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in 2009 there is no bigger issue

Is Healthcare a Right or a Service?

Do we all want good healthcare for all at a good price?  I should hope so, but is it a right, a guaranteed delivery at a non-market price?  

A woman whose life was saved by having a treatment to breast cancer, was not covered by her insurance policy for a good deal of the costs.  She had to pay $100K more out of pocket for the prescribed care.  She thinks that since the insurance company did not cover her, and followed the agreement that she had with them, that this is wrong.  She is now a strong supporter of Obamacare, joining Pelosi at press conferences.  It represents a compelling story, but is the essence of the debate. 

Should someone take care of her, such that no high costs have to be covered by her, but are covered by the collective tax payer ultimately?   Or is there a better solution?    Entitlement remains the underlying question that needs to be resolved well to have an workable healthcare system. 

A British Doctor speaks to the question of rights.   A good argument can be made that declaring healthcare a right will lead to a condition that we cannot afford to provide entitled healthcare.  Can one look at the examples of the past, Sweden, Soviet Russia, or even today's France and Canada for guidance?  The cases do have many problems with entitled healthcare, and they should be understood in basic economic terms.  For if we do not do this well, then we risk making it worse. 

Is the issue of healthcare reform today a collision or confusion over whether healthcare is a right or a service?  We would be well served if we saw it as a service, and optimized the market to deliver it well and at a good price.  If we think as a society that it is entitled then we have to see clearly what this means, and what precedents exist that speak to its effectiveness. 

Should we be responsible and even incentivized to manage our health, and even our weight?  Should we experience a different cost for insurance if we are over weight?   In Obamacare the answer is no.  So the current reform has less self responsibility and more government responsibility.  

Obesity and life style related choices affect the total healthcare cost tremendously.  These alone would have perhaps the greatest impact on the costs and health of this nation, but seem to be slipping in that no incentives are included in these Bills.