The answer is really YES and NO. I will explore some scenarios with you and you be the judge If a citizen is healthier s/he would be costing a lot less money to the healthcare system in the first let’s say six decades of life but s/he will also live longer thus costing more money later in life in social security benefits and eventually healthcare. If we live long enough we will all have to take a bite of healthcare sooner or later, i.e. arthritis for one will always set in as long as we have to deal with gravity which we do on planet Earth.
Recently a radio talk show host presented the dilemma of the tobacco taxes and their impact on the Treasury. The taxes do inject sorely needed cash into the government coffers but they could also work as deterrents: either people will buy their cigarettes abroad or on Indian reservations, or they would stop smoking altogether because they can no longer afford it. In both scenarios, those tax revenues will slowly but surely dwindle, the higher the taxes the faster. However those who stopped smoking will live longer thus costing a lot more money later on in their life. A good accountant would tell you that these tobacco taxes may end up costing a lot more than they bring in. Another unintended consequence of a government program (refer to CMS blog 12/3). The cynic could deduct in this instance that SMOKING IS INDEED PATRIOTIC (pays tobacco taxes to the government and kills you sooner so you are less of a burden). The Europeans understood that long ago that is why you do not see a ban on smoking there!
I can definitely say that artificially induced multiple births are not very patriotic to say the least, especially when you think of the OCTOMOM and similar stories. As you know IVF is now common practice, much more successful than when I was going through it in the mid 80s, yet still quite expensive and not covered by a lot of carriers (which I agree with). So when a couple has more than one viable embryo, they usually ask the doctor to implant both to cut costs and be done with it. Sometimes patient and doctor agree to implant a bunch and that I think is non-patriotic. We know that the more fetuses are in the wom, the more chance there are that one or more are premature and/or have health problems that will end up costing society millions of dollars after birth and sometimes throughout the child’s (children’s) life(ves). These medical prowesses may illustrate scientific progress but also lack personal responsibility and accountability on behalf of the couples involved AND their doctors. This is all the more true as there a millions of orphans patiently awaiting to be adopted and that would be patriotic.
Borrowing a rubric from Bill O’Reilly’s show, I would call these multiple birth doctors pinheads not patriots.
In a nutshell, as long as you can afford it and pay for it, whether it is smoking or having triplets, than you are not unpatriotic. When you want everybody else to pay for it, that is a different story. That probably gives us a bird’s eye view of how these healthcare boards (otherwise depicted as death panels) will operate in the near future: WOULD PATRIOTISM BE THEIR LITMUS TEST?