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Health Care in America A Right or Privilege

Updated on December 26, 2014

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(AFP/Getty Images/File/Mario Tama)
(AFP/Getty Images/File/Mario Tama)

An American Stand Off

At the time this picture was taken in the subway systems of New York City, President Barack Obama was giving Americans an honest assessment of their grim economic plight. In his first address to Congress, President Obama also conjured up hopes of a brighter future. Since that time we have passed a health care bill full of pork barrel nonsense, and nothing has logically been suggested to handle the real crisis. The new healthcare bill has successfully defeated thirty-three attempts to be changed, altered, and overridden. While this man still stands in the subway tunnels, to panhandle change from strangers, and still suffering from his thyroid condition.

  • The pictured is a homeless man, with no health insurance, who is suffering from an overactive thyroid which causes the muscles behind his eye to swell.

An American Story

A man enters a Walgreen's. He goes to the back of the store to where the pharmacy counter is located. He informs the pharmacist that he has cancer and is in terrible pain. When the pharmacist tried to calmly explain to the man that he was sorry and could do nothing for him, the cancer patient tells the pharmacist he has a gun. The gun man tells the pharmacist how he recently lost his health insurance, since his former employer obligation under COBRA had recently expired. Already thousands of dollars in debt, he could no longer get his medications. The gun man asked politely for everyone, except for the pharmacist, to leave the store. He then explained his intentions were not to harm anybody. He just needed something for the pain. When the employees made it out of the store, they swiftly called 911. In the meantime, the man demanded Oxycontin and Lorazepam. Two common medications used in cancer hospice care. Oxycontin is for pain and Lorazepam is for anxiety. It supposedly helps to calm the nerves after a dose of chemotherapy. The pharmacist supplied the man with his demands and was released by the gun man.

After a 15 minute stand off with police, the man stopped pointing the gun at his head and the police gave him some time. The police watched the man take the necessary amount of drugs, allowed by the prescription for his condition. Once the man became more subdued and clearly out of pain, the police immediately placed him in police custody. An ambulance was called to the scene, and the patient was taken to the state supported hospital. The man ended up in the Intensive Care Unit. Where the news then said he was in critical condition, and dying from cancer. Apparently, this man's only remaining option, was to become a ward of the county or state, as an inmate, in order that to live out the rest of his days, without unbearable and horrific pain.

  • Now, you tell me because I want to know, should health care be a right or a privilege in America?
  • Is this what any of us, would want for a love one or perhaps even ourselves, to go through?
  • What will the new healthcare law do for men like these featured in this article?

—Questions Americans from coast to coast are forced to ask themselves daily.

Health Care

Is Health Care in America right or privilege?

See results

America's Opposing Voices

  • The side of many healthcare professionals are saying:
  1. The health care industry is a business. The bottom line is profit.
  2. Taking care of people is expensive.
  3. It is not the fault of Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists, etc., that the costs of health care are rising.
  4. It is the insurance companies fault. The way items have to itemized to even collect the going rate from an Insurance company is the cause and effect.
  • Many people on the side of the patients are saying:
  1. I need assistance.
  2. I live in America, what do you mean I'm denied?
  3. I need medicine. I'm sick.
  4. I pay taxes too, I just do not make enough money to pay taxes, and pay for medical insurance together at once.


Submit a Comment

  • G.L.A. profile image

    Geri Anderson 

    7 years ago from Arizona

    Look around you.. it's obvious. Healthcare is a privilege..

  • livewithrichard profile image

    Richard Bivins 

    9 years ago from Charleston, SC

    This is a huge topic RK and I wish more people would take part in this discussion. I am of the opinion that healthcare is a privilege. You pointed out an extreme situation, though probably not that uncommon. However, you fail to mention the enormity of people that abuse the medicaid and medicare systems that we have and how much worse it could become. Right now, if you have a cold or flu, you probably suck it up and get some OTC meds, but if healthcare was paid for by the taxpayer, then what would stop you from running to the ER. I can't locate the stats right now but I seen a report that a handfull of people in LA county accounted for nearly 1/4 of all ER visits.

    Yes, it comes down to money. Who and how is it going to be paid for? I know that sounds cold and heartless, but as long as we live in a capitalist society with limited resources and as long as we want to retain what little freedoms we have left, we have to think about the money. IMO

  • GeneriqueMedia profile image


    9 years ago from Earth


    Teresa made the observation first, but you've still not fixed the second mention of "privilege" on the poll. Just so you know. =)

    I don't know where I stand, but I do know the government is not a hospital and I don't want to see some sort of national health care system.

    I would, however, like to see lots of benefits and good reasons for doctors and insurance companies to provide benefits to people at low costs when they can.



  • Peppermint Thrift profile image

    Peppermint Thrift 

    9 years ago

    I most definitely think that healthcare should be a right of every individual. I have gone without insurance for a few years and luckily have not been injured or seriously sick, but it could happen and I would have no idea what to do. I feel that the pharmaceutical companies and insurance bigwigs work together just to make the most money they can, meanwhile, there are sick children, elderly and people who have worked hard their whole lives who are turned away at the door because they do not have any money. It is disgusting. Every person has the right to be treated and helped when they are ill. I think Dante would agree that there is a special layer of hell for anyone involved in the way that our healthcare system is managed. Also, a MUST SEE is Michael Moore's "Sicko." I know he is not everyone's cup of tea, but this movie focuses on people with insuance who have not been adequately cared for and compares other countries' healthcare systems to our own. It is definitely an eye opener. But the question remains, how much longer do we, as citizens, turn a blind eye to this problem and do not demand that it change?

  • RKHenry profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA

  • RKHenry profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA

    If you voted in my poll, I'm sorry if I messed it up by editing the hub. I debated adding the information on the Missouri man, but in the end I felt it was a needed addition.

    Sounds like to me, that the USA, might be in need of more Teddy Kennedys. This is a very tough situation for America's leaders. But I do think that someone needs to decide either way- what's to done. The sooner the better for the people on the edge. My heart goes out for this guy. Both of them. Thanks Teresa!

  • Teresa McGurk profile image


    9 years ago from The Other Bangor

    I'm looking forward to people's responses here, as it's a great question. It's a right to have healthcare!

  • RKHenry profile imageAUTHOR


    9 years ago from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA

    THANK YOU!!! Always good to see you around!

  • Teresa McGurk profile image


    9 years ago from The Other Bangor

    Feel free to delete this comment, but I couldn't help noticing you've misspelled privilege -- you might want to go back and fix it (and I think there are a -- yes, healthcare is a typo, too). All the best, Teresa.


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