Friday, November 08, 2013

Obamacare: we indeed must become our brothers' keepers, sometimes

Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas have a short Wonkblog entry in the Washington Post Friday, “Obama shouldn’t apologize for blowing up the terrible individual market”, link here.  Terrible things do happen to people in the individual market, with sudden denials and cancellations or non-renewals due to pre-existing conditions (before Obamacare).  But the op-ed says that the old individual market is one where “healthy people benefit from systematic discrimination against the sick” along with other comparisons – men might benefit because they can’t get pregnant.   But the “conclusion” about healthy people seems to beg the question, backwards.  No one who is healthy and productive enough never to need medical services (it may be reckless to avoid screening) has “benefited” from what happens to the sick.  The right question to ask is whether healthy people should be responsible for the sick, either collectively through premiums or taxes, or even personally, as in filial responsibility situations.  Sometimes we must indeed become our brothers’ keepers.  But let’s ask the right question for the moral debate.  

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