The Morality of Health Care

November 27, 2011

Rutland Herald

I would like to thank Dr. Ted Shattuck for his commentary “Vermont can lead the way” in the Nov. 13 edition of the Rutland Herald and Times Argus. Dr. Shattuck made some valid points that seem to have gone missing from our long and tortuous debate on health care reform.

In one of these, for instance, Dr. Shattuck wrote that, “22,000 to 45,000 Americans die of preventable deaths each year due to a lack of basic health care.” These are staggering statistics of which we as a nation should not be proud. Each one of these lost people had a name, family and friends. Several years ago I was nearly one of them.

Dr. Shattuck also raised the issue of morality.

“Our moral right to health care, both as individuals and as a nation,” as Dr. Shattuck wrote. Whether for or opposed to health care reform, we can talk economics all that we want. We should talk economics. The real question, however, behind this debate is this huge moral one. Do we as people in this nation, in this state, have the moral right to health care?

Who is it that decides why we Americans so far do not have this right (until we reach 65, that is) in general but citizens in other industrial-technological nations do have the human right to health care? Should economics be the sole deciding factor in who has the right to health care and who does not, like it is now?

Each one of those Americans lost to preventable deaths because of our health care economics might have something to say about this.

This is the dilemma confronting us behind the facade of economics.

Walter Carpenter