I started this thread because I didn't want to muddy up the other tax thread - let's keep these threads separate. Also, I'll state up front that I'm a conservative who supports Bush, but let's keep this to a discussion of ideas, not a pro-Bush/pro-Kerry thread. (I know you'll all ignore me by the third post. ) My opinion is that people have confused 'rights' with 'privileges' in today's society. People say jobs are rights because people need them to survive, that driving is a right because you need it to get to work, and that health care is a right because you need it to live. Sorry, but those are all privileges. Now, with that in mind, you can be for socialized umbrella medicine for all (which I'm not). However, understand that by necessity that means two things: 1) People may be able to access a broad range of preventative and general care, but specialized care will, by definition, become quite limited (i.e., if we have a finite amount of money pooled by the government to treat the entire population, then only a fraction of that pool can be used in the more complicated and high-end procedures). This is why we have the theory of 'gatekeepers' and HMOs - because in theory we have to be very cautious about having people run to specialists, who generally perform more complicated and expensive tests. 2) If medical reimbursement is tied to the government and third-party payers, rather than first-person (out-of-pocket) pay, market forces will no longer apply. In other words, compared to elective procedures - which are self-limited to those who can afford it - covered procedures are available to all regardless of ability to pay. Since there is no 'means test' for these procedures, reimbursement is arbitrary and not tied to the actual cost of the procedure. This has led to our current reimbursement system, which many doctors rail against - getting back pennies on the dollar for the cost of a procedure. So we are at a crossroads. A lot of people, doctors included, feel guilty about saying that anyone should not be able to get any procedure. But a lot of people, doctors included, dislike the consequences of such a system. So what's to be done? If we continue on our present course - especially with a growing elderly population - look to reimbursements to start shrinking even more. If we go to a pay-to-play system, millions of people will not get treatment. Optimally, as a conservative, I would go for pay-to-play (don't bother posting to call me heartless). However, that would never fly in this world. So my compromise: make primary care available universally, consisting of yearly exams and any necessary initial screening tests. Any people who participate in this preventative step over their lifetime get subsidized by the government for any further costs (e.g., the excision of a tumor found). Any people who ignore prevention and show up after 50 years of smoking 4 ppd with a chronic cough, hemoptysis, and a lung mass; complications of obesity; or other problems have to pay out-of-pocket. That's my opinion. Whether or not you agree or disagree, it'd be great to start a discussion of this as an issue. I hope we can do it without resorting to name-calling (I don't think I insulted anyone in my post).