Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Liberal Activism and One-Way Rights (Part II)

In the 19th century Charities operated without any fear from liability from the people who used the charities for several reasons. First, persons used their own free will to choose to use a charity and secondly and more importantly, the reward to use a charity grossly outweighed any risk of injury. Many charities today, do not offer medical services because in Tunkl v. University of California (1967) the Court made charities liable to the safety of its users. This may sound logical, but to people who cannot afford healthcare, the risks of treatment outweighs the risks of non-treatment. Because less charities are providing free medical services, Congress passed the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA, 1986). EMTALA made all hospitals responsible for treating any patient regardless of their ability to pay. Once again, this may sound logical, but the patient bears no responsibility in their free care. Patients must be treated even if they fail to follow medical advice and fail to take medications prescribed at previous free care visits. Patients have to be treated if they are drunk or high or if the ailments are self-inflicted via non-responsible behavior. Patients receiving free care cannot be forced to be a lower priority over a paying customer even if the injury to a paying customer may be worse. Patients cannot even be denied free care if they are disruptive or misbehaving. In fact, many hospitals have reduced the size of their emergency rooms so they do not have to face the liability threat to treat “free” patients. After all, the hospital liability risk for treating a “free” patient is much more than treating a paying patient. The 1994 case the Matter of Baby K outlines the absurdity of the EMTALA Act if anyone wishes to indulge in homework. The bottom line, smaller emergency rooms means less care for anyone in need. Once again, why doesn’t the government subsidize the care it mandates for hospitals? The reason is because liberals view companies (including hospitals) as evil and as the saying goes “the customer is always right”. Which, of course, is not the case. The customer is wrong over 90 percent of the time when it comes to product injury. Drunk drivers wrecking their car into a telephone poll have won more lawsuits than they have lost against car companies. A person who ingested vaginal jelly on toast won an injury settlement when she became pregnant. The bottom line is that modern Constitutional law provides more rights to ignorant and irresponsible persons which in the long run costs responsible and accountable persons higher fees and insurance rates. In the 1907 case, Cotnam v. Wisdom, the court held a patient who received emergency care by a surgeon, who treated injuries on the scene of an accident, was subject to pay for these services even though the patient died. In other words, both patients and doctors had equal rights (irresponsible patient received emergency help, but the patient had to pay for services even if the patient died), which is not what happens today. Patients have more rights than doctors and can sue doctors even when patients refuse to adhere to doctor instructions. In the age of Medicare and Medicaid doctors can no longer afford to make house visits or provide any pro bono services. In other words, medical care is becoming worse due to “one-way” federal and state regulations attacking the medical industry.

Let’s consider a more modern example of bullying. Bullying has always happened in our society (As a youth I was bullied and I regretfully bullied others) but it is getting more attention these days because of cyberbullying. One would think we would grow out of our bullying ways but that is hardly the case. Adults still like to bully other people. Since I voted for Trump people I did not even know thought it was right to bully me and call me a bigot and racist on Facebook. I simply ignored them after suggesting it makes little sense to use the same behavior that you are accusing Trump of abusing. In any event, I understand the harms associated with bullying. But, should bullying be under the control of government regulation? No, even if it leads to any rare instances of suicide. Suicide is a complicated issue and it is impossible to say with certainty that bullying is the lone reason for the suicide. Bullying may have been the tipping point for someone to commit suicide, but was it the only reason? Probably not, suicidal thoughts generally persist for a long period of time prior to the act of suicide. A person who commits suicide obviously has some serious psychological issues and it is part of the responsibility of the ill person to garner more help (and what about parents who neglect warning signs). Bullying laws would target bullies and require no action by those being bullied to avoid conflicts. Bullying laws provide no constructive avenues for people who are being bullied to seek protection and help. And why aren’t there any laws to prosecute parents who neglect to heed to the warning signs of suicide? Why don’t those being bullied simply remove themselves from bullying avenues such as social media? The other question is what constitutes bullying words? I have read some benign remarks that have been considered bullying. I have, from time to time, gone into social media chat rooms for sports information (just to read). Many subject threads start out informative, but the posts devolve into personal attacks having nothing to do with the subject matter. And these squabbles are between folks who root for the same team! Is this bullying? Can both parties of the dispute be seen as bullies? Maybe this is defamation and not bullying? Defamation of character by false factual statements is already illegal especially if the harm costs a person business or some monetary loss. My point is bullying regulation starts a slippery slope because it restricts free speech. Maybe we can hold bullies liable under already maintained defamation laws? In the era of political correctness what constitutes bullying is hard to distinguish since we are overly sensitive and become offended much to easily. Are media pundits bullies because someone finds their views insensitive? Are uses of the race card a form of bullying or fear mongering? My fear is that bullying laws will become a liberal outlet to further diminish free speech. In fact, liberals become bullies on our college campuses to remove speech that they do not agree with. Bullies in the long run will judged by others in a negative way because they violate social norms. Hence, bullies will be punished by society by losing jobs and friends because of their anti-social behavior. Government intervention is not always the answer.

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