However, socialized medicine is not the answer. I do not know how long this link will remain valid, so I am going to copy the entire article by Rupert Darwall (a consultant director of Reform, a London-based think tank). All rights are those of the author and the Wall Street Journal.
Rarely has the Atlantic seemed as wide as when America's health-care debate provoked a near unanimous response from British politicians boasting of the superiority of their country's National Health Service. Prime Minister Gordon Brown used Twitter to tell the world that the NHS can mean the difference between life and death. His wife added, "we love the NHS." Opposition leader David Cameron tweeted back that his plans to outspend Labour showed the Conservatives were more committed to the NHS than Labour.
This outbreak of NHS jingoism was brought to an abrupt halt by the Patients Association, an independent charity. In a report, the association presented a catalogue of end-of-life cases that demonstrated, in its words, "a consistent pattern of shocking standards of care." It provided details of what it described as "appalling treatment," which could be found across the NHS.
A few days later, a group of senior doctors and health-care experts wrote to a national newspaper expressing their concern about the Liverpool Care Pathway, a palliative program being rolled out across the NHS involving the withdrawal of fluids and nourishment for patients thought to be dying. Noting that in 2007-08, 16.5% of deaths in the U.K. came after "terminal sedation," their letter concluded with the chilling observation that experienced doctors know that sometimes "when all but essential drugs are stopped, 'dying' patients get better" if they are allowed to.
The usual justification for socialized health care is to provide access to quality health care for the poor and disadvantaged. But this function can be more efficiently performed through the benefits system and the payment of refundable tax credits.
The real justification for socialized medicine is left unstated: Because health-care resources are assumed to be fixed, those resources should be prioritized for those who can benefit most from medical treatment. Thus the NHS acts as Britain's national triage service, deciding who is most likely to respond best to treatment and allocating health care accordingly.
It should therefore come as no surprise that the NHS is institutionally ageist. The elderly have fewer years left to them; why then should they get health-care resources that would benefit a younger person more? An analysis by a senior U.K.-based health-care expert earlier this decade found that in the U.S. health-care spending per capita goes up steeply for the elderly, while the U.K. didn't show the same pattern. The U.K.'s pattern of health-care spending by age had more in common with the former Soviet bloc.
A scarcity assumption similar to the British mentality underlies President Barack Obama's proposed health-care overhaul. "We spend one-and-a-half times more per person on health care than any other country, but we aren't any healthier for it," Mr. Obama claimed in his address to Congress last Wednesday, a situation that, he said, threatened America's economic competitiveness.
This assertion is seldom challenged. Yet what makes health care different from spending on, say, information technology or any category of consumer service such that spending on health care is uniquely bad for the American economy? Distortions like malpractice suits that lead to higher costs or the absence of consumer price consciousness do result in a misallocation of resources. That should be an argument for tackling those distortions. But if high health-care spending otherwise reflects the preferences of millions of consumers, why the fuss?
The case for ObamaCare, as with the NHS, rests on what might be termed the "lump of health care" fallacy. But in a market-based system triggering one person's contractual rights to health care does not invalidate someone else's health policy. Instead, increased demand for health care incentivizes new drugs, new therapies and better ways of delivering health care. Government-administered systems are so slow and clumsy that they turn the lump of health-care fallacy into a reality.
According to the 2002 Wanless report, used by Tony Blair's government to justify a large tax hike to fund the higher spending, the NHS is late to adopt and slow to diffuse new technology. Still, NHS spending more than doubled to £103 billion in 2009-10 from £40 billion in 1999-2000, equivalent to an average growth rate of over 7% a year after inflation.
In 1965, economist (and future Nobel laureate) James Buchanan observed of the 17-year old NHS that "hospital facilities are overcrowded, and long delays in securing treatment, save for strictly emergency cases, are universally noted." Forty-four years later, matters are little improved. The Wanless report found that of the five countries it looked at, the U.S. was the only one to be both an early adopter and rapid diffuser of new medical techniques. It is the world's principal engine driving medical advance. If the U.S. gets health-care reform wrong, the rest of the world will suffer too.
1. Never trust a dog to watch your food. - Patrick, age 10
2. When your dad is mad and asks you, "Do I look stupid?" don't answer him. - Michael, 14
3. Never tell your mom her diet's not working. - Michael, 14
4. Stay away from prunes. - Randy, 9
5. Never pee on an electric fence. - Robert, 13
6. Don't squat with your spurs on. - Noronha, 13
7. Don't pull dad's finger when he tells you to. - Emily, 10
8. When your mom is mad at your dad, don't let her brush your hair. - Taylia, 11
9. Never allow your three-year old brother in the same room as your school assignment. - Traci, 14
10. Don't sneeze in front of mom when you're eating crackers. Mitchell, 12
11. Puppies still have bad breath even after eating a tic tac. Andrew, 9
12. Never hold a dust buster and a cat at the same time. Kyoyo, 9
13. You can't hide a piece of broccoli in a glass of milk. Armir, 9
14. Don't wear polka-dot underwear under white shorts. Kellie, 11
15. If you want a kitten, start out by asking for a horse. Naomi, 15
16. Felt markers are not good to use as lipstick. Lauren, 9
17. Don't pick on your sister when she's holding a baseball bat. Joel, 10
18. When you get a bad grade in school, show it to your mom when she's on the phone. Alyesha, 13
19. Never try to baptize a cat. Eileen, 8
James was murdered by Harlan Drake simply because Harlan did not want James to show his sign to students anymore. Harlan then went to shoot another man who had apparently upset him, and was stopped by police before he could kill again. I bring up this story for two reasons. One, to honor the memory of James Pouillon who ended up giving his life as part of his dedication to the pro-life cause. Two, to draw attention to another key difference between the political left and right.
While keeping abortion legal certainly contributes to a culture of death that devalues human life, that is not the intent of those on the political left. I expect most Leftists are just as horrified by this atrocity as those on the Right. However, I am saddened that no major abortion-rights advocates have come out and condemned this killing. As the Romans used to say, Silence Gives Consent. When an abortionist was killed in Wichita, Kansas, the pro-life community immediately expressed their shock and disapproval of this action. By their words and actions, they made it clear that the pro-life community strongly disapproved of murder and would not welcome a copy-cat killing. Today the silence of the abortion-rights community sends the opposite message.
I think your scriptural interpretations have just as much validity as anyone’s, after all, we all have a right to our opinion. Problem: As one of the few people in this country who has actually taken the time and put forth the effort to read the Bible from beginning to end, (a two and a half year process of study and research),...Congratulations on reading the Bible completely through. I hope you are wrong about being one of the few people in this country who have done so. Many of the Christians I know have done so, but that is hardly an empirical sample. According to Barna, 72% of Americans who have not yet read the entire Bible want to do so in their lifetime, but I could not find a reference that stated what percent of Americans had already done so. I found some interesting statistics, but nothing reliable about what percentage of people have read the entire Bible. I suspect Barna has this information, but it was not readily available from their website.
Reading the Bible through is a great accomplishment, but please do not stop there. I have read the Bible through many times, in multiple translations, and every time I do so I realize how much more there is to learn. I don't think this makes me an expert, but these readings have helped form my understanding of the Bible.
...I have come to understand “literal” as opposed to “general” interpretive mandate. For example: The book of Leviticus states in chapter 20 that children who curse their parents should be put to death. Deuteronomy reinforces this in chapter 22 by telling us that a daughter who loses her virginity while still in her father’s home, (I.E. - unmarried and possibly a minor child), should be stoned to death by the neighborhood men. If anyone were to be misguided enough to take these proclamations literally I think we can agree that they would spend the rest of their lives in jail and I don’t think that God would approve either. That being the case, how is it that you’ve come to the conclusion that the scriptures you have cited are to be taken literally? If in fact that be the case then killing the son or daughter who curses at you or who has premarital sex should be no problem at all in accordance with your literal-based philosophy of interpretation. Do you really believe that?
Fair question. Many people wonder why Christians follow some of the laws in the Bible and not others. I will discuss my understanding of this, but let me first specifically answer your question. Yes, I believe that God intended that Israelites should literally follow the laws He gave them. Children who cursed their parents and/or risked bringing children into society outside of the protection of marriage were indeed stoned by the ancient Jews. I would not call this misguided, the Jews were under the Law and were obeying God. They would have been disobedient if they had not. If the first Jew, Abraham, was willing to sacrifice his good son Isaac in obedience to God, how much more willing do you think Abraham's descendants were to sacrifice their trouble-makers in obedience to God?
Now Christians are not under the Law, but under Grace. The early church instructed Gentile believers, those who accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, to avoid idols, fornication, that which is strangled, and from drinking blood (Acts 15:19-20). Those commands, along with following the words of Jesus were the foundation of the Church. A few additional commands were relayed to us via the rest of the New Testament. This is why Christians do not stone our troublemakers, we are not under the Law.
No, these are all good rules to live by but they were never intended to be taken literally in lieu of further thought, prayer and reflection. Consider the following: Thou shalt not kill. That all depends on the circumstances now doesn’t it? Indeed, there are many exceptions to that rule; like defense of self, family and country for example. Is killing a good thing? Is abortion a good thing? Of course not. Should children curse their parents? Should teenagers engage in sexual conduct outside of marriage? Of course not, but do we kill them or propose to spiritually condemn them regardless of intent and/or circumstance? Of course not, and neither does God, for that would be unjust.As Christians, not under the Law, I agree with you that we are not to implement the punishments God specifically provided to the ancient Israelites regarding their citizens. Instead, we are to study the Bible, to learn how God feels about certain issues (such as respecting parents, abortion, etc.) and act accordingly. For me, 1 Corinthians 10:23 is a nice summary of our freedom under Grace. All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. Within reason, this justifies your recommendation of doing things after thought, prayer, and reflection.
By the way, one of the advantages of reading multiple versions of the Bible is you get exposed to several translations of key concepts. When I was growing up, I had the same thought you expressed, that there were certainly many exceptions to thou shalt not kill. Then I read other translations, of which most state thou shalt not murder. This lead me to some readings about the original Hebrew word used in the commandment, which should be properly translated as murder or illegal killing. This makes God’s intent much clearer. In the context of abortion, from the verses quoted in my original discussion, it is clear that God views abortion as murder. American law mostly does not (we are not consistent, many states prosecute people who kill unborn babies without the consent of the mother, but if a doctor does it with the consent of the mother during certain time periods it is legal).
For example: What if the mother’s life is on the line? This is a relatively rare circumstance but one that has been authenticated numerous times here in America over the course of the past few decades.
You state that this has been authenticated numerous times. Can you document any? I ask because this is one of the standard pro-abortion justifications. The media uses this straw horse a lot, but it seems to be a matter of faith with the pro-choice crowd, not a matter of fact. I have discussed this with several OB/GYNs and surgeons and not one could even imagine a scenario where performing an abortion would increase the odds of the mother surviving. They could imagine some situations where they had to decide which one to save first and then they might run out of time before they could save the other, but that is a completely different situation than deliberately killing an unborn child. As several of these doctors pointed out, if a very unusual scenario arose where the mother would be more likely to survive without hosting a child, they could deliver the child which would have a good chance of survival as a premature birth. This procedure would not place any more physical stress on the woman than an abortion and would be the ethical solution to this hypothetical and unlikely situation..
You are correct to indicate that the scriptures show great concern for both the mother and the fetus, but who are you or I to dare to pass judgment on those who would opt to save the mother’s life as opposed to that of the unborn child’s? Okay, so the child lives and the mother dies. Are we now to be condemned for the decision that resulted in her death? Couldn’t that also be considered murder?
I certainly would not rebuke anyone if the doctor tried to save both, gave priority to the mother, and the infant died. Nor would I rebuke anyone if the doctor gave priority to the baby and the mother died (assuming this was the mother’s priority as well). I think the only sin in this situation would be if the doctor deliberately killed one (murder). By the way, most secular doctors agree with this too. The Hippocratic Oath explicitly forbids abortions. Most abortionists in the United States are medical school dropouts or doctors who lacked the skills to be successful doctors. This is one of the reasons why the pro-choice community is so against conscience laws; they want to force doctors to perform abortions because so few skilled people are willing to do so.
And what of a 12 or 13 year-old rape victim? Are you attempting to claim that a resulting pregnancy in that instance is a gift from God thereby assigning to the Almighty the responsibility for such a heinous act of sinful violence? Blasphemy! “For with what judgment ye judge ye shall (also) be judged”-Mat. 1:2. Of course we can determine what is right or wrong to us in accordance with our scriptural interpretations, but to define abortion as murder regardless of intent and/or individual circumstance is a ridiculous over-simplification that will often times turn out to be false, in accordance with the very scriptural precedence that you yourself are espousing. Think about it. Go with God.
And now we come to the other favorite pro-choice argument: rape. If you had mentioned incest and genetic damage, you would have mentioned all of the very low-probability events that are used to justify killing almost one out of every three unborn children in America.
I do not know a single pro-lifer who ever assigns God the responsibility of rape or any other exercise of free will. God gave us all free will and we will all be judged on how we use it. If some deviant rapes and impregnates a young lady, why should the victim then make things worse by murdering the unborn child? Is not the unborn child also a victim of the rape? My understanding of the Bible leads me to the conclusion that abortion, the deliberate killing of an unborn child, is murder in the eyes of God and is always wrong.
Thank you for your email. If you have Biblical reasons to disagree with me, please respond. And as always, readers are encouraged to join the conversation if they wish.