Published reports have said recently that opponents of healthcare reform have seized on patient rights as a theme in their efforts to squelch any legislative initiatives. According to these reports, the advice is that opponents stress how patients would be at the mercy of faceless government bureaucrats who could deny them care and take away their rights to see the provider they want, among other things.
Bill of wrongs
Healthcare reform opponents twist the true idea of patients’ rights
These are important considerations and rightly brought up in a public debate about reform. In fact, it behooves us to enumerate the rights that American patients now enjoy.
Therefore, we hold these truths to be self-evident that every U.S. citizen/patient:
- Has the right to be denied insurance coverage by large corporations that are answerable only to private interests and not the elected representatives of the people.
- Has the right to have care rationed by private insurers.
- Has the right to pay hefty premiums to insurers who use the money to compensate top executives with billions of dollars while denying care to patients.
- Has the right to have insurance coverage rescinded when the patient gets sick.
- Has the right to be hassled and intimidated by insurance company employees for the crime of submitting a medical claim.
- Has the right to no meaningful regulation of the insurance industry.
- Has the right to no meaningful appeals of coverage denials.
- Has the right to pay drug prices that are among the most exorbitant in the world.
- Has the right to be subjected to ubiquitous advertising promoting drugs that are often ineffective and/or dangerous.
- Has the right to subsidize companies that do not develop cutting-edge drugs but do make slightly different versions of existing drugs whose patents have expired.
- Has the right to be denied effective legal recourse when drugs or medical devices prove defective.
- Has the right to have himself and/or his employer financially bled by providers who get paid by procedure.
- Has the right to be referred by physicians to facilities in which they have an ownership interest.
- Has the right to be passed around from provider to provider, each of whom bills the patient and/or insurer for unnecessary tests and treatments.
- Has the right to be harassed by collection agencies when unable to pay bills from hospitals, including those that receive tax exemptions.
- Has the right to file for bankruptcy after being financially ruined by insurers, pharmaceutical companies, suppliers, physicians, hospitals and the healthcare system in general.
Has the right to die from all of the above.
Again, these are important rights that no American should sacrifice in the quest for so-called reform. We should convene a continental congress to enshrine these rights in a sacred document to be displayed in the National Archives.
The preamble could be borrowed from the last episode of Seinfeld: You dont have to help anybody. Thats what this country is all about. We must draft this document immediately. We owe it to secure these blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.
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