Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Gina Liggett letter to Rep. Levy

Gina Liggett writes:
Rep. Claire Levy (state house district 13) wrote an article in "Perspectives" (Denver Post, July 1) in which she said "health care is a right" and that we need "a comprehensive plan." I've written her this letter in response. I also sent yet another LTE to the Denver Post about this and the other articles by Gabriel Kaplan and Dr. Kamau in which they too advocate government takeover of health care. If you'd like to send Rep. Levy a letter, her email address is: claire.levy.house@state.co.us
Here is Gina's response:
Dear Representative Levy,

I read your recent Denver Post article on health care reform with much interest. In one respect, I agree that our health care system is indeed broken, as you pointed out in your examples (the thousands of uninsured, high costs of care burdening businesses and families, and wasteful administrative expenses.)

But I profoundly disagree with the most compelling sentence in your article: "We must begin with the premise that health care is a basic right." Health care is most definitely NOT a right.

A right is a moral concept that defines an individual's freedom of action in society. Our most fundamental rights to our own lives, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness mean that in order for us to survive as rational beings in society, we must retain the right to think, to act according to our own judgment, to create and keep what is needed for survival and to live for our own purpose without sacrificing the rights of other individuals. Thus, it is proper that we outlaw the actions of a criminal who wants to "pursue happiness" by stealing purses to support his methamphetamine habit.

In terms of health care, it is one of our many needs, but it is not a right. It is not a right to force citizens to pay for the health care of others. It is not a right to mandate that I purchase some health plan whether I want it or not. It is not a right that a physician must accept a certain payment that he or she has not consented to. These would actually violate the individual rights of consumers and providers.

But an insurance company who offers to sell me a health insurance plan that I want and can afford violates nobody's rights. It is a trade between members of society each according to his own judgement and benefit. It is a completely moral exchange. In a word, it is what free market capitalism is. Only a free market honors the rights of the consumer and the provider.

What you advocate, however, as a solution to the health care mess is a "comprehensive plan"--presumably one of the 208 Commission's runner-up proposals that recommend greatly-increased government control of health care. (And I was shocked to discover that the criteria the 208 Commission used to initially evaluate all proposals required only specified government-oriented methods for reforming health care! Any free-market proposal couldn't possibly have had a chance.)

Your article and those of Dr. Pius Kamau and Mr. Gabriel Kaplan have one central thing in common: they all advocate socialized medicine, despite the historical fact that government dominance of health care is the root cause of the problems you and the editorialists describe.

If what you want in a health care system is affordability, accessibility, innovation in service, ever-improving quality, breakthroughs in treatment for our most intractable diseases, and freedom of choice, then you have to advocate for sweeping free-market-based reforms of the health care system.

On the other hand, you should push for government-run health care if you want waiting lists, a dramatic drop in quality, uncontainable costs, limited options for care, rationing of services, and stifling of innovation in treatments and diagnosis. I can guarantee that's what we'll get. And liberty is what we'll lose.

Gina M. Liggett, RN