Thursday, September 03, 2009

Looking squarely at ethics

Oh, my. I just read the transcript of a brief address by a Presbyterian minister that is published on Common Dreams. He was asked to speak on health care and ethics. Take a look at this little excerpt:

If an infant is born to poor parents, would we be more ethical to give medicine to that child so he or she does not die prematurely of preventable diseases, or would we be more ethical if we let the child die screaming in his or her parent's arms so we can keep more of our money?

Or, let's say someone who worked for Enron, and now is penniless, contracted bone cancer. I've been asked to discuss whether we are more ethical if we provide such people medicine that lessens their pain. Or would we be more ethical to let them scream through the night in unbearable agony so we can pay lower taxes?

I can't believe I am standing today in a Christian church defending the proposition that we should lessen the suffering of those who cannot afford health care in an economic system that often treats the poor as prey for the rich. I cannot believe there are Christians around this nation who are shouting that message down and waving guns in the air because they don't want to hear it.

-- Rev. Jim Rigby

I'll tell you what the folks on the right will say about the above examples. They will say that those people can just go to an emergency room and get treated for free. That's a lie of course. They can go to an emergency room and the law requires that they be treated but it will not be for free. They will most assuredly be charged. And they will be charged at much greater rates than people with insurance because the insurance companies negotiate for big discounts.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:40 PM

    My husband recently spent 2 weeks in ICU and we just started getting the bills (which we figure will top $500,000). The bill for the hospital room was $174,000. Our insurance company paid $79,000 and the rest was "discounted". Had we not had insurance this health event would have also meant financial ruin. No one should ever find themselves in that position in one of the richest countries in the world.


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