The left insists that health care is a human right. There should be universal health care and everyone should have access to it, regardless of their ability to pay. Some are claiming the COVID-19 corona virus outbreak as proof:
As is so often the case with the left, they can make their slogan sound nice and appealing, but it just doesn’t play out in reality. The corona virus pandemic does not demonstrate that health care is a human right. In fact, the opposite is true. The corona virus proves that health care, like all goods and services, is subject to scarcity.
There is not an infinite amount of medical staff, medical equipment or medicine. So, no: not everyone gets access to medical care. We cannot force doctors and nurses to work around the clock, we cannot use hospital beds that are occupied and we cannot hand out medicine that does not exist.
Italy, the epicenter of the epidemic for the Western world, is a tragic demonstration of these facts. Italian hospitals are at maximum capacity with multiple reports coming in of doctors having the choose whom to treat and whom to let die.
Italian experts have said that 10% of corona virus patients need intensive care which is leaving IC units at maximum capacity, with similar expectations for other countries which are trailing Italy by about two weeks.
There is no right answer to this dilemma. I’m noticing a lot of people on the right who are angry at the prospect of leaving the elderly to die in favor of saving younger patients. But the reality is that a choice has to be made, and if one patient has a smaller chance of recovery and fewer years left to live, these are valid factors to take into account.
It is not fair to leave the elderly to die. It is not fair to let young people die and save 80- or 90-year-olds. It is also not fair to take an 80-year-old millionaire’s money and say ‘thanks for that, we’re going to use this to save someone else and let you die’. It is never fair to have to let people die in these circumstances. But this is the reality we are facing.
The situation Italy is in right now will likely be the situation most Western countries will be in before the end of the month – unless the current, drastic quarantining measures will have effect. Both sides will claim the crisis as proof that they are right, but so far neither has the solution. We do not need partisan politicking. We need cooperation, openness and realism. And when it comes to realism, one thing is clear:
If the goal of governing was to make up slogans that make everyone feel warm and fuzzy and safe, we could certainly leave it up to the left. But that is not the case. It is our duty to be realistic and honest, even when the truth is cold and hard to hear.