Monday, December 7, 2009

America's Current Health Care System Is Not "Up To Code"

There is so much wrong with Senator Gregg's remarks on healthcare on NPR Saturday, I hardly know where to start.   He made very aggressive statements against the healthcare bill currently being debated. At the same time he doesn't begin to address the problems that the healthcare bill is supposed to solve. His fellow Republicans haven't succeeded in the past one hundred years.



Sen. Gregg, wikimedia.com

He says the debate is first, to get everybody covered.

Sen. Gregg says second, to get health care costs down.

The third stated goal is to keep the current system, "make sure that if you had an insurance that you like, that you were comfortable with, you didn't lose it."

Sen. Gregg claims that the current healthcare bill does not solve these concerns, although he insists on keeping the current status quo in place with "comfortable" insurance.

The logic of the bill itself defies me, but I have to give current lawmakers good marks for getting farther than any previous administration. The government expects widespread agreement to start a new system charging higher payments to all while keeping the current broken, corrupt system in place.

The government  would make those without healthcare insurance now pay for the public option, more than they already are in taxes. But Americans already pay more for healthcare  than taxpayers do in most other countries. What incentives exactly will it take to get costs down, and make healthcare more efficient, organized and better for all patients?

Is healthcare a human right or is it a "comfort"?

"Health care is a privilege," Representative Zach Wamp (Republican-Tennessee) explained in a March 2009 interview. "[I]t's not necessarily a right." An international treaty signed by America in 1948, however, makes that particular assertion untrue, and here's proof.

Answer: According to the most widely accepted international human rights treaties, yes.

Article 25 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) reads (emphasis mine):

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
Likewise, Article 12 of the U.N. International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (1966) reads:
1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.

2. The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include those necessary for:

(a) The provision for the reduction of the stillbirth-rate and of infant mortality and for the healthy development of the child;

(b) The improvement of all aspects of environmental and industrial hygiene;

(c) The prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other diseases;

(d) The creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness.

Because the United States is a signatory to both treaties, and U.S. policymakers played a role in drafting both treaties, it would stand to reason that health care would be accepted as part of the American understanding of human rights.

America has an internationally accepted responsibility to stop the current brutal exclusionary system and make "healthcare for all" a reality for its own populace. So far America hasn't taken its responsibility seriously. It needs to get "up to code."


You can find a transcript of Senator Gregg's interview or hear it again in its entirety at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=121119749

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