....the spouse of a person on public aid is allowed to keep a certain portion of cash assets as well as the entire house (if there is one) and an automobile and enough money per month to cover household expenses. Plus, Terry Schaivo had been transferred to a hospice and hospice care IS covered under Medicare while nursing homes are not. Terry, as is any other disabled person, was entitled to be covered under Medicare.

    I'll wait for MrP to answer that one....no fair that I get all the "fun."
  9. The Brandon Five

    The Brandon Five Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    You mean you advised a family member not to legally document their wishes? The point is that the reason there is an argument is because the wishes of the actual person were not recorded. I am sorry if you went through a difficult decision like that. It does not invalidate the strong feelings of people who want to keep someone alive. I wasn't taking a side, just offering my assessment of why we even know about a case like Schiavo's.

    I was assuming that the assets in the guardianship account would be spent down entirely, but I'd have to check with a Medicaid expert to know for sure.

    Ok, that makes sense (Medicare).
  10. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #12 Jersey

    And I was not "taking a side," either, I don't think.

    And no, I would never advise a family member not to legally document their wishes...on the contrary, I encourage everyone I know to do just that.

    Be that as it may, I gotta tell you, from what I've observed, both personally and in the decades of ER work, even with wishes well documented, if even one family member wants something different done, it's going to create a nightmare. Even when a person has made their wishes not to be kept alive by artificial means known beforehand, and done so legally and in writing (unlike Terry Schaivo whose husband said she had told him she would not want to live in a vegatative state but did not document that wish) if a spouse, a parent, a sibling or a child says, "Keep them alive," the doctors are going to keep them alive if that patient is currently unable to speak for themselves and verify that their wishes have not changed. If there are no written directives, and 9 family members say, "let him go," and 1 says, "Keep my dad alive," they will keep him alive. The family's only recourse will be to go to the ethics committee or a court of law and argue their case.

    The laws are different state by state, but I do know that in all 50 states that if a spouse is alive, the assets do not get totally spent down because, legally, half of all cash assets belong to each spouse and the family home is left to the person living in it without attachment of any kind.
  11. PatsFanInVa

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    Notwithstanding the two lengthy passels of unproven assertions, some french and old, others english and more recent, I think we can cut to the core questions with some concision, if not brevity:

    1. Who equated the affordable care act with slavery?

    You are right, it's not Ron Paul, it's Rand Paul. Here is the argument:

    Rand Paul equates Obamacare w/ slavery | Mofo Politics

    Silly me, they share a last name and half of their DNA, and are both libertarian politicians (who, despite the hairs I've seen split here, are pretty close in terms of their politics.)

    So, the example is Rand, not Ron, Paul, until such time as someone asks Ron Paul point blank and he agrees w/Rand.

    2. Paul kicks off with the slavery silliness, equates it with a right to health care, and at the very end, does talk about a right to free health care.

    Notwithstanding the fact that nobody even had or has a bill on the floor for "free" health care, it does not actually matter, in terms of whether the provider is a slave, even in Paul's hyperbolic rhetoric.

    If my insurance has a zero deductible, and I pay X in premiums, it is "free" for me to get, for example, a flu shot. However, you are still paid for administering the flu shot.

    After a bunch of hyperbole, which had even a somewhat dull-looking staffer seated behind him furrowing her brow, he does get around to sliding in the word "free," but it isn't tied to the actual main body of the argument, which has to do w/the government kicking down his door, dragging him out, and forcing him to perform some sort of medical practice.

    The "elements" of slavery, even in Paul's world, cannot extend to whether or not I pay; rather, they have to do with

    a) "coercion," such as one finds in any other contract, and
    b) some requirement that the physician, janitor, nurse, what have you, work for free.

    (b) is not part of the affordable care act; and so we can only assume that throwing in "free health care" at the end was an afterthought. His real problem is the "coercion" of physicians, janitors, nurses, etc., to provide health care (or janitorial services.)

    So, in the Schiavo example, it is not that important whether they had sold their home in order to pay the medical bills. What matters, from the point of view of Paul's hyperbole, is whether the medical personnel are "coerced" into working.

    But one does have to wonder why people who make mistakes in their medicaid/direct pay financial transition are not prosecuted under slavery statutes.

    BUT, let's say that money is the defining plank of Paul's argument. In that case, we have no problem with the health care bill, since no part of it requires doctors, nurses, or janitors to work for free. Nor would we have any problem with national health care like the Brits have. Doctors in Britain, nurses, janitors, et al., are all paid.

    3. Having dispensed with the Ron/Rand confusion, and the confusion about the claim itself, let's return to the Schiavo dilemma.

    a. If slavery arises from the question of whether medical personnel are paid, neither the recently enacted legislation, nor the Shiavo case, involve slavery.

    b. If slavery arises from the coercion of medical personnel to perform some medically related service, one could argue the slavery hyperbole, although one would be incorrect. Obviously, if one can go and be something else, one is not a slave. One might not like having to work within a certain system of payment because it disturbs one's political sensibilities, but nobody is dragging doctors from their homes and forcing them to do a given procedure. The very fact that he can say "screw this, I'm going to do something else for a living!" makes it not slavery.

    Sounds grim, but that would be paradise for an actual slave. Of course, since practicing medicine does not change based on whether people have insurance, it's no more like that than it's ever been.

    In the Shiavo case, similarly, a nurse who did not want to hang the food paste or flip on the machine would be free to go get another job.

    However, rightists wanted the state to compel whoever was taking care of Shiavo to keep turning on that machine and hanging the paste.

    In Paul's hyperbolic world, the nurse becomes a "slave" if the state makes this demand.

    This is what the Shiavo position has in common with Paul's rhetoric.

    The ridiculous rhetoric is as follows, and recapitulates in part the windy french quote you provided:

    "If you have a right to health care, that means I am a slave."

    IF the ridiculous rhetoric is correct for the affordable care act, it is correct for the Shiavo case.

    If the state can dictate that Shiavo be kept alive, the nurse hanging the bag is a slave, just as if the state makes sure people can get medical care (even via an insurance contract, no less,) doctors -- according to Randy -- are slaves.

    Have you come to terms with the similarities in the arguments yet?

    -------------

    As regards your statement of who I or the Mrs. have sympathy for, please restrict the discourse to facts in evidence, rather than flights of fancy. You don't know who I do or don't have sympathy for, as the Mrs. pointed out. There's no need to belabor it, but if you missed what set her off, there's your culprit.

    PFnV
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2012
  12. Real World

    Real World Moderator Staff Member

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    If that's brevity I'd hate to see what "in depth" would look like. :D

    B5
    The hard math can't be ignored. When individual rights, as well as personal responsibility are trampled on and replaced with a collectivists utopia of free services for all, the "hard math" will eventually add up to equal Greece.
  13. PatsFanInVa

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    More lofty rights theory. Meanwhile, you've done enough pretzel logic that people who can leave a job if they choose, and are paid to do that job, are "slaves" because someone else has access to their services -- which has nothing to do with "slavery."

    Let's put it another way, taking the example of an actual plantation slave.

    Example 1 - his vastly wealthy "master" has decided to give the goods of his plantation to someone for free. By the Paul definition that makes him a slave.

    Example 2 - his "master" sells the cotton the slave picks on the open market. Magically, he is a free man, since nobody gets the cotton for free.

    Example 3 - His vastly wealthy "master" is giving away free cotton, but the man who picks the cotton is paid for his labor, and is free to do another job. By Paul's definition he is still a slave, while the man in example 2 is free, because nobody got free output.

    Stoopit, and there's no "rights theory" that makes it otherwise.

    By the way, on the related subject of euthenasia:

    World News - Netherlands dispatches mobile euthanasia units

    PFnV
  14. The Brandon Five

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    #75 Jersey

    The concept is clear enough so I don't understand why you can't grasp it. Coerced labor is the issue.
  15. Mrs.PatsFanInVa

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    #12 Jersey

    I'm having trouble "grasping," it, I think.

    Are you saying that a doctor who works under a National Health Care system, such as in England or Canada, is "coerced," and somehow "not free?"
  16. Harry Boy

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    I wish they had this around when my Mother was dying.

    There are always those who will say "uthanasia advocates shouldn't play god"

    I say "the medical profession shouldn't play god trying to keep them alive when it is very clear that god wants them to come home"
  17. The Brandon Five

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    #75 Jersey

    The title of the OP was "Right to Health Care/Right to Life/Slavery" arguments. It began with the characterization of any such as being based on bumper stickers. After that, we moved the goalposts to focus the discussion on something Rand Paul said (for some reason). That is not the only "argument" about health care being a "right". I already outlined why I saw that as problematic in principle, to which the response was "tl, dr". The bottom line is that claim rights confer obligations on others. It is that simple.

    At no point did I say anything about The Affordable Care Act.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  18. PatsFanInVa

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    Right, and there's no coerced labor in the affordable care act. You'd be hard-pressed to find a kind of labor that you have to do to keep the job, just through the affordable care act, but you can get another job if you have such a strong opinion on the subject.

    So, the issue doesn't exist, at the level of "slavery."

    What bullsh1t.

    And if the state tells a nurse to hang a bag of paste, as part of her job, whether she or her employer likes it or not?

    Same thing. Or they both *are* slavery (although if words mean anything, neither is.)
  19. PatsFanInVa

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    Yet you in no way demonstrated your own "point," which is that if we all have the right to something -- such as clean water, health care, etc. -- there is something inherently wrong.

    You quoted a lot of other people who said a lot of nonsensical and quite abstract things, but you made no convincing argument -- just a lot of wind about how it's good to have the right to life, but not good to have the right to health care, food, or other necessary prerequisites to life.

    There is nothing magical about that line, B5. You have to establish what you so clearly think to be the case -- particularly in what is still the richest country in the world.

    PFnV

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