The British Gasp
While I was on holiday last week, I read an editorial by Paul Krugman in the New York Times about Ron Paul, a surgeon by profession, and the Republican presidential debates. It so disturbed me that I had to look up the clip he was referring to on YouTube to see for myself if a candidate for the office of president actually thought allowing people to die was acceptable.
Mr. Krugman is a bit overly dramatic in his prose, but he did catch the essence of Mr. Paul's response and he also accurately stated that those who would be most affected by Mr. Paul's approach wouldn't be employed early middle-aged men; they would be the poor and children. What he doesn't mention is Mr. Paul's assertion that the churches would take care of sick people. Is he unaware that many churches are struggling in this hard economic time as well?
I played the clip for my colleagues here in the UK. They watched with abject horror, and no, I'm not being overly dramatic in that description. Here in the UK, health care is a right, not a privilege. They can't conceive of a society that won't provide necessary care to its citizens. I have learned in the course of studying for my master's in public health that the US is alone in not offering universal coverage among all developed westernized nations. What disturbed more than one person watching was the cheer of someone in the crowd and that not one other candidate spoke out against Mr. Paul. They think my home country is barbaric.
What would happen if suddenly Medicare and Medicaid disappeared? How would your business be affected? How would your parents or grandparents be affected? What if you lost your job as a result; how would you be affected?
Should health care continue to be a privilege? What role should the APTA play in this discussion?