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Friday, September 4, 2009

More Rights to Demand

The political right across the country is rising up to say "NO" to reliable and affordable health insurance. While they may not be able to completely stop it within the framework allowed by the Constitution, they have found a few ways to limit the encroachment. In Georgia and Arizona, for example, we find proposals to guarantee the right of individuals to purchase health services, so that regardless of what a government insurance plan might cover, individuals will always have the right, if they choose, to pay for it out of their own pocket instead. While, I don't disagree with such measures, I think it's time for those of us who want reform to get in on this strategy, too!

It's time to regulate the practice of insurance companies harvesting organs without explicit consent due to a lapse in coverage. Insurance companies never have the right to harvest your organs without your explicit consent unless they submit an appeal to the FDA that the specific contractual provision being invoked represents an "innovation" and thus regulation preventing it stifles innovation and restricts their individual freedom as a corporation.

Also, I think it's time to put some regulations in place to prevent drug manufacturing and marketing companies from testing experimental drugs on children without first informing their parents. This could slow advances and reduce the profitability of a large portion of our economy, but I think we can all agree that it's the right thing to do. At the very least, we should require that parents be informed within a year of the completion of such experiments so that they may better decide how to deal with its residual impacts.

Finally, we should demand a law that forbids the GOP from releasing genetically enhanced infectious diseases into the general population without first informing a board of physicians and epidemiologists at the CDC. Some might go so far as to require a vote before allowing such a practice, but that might stifle the freedom of the GOP to do and say whatever they want to get their way.

As we can see there are a lot of proposals on both sides of the table. These are tough questions that I hope we can tackle. I also hope we can give both sides fair consideration. Perhaps we should start by laying them all out and discussing the pros and cons. We might also consider compromises. On proposals to guarantee the rights of individuals to pay for services [rights that we find in places such as the UK and Canada where their highly socialized systems are somewhat tempered and augmented by the free market], we might consider adding a measure to inform the individuals of the choices they actually have and/or measures to limit businesses from collecting such payments for services from both the patient and the government provided insurance without informing the patient. On the proposal to limit the GOP's release of engineered diseases, I don't know if we can find a compromise on such an important check of GOP power, but we might offer other concessions they would need, such as unlimited public restroom gay sex with strangers.

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