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Is healthcare a right or a privilege?

July 2, 2012
By G. Michael Dobbs
news@thereminder.com
With the decision by the Supreme Court to uphold all of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), my email was buzzing with activity. Everyone wanted to get in his or her two-cents on how this is either a victory for the average American or the worst thing that has happened to the nation in years.
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) sent a statement in which it noted how it would challenge "the Obama Administration's abortion pill mandate in several lawsuits because it unconstitutionally requires faith-based employers to provide or pay for insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and devices for their employees regardless of whether the employers object on moral or religious grounds."
On the other hand, Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry said, "For more than two years, Republicans like Speaker Boehner, Congressman Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney have put their political careers ahead of working Americans struggling to afford and keep their healthcare. Insurance companies and corporate insiders have spent millions to take away the benefits of the law. Today, the Supreme Court rejected their cynical approach and working people won a resounding victory."
Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson didn't see it that way. He said, "The U.S. Constitution died today. The underlying hope and belief that our nation's founding document protected individual freedoms from an ever encroaching government is a thing of the past based upon this ruling. It is inconceivable how these nine lifetime appointed jurists could have decided to keep a law that is such a blatant intrusion into each of our lives, but the result of their decision is that individuals can no longer rely on the federal government power being limited by anything other than the political pressure their individual elected representatives feel. Ultimately, the Supreme Court has opted out of the battle to retain our freedoms, and has thrown in entirely with those who advocated for unlimited government authority. It is truly a sad day for our nation."
Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker wrote, "The ACA brings real benefits to tens of millions of people, and the Supreme Court's decision ensures improved access to health care for people with Medicare and their families. In upholding the law, the Court has made certain that millions of people with Medicare will continue to see billions of dollars in savings on prescription drugs through the closure of the Part D doughnut hole and have ongoing access to preventive care services at no out-of-pocket cost."
There were numerous comments circulating on Facebook and Twitter last week about how some people now want to move to Canada to avoid the ACA, apparently not understanding that Canada has government healthcare.
In Congress, the troops are now rallying to repeal the act, as they had been confident the conservative justices on the Supreme Court would have struck down the law. My question is this: What legislation is in place that would take the place of the ACA? What Republican-backed plan would make sure young adults receive coverage or that people with pre-existing conditions get the health insurance they need?
For many people in this nation, the system of a for-profit health insurance system has simply failed. Company drones instruct doctors on what is acceptable treatment. Why is this system so preferable? Because so many people make money from it.
Is healthcare a right? Or is it a commodity for people who can afford it? That's a question for all of us to think about.
Disagree? Drop me a line at news@thereminder.com or at 280 N. Main St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. As always, this column represents the opinion of its author and not the publishers or advertisers of this newspaper.
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