Edwards Opposes Medical Choice
If John Edwards is elected president, Americans will have no choice but go to the doctor when told.
Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said on Sunday that his universal health care proposal would require that Americans go to the doctor for preventive care.
“It requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive care,” he told a crowd sitting in lawn chairs in front of the Cedar County Courthouse. “If you are going to be in the system, you can’t choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years. You have to go in and be checked and make sure that you are OK.”
He noted, for example, that women would be required to have regular mammograms in an effort to find and treat “the first trace of problem.” Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, announced earlier this year that her breast cancer had returned and spread.
Most of the bloggers covering this one are, understandably, focusing on the tyranny angle:
- Steven Taylor: “If one doesn’t go to one’s annual whatever, will there be a fine? Will the CDC dispatch agents to your house to force the tests on you?”
- Jon Henke: “Which one of John Edwards’ two Americas gets a freedom of choice and privacy that extends beyond the uterus?”
- Darleen Click: “State nannyism doesn’t get much better than this.”
- Brennan: “You want to get an abortion? That’s up to you. You want to decide not to go to the doctor? He’ll force ya to. Oh the freedom!”
- Ann Althouse: “He’s so warmed up about the generous benefits he’s promising that he doesn’t even hear the repressiveness in his own statements.”
- Ron Chusid: “A plan like this makes Edwards even more authoritarian than the current Republican Party.”
It strikes me, though, that Edwards is at least being honest about the trade-offs involved. If the government is going to be responsible for everyone’s health care (and at some point in the not-too-distant future, it will be) then it will naturally set all manner of preconditions for receiving treatment. If you’re morbidly obese, you’ll be denied heroic treatment for heart disease. If you don’t get preventative screenings, you’ll be denied remedial treatment.
From a pure business standpoint, this makes perfect sense. If you tear the back off your electronics equipment in an attempt to do repairs, you void the warranty. If your engine seizes up at 30,000 miles and you have never had the oil changed, the manufacturer won’t repair it on their dime. By the same token, why should the taxpayer be on the hook because you won’t take care of your body?
Those who value freedom would argue that the human body is different from mere property. Then again, they wouldn’t insist on cradle to grave health care on the public dime.