Uneasy questions regarding the octuplet mom
Eagle, CO, Colorado
The case of Nadya Suleman, the octuplet mom, highlights some questions in the health-care debate.
When news first broke, it was happy talk. And Ms. Suleman denied that it would cost any government money. As time went by, the news got worse. It now appears considerable state and federal funds will pay the expenses of this procedure. And that’s only the beginning, since these eight kids, plus their six siblings, are going to require a lot more help as they grow up.
It’s more than money. As you listen to Suleman talk, you get the uneasy feeling she is not up to taking care of the emotional and development needs of her children. How stable is she? What will life be like for those kids?
Should she have been allowed to have all those embryos implanted? Should the doctors involved have refused to go along, in light of the obvious consequences? Is it fair to require taxpayers to pay such expenses, with no voice in deciding whether to have this procedure done in the first place?
Is it OK for people to have kids they can’t afford to rear on their own? How can you refuse health care for some cute, innocent kids, even where their parents knew going in that they’d need help with health care expenses? Public health programs and facilities are inundated with families that can’t afford to pay for their medical needs.
Apply these concerns to other health-care issues. We are often asked to pay for the consequences of inadvisable behavior, such as:
-Bad diet and lack of exercise. Have another brew and Nacho while you sit on the couch and watch TV.
– Tobacco. We’ve known for a long time that it’s bad for you.
– Unwed pregnancy. Who doesn’t know how babies get started, and how to prevent it?
– Unprotected sexual activity. Who doesn’t know about STDs?
– Not using other protective measures like helmets for motorcyclists. The wind whipping through your hair is part of the experience, but if you take a tumble, your head is more likely to get cracked.
-Activities like trampolines, climbing mountains or skiing in the back country. If you break your arm or need a rescue service, who should pay for it?
There are more hard choices. A large part of the health care dollar goes for the last few months of life. Remember how Dick Lamm took a lot of heat for bringing up this subject? At what point does society say: we don’t want to pay to extend your life any further?
There is a conflict between individual freedom and who pays for its consequences.
It is hard to have a rational discussion of these issues because the hand-wringers rely on ignorance and emotion to muddy the waters.