Voter: Do you think that health care is a right or a privilege?
Jesse Kelly: My belief system is this. The health care for anybody but especially for our nation. The highest quality and lowest cost can only be delivered without the government. What I believe is that all things we drive, we do, health care, anything, is a privilege to some extent. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, those are inalienable rights endowed by your creator. If you’re claiming a right, if you’re going to say anything’s a right, if you’re going to say you have a right to a cell phone, then who has the responsibility to pay for it? That’s what I believe.
Voter: So you’d put health care as a privilege then?
Kelly: Absolutely, absolutely. I believe that all things we have are. But they’re privileges you earn.
So in Jesse Kelly’s ideal America, the next time you’re rushed to the emergency room in desperate need of care, you shouldn’t expect to get that blood transfusion as soon as you arrive. First they’ll have to make sure you are good enough (i.e., well off enough) to earn the effort and expense. And the same goes to all you deadbeats out there careless enough to contract cancer, or leukemia, or heart disease, or to suffer a serious injury requiring extensive care and rehabilitation.
My above comment about the emergency room isn't as far fetched as some might think. According to the New York Times, debt collectors are now roosting like vultures in the emergency rooms of some hospitals. Some of them are even on staff.
To patients, the debt collectors may look indistinguishable from hospital employees, may demand they pay outstanding bills and may discourage them from seeking emergency care at all, even using scripts like those in collection boiler rooms, according to the documents and employees interviewed by The New York Times…
… Employees were told to stall patients entering the emergency room until they had agreed to pay a previous balance, according to the documents. Employees in the emergency room, for example, were told to ask incoming patients first for a credit card payment. If that failed, employees were told to say, ‘If you have your checkbook in your car I will be happy to wait for you,’ internal documents show.
Gee, I sure hope that patient having chest/abdominal pains/shortness of breath/slurred speech can make it to the car and back.
There was a time, not so long ago, when defenders of America’s free market medical care system would angrily brush aside the notion that people might conceivably be forced to go without needed medical care because they couldn’t pay for it. Now, with reality looming, they’ve dropped that tack and are actually citing as desirable what they earlier were denying. Nosirree, not just anyone can get life-saving healthcare in our great country! Rest assured, that only people who deserve it – or who the Republicans think deserve it – will be offered the “privilege” of treatment and medication that prevents disability or death.
The only way to sell this is to present the unemployed, the poor, and the debt-ridden as a ravening horde endangering the country’s welfare with their crazy ideas about being entitled to food, healthcare, and shelter, as O'Reilly does in his recent rant about "entitlements." Instead of seeing widespread poverty and need as a crisis that needs to be addressed, he treats the people affected by it as the problem.
I’m reminded of the scene at the end of A Night To Remember, when an aristocratic lady in a sparsely filled lifeboat says, in response to the suggestion that they row back and pick up survivors,
“We’re crowded enough as it is. I’m feeling most unwell.”
Crossposted from Thoughtcrimes