Foothill Technology High School

Opinion: The new healthcare bill reflects our American privilege

Is government subsidized health care a right or a privilege? And if it is a right, is it only a right for certain people?

Let’s think about our basic rights, or rather, our unalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In order for one to pursue life, they need food, clean water, shelter, oxygen, warmth and rest. Liberty entails freedom and independence, and the ability to move up the social ladder even from the very bottom. The pursuit of happiness suggests the means to care for those we love, follow what we believe and believe what we dream.

So is basic medical care a right? Absolutely, and getting this care isn’t a problem even for those at the bottom financially.

Here in America, we do a fairly good job of taking care of people who are poor or disadvantaged. It comes down to this: homeless people don’t have the legal right to steal food, just like everyone else. However, despite being impermissible, the absence of this right is augmented with the privilege of homeless shelters, where they receive the basic necessities of life. There, they can survive and try to build themselves up if they have the will to do so.

The new health care bill isn’t going to give everyone the right to government subsidized health care, but it is supplemented with greater choice and more control at a lower cost. The freedom of choice, of liberty and independence, is a right which the founding fathers say we were “endowed by [our] Creator.”

People are not going to be denied necessary health care. In reality, too many people wait too long and receive insubstantial care anyway. The real problem is quality and cost, and if we look too much to the government to run the health care system, it’s not going to suit everybody’s needs, rights and finances. So, with more choice and more control, we can manage our rights and take advantage of our privileges.

Government invasion of public power really means people are being forgotten, or at the very least, generalized. Everyone needs to have the freedom of choice and chance.

In the words of Ronald Reagan, “if [this doesn’t happen], one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was like to live in America when men were free…” and “we can’t socialize the doctors without socializing the patients.”

Is it possible for health care to be a right and a privilege at the same time? We have the right for liberty and happiness, but healthcare is still a privilege that must be obtained. If you work hard for your choice, it is readily available as this privilege.

Here’s how everyone can have this privilege, this choice: we can provide more information on the quality of services and performance of providers, and we can build more health clinics in poor neighborhoods.

We can’t just depend on the government to provide for us, because these politicians don’t know us and nor do they personally know or care about us.

We are so fortunate in this free United States of America. We are separate from the rest of the world in that while we aren’t all socially equal, we are all on the same level when it comes to the freedom to find our way, stick to our dreams and determine for ourselves that we are going to make them come true. You can be a far left liberal or a far right conservative; it doesn’t matter. What does matter is your freedom to move from down to up rather than from left to right.

It is the heights that we reach and the choices that we decide that define us, not what we are given for free.

I don’t think the current health care bill is going to land itself on President Trump’s desk when the Senate votes are tallied. However, a modified version will certainly make its way there in time.

So let’s start climbing.

–Sam Bova

Featured Image Credit: Maya Avelar

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