Thursday, September 03, 2009

I'm sure you've seen this posted on your homepage:

No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.

I've certainly felt an upsurge of sentiment on this score. And I doubt that that upsurge will go away.

This is not just about health care, though. There is a change of mores occurring in the US, with implications both promising and daunting.

Individual responsibility, to be sure, is not disappearing, but the idea of health care as a right will help to solidify a new meaning of the word "right."

Many others have noticed that "rights" used to imply a freedom from government interference. And that they are coming to mean an entitlement to social support.

This change comes with some risks, economic and social. New rights, however, can lead to both economic and social inefficiencies and efficiencies. We should not pretend that the two conversations are unconnected nor, alternatively, that they always point in the same direction.


Jeff DeGrasse said...

I'm all for personal responsibility, but the system should give the guy working two minimum wage jobs a chance to access quality health care. And we don't we all feel a bit entitled to receive employer subsidized health care?

Will said...

By my understanding, "liberties" are about freedom from government interference, but "rights" need to be secured by government. The Civil Rights movement in the 1950's and '60's, for example, was hardly a plea for the government to take a more a hands-off approach.