Conservatives Claim The Gateway Effect Is A Legitimate Concern

Conservatives believe the legalization of medical marijuana is a slippery slope that will eventually lead to the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. They claim that the money saved by legalizing medical marijuana comes at too high a price. Conservatives also claim that prison overcrowding will not be solved by legalizing medical marijuana and suggest alternative solutions. Finally, Conservatives claim there is not enough research to justify the legalization of medical marijuana.

Conservatives claim that legalizing medical marijuana will lead to the legalization of recreational marijuana. For example, California legalized medical marijuana and then legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Conservatives are afraid that this pattern will spread across the United States. Legalizing medical and recreational use of marijuana will lead to an increase in drug use due to the gateway effect. According to Dr. Robert L. DuPont, President of the Institute for Behavior and Health, “Marijuana use is positively correlated with alcohol use and cigarette use, as well as illegal drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine.” DuPont claims that, “…more people who use marijuana consume more, not less, legal and illegal drugs than do people who do not use marijuana.” 3* Conservatives believe the gateway effect is a valid argument against legalizing medical marijuana.

Conservatives claim that societal costs overcome any money made by taxing legalized medical marijuana. In his Huffington Post article entitled, Legalizing Marijuana: The Real Costs, Deni Carise compares legalized marijuana to the legalization of alcohol and tobacco. While these substances are heavily taxed, this revenue fails to compensate for the real costs to society from these products. Carise gives several examples of alcohol’s damaging effects including, “…increased traffic accidents, ER visits, domestic violence and lost work productivity…costly medical problems, and even death.” 1* In 2009, there were 10,839 traffic fatalities in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes. This statistic only represents the costs to society caused by fatalities: one can only imagine the societal costs caused by, “…those ‘lucky’ enough to just be injured in accidents…” Also, marijuana is “…the second most prevalent drug (after alcohol) implicated in automobile accidents.” 1* Conservatives claim the price of legalizing medical marijuana is simply too high.

Conservatives argue that any relief to the criminal justice system would be minimal and suggest there are better ways to solve prison overcrowding. Charles Lane claims in his Washington Post article that, “ending the war on drugs would not end mass incarceration”. Lane argues that the Liberals’ statistics concerning drug offenders are exaggerated and that, “Drug offenders account for only 19.5% of the total state-federal prison population, most of whom, especially in the federal system, were convicted of dealing drugs such as cocaine, heroin and meth, not ‘smoking marijuana’.” 2* Lane also claims that while, “…the population of state prisons (which house the vast majority of offenders) grew from 294,000 in 1980 to 1,362,000 in 2009… only 21% of that growth was due to the imprisonment of drug offenders, most of which occurred between 1980 and 1989….” Pfaff also claimed that, “More than half of the overall increase [of drug offenders] was due to punishment of violent offenses, not drugs.” 2* Conservatives argue that legalizing marijuana to achieve criminal justice relief is not wise, and claim other solutions such as shorter sentences for drug offenders and giving judges more discretion in sentencing would be more effective. 3*

Finally, Conservatives state that there simply is not enough evidence to justify the legalization of medical marijuana. According to Dr. Stuart Gitlow, former president of the ASAM Board of Directors, “There really is no such thing as medical marijuana…The dangers and risks of marijuana use are well-known by the scientific community, even if they are down played by corporate interests wishing to get rich off of legalization. Apathy, lost productivity, addictive disease, deterioration in intellectual function, motor vehicle accidents, and psychosis are all among the negative outcomes. All from a product that has no demonstrated benefit. For nearly all conditions for which marijuana has purported benefits, we already have existing medications—safe medications—demonstrated to have value.” 4*   For example, the American Academy of Neurology does not advocate the legalization of medical marijuana to treat neurologic conditions because of the lack of evidence. They recommend further research to address concerns such as marijuana’s interactions with current prescriptions. 5* Perhaps some Conservatives would be more willing to consider legalizing medical marijuana once more research has proved its effectiveness over existing medications.

In conclusion, while Liberals claim legalizing medical marijuana will lead to economic and public health benefits, Conservatives disagree. Conservatives argue that legalizing marijuana will lead to the legalization of recreational marijuana. They claim any benefits of legalizing medical marijuana are outweighed by the negative societal costs, such as the loss of life. Finally, they claim that more research is needed to support the Liberals’ claim that the medical benefits of marijuana justify its legalization.









Liberals Claim Medical Marijuana Should Be Legalized

The legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use is highly contested. Most Liberals support the legalization of marijuana, while the majority of Conservatives believe marijuana should remain illegal. In this blog post I will focus on the Liberal perspective; I will discuss the Conservative’s viewpoint in my next post. I will be focusing my thoughts on the legalization of medical marijuana. Liberals claim that the support for legalizing medical marijuana continues to rise and has a potential to offer thousands of people a better quality of life, reduces the demand for narcotics and accidental painkiller overdoses, and has many other benefits to society.

According to a 2016 Pew Research Center report, 57% of U.S. adults support the legalization of (recreational) marijuana while 37% of U.S. adults believe it should be illegal. Just ten years ago, only 32% favored legalization, while 60% were opposed. This stark contrast demonstrates a shift in public opinion about this issue. 77% of Americans support the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. 1* This shift is driven by several demographic groups including young adults, Millennials, and Baby Boomers. 2*


Legalizing medical marijuana potentially offers symptom relief and may completely eliminate symptoms. Jen Christensen, CNN journalist emphasizes, “…ten diseases where medical marijuana could have an impact.” Results from animal studies show that some marijuana extracts may destroy certain cancer cells and stop cancer growth. THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) was also shown to improve radiation effectiveness on destroying cancer cells. Medical marijuana also helped to reduce side effects of chemo therapy treatments. In fact, a study involving 56 patients found that medical marijuana helped to reduce 30% of their pain. Other studies involving animals, lab tests, and some human patients have shown that medical marijuana can help prevent symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, including muscle spasms, pain, tremors, and stiffness. For Epilepsy, medical marijuana extract was found to reduce seizure frequency by 50% in a study conducted on 213 children and adults at the NYU Langone Medical Center. Liberals claim the medical breakthroughs are only beginning. 3*

Medical cannabis (marijuana) is also a safe solution for chronic pain. Dr. Gregory T. Carter states, “Cannabis has no known lethal dose, minimal drug interactions, is easily dosed via orally ingestion, vaporization, or topical absorption, thereby avoiding the potential risks associated with smoking completely….” 4* According to the Washington Post, 92% of patients say medical marijuana works. Also, nearly 8-in-10 doctors approved the use of medical marijuana. 5*

Legalizing medical marijuana also serves as a solution to the pain and overdose epidemic. Research reveals that the enactment of medical marijuana laws reduce overdose deaths involving heroin and pharmaceutical opioids. Dr. Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of Drug Policy Alliance states, “The most likely reason [for the increase of marijuana use] is that people are finding marijuana more helpful than opioids in managing different types of pain.” 4*

Dr. Sanjay Gupta claims, “With regard to pain alone, marijuana could simultaneously decrease the number of accidental painkiller overdoses, which are the greatest cause of preventable death in this country…” 4* The legalization of medical marijuana would provide millions of people effective pain relief and save many lives.

Finally, legalizing medical marijuana would reduce crime, decrease mass incarceration rates, and save the government billions of dollars. According to the ACLU, 52% of all drug arrests in 2010 were for marijuana. 6* Also, according to Drug, 89% of those charged with marijuana law violations in 2015 were arrested for possession only. 7* The most common use of marijuana is for medical purposes, especially pain relief. Why are we arresting people for trying to reduce their chronic pain? Instead, we should be focusing on the violent criminals that escape punishment because valuable police resources are being used to incarcerate non-violent marijuana users. The United States has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. 8* Drug claims that the U.S. spent more than $51 billion dollars on the war on drugs. 7* Economists at The Huffington Post claim that by legalizing medical marijuana the government would save $13.7 billion dollars per year. 9*

To conclude, Liberals fully support the legalization of medical marijuana. The research demonstrates that medical marijuana can help reduce symptoms of diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, and multiple sclerosis. Medical marijuana is also proving to be an effective solution for chronic pain. Liberals argue that we should not punish people for trying to reduce their pain. Prison incarceration rates would decrease, billions of dollars would be saved, and many lives would be enhanced if medical marijuana was legalized.





3* www.cnn/2015/04/15/health/marijuana-medical-advances/index.html







Social Services for Children of Illegal Immigrants

Most Americans acknowledge the problems caused by illegal immigration. Sovereign nations have both the right and need to protect their borders. However, what is to be done about the innocent children who were brought or sent to America by their parents? Should these children be provided with social services such as health care and public education? A review of applicable law makes the conclusion clear: children of illegal immigrants have the right to health care and education. Children of illegal immigrants should not be punished for their parents’ choice to illegally immigrate to the United States (Reyes).

There is an important distinction between the laws governing children of illegal immigrants born in the United States and those who were born elsewhere. Children born in the United States are automatically U.S. citizens (L.A. Times Editorial Board). The 14th Amendment of the Constitution states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside” (Library of Congress). Since the U.S. Constitution, as amended, is the supreme law of the United States, there is no higher legal authority (The White House). As citizens of the United States, children born on American soil have the right to social services such as public education and health care, regardless of their immigration status (L.A. Times Editorial Board).

Some argue that the 14th Amendment should be reinterpreted to exclude all children born to illegal immigrants. The editors of argue that, “Many pregnant immigrant women are illegally coming into the country just to have their babies. These women get free medical attention for themselves and the baby. This is costing the U.S. millions of dollars every year” (Bartleby Editorial Staff). Even if this is true, it does not change the law. Any change in the law would require an additional constitutional amendment or a reinterpretation of the 14th Amendment by the U.S. Supreme Court (Spalding). This is possible but extremely unlikely. Therefore, the law is clear that children born in the United States of illegal parents cannot be denied the benefits of social services.

According to federal law, children born outside the U.S. to illegal immigrants have limited benefits (American Academy of Pediatrics Editorial Board). Services provided include public education and emergency medical care. Some claim that these children should receive no benefits (Bartleby Editorial Staff). In 1982, however, a landmark Supreme Court case, Plyler vs. Doe, held that “…states cannot constitutionally deny students a free public education on account of their immigration status” (American Immigration Council). The court held that the harm imposed on society would be greater than the money saved by excluding undocumented children from public schools. This ruling was based upon the Equal Protection Clause in the 14th Amendment, which states that “No State shall…deny any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (American Immigration Council). Therefore, children not born in the United States have the right to social services such as public education and health care. Although most states follow the federal model by limiting health care benefits to emergency care only, some states such as California, Illinois, and Massachusetts have expanded their state Medicaid insurance plans to include additional health care services (Lee).

Additionally, critics claim illegal immigrants do not have legal rights because they broke the law by migrating to the U.S. illegally. They claim only U.S. citizens, either natural born or naturalized, have Constitutional rights (Contreras). Others claim that providing illegal immigrants benefits is unfair to those trying to immigrate legally (Gurbanov). Nevertheless, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Zadvydas vs. Davis (2001) that, “…the Due Process Clause (of the 14th Amendment) applies to all persons within the United States including aliens, whether their presence is lawful, unlawful, temporary, or permanent” (Justia Law). Accordingly, children of illegal immigrants have constitutional rights that translate into a right to social service benefits.

The ACLU acknowledges that illegal immigration is indeed against the law. But once these undocumented immigrants migrate to the U.S., the ACLU claims the Constitution, “…protects them from discrimination based on race and national origin and from arbitrary treatment by the government…. Laws that punish [illegal immigrants] violate their fundamental right to fair and equal treatment” (Pro Con Editorial Staff). The ACLU’s argument is based upon the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment (Library of Congress) and is supported by Plyeler vs. Doe (American Immigration Council) and Zadvydas vs Davis (Justia Law).

Furthermore, denying undocumented immigrants health care benefits is a public health concern. According to Dr. Jeffery T. Kullgren from Harvard Medical School, “Limiting undocumented immigrants’ access to health services weakens efforts to fight the spread of communicable diseases among the general population….” (Pro Con Editorial Staff). Dr. Kullgren claims that because many diseases are identified when patients seek medical care for unrelated symptoms, “…identifying and treating communicable diseases in their earliest stages requires that undocumented immigrants be able to access services for all health conditions—not just those that have progressed to an emergency level or include symptoms of infectious disease—before others in the community are exposed…” (Pro Con Editorial Staff). Withholding public services from illegal immigrants is also impractical. Public services such as transportation and water facilities are so widely used that denying access to illegal aliens would not be possible. If someone is living in the U.S., regardless of their immigration status, they should be helped to lead healthy lives (Pro Con Editorial Staff). This will also limit the health threat to society.

All children in the U.S. should have access to health care services. A long-standing policy of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) stated, “Access to health care services, particularly for children, is important to ensure that acute and chronic conditions are diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, that health and development are adequately monitored, and that preventive services are provided as recommended” (Hernandez). From a medical perspective, early detection of disease is better for the individual and may be less expensive to society in the long run. The AAP’s position was recent reaffirmed in a new policy statement authored by Dr. Giblert Handal as follows: “It doesn’t make sense to have a policy that cares for kids but doesn’t care for other kids. They are kids. They don’t choose where to be born” (Seaman). To reiterate, innocent children should not be punished for their parents’ choices (Reyes).

Many immigrant families are unaware of the benefits their children are entitled to or they do not enroll their children in public schools because they fear social stigma or reprisal (American Academy of Pediatrics Editorial Board). In an attempt to solve this problem, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education issued the following statement: “Under Federal Law, State and local educational agencies…are required to provide all children with equal access to public education at the elementary and secondary level” (Pro Con Editorial Staff). These departments also stated in a joint letter to educators that, “Recently we have become aware of student enrollment practices that may chill or discourage the participation, or lead to the exclusion, of students based on their or their parents’ or guardians’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status. These practices contravene Federal law” (Pro Con Editorial Board). Thus, by law and Federal regulations, all children must be provided equal access to public education.

Additionally, withholding education benefits from children of illegal immigrants is simply not right. Denying public education to the children of illegal immigrants forces them to suffer handicaps such as poor health, illiteracy, and poverty (American Academy of Pediatrics Editorial Board). U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan claimed that, “By denying these children a basic education, we deny them the ability to live within the structure of our civic institutions, and foreclose any realistic possibility that they will contribute in even the smallest way to the progress of our Nation” (Pro Con Editorial Board). Children need to be educated; a proper education will benefit both the children and society as a whole.

The law is clear: children of illegal immigrants have the right to social services such as health care and public education. Some claim that providing social services for illegal immigrants is unfair and too expensive. Nevertheless, if someone is living in the U.S., regardless of their immigration status, the United States should do everything it can to grant the benefits that education and health care provide.




  1. The L.A. Times Editorial Board. “The Birthright Citizenship Debate.” LA Times. N.p., 26 Oct. 2014. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <;.
  2. Library of Congress Home. “14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Primary Documents of American History (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress).” The Library of Congress, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017
  3. The White House. “The Constitution.” The United States Government, 08 Mar. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.
  4. Bartleby Editorial Staff. “Children Born in the U.S. to Illegal Immigrants Should Not Become American Citizens.” N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <;.
  5. Spalding, Matthew, Ph.D. “Should the Children of Illegal Aliens Be U.S. Citizens?” The Heritage Foundation. N.p., 30 Aug. 2010. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <;.
  6. American Academy of Pediatrics Editorial Board. “Providing Care for Immigrant, Migrant, and Border Children.” American Academy of Pediatrics American Academy of Pediatrics, June 2013. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <;.
  7. American Immigration Council. “Public Education for Immigrant Students: Understanding Plyler v. Doe.” N.p., 24 Oct. 2016. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.
  8. Lee, Esther Yu Hsi. “Thousands of Undocumented Kids Can Now Enroll in Health Care Coverage.” Think N.p., 17 May 2016. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <>.
  9. Contreras, Raoul Lowery, Contributor. “Yes, Illegal Aliens Have Constitutional Rights.” The Hill. N.p., 29 Sept. 2015. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <;.
  10. Gurbanov, Geysar I. “Obama’s Immigration Plan Offends Legal Immigrants.” Baltimore Sun. N.p., 20 Nov. 2014. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <;.
  11. Pro Con Editorial Staff. “Should Immigrants in the United States Illegally Have Access to Social Services Such as Health Care and Public Education?” N.p., 24 Jan. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <;.
  12. Seaman, Andrew M. “Why All Immigrant Children Should Have Access to Health Care.” N.p., 24 May 2013. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <;.
  13. “Zadvydas v. Davis 533 U.S. 678 (2001).” Justia Law. N.p., 28 Jun. 2001. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <>
  14. Pro Con Editorial Staff. “Should Immigrants in the United States Illegally Have Access to Constitutional Rights and Protections When on American Soil?” N.p., 14 Feb. 2008. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <;.
  15. National Research Council (US) and Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on the Health and Adjustment of Immigrant Children and Families; Hernandez DJ, editor. Children of immigrants: Health, Adjustment, and Public Assistance. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1999. “Chapter 3, Access to Health Insurance and Health Care for Children in Immigrant Families” Available from: <;.
  16. Reyes, Raul. “Immigrant Right to Education Reaffirmed: Column.” USA Today. N.p., 12 May 2014. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <;.




Health Care: A Compromise Must Be Reached

In my previous two posts, I explored the Liberal and Conservative perspectives on U.S. citizens’ right to health care.  In this post, I will evaluate these viewpoints and express my own opinion on this controversial issue.  Despite major disagreements on the government’s role in providing health care, some Conservatives are starting to agree with Liberal policies.  A compromise must be made between the Liberals’ and Conservatives’ extreme positions. 

 In his Huffington Post article entitled, “Universal Health Care: Socialism or Civilization?”, Steve Nelson claims that, “Someone has to pay. This simple statement is at the heart of the endless politicking over health care reform. It is elephant in the room with whom neither party will dance.”  Nelson argues that Obamacare has devastated America’s health care system and has left 45 million uninsured Americans with limited options when illness strikes.  They may postpone treatment, causing unnecessary pain and likely more expensive care down the road.  They can decide to seek treatment, receiving a devastating bill in return.  Or they can seek emergency care at an even higher price.  Whichever option is picked, Nelson affirms that someone has to pay. 1*  

Nelson argues that among President Obama’s lies about Obamacare, his biggest lie is that there’s such a thing as free lunch.   Nelson claims, “The ACA is so arcane and riddled with loopholes that it will either fail completely or only modestly improve the overall well-being of our citizens.” 1*

Most Conservatives believe that Obamacare does not work, and even Liberals believe it needs to be fixed.  Although subsidies help the elderly and the poor, the viability of Obamacare was based upon the enrollment of large numbers of the young and healthy who would pay the premiums but not use the services.  Many people chose to pay the tax penalties instead of buying insurance.  1*

So, if Obamacare does not work, what’s next— “Trump care”?  It is clear that a compromise must be reached between Liberals’ all-government involvement and Conservative’s no-government policies.  Fortunately, Conservatives are starting to warm up to some Liberal policies, including universal health care coverage.  According to a Forbes article written by Avik Roy, “…the right kind of health reform could cover more Americans while increasing economic freedom.” 2* According to the Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative think tank, ten nations freer than the United States have achieved universal health coverage.  Roy claims, “What’s striking about the list is that of the eleven countries ahead of the U.S. in economic freedom, ten have achieved universal coverage. Many Americans on both the right and the left subscribe to the myth that the U.S. has a free-market health care system. It doesn’t. U.S. government entities spend more per-capita on health care than all but two other countries in the world.” 2*

English 2010

Forbes Graphic

Roy argues that Conservatives have, “…succumbed to the Liberals’ view of health care.  Philip Klein makes this argument in his new e-book, Overcoming Obamacare, in which he argues that ‘supporting Roy’s proposal would be a huge leap for limited government conservatives’ because they would ‘be expected to embrace the goal of universal coverage.’  Conservatives like Klein have accepted the left’s framing of health care: that the only way to cover more people is to expand the scope and scale of government.” 2*  

Roy claims that Conservatives are starting to accept the government’s role in health care.  The government should help pay for health care for those who truly cannot afford medical treatment.  However, those who can afford to pay for their own health insurance should do so.  2* 

A U.S. News article by Timothy Callaghan states that, “The United States remains one of the only advanced industrialized democracies in the world without universal coverage.  While this in and of itself is not a problem, the United States also spends more on health care as a percentage of GDP than any other advanced country in the world and has worse health outcomes – with lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and higher obesity rates than comparable countries like Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan.” 3* I believe the government should have a role in providing health care to the elderly and poor.  Reducing the cost of medical care and drugs would greatly reduce the U.S. government’s and citizens’ economic burden.  Other solutions require comprise on the Liberals’ part.  For example, enacting tort reform legislation would reduce litigation costs and reduce the financial burden on the medical industry. 

Obamacare has made health care services more expensive and less accessible.  The Heritage Foundation found that,” …the right kind of health reform could cover more Americans while increasing economic freedom.”  The ten countries listed in the Forbes graphic above (other than the U.S.) have both universal health coverage and higher economic freedom than the United States.  Conservatives once thought this was impossible.  While we may not be able to find a permanent solution to the problems within our health care system, reaching a compromise between Conservative and Liberal policies would be a great start. 






Conservatives Contend That Universal Health Care is a Commodity, Not a Right

In my previous post, I examined the Liberal viewpoint which is strongly in favor of universal health care. In this post, I will discuss the Conservatives’ viewpoint which is strongly against universal health care. They fear that universal health care will lead to increased debt, taxes, a decrease in doctor’s pay and quality of medical treatment and ultimately to socialism.

First, Conservatives claim the purpose of the Constitution is to “promote the general welfare”, not provide it. According to Ben Shapiro, JD, Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Wire, “Medical care is a commodity, and treating it otherwise is foolhardy.” Shapiro contends that profit incentive and freedom of labor are required to make a commodity cheaper. The government destroys both of these elements in the health care industry. Shapiro claims the solution for poor people is, “not to declare medical care a right” and declares that “markets are the solution in medical care, just as they are in virtually every other area.” 1*

The Conservatives also fear that providing universal health care will increase U.S. debt and taxes. Then US House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan stated that government health care programs are, “driving the explosive growth in our spending and our debt”. Government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid have gone from 10% of the federal budget in 1985 to 21% of the federal budget in 2012. 1*

Another economic consideration is taxes. In European countries with universal health care policies, taxes have increased to compensate for wider coverage. For example, in the United Kingdom payroll taxes average 37%, which is much higher than the 15.3% payroll taxes paid by the average U.S. worker. According to the Hoover Institution, financing a universal right to health care in the U.S. would cause payroll taxes to double. 1*

Conservatives also believe that universal health care will result in a decrease in the quality of medical care. Universal health care usually results in a decrease in doctor’s pay, which often leads to a shortage of doctors and rationing of medical services. A 2002 study conducted by the British National Health Service found that the United Kingdom (which provides universal health care) was, “critically short of doctors and nurses.” In fact, as of 2013 the United Kingdom had 2.71 practicing doctors for every 1,000 people. That is the second lowest level of the 27 European nations. Conservatives believe the United States would be wise to learn from the United Kingdom’s mistake in providing universal health care. 1*

Universal health care could also lead to rationing of medical services. For example, countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, all ration health care using methods such as controlled distribution, budgeting, price setting, and service restrictions. According to a 2009 Wall Street Journal editorial, “once health care is nationalized, or mostly nationalized, medical rationing is inevitable.” 1*

Perhaps Conservatives’ biggest fear is that universal health care will lead to socialism. According to U.S. Representative John Campbell, “A ‘right’ to services without charge, that forces someone else to provide for you, does not and should not ever exist. No one in a free society should have a ‘right’ to anything that requires others to toil against their will on behalf of those unwilling to provide for themselves.” In a Wall Street Journal article, John Mackey compares health care to food and shelter, stating that, “it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges.” 1

At the heart of most Conservative positions is the belief that smaller government is better. Conservatives believe that government provided universal health care is a huge and unnecessary increase in the size of government. Conservative Matt Canovi, President of the American Defense Academy Firearms Range and Training Facility, affirms that, “When the government starts declaring commodities to be a ‘human right’ they assume redistribution powers that are not afforded to them by the Constitution.” 1* Under a single-payer system, health care is paid for through taxes. This means people who work hard to pay those taxes are forced to subsidize health care for those who are not employed. People do have the right to purchase health care, but they don’t have the right to receive health care for free.

There is also a ‘moral hazard’ associated with universal health care. “When people are provided with universal health care and are not directly responsible for the costs of medical services, they may utilize more health resources than necessary…. Since Medicaid provides a right to health care for low-income individuals, expanding this right to the full U.S. population could worsen the problem of overusing health care resources.” 1*

In conclusion, Conservatives affirm that health care is not a right and that health care should never be given to people for free. They also claim universal health care will lead to an increase in U.S. debt and taxes and a decrease in the quality of medical care. Perhaps most importantly, Conservatives argue that universal health care is a big step down the slippery slope of socialism.




Liberals Claim Healthcare is a Universal Human Right

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 33 million people in the U.S. did not have health insurance in 2014. Universal health care is a highly controversial issue. Conservatives fear universal health care will lead to increased debt, taxes, a decrease in the quality of medical treatment and doctor’s pay, and ultimately to socialism. Liberals claim all Americans are entitled to healthcare. They state healthcare is a constitutional right and that instituting the right to healthcare has major economic and public health benefits. In this post, I will discuss the Liberals’ perspective and in my next post I will discuss the Conservative’s viewpoint.

We all are familiar with the section of the Declaration of Independence that gives men the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Liberals contend that this includes the right to health care. They also argue the Constitution protects American’s rights to health care when it pledges in the preamble to, “promote the general welfare” of the people. According to former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, efforts to “promote the general welfare”, include healthcare as “…a legitimate function of government”. 1*

Liberals claim healthcare is an internationally recognized human right. The United States, along with 47 other countries, signed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights document in 1948.   This document declared that, “everyone has the right to standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and one’s family, including…medical care.” 1* The U.S. and Mexico are the only nations belonging to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) who have yet to jump on the universal health care bandwagon. Liberals argue that by denying U.S. citizens universal health care, they are denying them a human right.

Pope Francis agrees by stating, “Health is not a consumer good, but rather a universal right, and therefore access to health care services cannot be a privilege.” 1* Also, in a Journal of the American Medical Association article, Physicians for National Health Program claimed, “Access to comprehensive health care is a human right. It is the responsibility of society, through its government, to assure this right. Coverage should not be tied to employment. Private insurance firms’ past record disqualifies them from a central role in managing health care.” 1*

In addition to granting U.S. citizens their human rights, Liberals argue universal health care would result in significant economic benefits. According to a 2013 study, under universal health care, total public and private health care spending could be lowered by $592 billion in 2014 and up to $1.8 trillion over the next decade due to lowered administrative and prescription drug costs. 1* According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, Canada (a country that provides a universal right to health care, spends half as much per capita on health care as the United States).

Liberals also argue that universal health care would increase the affordability of health care. A peer-reviewed study in Health Affairs found that between 2003 and 2013, the cost of family health insurance premiums has increased 80% in the U.S. Also, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 58% of people studied reported that they delayed or did not seek medical care due to cost.

Finally, Liberals claim providing universal healthcare would save lives and improve public health. A 2012 study in the Lancet analyzed data from over 100 countries found that, “broader health coverage generally leads to better access to necessary care and improved population health, particularly for poor people.” According to a 2008 peer-reviewed study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, there were 11.4 million uninsured working-age Americans with chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, and their lack of insurance was associated with less access to care, early disability, and even death.” 1* According to a 2009 study from Harvard researchers, “lack of health insurance is associated with as many as 44,789 deaths per year”, which translates into a 40% increased risk of death among the uninsured.

Registered Nurse and CEO of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses Lynn Erdman stated in a Huffington Post article, “It is clear that absence of insurance contributes to lack of access to basic health care services that help keep people well. People who are uninsured are at greater risk for negative health consequences.”

To conclude, Liberals believe health care is an unalienable human right granted by both the Constitution and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights document. They also affirm universal health care reaps major economic and public health benefits. Liberals claim that failing to institute universal health care will lead to a decline in public health and the economy. But, perhaps most importantly, they claim it will lead to a decline in our nation’s morality.




Annotated Bibliography

Here are twelve sources I have summarized and analyzed.  Enjoy!

  1. Bronars, Stephen. “Why Conservatives Should Oppose the Minimum Wage.” Forbes. N.p., 1 Aug. 2012. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <;.


In his article entitled, “Why Conservatives Should Oppose the Minimum Wage”, Senior Economist Stephen Bronars responds to an article written by Forbes Contributor Adam Ozimek. He agrees with Ozimek’s claim that increasing the minimum wage makes it more difficult for teenagers and low-skill workers to gain valuable, hands-on work experience. However, Bronars claims Ozimek’s argument about the minimum wage hike increasing competition is unrealistic and states that raising the minimum wage will cost businesses more money and make them less competitive. Next, Bronars addresses one of Ozimek’s studies, claiming it was insightful but flawed and ambiguous. Bronars argues the study mistakenly claims raising the minimum wage would negatively impact the fast-food and restaurant industries, and even proposes that these businesses may benefit from an increase in the minimum wage. Finally, Bronars suggests sub-minimum wage for inexperienced workers as an alternative to raising the minimum wage.


I chose this article because it showed me how raising the minimum wage directly affects me. As a teenager who has worked several summer jobs, I recognized the importance of on-the-job training. Bronars’ argument about the minimum wage hike decreasing work experience for unskilled workers helped me develop my own opinion on this issue. After reading his and other articles, I favor the Conservative position: raising the minimum wage increases unemployment and hurts inexperienced workers.

  1. Smith, Noah. “Finally, An Answer to the Minimum Wage Question.” Bloomberg. N.p., 27 May 2015. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <;.


            In “Finally, an Answer to the Minimum Wage Question”, Noah Smith claims he is an ‘identificationist’. He applies the scientific method to the minimum wage question, stating that cities in the process of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, such as Los Angeles and Seattle, act as ’guinee pigs’ for economic policy. Smith also argues that while the majority of evidence suggests that raising the minimum wage has minimal effects on employment rates, a substantial minority of studies have demonstrated otherwise. He cites the research of economists David Neumark and William Wescher, whose studies reveal negative effects on the employment rate. Additionally, Smith says some critics claim minimum wage will not only negatively affect employment rates but also result in a decrease in employment growth. Smith concludes by admitting that no firm conclusion can be made with current information. However, Smith hopes cities such as Los Angeles and Seattle will provide much needed empirical data.


While researching minimum wage, I found many articles claiming that raising the minimum wage and employment rates were completely unrelated. Smith acknowledged this evidence, but also provided research of his own. First, he included a 2013 review by John Schmitt of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. This review studied states that raised their minimum wage; it also studied cases where increasing the federal minimum wage had various effects. Next, Smith used two studies from supposedly credible economists to demonstrate his claim that the minimum wage has a large impact on employment rates. Finally, Smith alluded to a Forbes article by Adam Ozimek (See Source 1) for further Conservative views on minimum wage. By admitting that no definite conclusions can be made about minimum wage and by providing possible ways we can reach a conclusion, Smith shared a sensible perspective.

  1. Editorial Staff. “How A Minimum Wage Hike Affects You.” Information Station. Job Creators Network, 2 Oct. 2014. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <;.


            In “How A Minimum Wage Hike Affects You”, the Editorial Staff of Information claim that raising the minimum wage will not only increase income: it will also cause a decrease in job opportunities. They explain that most minimum wage workers are employed in fields with low profit margins. This means that when labor becomes more expensive, employers often resort to firing their employees (instead of raising product praises). The Editorial Staff cites the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to demonstrate that raising the minimum wage decreases employment rates. They also claim increasing the minimum wage does not reduce poverty.   The Staff concludes by suggesting that the minimum wage solution is ironic because minimum-wage workers can usually get pay raises on their own.


This article built on the evidence cited in Smith’s paper (See Source #2) to support the claim that raising the minimum wage decreases employment rates. Because no author is provided for this article, its credibility is decreased. However, the Editorial Staff used several sources to support their arguments. For example, they cited the Bureau of Labor Statistics that claims the restaurant industry employs close to half of the United States’ minimum wage workers to emphasize the significant impact low profit margins have on this issue. They also cited the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which said it expects 500,000 jobs to be lost if the minimum wage is increased to $10.10 an hour. Finally, they used research from economists at prestigious universities to demonstrate that increasing the minimum wage has not been shown to reduce poverty. Despite an unfamiliar website and even lesser known author, the arguments and evidence presented are sound and helped me realize the negative impact minimum wage hikes have on small businesses.

  1. Marginean, Silvia, and Alina Stefania Chenic. “Effects of Raising Minimum Wage: Theory, Evidence and Future Challenges.” Science Direct. Elsevier B. V., n.d. Web. 11 Feb. 2017.;


In her academic article entitled, “Effects of Raising Minimum Wage: Theory, Evidence and Future Challenges”, Romanian economist Silvia Marginean claims that raising the minimum wage has minimal effect on employment rates and that other research should be conducted on topics such as inflation and firm profits. Marginean supports this main claim with two additional arguments, claiming an increase in minimum wage will help reduce both poverty and welfare costs. Marginean utilizes multiple studies to support her arguments.

Marginean’s purpose was, “…to find… an explanation for the recent raise of minimum wage in some European Union countries and United States…” As evidenced by the 23 references on the works cited page, this article is replete with studies from various countries about the effects of raising the minimum wage on an economy. This paper primarily focuses on how increases in minimum wage effect employment rates. Numerous studies lead her to the same conclusion: a modest increase in minimum wage will not impact employment rates.


Marginean claimed that increasing the minimum wage has no effect on employment rates and reduces poverty and welfare costs. Her main claim is backed up by several studies, while her other claims are briefly mentioned in the concluding paragraph. She made these claims through a narrow-minded perspective and when Conservative arguments are considered, her arguments are substantially weakened. By “cherry-picking” her studies, she leads the reader to believe that there is no controversy over this claim. For example, in her introduction, she says that, “After many years of empirical research, studies seem to point fairly uniformly to the existence of small negative effects of higher minimum wages on employment and unemployment.” This simply is not true and research revealed many studies claiming that while increasing the minimum wage may not result in a decrease in employment, it does increase the risk of job loss.

Marginean also failed to address several Conservative arguments. First, a substantial minority of economic research and studies have concluded that increasing the minimum wage results in an increase of unemployment. This conclusion comes from basic economics: higher prices usually reduce demand. Second, raising the minimum wage makes it more difficult for teenagers and unskilled workers to gain experience and training that would increase their efficiency and future pay.   Marginean’s article taught me that formal diction and a narrow-minded perspective can sometimes mask faulty arguments.

  1. Kelly, Andrew P. “The Problem Is That Free College Isn’t Free.” The New York Times. N.p., 20 Jan. 2016. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. < >.


In his article entitled, “The Problem Is That Free College Isn’t Free”, resident scholar Andrew P. Kelly states that free college tuition is not actually free; it simply transfers the financial burden from students to taxpayers. While some argue that tuition free schools will lead to increased college access, Kelly asserts this will result in greater financial burdens on colleges and public budgets. Kelly also claims tuition prices are not necessarily the main obstacle to student success, and other problems such as educational quality and college readiness should be taken into consideration. Finally, instead of raising the minimum wage, Kelly suggests targeting funds towards students in need and encouraging them to use their resources wisely.


In this New York Times article, Andrew P. Kelly maked several insightful arguments. However, he failed to list any citations or sources for his statistics and evidence, significantly decreasing his credibility. This is why I focused more on his reasoning and relied on other sources for evidence. His argument that tuition prices were not the main obstacle to student success was compelling. Despite lacking reliable evidence, Kelly provided thoughtful arguments that I adopted as my own.

  1. Merissotis, Jamie. “Want to Be Happier and Healthier? Then Go to College.” The Huffington Post. N.p., 15 Oct. 2016. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <;.


In “Want to Be Happier and Healthier? Then Go to College”, CEO of the Lumina Foundation Jamie Merisotis claims college will make you healthy, wealthy, and wise. She cites several studies including a Gallup-Purdue survey and a University of Maine study that found college graduates are less likely to engage in unhealthy or dangerous activities, have a longer life expectancy, and participate much more in their communities. Merisotis also argues that health and happiness should be valued just as much as the economic benefits of graduating college. She concludes by encouraging communities to work together to make college education more readily accessible. Merisotis suggests that working to decrease the talent deficit by combining commerce and creativity would result in many positive changes.


            While I do not believe college should be tuition-free, Jamie Merisotis’ article gave me a new perspective on why Liberals and many others believe it should be. She utilized the University of Maine study authored by Professor Phillip Trostel to support her main claim: college graduates enjoy not only economic benefits but also live happier and healthier lives. She used many statistics to illustrate this claim, including that college graduates have a life expectancy of seven years longer than those who did not graduate college. Merisotis also suggested ways to make college more readily accessible and gave examples of cities like Greensboro, N.C. and Dallas, Texas that are attempting to decrease the talent deficit. I still believe tuition-free college is not the solution. However, Merisotis’ article helped me understand the passion behind the Liberals’ view on this issue and made we aware of alternative solutions that I used to strengthen my own arguments.

  1. The Editorial Board. “A Promising Proposal for Free Tuition.” The New York Times. N.p., 5 Jan. 2017. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <;.


In a New York Times article entitled, “A Promising Proposal for Free Tuition”, the Editorial Board announced an exciting possibility for middle class New York families. Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed a plan that will pay for tuition at public colleges. The plan is scheduled to go into effect by 2019, but requires legislative approval. Critics fear that this plan will increase the financial burden on public universities. Ultimately, the Editorial Board affirms that it is the Legislature’s responsibility to resolve the critics’ fears.


This article came from a usually Liberal source (The New York Times) but surprisingly contains many Conservative arguments. For example, the editorial board foresees possible problems with the new free tuition proposal including increased student enrollment and teacher and classrooms shortages. The editorial board also claims that Governor Cuomo’s proposal underestimates the financial burden that will be placed on public universities. These claims are supported by ample evidence taken from reliable sources including New York’s Independent Budget Office. I used the Conservative arguments made in this article to support my own Conservative beliefs about this issue.

  1. Gillespie, Patrick. “America’s Persistent Problem: Unskilled Workers.” Cable News Network, 7 Aug. 2015. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <;.


            In his article entitled, “America’s Persistent Problem: Unskilled Workers”, Patrick Gillespie asserts an increase in job openings signifies a decrease in qualified workers. He argues that employers may be partially to blame because their employee expectations are unrealistic. Gillespie concludes by citing economic professor Chris Tilly, claiming that too many Americans are going to college and not enough people are becoming blue-collar workers. Gillespie affirms that a rise in job openings is a red flag that should warn Americans about the ever-widening skills gap.


Gillespie’s claims regarding the skills gap helped me better understand the Liberal argument about tuition-free college. While I still do not agree with the Liberals’ solution of tuition-free college, I now comprehend the reasons behind their position. Gillespie used reliable sources such as UCLA economics professor Chris Tilly, Harvard Business School professor Joseph Fuller, and a research group called the Corporate Executive Board to support his claims. The direct quotes from the professors and the statistics from the research group strengthened his arguments. Also, by including related articles, Gillespie provided a way for me to delve deeper into this topic.

  1. Challeen, Dennis. ACLU: Conservative, Liberal, or Neither.” Winona Daily News. N.p., 21 July 2013. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <;.


In “ACLU: Conservative, Liberal, or Neither”, community columnist Dennis Challeen identifies several Liberal positions of the ACLU, including advocating for the separation of church and state, (especially in schools) and the protection of freedom of speech (e.g., in the burning of the American flag). Challeen also notes situations where the ACLU seems to contradict their Liberal values. For example, the ACLU argued for conservative Rush Limbaugh’s Fourth Amendment rights. Challeen does not reach a definitive conclusion.


            Dennis Challeen’s purpose in writing this article is to help his audience reach a conclusion about their personal beliefs by first explaining the ACLU’s values and then sharing some of his own opinions. His article contained a brief overview of the ACLU’s beliefs and positions on various controversial issues. Then, Challeen alluded to a popular satirical online journal (The Onion) article entitled, “ACLU Defends Nazis’ Right to Burn Down ACLU Headquarters”. This hyperbole failed to recognize that the ACLU does not advocate violence in the defense of any civil right. Challeen then ended with some humor, joking that whether you like the ACLU or not, at least the ACLU will protect your First Amendment right to express your opinion. Challeen’s overview of the ACLU’s beliefs helped me establish my own opinion of the ACLU and helped me develop my arguments. I believe the ACLU is a threat to America because of its advocacy of abortion and other Liberal issues. This organization is also bad for the United States because of its atheistic perspective, which it tries to enforce by loosely interpreting the Constitution.

  1. King, Justin. “The Facts That Neither Side Wants to Admit About Gun Control.” Mintpress News. N.p., 5 Oct. 2015. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. < >.


            In his article entitled, “The Facts That Neither Side Wants to Admit About Gun Control”, Justin King examines flaws in the Liberal and Conservative gun control arguments. He claims that gun control laws have no effect on murder rates. King utilizes examples from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia to demonstrate this claim. King claims poverty causes more crimes than access to guns. He concludes by stating America doesn’t have a gun control problem: we have a violence problem.


Justin King provided an insightful perspective without an apparent Liberal or Conservative bias. He finds faults in both sides of the gun control issue and asserted that the problem is not a lack of gun restrictions but a lack of violence sensitivity. King gave several examples from history including a UK handgun ban in 1996. The homicide rate increased from between 10.9 and 13 homicides per million in 1990 to 28 per million in 2003. King cited several other similar examples, although he failed to list any sources. This somewhat lowers his credibility. He concluded that the real way to decrease crime rates is not by enacting more gun control laws but by changing society’s values. I adopted King’s claims and used his unique perspective to deduce that both the Conservatives and Liberals may be wrong.

  1. Samuels, Dorothy. “The Second Amendment Was Never Meant to Protect an Individual’s Right to a Gun.” Bill Moyers and Company. Public Square Media Inc., 4 Dec. 2015. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <;.


In “The Second Amendment Was Never Meant to Protect an Individual’s Right to a Gun”, Dorothy Samuels states that the 2008 Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia vs Heller put the U.S. in a dangerous position. In this case, a 5-4 majority declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to a gun, at least for self-defense purposes. Samuels strongly disagrees with this court ruling and supports the Liberal position. She claims the Constitution is a living document and should be interpreted as such.


While Samuels argued that the Constitution should be interpreted as a living document, many Conservatives (including myself) disagree. Conservatives believe the Constitution should be interpreted according to the original intent of its writers and probably would agree with this Supreme Court decision. I found Samuels’ article very helpful in developing my own arguments. While I disagree with her opinions, her arguments helped me understand the Liberal perspective. Samuels’ arguments were strengthened by quotes from Judge Scalia, Saul Cornell (a leading Second Amendment scholar) and many other experts.

  1. Freiburger, Calvin. “Peer-Reviewed Study: Abortion is Not Safer for Women Than Childbirth.” Life News. N.p., 16 Aug. 2013. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <;.


            In his article entitled, “Abortion is Not Safer for Women Than Childbirth”, Freiburger cites a study by Dr. Byron Calhoun published in peer-reviewed Catholic medical journal Linacre Quarterly that claimes abortion is not a safer alternative to childbirth. Freiburger included the full abstract of the study in his article, detailing statistics and empirical evidence that supports his claim that abortion-related mortality is underreported and the statistics regarding complications are unreliable.  Next, he claimes the Liberal argument that abortion is a safer alternative to childbirth is purely self-serving.   Freiburger states that Liberals’ arguments are riddled with lies: from what the embryo is biologically to what the Constitution says about abortion.


Freiburger presented some interesting arguments in his attack against Liberals who defend abortion. He cited a peer-reviewed study that claimed abortion is not safer for women than childbirth. Furthermore, the study showed that Liberals’ claims are unreliable and their evidence self-serving. I was able to use his claim that Liberals’ arguments are self-serving to strengthen my own arguments and beliefs. I have to admit a bias in favor of Freiburger as I strongly oppose abortion in most cases.