Sometimes editorials are just a way to prevent a few blank column-inches. Certainly the editors of the Investor’s Business Daily would have been better off with blank column inches than with the screed they actually published. After all, if you are making an argument and cite an example that not only does not work for you, but undermines your entire premise of argumentation, you have done yourself no favors. The IBD (an acronym I know all too well in another context) editors want to make out that a health care system that covers everyone can’t possibly work, and they try to point out an example of where such a system must fail.
People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.
Uh, hello? Stephen Hawking is a UK citizen. Hawking is known for apologizing for the Midwest accent of his speech synthesis circuitry. In Brit lingo, that’s an own goal. I’d fear more for Hawking if he were stricken with an acute illness while visiting the USA and left in the tender mercies of an overcrowded public emergency room here without a recognized US health insurance plan.
It is long past time when health care is provided universally on a rational basis, and not left to uninsured people having to use last-ditch emergency room care as their sole contact with the health care system. This isn’t rocket science, and if we wanted a system that provides health care to everyone *and* works well, we could invent it. First, though, we have to get past the naysayers with either vested interests or too little compassion for the plight of others.
Hat tip to Lou Shackleton.
Update: Ed Brayton notes that Hawking has taken the editors to task, and that the editors put a disclaimer up to say that their implication that Hawking was not a UK citizens was incorrect. As Ed says that’s not the point, which was that their argument depended on Hawking dying earlier if he was a UK citizen. The fact that Hawking is here to upbraid them means their argument is of the same value as a bit of doggy-doo on the bottom of your shoe.