Often when someone nears the end of life, they begin to contemplate their lives and recognize that of all the things they've accumulated, all the accolades that have been bestowed upon them, nothing is as valuable as life itself: there is nothing that should be protected more than life itself. But if it's the most valuable thing we possess, whose responsibility is it to protect it? Is it the responsibility of the individual that possesses it? Is it the responsibility of the society in which that individual is a constituent? The answer most likely lies somewhere between those two choices.
Certainly both the individual and society have something to gain by having healthy components. Neither of them benefits by simply expecting the other to take on the whole responsibility. Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that an individual should take at least some responsibility for their own health and society should serve as a safety net.
But it seems that our politicians have not yet struck that balance between safety net and individual responsibility. Given the already disastrous budget, we plow full-speed ahead towards the fiscal cliff and a mandatory healthcare plan that will worsen a doctor shortage. The quality of our current healthcare system as we know it will decline, and most hurt of all will be—surprise, surprise—the poor.
We have a moral duty to take care of our fellow man regardless of the cost. The Founding Fathers stated that we have rights to life, liberty, property, and advocated a government that protects those rights. If we interpreted our Constitution correctly, America was built on the principle that government exists to protect our rights that already exist, not dictate what rights we have, do not have, or should have.
In fact, no government can give us new rights. I heard many liberals saying, in the run up to the election, that our “four freedoms” were at stake. This is, of course, wrong. We never had them, and we never will. No government can guarantee wealth, or a certain standard of living, because the government doesn’t produce anything. It can only take what already has been produced, and redistribute it. Witness so many Third World countries where there is simply nothing left to redistribute. You can have the most confiscatory state in history and still never be able to guarantee anything. Any politician who promises you that he can do something like this is lying to you.