As I explain in Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, there are many reasons why people disagree about healthcare policy. One obstacle to reaching an agreement is that many people don’t realize—or aren’t concerned—that they hold a double standard.
If a private insurance company denies a breast cancer patient a bone marrow transplant, that’s considered a moral outrage—even if the procedure is experimental and is later shown not to work. But if the Arizona Medicaid program denies people organ transplants that do work and do save lives, that is considered an unfortunate budget issue.
If 25,000 British cancer patients die every year because the National Health Service won’t buy the drugs that would have prolonged their lives and they cannot afford to pay for those drugs out of their own pockets, that is considered, again, an unfortunate budget problem. But if even one uninsured American dies prematurely because he or she cannot afford those very same drugs, that is ethically unacceptable.