“It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.” Hubert H. Humphrey, United States politician (1911-1978).
Hubert H. Humphrey, a United States politician, once said that the “moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.” While Humphrey was talking about all aspects of public service, from social policies and welfare to policing actions and business, his words are very true when it comes to medicine.
Although in the USA, as well as in most countries in the world, healthcare is driven by market forces and is rewarded through either out-of-pocket fees or medical insurance purchases, the very nature of medicine contradicts many major laws of the free market. It is a holistic service that puts the safety and health of its patients on the pedestal, not profits.
The USA is considered one of the richest states in the world (“National healthcare expenditures,” 2015). At the same time, the efforts to provide healthcare for all by compromising between state-funded universal care and reimbursement options for medical insurance companies have proven to be inefficient. While our government may have the best intentions in mind, history will not judge them for their intentions, but the efficiency of their actions.
That is why, while I agree with Humphrey’s quote about the moral responsibilities of the government, the focus should not be on just having good intentions, but on doing good things swiftly and efficiently. That is the real moral test here, one that the US government has yet to pass. So long a good quarter of our nation remains uninsured or underinsured (“Key facts,” 2016), and so long the fees for purchasing insurance will consume a quarter of the income of an average American family, the government will fail the moral test of history.
Cohen, A. (n.d.). Universal care is good for the rich. Web.
Elahi, M. (n.d.). Social contract theory by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau. Web.
Key facts about the uninsured population. (2016). Web.
National healthcare expenditures 2015 highlights. (2015). Web.