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Dr. Taylor Dickinson's articles and essays discussing his ideas on tax-preserved Universal healthcare...

Health Care Reform Redefined: Core Principles

Posted: Thu, Aug 13, 2009

By Taylor Dickinson

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Europe and Canada established universal care based upon a socialist concept of equality which rejected any disparity in access between rich and poor. To accomplish this they nationalized all aspects of healthcare, including confiscation of physician's skills. Is this acceptable?

The Supreme Court of Canada said no. It ruled that restricted access, as utilized by their system to contain cost, violates the "protection of the person" guaranteed in their Bill of Rights. It also found that physicians must be free to provide care independent of the government system. This Canadian decision illuminates the problem: the right to healthcare cannot, in the process, subjugate the inherent rights of either physician or patient. Legitimate universal care is not about equality of access: it is about equitable access and distribution.

Our Founding Fathers went one step further. In the Constitution they made "safety and happiness" primary attributes of the America social compact. We are not equal in intelligence, physical ability or circumstances of birth but our society recognizes the value of each individual's unique potential. It is the pursuit of this potential by each individual that this nation promised to protect. Healthcare should safeguard this potential. Yet our individual need for care will vary enormously. Public policy which interjects specific but arbitrary constraints upon the distribution of care violates this intent.

But protection of our individuality must be balanced by a concern for the common good. The primary justification for universal care lies in our society's obligation to support the "pursuit of happiness." As life unfolds our health underpins our life desires. But health also sustains our productivity, both as individuals, and as an industrial society. Healthcare must fulfill both obligations.

It is the fashion to treat healthcare as an economic villain. This perception exists because healthcare has drifted in limbo between a rudderless free market and a magical fantasy of a socialist egalitarian society. Medicine fits neither model. Medicine is an earth driven test of reality.

A lasting solution requires that we go beyond our desire to vent our frustration upon a broken system. The strength of medicine lies in our physicians. Its weakness lies in its fragmented incentives. The solution requires that we rescue its integrity.

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