There is much to be said on how our social and moral ethics will affect our laws in a general sense. With the introduction of The Affordable Care Act in 2010, the underlying theme from a social and legal perspective was that is the government’s job was to make sure all its citizens had healthcare. Over the years this position has been challenged by the many opponents of the law claiming that the law was an example of gross government overreach and was unconstitutional as our founding fathers gave no input on the condition of our healthcare system. The law is considered improper use of federal powers of our government and things like healthcare should be handled by our individual states or private markets. Our country and its values are based on themes of personal freedom as well as a great dislike for tyrannical tendencies in governing, as rebellion from a tyrannical government was how our country was founded in 1776. From one perspective a national healthcare law might seem like extreme overreach due to the fact that the government is requiring you to participate in the healthcare system without you having much say in the matter. On the other hand, healthcare is a service that will directly affect the country and the citizen’s wellbeing which the government has a moral responsibility to manage and make sure its citizens have access to.
While national healthcare has been perceived as a product of government overreach and a breach of our freedoms it can be perceived in another light as the government doing its job and taking the proper steps to take care of its citizens.
When we look at the documents that exemplify the freedoms this country stands for there are few documents that compare to the Declaration of Independence. This document gives every reader the perspective of the founder’s vision for freedom for its citizens as well as a disregard for oppressive forces that would hinder liberty for the people and deny the validity of tyrannical tendencies. One of the key passages of the declaration states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government” This passage indicates that it is the duty of mankind to reject laws that deny rights to men and create laws empower freedom. When it comes to a law like the Affordable Care Act the question remains is this a law that our founders would support?
While Historians and legal scholars would probably highly debate the issue I would assert that your fellow countrymen being able to have access to healthcare; which means to have access to health services would count as an unalienable right that man is supposed to have. I would argue that a national healthcare law is in the same spirit as the Declaration wanting to have certain freedoms and that introduction of such laws is in the same principles as the founding fathers. The founding fathers would not want a system of government where the average citizen could not afford to have their healthcare needs taken care of in an affordable way. I do not think that mass bankruptcy and unaffordable medications would be part of the Life and Liberty that the founding fathers imagined when drafting the ideals that would become the blueprint for our countries identity. I would also assert that the creation of laws that support a national mandate of healthcare would be a creation of a law that is supporting life and liberty for its citizens as access to affordable healthcare create an environment where its citizens can live in peace knowing that they have access to the quality health care they can afford.
All this being said there is still much to be considered when talking about national mandated healthcare and personal freedom. It has to be brought up that national healthcare requires taxpayers to help pay for each other healthcare which can be seen as impending on freedoms on having to pay for each other healthcare. While some might argue that they have no need for national healthcare as they won’t use it Garret Epps of the Atlantic points out, “No matter how thrifty and antisocial any of us may be, no matter how devoted to homeopathy and Yoga, eventually virtually all of us will end up in an emergency room, hospital, or hospice. Even if by an extraordinary effort we prevail on others to stand by and allow us to bleed out on the rumpus-room floor, we usually cannot convince them, no matter how earnestly we plead, to let our children die; state law will require they be treated. And someone will pay the cost. That you were “inactive” in getting them the care your children require should not exempt you from being the one who pays their bills.” So even if a person doesn’t buy that our founding fathers would have wanted national healthcare systems the reality is the way our healthcare system is set up we pay for the sick of the country regardless of the system it’s just a matter of that system works for the average citizen.