Las Vegas Sun

August 29, 2014

Currently: 101° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Sun Editorial:

Reaction at Tea Party debate puts health care debate in clear terms

During the CNN/Tea Party Express debate among Republican presidential contenders last week, moderator Wolf Blitzer asked about health care, which has been a hot topic on the right wing. Many conservatives have bashed government-sponsored health plans and have said people should be responsible for their own care.

Blitzer laid out a hypothetical situation: A 30-year-old man in good health and with a good job decides not to buy health insurance, but then something terrible happens and he ends up in a coma. Blitzer asked Rep. Ron Paul who should pay in that situation.

Paul, a doctor and a staunch libertarian, said the man should be responsible. Blitzer then followed up, asking what happens if the man is in intensive care for months?

“That’s what freedom is all about, taking your own risks,” Paul said to some cheers.

“But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?” Blitzer asked.

That’s not what Paul was saying. He was arguing for personal responsibility and against government bureaucracy in health care.

But it’s notable that before Paul could answer, there was a shout from the audience — “Yeah!” A few other voices in the audience joined in agreement.

Among conservatives, there has been great consternation over government involvement in health care. They have fought the new health care law over the mandate that everyone has to buy health insurance. Supporters of the proposal say the issue should help lower the cost of health care, but conservatives say government has no right to make anyone buy insurance.

Lost in that type of rhetoric is the point raised by Blitzer’s question: Real lives are affected by public policy. In health care, the issues can literally be life and death, and the ideology of the far right does have consequences. Would someone without insurance get any care at all, or would he be left to die because he failed to get his own insurance? Would the government help or would he be dependent on the kindness of strangers?

Certainly, there is a price tag for health care — a major illness can bankrupt someone with insurance, much less someone without it — and there is a debate to be had about what costs the public does or doesn’t pay. But the bottom line is that human lives are at stake, and as a nation, we shouldn’t lose sight of that.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 10 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. I, for one, am glad we can finally read an editorial form the Sun without bashing the Republicans. The healthcare issue is a very serious problem facing us today. We have seen examples of socialized medicine in other countries that are failures or close to failing. The medical professionals in these countries do not make the salaries that our medical professionals do yet these system fail because of the massive amounts of money required to keep them going.

    I think it is unreasonable to assume that all Americans can simply buy medical insurance. I have seen working systems in other countries but they could never work here because of different cultural aspects of the countries involved. The main difference is the government is not in the medical business. It requires that you have medical insurance. Your employer is required to provide medical insurance for you. If you do not work, either from disability or age, your medical insurance premiums are deducted from any assistance you receive from the government. All insurance companies are required to cover whomever applies without any "pre-existing" stipulations.

    The major difference is the vast disparity in the costs of care in the US and the cost of care in these countries. And of course the fact that healthcare there is generally not for profit, it is for healthcare.

    Vidi: My goodness your hated is blinding you. I must be awful being you.

  2. RHG58: Give the Sun a break. This editorial is about healthcare. We will see if they will comment on some of the failings of the President. Other MSM outlets finally have started to address these issues. The HufPo has taken some shots at him lately even though it drips of liberalism.

    And for what it is worth, I think Obama gives "crony capitalism" a bad name.LOL! It appears that his actions are just typical Chicago politics. (Sorry Dennis and Joseph I mean no offense to you)

  3. John Thompson says "We have seen examples of socialized medicine in other countries that are failures or close to failing. "

    John doesn't begin with a positive premise. We have also seen socialized medicine in other countries that WORKS!

    Because the GOP was so hell bent that we would not have health care for all, only the indigent and elderly, the working poor are left to die just as the Tea Party and GOP advocated for during the TeaGOP debate. Absolutely disgusting display of hatred from a bunch that are mostly on socialized medicine - that is Medicare (keep the Government out of my Medicare).

  4. Enjoyed the article.

    It is readily apparent that the conservatism the Republican Party has prided themselves in has somehow been hijacked. In some instances, even willingly.

    It is now an extremist right wing agenda that places more emphasis on personal wealth and money...than it does on the greatest commodity the United States of America has been, is and always will be noted for...its people.

    In the crap residue that is left of the Republican Party nowadays, people are cannon fodder. Garbage. Just commodities to be taken advantage of, manipulated and fooled.

    Every single policy, talking point and/or proposal that comes out of their mouths has no mention of the middle class, the poor nor even the vaguest mention of the average every day American...the very people who made this country great.

    Money. It's all about money to them. That is the ONLY thing that compels them into any form of action whatsoever.

    You're out of a job? Tough. No unemployment for you. Line up with the rest of the four year degree holders to apply for work at McDonald's flipping burgers and making french fries.

    You're deathly sick? Tough. You're a defective human being in their eyes and are considered baggage that must be gotten rid of. And damn sure don't ask for Government assistance. Please die off quickly and quietly and leave us alone.

    Your area just went through a tornado that left people homeless, injured and even in some instances killed? Tough. No. Wait a minute. We'll help you, but you must gut Social Security to get the aid.

    THIS is the Republican Party as it exists nowadays. And it is for these very reasons that it is dying. A long lasting and slow death.

    Rest in Peace, Republicans. Keep letting the radical extremist balloon brains take over and drag you even further down to finish the knockout blow that is sure to happen, not caused by the Democrats, but by YOURSELF and your own warped mentality of money, money, money, moh money, moh money, MOH MONEY!

    Buy the grave plot, purchase the tombstone, and dig the ground up deep enough. That's all that's left to complete the demise of the much vaunted Republican Party.

    RIP. Good riddance too.

  5. Judy: I also said I have seen and witnessed examples where it did work!

  6. "But they also emphasize primary care and preventive care, addressing diseases and problems before they become major. It's a very different approach to health care.""

    This is the ONLY way to keep health care costs down. But it wouldn't work in this country because no one in this country likes to be told what to eat or to exercise. I see in Chicago, Mayor Emmanuel is encouraging all city employees to join a health program where education, control, good diet and exercise in exchange for their health insurance premiums to be lower. If you don't want to participate, the premium goes up by $50. Sure, lots of people complained and my guess they were all fat, lazy and don't know what asparagus is nor a treadmill. I would jump at the chance for a program like that. Prevention thru education is successful and very cost effective.

  7. Where are all the clergy in this matter. One could normally expect that religious leaders would speak out that this type of behavior is not correct. Yet not one religious leader has opened their mouths. Are they intimidated by these people and if so why?

  8. It might be that the right approach would be to decouple health insurance from your job. That is, insurance companies should have super groups instead of various group plans based on contracts negotiated with employers.

    A person would buy into the plan they want, then pay for it themselves are even have it deducted from their pay automatically by giving the plan number to their employer.

    In other words, make it like auto insurance. That would wipe out the need for Cobra and keep rates more constant, possibly.

    I think a *lot* of the problems with the current system stems from having medical insurance tied to where you work.

  9. The government should stay out of health care only when the lobbyist stay out of government.

  10. When a Government has no obligation to protect it's citizens, then the citizens have no requirement or obligation to protect the Government...or the culture for that matter.

    Obligation works both ways.