Friday, May 12, 2006

The contract

A lot of people are getting very aerated about the case of this unfortunate lady.

I have a question. A brief one.

Why does she not have travel insurance with health cover?

I visited Sri Lanka recently, and before I went, I took out travel insurance, with a genrous health cover, so that, if I did fall ill, the costs of treating me would be covered. Sri Lanka's free, universal health service has no obligation to treat me free of charge. Why should it? I have never contributed to it, and it has its own people to deal with. I was a tourist, a guest. It was my responsibility to ensure I had this cover, and it was made clear to me I should have it by HM's Foreign Office.

The cost of this cover was not onerous, especially in comparison with the cost of the airfare.

This issue goes to the heart of the contract between the taxpayer and the Government. We contribute, so that we might later benefit if we are in need. This lady has never contributed, and it seems did not take out any cover, despite (presumably) knowing she was pregnant in an alien country. Why does she not have insurance? The seriousness of her condition, the astronomical cost of treating her, and the fact that at least one other person on the waiting list else *will* die if she is given one of the finite supply of hearts, are all almost irrelevant.

Why does she have the right to be treated when she has not, and never will, contribute? I say again. She was an adult, travelling to a foreign country, with the means to pay for her travel, with responsibilities both for herself and her unborn children. I know this sounds incredibly callous, but, why does she not have insurance?


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