Bob Plain is the editor/publisher of Rhode Island's Future. Previously, he's worked as a reporter for several different news organizations both in Rhode Island and across the country.

3 responses to “Whitehouse explains Medicare For All, prospects for bills passage”

  1. PinkHatLib

    This doesn’t sound like equivocation to me. Overly wonkish perhaps, but he’s spot on imho. It all depends on what you meant by “fundamental right.”

    “Whitehouse equivocated slightly when asked if healthcare should be regarded as a fundamental right. ‘It’s hard to say that something you have to pay for is a natural right, but it should be a social right. Public education is a good example.’”

    Natural rights are those that are God given and can therefore never be taken away, like freedom of speech or association. Whitehouse is correct to say the right to healthcare is more like the right to public education. Madison called those “social rights” and offered trial by jury as an example.

    “Trial by jury cannot be considered as a natural right, but a right resulting from a social compact which regulates the action of the community, but is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the pre-existent rights of nature.”
    James Madison, Introduction of the Bill of Rights

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  2. jgardner

    It’s hard to say that something you have to pay for is a natural right, but it should be a social right. Public education is a good example.

    I will give Whitehouse credit for having a more nuanced opinion than nearly anyone else I’ve seen who has agreed with his overall position, but given the state of our public education system, I’m not sure it’s the shining endorsement of government action he believes it is.

    “Talking about socialized medicine and the indulging in the fantasy that the free markets work in this scenario has run its course,” he said.

    And this is where the Senator makes the oft-repeated mistake (I almost have to believe it’s intentional at this point) of referring to the healthcare system pre-Obamacare as “free market.” From the AMA to the State Medical boards to Medicare’s effect on the healthcare industry, among a host of other reasons, we had nothing resembling a free market for medical care prior to the passage of PPACA. If you disagree, then let me know how much a CT Scan costs.

    Just as an aside, how will changing the third-party that pays for the care increase the supply of doctors? How will changing the third-party that pays for the care reduce deaths due to medical errors, unnecessary surgeries and hospital-acquired infections? It seems to me problems like that are glossed over in the larger debate about who should pay for care.

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  3. RI congressional delegation split on Medicare for All

    […] made news recently as an early cosponsor of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All bill set […]

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