Amartya Sen, in a recent book, offers a dilemma. There are three girls, Anne, a trained musician who can make beautiful music with a flute, Bob, a very poor child who does not have any toys, and Anne, the one who created the flute. Sen poses the question as to which of the children should have possession of the flute. There is an analogy to this problem in discussion of healthcare. Libertarians insist that people are responsible for getting their healthcare and it is not the responsibility of society to provide healthcare assistance to those unable to pay for it. In other words, the healthcare industry has a right to charge what it desires since it owns hospitals and pays doctors. A utilitarian would argue that lack of health care means poor people take advantage of emergency wards which ultimately results in society having to pay costs of health care. In addition, the absence of preventitive medicine means more people become ill and this results in higher costs for the entire society.
As a utilitarian, as well as a socially conscious individual, my argument for national health care stems from practical reasons as well as moral ones. The United States used be among the healthiest nations in the world and it now slipping, based on any standard. We need national inexpensive health care for each person in order to save billions and ensure society fulfills its obligations to ensure people are healthy and productive. Those who oppose introduction of national health care essentially are arguing that the needs of wealthy insurance companies take precedence over the needs of the general society. If it is socialism to make certain all Americans are healthy, then this nation needs a whole lot of socialism.