Thursday, March 05, 2009

Dems Vs. Repubs: Should Health Care Be A Right, Or A Privilege

As much as Ralph Nader says there's no difference between the two parties, the facts say otherwise. Case in point, health care. Barack Obama is holding a conference today on what to do about our currently broken system. One thing is for sure about it, the President stated that the status quo must change. Entrenched business interests are frightened about losing the power to set rates, for if the people had a chance to have a real choice in what plans were offered, health care executives would either have to lower their obscene rates and exclusionary practices or lose customers. In this debate, it is important to know who has the people's interests at heart and those that back the wealthy insurers.

From ThinkProgress:

...In response, Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) went on MSNBC to explain his opposition to Obama’s stated goal of comprehensive health care reform, arguing that health care is “a privilege,” not a right:

WAMP: Listen, health care a privilege. […]

MSNBC: Well, it’s a privilege? Health care? I mean if you have cancer right now, do you see it as a privilege to get treatment?

WAMP: I was just about to say, for some people it’s a right. But for everyone, frankly, it’s not necessarily a right.

Wamp went on to claim that many Americans are uninsured by choice because they “rejected” the insurance plan offered by their employers. Asked to respond to Wamp, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) remarked “Well my reaction is that it was said by somebody who has a really good health [insurance] plan as a member of the House of Representatives.” “More importantly than that [health care] is a right in this country,” Brown concluded.

In Wamp's view, if you can't manage to afford life-saving surgery or treatment, then too bad for you. Of course, he has no problem taking money from taxpayers for his own incredible insurance plan, but to Republicans like Wamp no matters in this world but him. I wonder how the people of his district feel about a statement like that? With a median income of less than $36,000 a year in the district and an 8.6% unemployment rate across the state (generally worse in the Applachian areas than the rest of the state), I'm sure there are at least a few people who might have a word or two with Mr. Wamp next time he visits the district.