Thursday, August 20, 2009


Sen Jim DeMint, R-SC) does not think health care is a right, just a privilege. Thanks to Political Wire for pointing to the interview.

Robert Behre of the Charleston Post and Courier interviewed DeMint. Here's the reporter's question and DeMint's response:

"P&C: Do people have a right to health care? Describe where the government's obligation to provide a safety net ends and where a person's responsibility should begin.

"DeMint: I think health care is a privilege. I wouldn't call it a right. ... I do think in our country and in any civil society there should be a safety net for basic health and food and shelter, but that doesn't mean that the whole system should be designed around the belief that people can't make their own decisions, can't be responsible for themselves. ... What we do need to do is make sure everybody has access to policies they can afford, own and keep. We're not doing that. What we've done is set up the whole system to reward employers for offering health insurance, but we don't support people who don't get their insurance at work, and that's not fair."

Now it's hard to make sense of what DeMint is saying, but he clearly believes health care is a privilege and that no one in America has a right to it. So the people hit with catastrophic illnesses, the children paralyzed from accidents, the cancer patients, according to DeMint, none of them have a right to health care by virtue of being citizens of the United States.

So people still think like DeMint? If so, the United States is a dark place in which to dwell especially if you are sick. Is this what other Republicans think? Then the Republicans are meaner than I originally thought.

And what do these meanies make of the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution? It says that the people make the Constitution "in order to . . . secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and to our posterity." Surely we have here a basis to say that the "blessings of liberty" mean the freedom to not worry about securing adequate and affordable health care. If not, how does the government "promote the general welfare" and "establish justice?" I thus argue that health care is a right, not a mere privilege. Every citizen should be able to count on the government to provide medical treatment, cost of required prescription drugs, and hospital care.

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