by ProfDave, ©2021

Photo credit: sasint at Pixabay, License

(May 18, 2021) — [Editor’s Note: This post was originally written in June 2009; revised May 15, 2021.]

There are two things that frighten me about Federal health care.  First, the current administration has no firm ethical foundation for health care.  Secondly, whoever heard of the Federal Government being able to do anything as cheaply and efficiently as private industry?  Government bureaucracy has a life of its own, and suppliers have no compunction about ripping off the government.  Either you pay $500 each for toilet seats or you hire two bureaucrats at $500 a day to negotiate a better deal – with a campaign contributor.

Truly, most of the problems of the health industry are ethical.  Most Americans would agree that someone should not be left to die on the side of the road because he/she does not have a major credit card to pay the ambulance.  Most of us feel that a seriously ill or injured person is entitled to care regardless of race, sex, or economic status.  Those are ethical judgments, expressed in our founding documents (like the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths self-evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among them the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”) and based on our Judeo-Christian heritage – who we are as a nation.  Rich and poor, old and young, beautiful and ugly are entitled to life – and, by natural extension, life-sustaining medical care.  We depend upon our family doctors and other medical providers to treat us in an ethical manner, in keeping with their professional oath and personal morality – more as public servants than as entrepreneurs. 

We have the best healthcare in the world.  Unfortunately, neither public service ethics nor capitalist market forces have operated on the compensation side of the “industry” and costs have gotten out of hand.  Even the person with average income cannot afford to be sick without insurance or to pay for their own insurance.  And average companies cannot pay for it either.  This is not only a systemic problem, but an ethical one.  Greed.

Unfortunately, the Federal Government – particularly this administration in this era of ethical nihilism – is in no position to establish ethics.  Abortion and euthanasia have destroyed the Hippocratic Oath and the ACLU will not let the Feds use any ethical system with Judeo-Christian roots for fear of establishing a “church.”  Indeed, Barack Obama explicitly banished ethical considerations from medical science and informed us that we are no longer a Christian nation. 

Utilitarianism rules.  Whose utility?  So there is no check on would-be Drs. Frankenstein, Mengele, or Kevorkian in a government system.  Citizens will have to pay for what they regard as the unethical treatment of the unborn, the elderly, the handicapped as well as unethical cost overruns, waste and corruption.  Now Critical Race Theory wants to make care dependent on skin color!  That’s just the beginning!

So please, Please! 1. Keep abortion, euthanasia, and embryonic stem cells out of the package.  2.  Keep faith-based providers and conscientious health care workers free to operate by their ethical principles without discrimination.  3.  Reinforce ethical pricing and low-cost alternatives at all levels – but especially hospitals and pharmaceutical companies.


David W. Heughins (“ProfDave”) is Adjunct Professor of History at Nazarene Bible College.  He holds a BA from Eastern Nazarene College and a PhD in history from the University of Minnesota.  He is the author of Holiness in 12 Steps (2020).  He is a Vietnam veteran and is retired, living with his daughter and three grandchildren in Connecticut.

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