Flythe was among the patients Monday at the Walltown Clinic, a joint program of Duke University and Lincoln Community Health Center that serves the low-income neighborhoods near Duke's campus. The clinic serves 3,000 to 4,000 patients a year – 80 percent don't have health insurance – and charges co-pays based on what patients can afford.
"People will come in and say, 'I suddenly don't have a job. I've lost my insurance. Can you help me?'" said Kaity Granda, a physician's assistant at the clinic.
Norman Rucker said he hasn't had health insurance in almost 10 years because his employers haven't offered it.
"I'm not a person who gets sick a lot, so I didn't think I'd need any medicine," said Rucker, who racked up about $100,000 in hospital bills over that period by going to the emergency room whenever he needed care. "I'm trying to pay them off. Collection agencies call me all the time." ~WRAL.com Link here.
So if he doesn't have to worry about his bills, why can't I stop caring about mine? This seems to be an inequality of non-responsibility. Shouldn't we all have an equal right to be equally irresponsible without being unfairly penalized by the consequences just because of our class: economic or social, or any other trait. If anything, this mentality rewards those who are a drain on the system while hurting those who prop the system up by their own hard work and personal sacrifices.
As sad as it is for people like Flythe, It is neither moral nor practical for his personal debts, decisions, and unfortunate circumstances to be paid by someone else who is of no fault. I'm sorry, but he was laid off 3 years ago and couldn't find a job? I can get a job at McDonald's and get benefits almost immediately. An acquaintance of mine just started working full time in a kitchen wash room to support himself and he gets medical coverage for as little as $18 a month.
Of course, not everyone can find these jobs, but have they really looked? Have they made the hard choices such as moving to a new area or city where the economy is flourishing. Or have they even spent their "time off" doing anything productive? That time could have been used to learn new skills and become more marketable, but instead many use those extended times of unemployment as a paid vacation, and paid by who? You.
This story puts the lie to all the stories that we have heard over the last year and a half. There are free clinics everywhere where people who don't have insurance can get the care they need to survive. However, it is up to them to provide for themselves if they want more. We are all in the same position, we all must obey the law of Nature: which is the laws of human nature, economics, physics, biology, etc. -- or better yet: Reality.
As much as we would like to legislate a utopia, it is not possible to accomplish that which violates these laws. A piece of paper with words on it, however noble they may be, can not stand up to nor overpower the laws that govern the universe.
"Norman Rucker said he hasn't had health insurance in almost 10 years because his employers haven't offered it. "I'm not a person who gets sick a lot, so I didn't think I'd need any medicine," said Rucker, who racked up about $100,000 in hospital bills over that period by going to the emergency room whenever he needed care. "I'm trying to pay them off. Collection agencies call me all the time."
So just because someone didn't extend it to him on a silver platter, Rucker "couldn't" get care. He could have changed jobs, picked up personal insurance, or moved to another state that was more friendly to his situation (after all that is what the states are for, options, opportunity, and competition).
Rucker made a simple value judgement, the implications of which are severe and far reaching. Not only did Rucker value the status quo of every other part of his life above the cost of improving the status of his healthcare, He thought he didn't need insurance because he rarely got sick. In the second case he may have made a good judgement because he may not have wanted or needed the "state dictated minimum coverage," but he clearly misjudged the importance of his health in relation to the importance of all his other desires. If Rucker would have either paid for a catastrophic plan, or budgeted his money to provide for those times when he would get sick or injured--because we all do, and it is fool hardy to believe otherwise--he would most likely not be in this position. Also, I find it hard to believe that this man rarely got sick, yet ended up with a $100,000 bill. If that is true, then he was simply foolish in the method he chose to solve his problem. It would be akin to a person using single dollars as toilet paper instead of using much less of that same money to buy a product that did the job better and for a more reasonable cost. In any case, his original problem of relying on employer based coverage was a problem caused by the state, but I cover that issue elsewhere: Insurance: Hedging yourself; The Fallacy of the Single Payer System.
Although unfortunate, Rucker's situation could have been foreseen, but he made his decisions and now must live by them. This may seem a harsh reality, and that is exactly what it is. I have no problem with private individuals helping him out, and they should--and history has proven that they will without the safety net of government discouraging private charity. but to have me by threat of force from the government pay for his mistakes and poor value judgments is not the remedy, it only masks the symptoms of the disease. The symptoms being the unfortunate circumstances he is experiencing right now. If we [government] can quell his discomfort of the symptoms by getting the collective to pay his price, then he is only being delivered to his own sickness, and in doing so, is spreading it further. This is the ultimate end of statism and the errant belief that men can become gods in which they attempt to manipulate the laws of the universe for their own liking and personal gain. It is a fantasy and it is being perpetuated by those whom we have put our trust in to lead us. How dare they! Yet, if we are aware of this and do nothing then I think it more appropriate to say: How dare us.