The prosecuting attorney stood and walked forward.
"So, Mr. Smith why don't you recount the episode that has brought us all here today."
Jack cleared his throat and leaned forward, "Me and my friends went to Clancy's Place after work for some beers and to shoot pool and..."
"Were you drinking the beer?"
"How many beers did you have, Mr. Smith?"
"Two, I believe."
"Yeah, I had two, can I continue?"
"Please do so Mr. Smith we're all waiting with baited breath."
"I object!" Mr. Smith's lawyer said standing quickly, "The prosecutor doesn't need to berate my client, this is not a criminal trial!"
"Sustained" the judge said "Mr. Jackson, could you please stick with the questioning and leave the theater for outside the courtroom?"
There were a few chuckles from the courtroom and the jury.
"As I was saying," Jack started again "I had two beers and then shot some pool. Me and Diane Layne left about 9 PM."
"Were you driving, Mr. Smith?" the prosecutor said as he hunched over the witness stand.
"No, Diane drove."
"She drove me back to my place and as I was walking down the sidewalk towards my front door I stumbled on something and landed on my knee on the sidewalk. It really hurt and when I stood up pain shot through my leg."
"What did you stumble over, Mr. Smith?"
"I believe it was a round stone about the size of a small football some kids had been playing with earlier. Anyway, Diane helped me to my front door and opened it to help me in." Jack looked at the jury with his head held a little lower. "She got some ice and, well, I took my pants off because I couldn't pull them up high enough for her to put the ice bag on my knee."
"What happened next, Mr. Smith, and keep it brief please we don't need a checklist of all that happened."
"Well we ended up in the bedroom and, well, you know..."
"So, how did you end up at the hospital?"
"I went there the next day after I took a shower in the morning and my knee had swelled up quite a bit."
"That's enough Mr. Smith, I think I can sum up the rest of this on my own. So, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Mr. Smith, in his negligence, decided to go out drinking and injures himself! On top of this he has unprotected sex with..."
Jack cut in "It wasn't unprotected I used a condom!"
"Oh did you? Well then how do you explain the medical reports?"
"Well, the condom broke during..." Jack made a little grunting noise.
"So, the condom broke? Like we haven't heard that one before." The jury chuckled. "I also have in my possession a document stating that you're a smoker."
"I'm not a smoker."
"Well the document says right here that you smoked for a whole year back in 1989."
"Yeah during my sophomore year at college, but I quit."
"None the less you were a smoker." Mr. Jackson walked past the jury box and showed the document. Striding back to his seat he turned and sat. "I have no further questions your honor".
* * *
After two hours Jack's attorney got the word that a verdict had come down from the jury and they reassembled in the courtroom.
"Ladies and gentlemen of the jury how do you find?"
The foreman stood "We, the jury, find the individual denied of all medical coverage due to negligence. We further find that all future benefits should be denied the individual." The judge slammed his gavel down.
Stupid scenario you say? Well it's not too far from the truth of what could happen with a publicly supported medical insurance system. A recent article in the BBC found that 25% of those in Britain say that their National Healthcare System (NHS) should not cover smokers.
A quarter of people want the government to ban smokers being treated by the NHS for smoking-related illness, according to a BBC poll.
The fact is when you put others in charge of your health care system they have the right to impose their beliefs on you. For the "religious right" this could go as far as banning people from health care who engage in premarital or underage sex, denying them medical care during or after birth. Think it's far fetched? I don't think so and neither does Lee over at Right Thinking On The Left Coast
When the public, through the government, is financing your health care, then the public (through the government) has a vested interest in making sure that you live your life according to the wishes of the public at large. In other words, in order to keep costs down the government will be coming in to your homes and bedrooms making sure that you live a lifestyle that the government deems healthy.
Catch herpes? Well, you didn’t wear a condom, which is a violation of Health Code 248.16, so you don’t qualify for treatment. Obese? Well, you did eat more than the governmental limit on potato chips, so you don’t qualify. You get the idea.
Lee has more over there and some comments as well.
There is much to be said and debated on the economic impact of national health care. All I hear on the social front is how everyone will be covered. I don't hear much about how this empowers the public at large to actually enforce their views on others in regards to unsafe behavior.
Jack Smith above, could be denied for cancer treatment because he smoked for awhile 15 years ago. He's denied coverage on his knee because if he wasn't drinking he may not have tripped over that rock! He's denied screening or coverage for any STD's because he had sex outside of marriage. Is this really what we want when it comes to health care?
What do you think?