Health Care

This Version of “Personal Responsibility” Leaves Much to Be Desired

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On January 11, 2010, Senator Mary Landrieu was confronted by protestors outside the Vermilion Parish Library as she spoke about coastal protection. The protestors were there to discuss the Senator’s vote on health care reform. As she responded to criticism, she noted:

“The idea is to require personal responsibility. People have to have insurance but we’ll help you pay for it.”

This is a strange kind of personal responsibility. Real personal responsibility requires individual people to take ownership of their actions. If the government mandates behavior, it can hardly be thought of as people taking the responsibility to accomplish something on their own.

To make matters worse, Landrieu follows up with a promise that the government will help pay for this required behavior. It seems that she views personal responsibility as something that ought be legislated and subsidized rather than left to the individual where it belongs.

If legislators focused on addressing the unnecessary rules and regulations that drive up the cost of insurance and health care, more individuals could afford to act responsibly. That would be better for the individual and less expensive for the government.

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  • Val

    I’ve learned to not expect much else from her. And it’s clear that the personal responsibility she is talking about is the responsibility other tax payers have to pay for this nonsense.

  • Sam

    …because *real* personal responsibility means not having coverage and then expecting taxpayers or hospitals to offer “free” emergency care.

    If we’re going to insist on this brand of personal responsibility in health care, it’s time to turn a blind eye to folks who die in the streets for lack of adequate health care.

    Sometimes, personal responsibility means your responsibility to hold up your end of the community. (Community–that’s what we call it when a lot of people live together and form a nation-state). It’s *not* exhibiting personal responsibility to lack health care coverage, but the system is currently set up such that two things are true: many people can’t afford it, and those people tend to get some health care anyway at the expense of others.

    So the question is this. Is health care a right or a privilege? I would argue that it’s a right with an implied responsibility.