Healthcare policy is an endless debate in the United States, and in New Mexico the debate has its own special complications.
Thoughts about how theories and ethics bump up against pragmatic realities come to mind in the wake of two recent public discussions I attended.
Is there such a thing as “deserving” healthcare, and do some people deserve more than others? Should some people be more entitled to access healthcare, or better quality healthcare, than others? (“Entitled” is a loaded word. I used it deliberately to provoke your thoughts.)
Should those who can afford to pay for it have a greater right than those who don’t? Should smokers, or fat people, or drug addicts have less access, or be forced to pay more than others? Should young people be at the front of the line and old people forced to the back? These questions arise starkly when we consider extremely limited resources such as organs for transplant, but they permeate the entire healthcare system.
To develop the system we really want, we have to know what our values are. This message emerged from a presentation titled “Balancing Universal Healthcare with Medical Rationing,” by David Teutsch, a rabbi and ethicist, speaking recently to a New Mexico audience.