What Level Of Respect Does Society Owe An Individual? The answer is “The level of respect an individual affords himself or herself.” This, truly, is one of those core questions that is a starting point for so many policy decisions. We as a society are too compassionate to let people die – we pick up the pieces of the self-destructive and help them get on with their lives. But picking up the pieces costs money, and sometimes a lot of money. How many times do we owe it to a person to help them? There is no easy answer, but this is a question we have to address.
We Need to Recognize That We Cannot Afford to Save Every Person. We need to put an acceptable cost on saving a person, if the cost is too high let that person die. There, I said it. Yes, this is harsh, but this is what society, government, has to do – assign a cost and decide whether or not we can afford to pay that cost. We do not have unlimited resources. This doesn’t meant that people can’t use their own money to extend their lives. Yes, that means that rich people will get better care than poor people, but they have better cars and homes – why wouldn’t they have better healthcare?
The government does have a right to require people have some form of healthcare coverage. Compassion places a floor on possible outcomes – we do not let people without insurance die if something bad happens to them, but instead society bears the cost of paying to get them well. It is not unreasonable for government to mandate that individuals be responsible for themselves and buy health insurance.