Healthcare. Right or Privilege?
In 1624, English clergyman and renown poet, John Donne, wrote. "No man is an island, entire to itself; Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a single clod is washed away by the sea then England is the less. Every mans death diminishes me because I am involved in humankind; therefore, ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee".
Those words encapsulate the invisible connection we share as members of humanity. They proclaim that the heart of man, reaches beyond himself. That he is bound, like the pages of a book, to every other, who like him, is engaged in the common struggle to live. We are bound because death is not independent or solitary. It affects those of us left behind. We can not by effort, separate ourselves from one another in so exhaustive and fundamental an endeavor because the death of any man illuminates our own struggle.
"We hold these truths to be self evident, that we are created equal and endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights."
There is no right more fundamental to equality than the right to live and that right goes well beyond a "right to birth". That is what we do. It consumes us until death steals from us the fight with which we come. The right does not exist apart from the provision necessary to sustain the right. The idea that this right expires at conception and then relegates itself to privilege is absurdity. Privilege is confined to those things which adorn life, not things which sustain life.
Our greatness as a nation does not spill from the unabridged freedom to exercise individual rights, but, from the compromise of individual rights to insure the rights of one another. That is the seed that grows greatness. That is where we harvest nobility from the stubborn ground of individual pursuit. It isn't a matter of either/or. It is a matter of not exalting one, at the expense of the other. It is a notion, that in preserving the dignity of one another, we give birth to dignity within ourselves. How does one defend a right to life, while concurrently, restricting the reasonable access to that, which sustains life? In doing so, we diminish the integrity of an idea which gave birth to a nation. The idea that one people will not and should not, advance their individual liberty, apart from the mutual pledge to simultaneously protect the same liberties of those who form that nation.
"And in support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor".
The final statement from "The Declaration of Independence" moves us beyond an alter of individual pursuit to consider a proposition; that individual rights exist, in the assurance that each others rights, co exist; that such assurance is mutual and that its provision is equal.
A "right to life" can not exclude reasonable access to that provision which is necessary to the exercise of life. The reasonable procurement of shelter, food, water and health care are necessary to sustain the viability of life. Disproportionate access to those provisions, diminishes the idea, that "a right to life" is equal and advances instead, the notion that when the bell tolls, until it tolls for me, it does not toll at all. When access reaches an economic threshold diminishing reasonable procurement for a provision necessary to sustain "a right to life" then equality gives way to privilege. Imagine trying to buy water at a free market price which is driven by consumer demand.
The price of water is regulated so that it's necessity to the preservation of life is not compromised by the rule of privilege.
I do not presume an answer to the problems confronting health care in this country. I do presume that whatever the answer, it should be conceived in the preservation of an idea that reveres our common struggle. That "We the People" engaged in a common pursuit, hold this truth to be self evident; that the right to life should not exclude that which is necessary to its exercise and that we hold in perpetuity the notion that such access is mutual and equal.
The greatness of a nation is never more eloquently voiced, never more elegantly portrayed, than when its advantaged speak on behalf of its disadvantage. Although wealth may well adorn and decorate lives with the luxury afforded by individual industry, it can not purchase a greater portion of equality. Health care is not a lifeboat reserved for first class fares, the lifeboat belongs equally to every man, regardless of the fare paid. If life is a self evident and unalienable right then certainly, that which is necessary to sustain it, must be self evident and unalienable. That it is a privilege, is only defined as privilege, by those that are privileged. It is not my contention that health care be given freely to every man; it is my contention that just like water, it be affordable to every man. That like water, it is a self evident and unalienable right. That without it, when the bell tolls, ask not who it is for; it is for us.