Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum showed up outside the Supreme Court earlier this week to say that only "our creator" can bestow rights on people. The inference was that lawmakers have no business fostering a right to healthcare, or even the expectation of such a right, among Americans.
Santorum's 3-year-old daughter has a severe genetic disorder called Trisomy 18. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, half of all infants with the ailment do not survive beyond the first week of life. "Some children have survived to the teenage years, but with serious medical and developmental problems," it says.
Luckily for this little girl, her father has reported earning more than $3.6 million since he left Congress in 2007, so she'll probably never want for insurance coverage.
But do Santorum and his Republican allies truly think that others who lack such good fortune deserve less, or perhaps no, medical care? Do they believe that other children with preexisting conditions have less of a right to treatment?
Or is there perhaps room to acknowledge that simple standards of human decency make clear that society has certain obligations, and in the United States, as of this moment, those obligations are not being met?
David Lazarus' column runs Tuesdays and Fridays. He also can be seen daily on KTLA-TV Channel 5. Send your tips or feedback to email@example.com.