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We Need a Free Market Health Care System

Many Democrats including presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are pushing for universal health care, which is simply another term for socialized medicine and would be a disaster for this country. John Edwards has already announced that he would have to raise taxes in order to fund this medical debacle. Eventually the cost of maintaining this program will exceed tax revenues as it does in every country with socialized medicine, so what will the US government do then? It will cut benefits, institute wait times for procedures as Britain and Canada have done, and find ways to not pay for the very sick who demand a lot of care. When these things eventually happen here in order to reduce costs of Edwards' or Clinton's or someone else's massive government run health care system, the American people will have no where else to turn except to pay even more out of their pockets on top of their already high taxes in order to fly to other countries to get the procedures they require.

The only real solution is a market based solution to help others get the coverage they need and to drive down health care costs, and President Bush offered a proposal that is a good start in this direction in his State of the Union address last month. Although the president's plan is not a panacea for everyone, it should be viewed as one solution along side others and should not be automatically dismissed as many Democrats are doing.

Here's how it would work. Every person would get a standard deduction of $7,500 for health care costs ($15,000 per couple) right off the top just like they do if they have dependents. This gives those who purchase their own insurance, like my husband and me, an even playing field with those who get to deduct their employer-provided insurance. Unfortunately that means that those who get very high value insurance plans from their employers would be taxed on the balance after the $7,500 per person or $15,000 per couple deductions. However, by getting market forces involved in heath care, we can drive down the costs.

And if you get a High Deductible Health Plan with a Health Savings Account (HSA) you get a double benefit. Not only do you get the standard health care deduction, but also the money you deposit in your Health Savings Account to cover your deductible is 100% tax deductible and can be withdrawn to pay for medical expenses, tax-free. If you don't use your deductible for the year, it rolls over to the next year. Also, the funds in your HSA are always yours and grow tax-deferred like an IRA. At age 65 you can withdraw the money for any reason penalty free.

In his article yesterday, Michael Barone writes that the president's plan got the attention of a Democratic senator from Oregon who is looking for a solution to the health care problem that doesn't include a universal or single payer system, which his constituents in Oregon rejected soundly:

Bush's point was not lost on Oregon's Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, who over a long congressional career has specialized in assembling bipartisan coalitions for various reforms. He notes that government single-payer health insurance -- the goal of some senior liberal Democrats in Congress -- was rejected by the voters of his liberal state by a four-to-one margin. He also notes that we don't have employer-provided auto insurance -- we buy that out of after-tax earnings. He argues that people should be able to buy health insurance as members of Congress and federal employees do, from an array of choices offered by private insurers.


He's looking to make something of a political deal. Republicans would get Bush's standard deduction and a private insurance market in which consumers would have incentives to hold down costs. In return, Democrats would get universal coverage, with subsidies for low earners to pay for coverage. As John Goodman of the free market National Center for Policy Analysis points out, additional revenues from those with policies worth more than $15,000 could be used to subsidize low-earners.

Wyden has been talking with Republican senators, especially fellow members of the Finance Committee, and says he has been getting positive reactions. As for Democrats, those who seek more government provision of healthcare will probably be uninterested. But some may be affected by the apparent success of the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit. Many Democrats believed that seniors would have a hard time choosing policies from an array of choices and that they would end up being gouged by private insurers. But polls indicate that the vast majority of seniors are pleased with the results, and the cost of premiums -- and costs to the government -- have come in lower than experts predicted.

The president's health care proposal could dramatically remake the health care system in this country but in a way that utilizes the free market to bring down health care costs and provide coverage to many more people. It is a much better solution for the American people than any government run system because it gives the American people complete control of their medical plan.


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Comments (56)

Republicans in Congress sho... (Below threshold)
2klbofun:

Republicans in Congress should add a rider to any universal health care bill that states that members of Congress MUST use the same health care system that they force on the rest of the country -- that ought to stop the bill right in its tracks.

Sorry, the President's plan... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Sorry, the President's plan doesn't:

1. guarantee the employment of thousands of new bureaucrats
2. force more money out of the pockets of citizens into the hands of the feds.

Can't have that, can we?

The real health care 'probl... (Below threshold)

The real health care 'problem' has nothing to do with insurance, it is that people can't/don't want to pay for all the health care they want/need. Nobody wants to not have their ailments diagnosed and nobody wants to have their diagnosed ailments not treated because it 'costs' too much.

Right now, the employer/insurance companies are playing the role of the heavy, the ones telling people they can't get all the health care they want without paying for it (and they're the ones taking the flak from those who aren't getting the health care they want). The problem with Bush's proposal is that it starts to shift the burden onto individuals. On one hand, not a bad idea, but once employers are out of the picture, then all the people demanding unlimited health care at a price well below market rates will start screaming for the government (us) to pick up the tab... imagine story after story on the news about poor person A and poor person B who can't afford to pay for the health care they so desperately need... how long do you think the conservatives will be able to keep the Democrats from turning those sob stories into a right, a very expensive right?

All things considered, I would rather keep things the way they are than end up with yet another multi-hundred billion entitlement.

The way you have described ... (Below threshold)
Allen:

The way you have described this health insurance plan, and was put forth to the taxpayers, in language people could clearly understand, I would be willing to vote in favor of it. But like the drug companies, who rake in profits at our expense, besides market demand, would any other controls be available to stop the rise in medical costs?

How would this effect medical benefits that are tied into a persons retirement package. Would the whole retirement package be considered part of the $7500 per individual, or just the medical part of it.

This seems like the President may have had one idea that would work, but the plan needs to clearly spell out exactly what is what. If a person spends $5,000.00 per year on their medical insurance purchase, would they have an automatic deduction of $2,500.00 off their taxes?

However, I agree this is worth debating about. And since our President is also noteworthy about tax cuts, how about everyone being able to deduct the poverty amount ($17,000 ?)off their income. and pay taxes on what is left. Now that would be a fair income tax cut for everyone, and the lefties or righties really couldn't complain about it being unfair.

You can always travel to my... (Below threshold)
Fidel Castro:

You can always travel to my country for excellent medical care. Of course, my personal doctors are flown here from other countries, but hey...I'm the boss!

The problem with health car... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

The problem with health care is the government enforced monopoly. That is, in order to provide treatment the government require that the provider certified by a body that requires 12+ years of schooling. The advantage is that there is a very high level to the lowest quality of health care provided. The disadvantage is there a very high cost to the lowest quality care provided. That is, the government has not allowed the market to provide a lower quality of care for those who would pay for the lower quality.

Solution: Remove/relax the government enforced monopoly and allow the market to provide a broader range of care for which there exist demand.

Wow.. not enough coffee thi... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Wow.. not enough coffee this morning.. the above should read.
==================
The problem with health care is the government enforced monopoly. That is, in order to provide treatment the government require[s] that the provider [is] certified by a body that requires 12+ years of schooling. The advantage is that there is a very high level to the lowest quality of health care provided. The disadvantage is there a very high cost to the lowest quality care provided. That is, the government has not allowed the market to provide a lower quality of care for those who would pay for the lower quality.

Solution: Remove/relax the government enforced monopoly and allow the market to provide a broader range of care for which there exist demand.

Mike: who is going to accep... (Below threshold)

Mike: who is going to accept a lower quality of care? If you're talking about having to wait an extra hour to be seen, or an extra day to get back some lab results, fine. But nobody is going to go to a doctor if they don't think the doctor is going to cure them of whatever ails them. We're not talking about getting one's car fixed, where someone might reasonably go to someone 'almost' as good as the certified mechanics. I'd never take my kids to someone who 'might' be as good as a board certified doctor, to someone who went to correspondence school to get their MD... I would hate to ever find out that I jeopardized their health... to save a couple of bucks. How about you?

One of the best points abou... (Below threshold)

One of the best points about the HSA is that you can continue to put money into it every year (even if you haven't used any of it) and use it as a retirement supplement, or you can use it for medical expenses that are not covered by your health insurance at all. I have a client that is paying for orthodontia and another saving for dental implants, neither of which is covered by their medical insurance.
The big thing about the concept is that it promotes consumerism in medical costs. A diabetic client of mine called me the other day to let me know that he had discovered that the Redi-clinic in a nearby Walgreens was offering the Ha(1)c test he needs quarterly for $24 while his doctors' office has been charging $59. When you start seeing menus with prices in the waiting rooms at the doctor's office, you will see the costs start to decline and just maybe there will be less cause for the Lamborghini dealership to be located next to the "Doctors' Medical Center" next to the hospital.

Market forces from this sys... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

Market forces from this system are already in effect.

If anything people not on insurance are more cost conscious than those on it. Having those people move to insurance will deminish market forces or at best leave them unchanged.

All that happens with this plan is that my healthcare is now imputed income. As the cost of healthcare outstrips the indexing of the deduction (if there is indexing) I get to start paying taxes on it.

What are HILLARY CLINTON an... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

What are HILLARY CLINTON and JOHN EDWARDS ideas of UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE anyway? take your kid to the witch doctor and OOO EEE O AAHH AAHH BING BANG WALLA WALLA BING BANG and you kid has cold take them home and give them chicken soup

I completely agree that hea... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

I completely agree that health insurance needs to be decoupled from employment. The fact that the two are coupled is an artifact of WWII wartime rationing, which has long since outlived its original purpose. Today, the consumer can't really shop for insurance, and that is one of the main reasons why the cost of medicine continues to rise at a rate that significantly outpaces inflation. In an open market, I can see all kinds of things happening, such as group purchasing plans that work kind of like credit unions: you join up, put a small amount on deposit, and you're a member. At worst, I can't see it being any more expensive than it is for employers to pay it today. Yes, it will come out of the consumer's pocket, but there should be a corresponding increase in wages and salaries after employers are relieved of the responsibility.

However, there is one piece of the puzzle missing from the plans discussed in the article, and it stems from the basic nature of medical insurance. The paradox has to be understood in terms of what "risk" actually is. There are two components to risk: the probability that a bad event will occur, and the consequences if it does occur. These are not necessarily tied together. For example, consider the risk of having your shoes come untied while you are walking down the street. The probability is high: if you keed walking long enough, at some point it is virtually certain that your shoe will come untied. However, the consequences are low. You are delayed a moment to re-tie your shoe. So what should you do about it? Well, if it happens often enough, it might become enough of an annoyance to prompt you to go buy some other type of shoes that don't have laces. But most likely, you will simply accept the consequences of having to stop now and then to tie your shoe. It just isn't a bad enough event to worry about.

The fundemental idea of insurance is to protect against events of low probability but high consequences. Take fire insurance as an example. Most homeowners today will go their entire adult lives without even encountering a major fire in their home. So why have the insurance? Because, in the unlikely event that it does happen, the homeowner without insurance will likely be financially ruined. The consequences are too devastating to simply accept. So we buy fire insurance. Fortunately, house fires are rare. That means that the many homeowners who don't have fires don't have to pay all that much in premiums to cover the few that do have fires; the rareness of the event makes it pretty cheap to cover the risk.

Now, the problem with medical insurance is that the risk event isn't rare. There is a fairly high probability that any individual will encounter some major medical problem at some point in their lives, and minor ones are nearly a certainty. Insurance isn't good at covering high-probability events; it basically degrades into an exercise in taking money out of one pocket and moving it to the other, with a middleman taking a bite each time. And worse, in the case of medical insurance, is that the probability of the bad event goes up the longer one lives. So, in the worst case, it starts to look like a pyramid scheme -- exactly the way Social Security is structured today.

So this part of medical coverage needs to be treated as a savings and investment plan. People put in a certain percentage of their earnings into an investment account of some sort -- it could be individual or it could be a group plan, but the individual needs to have choice. And it has to be a long-term savings plan, unlike the year-to-year plans currently allowed in the tax code. An insurance plan is then overlaid onto this to cover truly rare and catastrophic events, such as rare forms of cancer that require extraordinary treatments, or serious illnesses that strike young people who haven't had enough working years to build up anything in their medical accounts. However, the problem here is that, let's face it, young people in good health often opt out of medical coverage and put the extra money in their pockets. If they do this under a savings-plan program, they won't have their accounts built up by the time they start having problems in their 40s and 50s... and then the people who played by the rules wind up stuck with the tab. Conclusion: participation must be made mandatory. It's a harsh conclusion, but the math doesn't allow any alternative.

The positive spin on this is that such a plan looks a lot like the more sensible plans being proposed for Social Security reform. If such a health setup could actually be implemented, it would provide valuable experience in how to structure a Social Security replacement program.

Please consider <a href="ht... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Please consider this analysis of HSA's.

And consider these facts:
- The US has a lower life expectancy than almost all western countries with universal health care
- The US has a higher infant mortality rate than the EU and Canada
- The US spends approx. 15% of the GDP on healthcare costs, the highest in the world
- 71% of the uninsured are in a 10-percent-or-lower income tax bracket. Tax savings won't help them

HSAs will not solve our healthcare problems, but make them worse.

steve sturm:<blockqu... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

steve sturm:


Mike: who is going to accept a lower quality of care?

That's up to the individual. If no one will accept lower care at a lower price, the market will not materialize. However, the government prevents two individuals from agreeing on a quality of health care.

steve sturm:


We're not talking about getting one's car fixed, where someone might reasonably go to someone 'almost' as good as the certified mechanics. I'd never take my kids to someone who 'might' be as good as a board certified doctor, to someone who went to correspondence school to get their MD... I would hate to ever find out that I jeopardized their health... to save a couple of bucks. How about you?

What you're saying is in effect that you're happy with the current price point. If a basic doctor's visit for a sinus infection cost me $1k because the government required you to go to a ENT specialist, I wouldn't be okay with that. Would you ? I also would take my child to 'Bubba's Doctrin and Tires' to save $20, but there's a range of service in between that the government mandates cannot occur. If you've got no health insurance and no money, 'Bubba's Doctrin and Tires' (assuming Bubba's reputable) may be a viable alternative.

To use your mechanic analogy..

Suppose that the government required that all auto . mechanics had Ph.D's in Mechinical Engineering. The cost of auto repairs would be outrageous.

That's essentially what we've done with health care. Remove the government controls and allow the market to decide what range of health care individuals find acceptable for themselves. (Note: tort law also need to be reformed - but that's secondary IMO).

Two quotes from Wikipedia a... (Below threshold)

Two quotes from Wikipedia about infant mortality:

"Many countries, however, including certain European states and Japan, only count as live births cases where an infant breathes at birth, which makes their reported IMR numbers somewhat lower and raises their rates of perinatal mortality. The exclusion of any high-risk infants from the denominator or numerator in reported IMR's can be problematic for comparisons."

"...extremely premature infants typically accounted for only about .005 of all live-born children, their exclusion from both the numerator and the denominator in the reported IMR led to an estimated 22-25% lower reported IMR. In some cases, too, perhaps because hospitals or regional health departments were held accountable for lowering the IMR in their catchment area, infant deaths that occurred in the 12th month were "transferred" statistically to the 13th month (i.e., the second year of life), and thus no longer classified as an infant death."

- The US has a lo... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:
- The US has a lower life expectancy than almost all western countries with universal health care

The U.S. also has a higher obesity rate. To attempt to claim a causal relationship between life expectancy and universal health care is naive at best.

(and spare me Lee's std., 'I just posted some data. I wasn't making any claims' non-sense)

Solution: Remove/r... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Solution: Remove/relax the government enforced monopoly and allow the market to provide a broader range of care for which there exist demand.

The problem with treating healthcare as just another market is the risks outweigh the benefits. For example, if I buy an new car from a reputable manufacture and it turns out to be plagued with problems, I can get warranty service and/or sell the car. If I buy treatment from a reputable healthcare provider and it turns out that treatment is faulty, no monetary award is going to be sufficient to me if I die or sustain permanent severe injuries.

As with any manufacturing or service process it's more cost effective to build in quality at the earliest stages rather than try to respond to quality problems at the final stages. Regulating the education and training requirements of healthcare providers actually reduces costs. Similarly, regulating the development of drugs and medical devices saves money in the long run.

A major cost of healthcare is incurred treating difficult cases in the elderly. In case after case many times more resources are expended in an elderly person in the last few months of their life than were expended in all their lifetime prior to that point. There are certain conditions that have a low rate of successful treatment in elderly people; many of whom would likely live longer without the treatment. Our current system makes no judgment about using expensive and often unsuccessful treatment for one group while denying low cost and effective treatment for other groups.

A number of years ago either Washington or Oregon produced a list of medical conditions ranking the most cost effective vs. risky at the top down to least cost effective vs. risky at the bottom. On the top of the list was pneumonia which is easily treated but can be fatal without treatment. With that list the state figured it could afford all preventative treatments, such as vaccinations and screenings as well as some 400 items on the list. Of course such a logical plan was defeated and seems lost, but it's a good plan. The Federal government could provide basic healthcare just as it provides basic services (transportation infrastructure, police, fire, courts, defense, etc.), and yet allow people to purchase supplemental insurance directly or through their employer. Everyone would have coverage for serious conditions where an effective treatment exists. Then just as in the current system, those who can afford insurance can get more coverage.

The U.S. also has a high... (Below threshold)
mantis:

The U.S. also has a higher obesity rate. To attempt to claim a causal relationship between life expectancy and universal health care is naive at best.

Obese people with preventative healthcare live longer than those without. There's your causal relationship.

The nature of the problem w... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

The nature of the problem w/ Health Care is not so simplistic as Kim indicates w/ her references to "socialized medicine" nations.

The basic problem is that the health care we get in the US costs 53% more per capita than the next most expensive nation, Switzerland.

"The authors also compared health spending in OECD countries with waiting lists to spending in those without lists. "Health spending in the twelve countries with waiting lists averaged $2,366 per capita," the authors say, "while in the seven countries without waiting lists, it averaged $2,696--both much less than U.S. spending of $5,267 per capita."

It may well be that we must rethink whether the "free market" concept is the best way to structure a health care system.

Mac Lorry:<blockquot... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Mac Lorry:


If I buy treatment from a reputable healthcare provider and it turns out that treatment is faulty, no monetary award is going to be sufficient to me if I die or sustain permanent severe injuries.

And if the provider did something negligent that caused you harm, there are methods through which to seek recourse... just as if the provider of your auto service did something negligent that caused you harm. It's the best self-interest of both parties to have a positive outcome.

Put another way... someone who can't afford health care under the current government imposed monopoly should just do without or force others to pay for their health care ? That's hardly just.

I'll pose the following question again since I never am able to get a response (not directed at Mac):

To those who believe that the state should 'provide' health care (meaning that an individual has a right to that care), from where does the right to health care come ?

aRepukelican: The problem i... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

aRepukelican: The problem is that the free market hasn't been tried. The way it works today is so heavily regulated and just plain screwy that in no way can it be said to be a free market.

Mike"To those w... (Below threshold)
aRepukelican:

Mike

"To those who believe that the state should 'provide' health care (meaning that an individual has a right to that care), from where does the right to health care come ?"

It comes from the fact that one is a human being and that health care is available. Health care is not some product choice or offering that falls into the usual concept of a for-profit marketplace of consumer choices. One does not opt health care by choice; the need for it is a reality of being human.

Mike,Can we advoca... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Mike,

Can we advocate universal health care without calling it a "right?" I happen to think that it is better for society that everyone have access to health care. That's enough for me. Such a position has the added benefit that it doesn't descend into a semantic argument.

You all realize that you ca... (Below threshold)

You all realize that you cannot be turned away from an emergency room, right?

I know of a couple of companies that could not get the required participation of 50% in order to keep their group plan in effect, because their employees knew this fact so well that they wouldn't pay $20 a month (the employer was willing to pay $215/mo of the cost for each employee) to have a plan with a $15 office visit co-pay & a $10 generic drug co-pay. They reasoned (correctly) that it would cost them more than going to the emergency room.
The insurance companies make more money on investment income (something the government is not allowed to do) than they do on the difference between premiums vs claims. So, in order for everyone that is currently insured to be covered by government bureaucracy, they would have to have additional tax revenue a little more than the total of all current premiums. Now add everyone else that is uninsured whether by preference or not. How much more do you need to collect? What happens to the utilization of medical services when everyone figures they paying through the nose for it anyway?

If the utilization goes up won't taxes follow? Or some sort of rationing system such as the government limiting the number of hospitals or doctors? (Review Hilary's previous proposal).

Everyone wants to make HMOs the bad example particularly because of the requirement for a "gatekeeper" doctor and a referral system. Please remember, they were government inventions. I've never met a Primary Care Doc (gatekeeper) that was as unconcerned about his customer as any typical Government Bureaucrat. Just consider your doctors' office staffed by DMV employees.

The politician claim to want to protect us from monopolies, they even went after Microsoft, remember? So they want to take over 16% of the GDP and staff it with people with civil service union protections?

Mantis,1) As has a... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Mantis,

1) As has already been pointed out the infant mortality numbers in the US are not tallied the same as most (if not all) of Europe. Much like crime statistics, it is very misleading to compare the numbers without breaking them down to their component parts.

2) Life expectancy: There are so many different factors that influence this that it is silly to pick out any one. Climate. Diet. Careers. Stress (how a society deems it socially acceptable to deal with stress). Genetics. Etc. I also notice that you didn't say western socialized medicine nations have better life expecatncy.

3) % of GDP. Another apples and oranges situation. To achieve this number one must include all medical/healthcare related expenses in the US tally but not others. For instance, cosmetic surgery like breast implants are included as a healthcare cost, and so is a trip to a therapist in the US numbers, but not elsewhere.

4) Uninsured != no access to health care.

And your link? Hardly an impartial source. Commonwealth Fund has a horse in this race.

The system in place in the US needs reform, but socialized medicine as seen in Europe and Canada has major flaws that I don't think are worth the benefits.
I think a third path needs to be found.

And if the provide... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
And if the provider did something negligent that caused you harm, there are methods through which to seek recourse... just as if the provider of your auto service did something negligent that caused you harm. It's the best self-interest of both parties to have a positive outcome.

I think you missed my point. While after the fact recourses work fine for cars and other material items, it doesn't work for healthcare because I could end up dead due to incompetence. Thus, with healthcare, it's imperative to filter out incompetence before there are tragic results and the market can't do preemptive selection.

To those who believe that the state should 'provide' health care (meaning that an individual has a right to that care), from where does the right to health care come?

Where does the right for other services come from. If I have a fire or someone is breaking into my house I just call and help comes and I don't have to pay for it. I'm not sure it's a right, but it's a benefit society had decided we all need and so the public pays for it.

I think a third path nee... (Below threshold)
mantis:

I think a third path needs to be found.

Me too, but HSAs are not it.

I'll respond to PUKE since ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

I'll respond to PUKE since most of the replies were in the same vein.

PUKE:


It comes from the fact that one is a human being and that health care is available. Health care is not some product choice or offering that falls into the usual concept of a for-profit marketplace of consumer choices. One does not opt health care by choice; the need for it is a reality of being human.

Health care is a service provided by another person. That service is essentially access to that person's time and knowledge. How does one person have a right to another's time and knowledge just because they need it ? If I have the right to your time (that is it's something that you are required to give me without me needing your consent), are you not then essentially enslaved to me ? That is, I own a portion of you (i.e. your time).

In a free society, men to do not own one another and do not require one service another through the threat of force (i.e. government mandate).

And your link? Hardly an... (Below threshold)
mantis:

And your link? Hardly an impartial source. Commonwealth Fund has a horse in this race.

My link was to invited testimony given to Congress in September of 2006. As for your ad hominem against the Commonwealth Fund, please explain why we should believe they are being less than truthful in their testimony to Congress.

Mac<br /... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Mac


I think you missed my point. While after the fact recourses work fine for cars and other material items, it doesn't work for healthcare because I could end up dead due to incompetence. Thus, with healthcare, it's imperative to filter out incompetence before there are tragic results and the market can't do preemptive selection.

I understood your point. You could also end of dead if the mechanic failed to tighten the lug nuts on your front wheel.

I agree that it's important to understand the level of competency of the service provide to which your going. That does not mean that government should preclude competence below whatever level your comfortable with from being available to others who may be comfortable with less (or that fits their means).

Mac:


Where does the right for other services come from. If I have a fire or someone is breaking into my house I just call and help comes and I don't have to pay for it.

Government, in a free society, has 3 primary reasons for existence:
1) To protect its citizens from domestic threats (police)
2) To protect its citizens from foreign threats (military)
3) To adjudicate between citizens when one allegedly violates the rights of another. (legal/judicial)

There is no right to help putting out fires.

I'm not sure it's a right, but it's a benefit society had decided we all need and so the public pays for it.

A need is not a the basis for a right. And given that we do not have a democracy (mob rule), no one is entitled to something simply because the majority thinks it to be a good idea.

mantis:<... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

mantis:


Can we advocate universal health care without calling it a "right?"

No.

I happen to think that it is better for society that everyone have access to health care. That's enough for me. Such a position has the added benefit that it doesn't descend into a semantic argument.

The problem is that if the government mandates that a citizen should receive some good or service (be it health care or auto service) that, since the government just a conduit and has no wealth of its own, it must first confiscate wealth from another citizen through the use of its police power.

In order to 'provide' health care or auto service or.. to a citizen, government must either force the service provider to provide the service without compensation or confiscate wealth from another citizen to give as compensation.

There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Then I take it you're again... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Then I take it you're against public education, right? There's no right to education in the Constitution.

There's no right ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:
There's no right to education in the Constitution

Correct. Rather inconvenient piece of paper isn't it ?

Just because we might think something is a 'good idea' or that we, personally, see some benefit does not make it a proper role of government for a free society.

Rather inconvenient piec... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Rather inconvenient piece of paper isn't it ?

Not really, no.

Just because we might think something is a 'good idea' or that we, personally, see some benefit does not make it a proper role of government for a free society.

True. And where we draw the line of what is proper for government to do is where our ideological differences lie. I wonder how much of a libertarian you are. So far you're consistent, but I'm curious what you think of, say, the public roadways and parks. Was the Rural Electrification Project improper?

I guess, in short, I'm curious what you think the limits on "promote the general Welfare" are.

_Mike_,I ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

_Mike_,

I understood your point. You could also end of dead if the mechanic failed to tighten the lug nuts on your front wheel.

I can check the lug nuts myself. Before the government regulated medicine, many folks died from the poisons being sold as medicine. The point is that the market is a dismal failure at preemptive intervention, which is what is needed in healthcare.

A need is not a the basis for a right. And given that we do not have a democracy (mob rule), no one is entitled to something simply because the majority thinks it to be a good idea.

We have enumerated rights within our constitution and within the limits of the constitution Congress can pass whatever laws they want. The people can elect them and unelect them if they don't like what laws they pass. Healthcare doesn't need to be a right if it's the law. Where do libertarians think they get the right to tell the majority what they can and can't do?

Mantis:Then I tak... (Below threshold)

Mantis:
Then I take it you're against public education, right? There's no right to education in the Constitution.

Right, and we all can agree how well our public education systems are doing. I can say thank goodness I went to a private high school, I got a much better education that prepared me for college and life beyond. Modern public education facilities seem to increasingly become more and more just like day-care centers (although they can churn out decent students, but that is solely dependant upon the parents involved). Let's not get started on public universities, those are a wholly different beast (and I do mean in the Leviathan sort of way).

I just notice how slowly the US is coming to the very center of things. Going fully to the socialized side of the table (like Europe) has its faults, and a completely Laissez-Fare free-market way of doing things had its own share of drawbacks as well (turn of 20th century, we all know its problems). I almost wish we could clear the slate and start from scratch zero. A major problem is that we already have such a big and bloated bearacracy in place, it would be almost impossible to attempt to dislodge it. The coolest quote ever (I think I saw it on a comment from LGF, maybe slashdot, I forget) is probably "The biggest ally of the Christian Right was the Progressive Left." Don't believe me? The Progressive Left whines about a nanny-state and theocracies .. yet whose idea do you think it was to give the federal government all this power in the first place?

Mac LorryWhere do... (Below threshold)

Mac Lorry
Where do libertarians think they get the right to tell the majority what they can and can't do?

To turn the tables, "Where does the Majority think they get the right to tell the libertarians what they can and can't do?"

Right, and we all can ag... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Right, and we all can agree how well our public education systems are doing. I can say thank goodness I went to a private high school,

Most people can't afford private schools. I for one have been exclusively educated at public schools, including my undergrad and graduate degrees, and I'm very satisfied with my education (and I agree about the influence of parents on a successful education. No shock there, though).

Mac:<br ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Mac:


We have enumerated rights within our constitution and within the limits of the constitution Congress can pass whatever laws they want.

Actually, our rights are 'endowed from our creator'. The purpose of the Constitution is to protect those writes from the government. The government has specifically enumerated rights. The rights that the government has are given it by individuals and thus the government does not have any right that an individual does not have.

Mac:


Healthcare doesn't need to be a right if it's the law.

And what exactly do you think the law would be ? It would be a right... a completely newly created one.

Mac:


Where do libertarians think they get the right to tell the majority what they can and can't do?

You can't be serious ? That would be the pesky piece of paper referred to as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The wants of the majority do NOT take precedence over the rights of the minority.

mantis:<... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

mantis:


Most people can't afford private schools.

In the current environment...

Most people can't afford private schools due to the presence of government schools and the tax burden of funding those schools. If government wasn't seizing money to run its schools, that money would be available for private schooling. Private schools would in turn become more numerous due to the increase in available resources (money) to drive the demand. You'd have your 'Wholefoods' schools, as well as, you're 'Wal-Mart/Dollar Store/etc' schools to cover the range of demands.

If government wasn't sei... (Below threshold)
mantis:

If government wasn't seizing money to run its schools, that money would be available for private schooling.

And what about the poor people who would see no relief from removing the public education system? Schools are funded partly by federal taxes and mostly by property taxes. People whose income is so low that their tax burden is light, and who don't own property being taxed, would be deprived of any education. What's the solution for that?

Actually, our righ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Actually, our rights are 'endowed from our creator'.

Actually the Constitution doesn't say that and the Delegation of Independence has no legal significance under U.S. law.

The government has specifically enumerated rights.

And one of those right is to pass laws for a wide verity of purposes.

The rights that the government has are given it by individuals and thus the government does not have any right that an individual does not have.

I believe that's refereed to as poppycock. Does an individual have the right to collect taxes? No. Does the government have the right to collect taxes? Yes. Does an individual have the right to make treaties with other nations? No. Does the government have the right to make treaties with other nations? Yes. And the list goes on and on. You can believe libertarian mythology if you want, but when you declare it as fact you're going to find many people are going to call you on it.

And what exactly do you think the law would be ? It would be a right... a completely newly created one.

Fine, then we would all have a right to healthcare if Congress passed such a law.

You can't be serious ? That would be the pesky piece of paper referred to as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. The wants of the majority do NOT take precedence over the rights of the minority.

Well I did say within the limits of the Constitution congress can pass whatever laws it wants. The limitations imposed on Congress by the Constitution do not prevent it from passing all sorts of tax laws and regulations, nor would the Constitution prevent congress from passing national healthcare.

Mac Lorry, you're mistaking... (Below threshold)

Mac Lorry, you're mistaking "rights" with "needs".
For one, yes people already have rights that aren't "endowed" by the Constitution. All the Constitution does is limit the powers of the Government to infringe on our basic rights. Hence the language of the Bill of Rights itself is PASSIVE, not ACTIVE. You never see in the Constitution "This document gives the people this right", no it says "This right shall not be infringed".

And on your other point about Governments...Does the Government have the right to tax people? NO. It NEEDS to tax people in order to function at all, but it doesn't have the right to (If that were true, they wouldn't even need to spell it out in the Constitution, in fact the framers realized this when they created the Articles of Confederation. They discovered that Governments need money to function, and so gave itself the power to tax). By the same token, just because someone needs a thoroughly expensive heart transplant (as well as a spare human heart) doesn't mean they have a RIGHT to it.

Heh, my rights are more end... (Below threshold)

Heh, my rights are more endowed than yours are ;-)

mac:<br ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

mac:


Actually the Constitution doesn't say that and the Delegation[sic] of Independence has no legal significance under U.S. law.

A document is not what gives us our rights. The statement of that belief is what this country was founded upon. We have rights independent of any government. Are you actually arguing that the government grants us our rights ? You do, of course, understand that if our rights come from government that the same government can remove those rights by fiat ?

And one of those right is to pass laws for a wide verity(sic) of purposes.

Unless such a law would violate the rights of an individual (i.e. un-Constitutional).

I believe that's refereed to as poppycock. Does an individual have the right to collect taxes? No. Does the government have the right to collect taxes? Yes. Does an individual have the right to make treaties with other nations? No. Does the government have the right to make treaties with other nations? Yes. And the list goes on and on. You can believe libertarian mythology if you want, but when you declare it as fact you're going to find many people are going to call you on it.

That is what is called utter non-sense. The government is allowed to collect taxes because we, as citizens, granted it. The government has the ability to make treaties because we, as citizens, granted it. You obviously fail to understand why and how government exists.

Fine, then we would all have a right to healthcare if Congress passed such a law.

At least we agree that this would be creating a 'right' which does not currently exist. And simply because Congress could pass a law does not mean that the law does not violate non-fabricated rights (i.e. (those inalienable rights we are endowed with at birth).

Well I did say within the limits of the Constitution congress can pass whatever laws it wants. The limitations imposed on Congress by the Constitution do not prevent it from passing all sorts of tax laws and regulations, nor would the Constitution prevent congress from passing national healthcare.

The Constitution, in and of itself, is merely a piece of paper. A piece of paper prevents nothing. There have been numerous laws which Congress passed which were in clear violation of the Constitution. It's up to the judiciary to call Congress on its violation. When the judiciary fails to do so, the paper does not complain. We simply and quietly move further away from a free society.

I'll say it again - You apparently fail to understand why and how governments exist. Have you ever tried the following thought experiment: Imagine that there's no government just people living within proximity to one another. Everyone has to protect his own property. There's no one to arbitrate disputes. Outside of fulfilling these, why else should government exist ? And how ?

mantis:<... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

mantis:


And what about the poor people who would see no relief from removing the public education system? Schools are funded partly by federal taxes and mostly by property taxes. People whose income is so low that their tax burden is light, and who don't own property being taxed, would be deprived of any education. What's the solution for that?

If education is not a right, why is that a problem for government to solve ? I would hope that private charities or the schools themselves would step in these cases. However, just because it's something that I would like to occur, it doesn't mean that I have the right to force others to do it (i.e. force one person to pay for the schooling for others)

Henry,To ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

Henry,

To turn the tables, "Where does the Majority think they get the right to tell the libertarians what they can and can't do?"

Unlike libertarian mythology, majority rule is in the Constitution. If you want minority rule you'll have to form your own dictatorship somewhere.

Mac Lorry, you're mistaking "rights" with "needs".

The libertarians on this thread need to get their definitions straight. In responded to _Mike_ who was saying that healthcare is not a right, I said it doesn't need to be a right if it's the law. _Mike_ then says that if it is a law then it is a right, to which I said fine, we'll all have the right to healthcare if Congress passes it. Now you come along and say I'm mistaking rights with needs. If a law is a right as _Mike_ asserts, then it matters not what need the law was passed to address. There is nothing in the U.S. constitution that prevents Congress from passing healthcare, and thus, such a law would be constitutional. If it's the law I really don't care if you call it a need and _Mike_ calls it a right, I only care that it's the law.

And on your other point about Governments...Does the Government have the right to tax people? NO. It NEEDS to tax people in order to function at all, but it doesn't have the right to (If that were true, they wouldn't even need to spell it out in the Constitution, in fact the framers realized this when they created the Articles of Confederation.

Amendment XVI gives Congress the power to collect taxes on incomes. Thus, government does have the constitutional right to tax as I said. Of course I realize you're talking about "rights" as used in libertarian mythology, which by the way, was invented out of thin air, just like communism was invented out of thin air. Libertarian mythology has no standing in U.S. law nor in the laws of any nation on Earth.

I learned a long time ago that it's a waste of time arguing with libertarians about their mythology, so let me just say that the vast majority of voters don't buy the libertarian line and we would like to have a practical discussion on how to provide quality healthcare to the most people for the least money without going back to step 1 and defining needs, rights, and laws. If libertarians feel some law is unconstitutional they can take up the issue in court. If they feel their mythology trumps the Constitution they are sadly mistaken.

Mac:<br ... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Mac:


The libertarians on this thread need to get their definitions straight. In responded to _Mike_ who was saying that healthcare is not a right, I said it doesn't need to be a right if it's the law.

I define a right to be something with which you are born and possess by virtue of simply existing - the right to defend oneself, the right to pursue happiness, the right to the fruits of ones labor.

You're saying that if government decides that it will provide health care to everyone that would not constitute a 'right' to health care ? What exactly is it then ?

You appear to be wrongly defining the term 'right' to mean whatever the majority decides to force on the minority

I learned a long time ago that it's a waste of time arguing with libertarians about their mythology

Yes, when you're wrong and reason is against you, it does make debating coherently difficult, as you seem to have discovered.

I'm somewhat surprised in that the person who has been most vocal here is someone who doesn't typically post as a leftist. It's funny that the right and left both seem to becoming more statist but only the left openly admits it.

_Mike_A d... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

_Mike_

A document is not what gives us our rights. The statement of that belief is what this country was founded upon. We have rights independent of any government. Are you actually arguing that the government grants us our rights ? You do, of course, understand that if our rights come from government that the same government can remove those rights by fiat?

What you and other libertarians haven't come to terms with is that none of this "source of rights" philosophy matters. Whatever the original source of the beliefs the founders used to draft the Constitution is irrelevant for proposes of discussing legality. What counts is what they wrote and what was agreed to and that document is called the Constitution. Thus, the source of our rights under the laws of the U.S. come from the Constitution. If at some point the people don't like what the Constitution says they can and have amended it. Or they can call a constitutional convention and rewrite the whole thing based on whatever philosophy the majority believes to be correct. Apart from that, the libertarian philosophy is no more relevant then the communist philosophy, or the conservative philosophy, or the liberal philosophy.

And one of those right is to pass laws for a wide verity(sic) of purposes.

Well if you are going to nitpick about spelling the correct usage is [sic] not (sic).

That is what is called utter non-sense. The government is allowed to collect taxes because we, as citizens, granted it. The government has the ability to make treaties because we, as citizens, granted it. You obviously fail to understand why and how government exists.

Government has the constitutional right to collect taxes and the constitutional right to make treaties with other nations, neither of which an individual has the constitutional right to do. Libertarian philosophy has no standing in U.S. law, and it's U.S. law that will establish universal healthcare, if such a law is passed. If so, you have the constitutional right to challenge such a law in court.

At least we agree that this would be creating a 'right' which does not currently exist. And simply because Congress could pass a law does not mean that the law does not violate non-fabricated rights (i.e. (those inalienable rights we are endowed with at birth).

There are no inalienable rights endowed at birth under U.S. law. There are only Constitutional rights and those established in law by Congress.

The Constitution, in and of itself, is merely a piece of paper. A piece of paper prevents nothing. There have been numerous laws which Congress passed which were in clear violation of the Constitution. It's up to the judiciary to call Congress on its violation. When the judiciary fails to do so, the paper does not complain. We simply and quietly move further away from a free society.

The only natural law is rule of the strongest. The strongest takes whatever they want from whoever they want and kills anyone they want for any reason until someone stronger comes along. All other law derives from philosophy and when it's agreed upon, it's written down. People choose to live by that written agreement because it benefits most people more than it harms them. It's the strength of the group than that's the source of power and it exists as long as the group supports the written agreement.

Once an agreement has been reached it's binding apart from the philosophy used to create it. Someone can't say the agreement is invalid because it doesn't follow some philosophy because that discussion is over. That's the case with the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution says the supreme court decides what is and isn't constitutional, yet there are always some who want to claim that right from themselves, which in itself is unconstitutional. Thus, _Mike_ you have no standing to say what is or isn't a free society other than relating to your philosophy, and your philosophy is meaningless in discussing U.S. law.

I'll say it again - You apparently fail to understand why and how governments exist.

You mistake my disagreement for lack of understanding. I assure you that's not the case.

Have you ever tried the following thought experiment: Imagine that there's no government just people living within proximity to one another. Everyone has to protect his own property. There's no one to arbitrate disputes.

I just explained this in the "The only natural law is rule of the strongest" paragraph above.

Outside of fulfilling these, why else should government exist? And how?

Government can be formed by a group making an agreement to live by. Who are you to tell that group what they can and can't agree to? If the group foresees that there will be unforeseeable situations in the future they will include a means to amend the agreement within the original agreement and they will establish a means whereby the agreement is to be interpreted. The U.S. Constitution is such an agreement. I'll say it again - who are you to tell that group what they can and can't agree to?

You're saying that... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
You're saying that if government decides that it will provide health care to everyone that would not constitute a 'right' to health care ? What exactly is it then?

You must have missed the part where I said "If it's the law I really don't care if you call it a need and _Mike_ calls it a right, I only care that it's the law."

You appear to be wrongly defining the term 'right' to mean whatever the majority decides to force on the minority

I use the term "right" in the context of the Constitution and U.S. Law. You use the term in context of libertarian philosophy, which has no standing in U.S. law. I'm trying to have a practical discussion about healthcare and you want to impose your libertarian philosophy on the discussion. When libertarians run as libertarians and win a significant number of seats in Congress, then their philosophy will have an impact on U.S. law. Until that day, it's irrelevant to most people in this nation.

Yes, when you're wrong and reason is against you, it does make debating coherently difficult, as you seem to have discovered.

You give yourself way too much credit. If the libertarian philosophy was compelling, the majority of people would be libertarian. As it is it falls below the Green philosophy in election results.

I'm somewhat surprised in that the person who has been most vocal here is someone who doesn't typically post as a leftist. It's funny that the right and left both seem to becoming more statist but only the left openly admits it.

You must be a new libertarian otherwise you would know that your philosophy is so far to the right that conservatives and liberals look alike to you. Conservatives understand that we live under the Constitution as it's written and amended rather than some philosophy of government. Conservatives believe government has a legitimate roll beyond those defined in a static philosophy invented by a few intellectuals. Conservatives are interested in solving real world problems using free markets where they are the best solution and using government where it's the best solution. I'm a Conservative who recognizes the world of humankind is changing and who want's to be relevant in that changing world. No static political philosophy can do that.

Mac Lorry:<blockquot... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Mac Lorry:


Thus, the source of our rights under the laws of the U.S. come from the Constitution

The above is so horrendously wrong that it requires additional emphasis.

Your entire argument is founded on this flawed premise. You can have everything thereafter correct, but if your initial premise is flawed the conclusion is still wrong.

Find where in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights that it says something to the effect 'citizens shall be granted the right'.

Here's a hint: It's not there. Note that all the wording is placing limits on the government's ability to infringe on rights that people already possess.

In short, the Constitution does NOT grant us our rights; it protects those right with which we are born. It's amazing to me that someone who, apparently lives in the U.S., doesn't understand this basic concept.

You give yourself way too much credit. If the libertarian philosophy was compelling, the majority of people would be libertarian.

And using your laughably flawed argument, if 'democracy' was a compelling philosophy the majority of countries would be 'democratic'. If Christianity were a compelling ideology, the majority of the world would be Christian. If Bush were a decent President, he'd be popular.. etc.

_Mike_... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

_Mike_

In short, the Constitution does NOT grant us our rights; it protects those right with which we are born.

The above is so horrendously wrong that it requires additional emphasis.

Your entire argument is founded on this flawed premise. You can have everything thereafter correct, but if your initial premise is flawed the conclusion is still wrong.

And using your laughably flawed argument one must conclude that people are born with the right to a trial by jury and at public expense. In fact, that right comes from Amendments 6 and 7 and not from nature.

In short, there are no natural rights beyond bodily functions other than what can be established by force. In an unorganized society the strongest and/or smartest person rules. They decide what others can have and what they can do. The idea of inalienable rights is a philosophy and not a fact until some group agrees to live by those philosophical rights. Until then they are just ideas. It's the agreement itself that establishes those rights in fact. Until there's an agreement the rights don't actually exist. It's such a simple idea and yet it seems beyond your comprehension. The Bill of Rights brings the right's in enumerates into effect and apart from that agreement, those rights have no meaning other than as philosophy.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

See that? The people ordain and establish the Constitution, and it's the Constitution that establishes justice, domestic tranquility, the common defense, the general welfare and the the blessings of liberty. If these things were inalienable rights ordained by natural law there would be no need to have an agreement spelling out the details.

Mac Lorry:<blockquot... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Mac Lorry:


See that? The people ordain and establish the Constitution, and it's the Constitution that establishes justice, domestic tranquility, the common defense, the general welfare and the the blessings of liberty. If these things were inalienable rights ordained by natural law there would be no need to have an agreement spelling out the details.

See that ? There's nothing in there that grants any rights. You've merely found the preamble which establishes the Constitution. Nothing more.

So what did the above establish. Let's take a few examples from the Bill of Rights...

Amendment I


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This is the Amendment that protects the right to free speech. Point out where in there it grants the right to free speech. The Amendment 's purpose is to insure that Congress cannot infringe on the right to free speech. Where in the Constitution was the right to free speech granted as your claiming ? It wasn't. It's something with which we're born.


Amendment II:


A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

This Amendment preserves the right to self-defense by preventing government (see a trend yet ?) from infringing on the people's rights to 'keep and bear arms'. Where was this right granted ? The Amendment is simply saying that government cannot infringe upon the right. We're born with the right.

Amendement IX


The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Note that this Amendment mentions that simply because a right was not specifically enumerated in the Constitution does not constitute a denial of the retention of the right by the people. Where exactly do you think those rights come from ? We're born with them.

And since you mentioned VII

Amendment VII


In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

[emphasis added]

If you read the Amendment you cited, you'll see that it preserves, not grants, the right of trial by jury.

The principle upon which this country was founded was that people are born with certain inalienable rights and the way the Constitution was developed was to attempt to limit the governments ability to infringe on those rights.

Being that you're arguing against this fact, I'm going to guess that either you didn't attend high school in the U.S. or you slept through it. Any basic high school level civics course in the U.S. should have covered this.

I'll add one final thing...... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

I'll add one final thing...

The Founding Father's correctly understood that if government is the granter of one's right (and that they're not something with which we're born), that government can choose to deny you those rights by fiat. This is the reason that the everything in the Bill of Rights speaks of placing limits on government and not of the granting of rights.

_Mike_We have a fu... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

_Mike_

We have a fundamental difference of opinion on the source of our rights. I understand your point that the founders believed people have certain inalienable rights and they even said so in the Deceleration of Independence. What the founders believed those inalienable rights were was based on their philosophy and experience with previous governments, and not on natural law. This is obvious looking at Amendments like 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Within Amendment 6 is the first glimpse of the principle of individuals having a right to public funding. It's limited, but it's there.

Had the founders been slaves or decedents of slaves the 13th amendment would have been in the original Bill of rights. Had the founders included woman the 19th Amendment would have been in the original Bill of rights.

If the right of woman to vote was inalienable and somehow bestowed at birth as you have claimed, why couldn't women vote for the first 133 years of the nation's existence?

The 13th amendment is also interesting in that it outlaws private behavior rather than restricts government, and in so doing it grants the right of freedom to a class of people who were born into slavery. If there are any inalienable rights one of them would be freedom from slavery, yet that inalienable right didn't exist in fact prior to the 13th amendment.

My point is that the founders had certain ideas as to what rights people have as a condition of being human, which in their case seems to be limited to white males. However, those rights were only ideas until the group agreed to be bound by them. It's that agreement, not the paper it's written on, that's the source of those rights. This is demonstrated by the fact that until the group agreed to the 13th amendment the right to freedom didn't exist for many non-white people. You can say they always had the inalienable right of freedom at birth, but history shows that to be false as it required the agreement to that right in order for their freedom to be a fact. The same is true for the 19th Amendment.

Under U.S. law the Constitution is the source of all authority, and that's a fact. The philosophy from which the Constitution flowed has no standing or weight other then as a help in interpreting the Constitution. If national healthcare passes and you object to paying for it you can go to court. If you can find something in the Constitution that supports your case you will be heard and you may even overturn the law. If you make your claim based on a philosophy of inalienable rights you'll be laughed out of court. It's real simple, in the real world the source of our rights is the Constitution.

Impugning my education of intellect simply because I don't agreeing with you is childish at best. Grow up.

Two quotes from Wikipedia a... (Below threshold)

Two quotes from Wikipedia about infant mortality:

"Many countries, however, including certain European states and Japan, only count as live births cases where an infant breathes at birth, which makes their reported IMR numbers somewhat lower and raises their rates of perinatal mortality. The exclusion of any high-risk infants from the denominator or numerator in reported IMR's can be problematic for comparisons."

"...extremely premature infants typically accounted for only about .005 of all live-born children, their exclusion from both the numerator and the denominator in the reported IMR led to an estimated 22-25% lower reported IMR. In some cases, too, perhaps because hospitals or regional health departments were held accountable for lowering the IMR in their catchment area, infant deaths that occurred in the 12th month were "transferred" statistically to the 13th month (i.e., the second year of life), and thus no longer classified as an infant death."
Healthcare careers




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