Friday, July 2, 2010

Mitch Greenlick, Chairman of Oregon House Health Committee

Oregon State Representative Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, has attempted to make the provision of health care a right in the Oregon Constitution for more than five years. In this, his third legislative session in which he has introduced a proposal to make the state responsible to fund healthcare services to the uninsured, the resolution fell short of the number needed to pass. Greenlick said he will not try again. Let us hope we can take him at his word.

The measure called for amending the Oregon Constitution to declare:

"it is the obligation of the state to ensure that every legal resident of Oregon has access to effective, medically appropriate and affordable health care as a fundamental right."

Opponents said the measure would subject the state to an obligation it could not afford to deliver. Said Representative Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, the resolution was "a social experiment in constitutional socialism."

"Greenlick said he would be dead from lymphoma, now in remission, if he did not have access to affordable health care. That access should be a right, not a privilege, he said."

"Rights come from wrongs," he said. "What more egregious wrong can there be than depriving people the right to life simply because they do not have access to health care."

Rights come from wrongs? What kind of disturbance in one's thinking could result in such a non sequitur to be offered up as a proof?

Dr. Greenlick, this nation was founded on the principle that we as people are the possessors of rights that are inalienable. That is, the rights we are the possessors of cannot be transferred or given away. They are intrinsically ours as they come from God. We are not beholding to the state. When the state transgresses these rights it does wrong. An example of such a wrong would be your plan to take the funds from one person and give it for the benefit of another. This is called theft, and it is an immoral practice.


  1. "Rights come from wrongs," he said. "What more egregious wrong can there be than depriving people the right to life simply because they do not have access to health care."

    He's intentionally conflating access to health care with delivery of, or consumption of, health care.

    And, far worse, he's intentionally conflating some hypothetical (and non-existant) act of someone preventing someone else having "access" to health care with multiple things, including:
    1) many people desire more "access" to health care than they are willing to pay for themselves;
    2) many people desire more "access" to health care than they can afford;
    2a) some people need more "access" to health care than they can afford;
    3) many people (especially when young and healthy and single) reason that "access" to health care is not a realy priority in their lives right then;

    "Rights come from wrongs," he said. "What more egregious wrong can there be than depriving people the right to life simply because they do not have access to health care."

    How much you want to bet he's pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia?

  2. Hmmm. I'm not taking that bet.

    : )

  3. I wonder how he feels about the state paying for you to "die with dignity" at an assisted suicide clinic, with that being established as a right?

  4. The idea that your life is your own is not troubling. The problems with assisted suicide are in the general devaluing of life, and the monumental change in the doctor-patient relationship that such laws entail, namely placing the doctor in position of deciding when someone's quality of life is no longer worth the living. Taking lives are not what physicians have committed their lives to doing. This distortion will only be made far worse by the plans of people like Mitch Greenlick, whose naivety extends to the point that he believes mid-level bureaucrats will be compassionate when faced with making treatment decisions for people they have no ethical compunction to care for, and no relationship with.

    My main objections to Dr. Greenlick's way of thinking is twofold. First, as discussed in a more recent post, I object to his confusion between what is a right and what is a wish. I too wish everyone could have the best that money can buy, but that does not cloud me into thinking that the state should compel people under force of law to pay for it. Whatever it is you might need or even just want, those are things the individual is to address, not the state. Secondly, there are a great many unintended consequences in doing the 'great good' that Dr. Greenlick suggests, chief of which is the state having to decide what to pay for. Once the state is mandated to provide health coverage, the state will be attempting to allocate what ultimately are limited resources. And guess what Dr. Greenlick, the state is not going to want to pay for whatever it is that you might desire. Thus, the state will be put in the place of trying to decide if treatment of lymphoma in a 72 year old is a worthwhile expenditure of the state's resources. Maybe they will, but there is a very real possibility that they will not. If not, then you will no longer be chairing a House Committee and influencing the manner in which medicine is practiced, but instead will be lying in a pine box, or cremated, as may be your wish. (I do believe they will still allow you that choice).

    Thus Dr. Greenlick, though you may wish everyone could have the same access to care that you did, the result will be that everyone will have to receive permission first from the state, and people like yourself very well may be refused treatment, as happens in all other nations with a national health service. It seems to me that with all the ample experience in the world with state run health services, one would have to be willfully ignorant not to be aware of these well documented problems.

    Thanks for commenting all.