The Instigator
Wirtjo
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Hons
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Resolved: The United States ought to guarantee universal health care for its citizens.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/17/2013 Category: Health
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,786 times Debate No: 30348
Debate Rounds (5)
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Wirtjo

Pro

This was the LD topic for last month and now that we are done with it, i figure why not knock another debate out for funnies. Haha we'll do it a bit different though, round 1 we will present cases, round two will be cross examination, round 3 cross examination answers, and round 4 and 5 rebuttals. This is my first debate online so i'm looking forward to it :)

I stand in firm affirmation of the Resolved: Rehabilitation ought to be valued above retribution in the United States criminal justice system.

For clarification during this round, I would like to present a few key terms. Today I define, Rehabilitation; as helping someone avoid a self-destructing behavior. To be valued above; as having greater utility than the other in serving some purpose. With the purpose being today my value and criterion.

My value today will be the Individual and my criterion will be societal welfare.

I have three primary contentions, my first being that being that rehabilitation shows humanity, forgiveness, and compassion. My second being that rehabilitation allows for the progression of the individual. And my last being that rehabilitation allows for the progression of society.

Contention 1: With the federal prison expected to reach over 45% its capacity by 2018 and with the U.S only having 5% of the worlds population yet 25% of the worlds prisoners. (NAACP) 27,000 people being sent to jail just for the possession of a drug. (Census. Gov) These people need help not punishment. Paraphrasing Chip Corwin of the New York Times Corwin alludes to the idea that America often holds (and strongly desires to keep) an international position of authority on issues of freedom, democracy, and human rights. Allowing our prisons to become too punishment-focused erodes this Perception internationally and damages our credibility as a global example. Prison should be used not as a place for punishment, but as a place to hold those who might infringe upon the safety of others. People who have committed simple violations such as drug possession should not be sent to the big house, they should be sent for rehabilitation, so they can get there life in order and then be a productive member of the community around them. There is no place for punishment in a civilized and enlightened society except for in places where it is needed. Rehabilitation is the most valuable ideological justification for punishment, for it alone promotes the humanizing belief in the notion that offenders can be saved and not simply punished. The rehabilitative ideal alone conveys the message that the state has an obligation to help those who fall short of the standards of behavior it has set. These people are often those with the greatest social disadvantages that have constrained them to a life in crime in the first place.

Contention 2: Rehabilitation allows the individual to progress by solving the underlying problem that may be causing the individual to commit such offenses. Instead of sending the person to prison which will in time create vengeance, it will dig deep down and fix the root of the problem, as the root of criminality lies before exposure to the prison, otherwise there would be no need for prison in the first place, and arguably the problem may lie in the economic situation that is causing people to commit crimes, or the educational system as it may be a lack on their-part of teaching morals to its citizens, nonetheless it should be the obligation to find out the underlying cause, as that is what is causing the actual damage. We can see that the prison system is not solving the root of the issue as in 1994 out of 300,000 prisoners released, 68% of them were back in jail within three years. (National Institute of Justice. Gov) In Connecticut between 2005-2008, 67.5% of offenders were also re-arrested within three years. (CT. Gov) We can also see the emotional effects that the prison system has on its participants once they leave; inter-personal distrust, emotional-over-control, psychological distancing, social withdrawal and isolation, diminished sense of self-worth and personal value, post-traumatic stress reactions due to imprisonment, among others. Plus the affects that prison brings to the loved ones of those who are incarcerated, more than 35% of children with a parent incarcerated, drop out of school. (N.Y Times) On top of this we can see that people who have a criminal record are often discriminated against as they are looked down upon as the lower members of society and are often denied jobs. (Craig Haney) Through these, we can clearly see that the prison system is not working, and if anything it is causing harm to the ones it is supposed to be watching over. People end back up in prison because they are not taught how to be integrated back into society. When you go to prison for a crime and you are not taught to be rehabilitated to life as a productive citizen, then you are not likely to gain anything from your prison time. Instead of learning to change your ways, make an honest living, and turn away from your crimes, you will more than likely end up back in prison, because you have not been educated of the world beyond the prison walls. Having someone sit around doing nothing worthwhile all day does not solve any problems. Often times people who are sent to prison have not committed serious crimes for example in Wisconsin 80% of the people incarcerated are there for drug and alcohol abuse. (N.Y Times) These people don't need punishment, they need treatment, someone to talk to, to help them get better, and to treat them like a human being.
B: Rehabilitation can extend to both parties being both the perpetrator and the victim and occasionally various correction agencies, giving greater chance for reconciliation on both sides, therefore going beyond superficial justice and solving both sides of the issue. Bringing the perpetrator to the full realization of what they have done, hopefully bringing them into a healthier state of mind. And giving the victim justice, and the understanding beyond the crime committed.

Contention 3: Rehabilitation gives the opportunity for the progression of society as it not only helps the individual, but it helps the individual learn how to be a productive member of that society, thereby giving back to society as a whole. It is therefore better and in the governments best interest to prefer rehabilitation over retribution as it will put an income back into the economic system instead of costing $31,000 a year for holding someone in prison. (CBS) It also eliminates potential public damage, judicial costs and the emotional damage, something that no amount of money can re-pay. But on top of that it is giving someone the opportunity to participate in the dream called America, to be a productive member of society and the community that they live in. It also contributes to a safer society as it creates less chance of recidivism, and a safe society being something that a government should owe it citizens, the right to live in society without fear.
B: Crime offers a way in which impoverished people can gain something that they cannot through legitimate reasons. Often people are born into the system of poverty and are forced to result to things such as robbery. So not always does the inherent person need to change but also the situations around them that pressure them into committing these offenses. Therefore arguably it is not the faults of the individual, but resulting and therefore being the responsibility of the society that they live in. By using rehabilitation you are helping people get jobs and leave that area of society and over time in hope eventually cure the need to commit those types of crimes. Thereby giving rehabilitation creates actual solvency of the issue where retribution does not solve the issue and is just creating punishment for the individual, therefore not allowing the individual to progress and eventually society.
Hons

Con

Countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and Sweden often mock the United States for its lack of Universal Health care. It is called everything from barbaric to archaic. I maintain that both these labels are not only wrong, but they are deliberately misleading. The issue of socialized medicine is really a question of what role government should have in its citizens lives. But more importantly than the role of government, is the ineffectiveness of socialized medicine in practise.

Government in a capitalist society functions on the belief that markets and the private sector will make both the most effective society and the most principled and incorruptible one as well. Capitalism does not abolish the idea of government but limits its role. We believe that government is ineffective in doing the jobs of private companies. Private companies operate on incentives, they also operate on competition from other industry. Whereas government would hold a monopoly over the industry which it dealt in, and their would be no incentive for it to improve its product. Healthcare operates in relatively the same way. The reason that there are cures for common and uncommon illnesses such as glaucoma, certain types of cancers, and infectious diseases is because their was an incentive waiting for the people who made them. In a country with universal health care the scientists and doctors who found these cures would not be paid half the money they are today. The medicine would also be more expensive in a society which relied on universal health care. This is because in a capitalist society prices gradually fall, whereas in a socialist society the prices stay relatively the same. In a system that has universal health care, that system would have control of the prices of healthcare. This means that since the prices are controlled the level of care also falls under the control of the government. Hence the people are not making their own personal decisions regarding their health care, consequently the government is.

Governments around the world have instituted universal health care programs. As one looks at Sweden, the United Kingdom, and France one notices that Healthcare is not the only industry that is nationalized. In France the government has socialized the telephone company, the electric company, and others. This trend is similar in both Sweden, and Britain. The policy of national health care is really a policy for the nationalization for all industry. This growing phenomenon is troubling not only to a free-market society, but also to the citizens who form the society. When the government controls medical industries, there is less medicine and worse medicine. There was a study done by Max Gammon who is a British physician, who studied the British health service for five years. This study created the theory of "bureaucratic displacement," this theory states when an industry is taken over by a government input goes up and output goes down. This is shown by hospital work in Britain from 1965-1973 the staff increased 28%, and administrative help increased 41%. Output was measured in the average number of beds occupied daily. The number of beds occupied daily decreased 9%. He concluded that the decrease was not because of a lack of patients because at all times there was a waiting list that included 600,000 people. There was only one reason for this inefficiency, "national health care." In practise the idea that the government should be in control of public welfare is a frightening one, as we have seen government not only is incapable of doing the jobs that the private sector does so well, they are also unwilling.
Debate Round No. 1
Wirtjo

Pro

1. My opponent brings up the idea that government would be ineffective as there would be no incentive. Is saving human lives not incentive enough! Just because someone else is giving the pay check instead of a corporation dosen't mean that there will be no incentive to save lives, that is completely absurd. People go into medicine to save lives, why would that stop?
A: Also if the government were to be charging healthcare that would be a good thing as it means we can have more people becoming treated and it means that prices for the basic human necessity which is life does not have to be ridiculously overcharged

2. My opponent brought up how other countries have used universal healthcare, what they failed to notice is exactly as to how efficient it has actually been. My opponent brings up evidence from a british study. 1. that was such a long time ago. 2. that is only one representation that does not represent everything.

In conclusion sorry i made the rebuttal so brief, i have been extremely busy. Thank you for providing an interesting debate however :)
Hons

Con

My opponent in his presentation has failed to follow his own prompt. The prompt is "should the United States guarantee universal health care for its citizens." My opponent rather than answer his own question, consequently answers the question of whether "rehabilitation ought to be valued above retribution in the United States Criminal justice system." This understandably makes my cross-examination more difficult. I will however try my best. The distinction that must be made is that universal health care in a prison should be distinguished from universal health care in the rest of the world.

There are many distinctions between a prison and the ordinary world. We are all able to pick our favourite examples, whether it be the lack of freedom found on the inside of a cell, or the sex-based segregation of prisoners. I would wish to add a few more distinctions to this list. Primarily that if one was to argue whether prisoners should be entitled to healthcare paid for by the state, my answer would be yes. This however does not contradict my previous position. The reason that prisoners should be given free health care unlike regular citizens is because they are different. The difference being an obvious one of the financial means to acquire health care. This difference entitles them to a different rules and regulations. This is why the government provides them with food, shelter, and medical supplies. This does not in fact mean that the rest of the population should be entitled to the same privileges. I agree that the incarcerated should receive free food, free housing, and free shelter. But (as I said before) I do not think that the rest of the population should receive similar benefits.
Debate Round No. 2
Wirtjo

Pro

Wirtjo forfeited this round.
Hons

Con

The rhetorical question is asked "is saving human lives not incentive enough?" I agree that saving lives is a very strong incentive for doctors. But I also maintain that a capitalist system operates on incentives. It is not a coincidence that the most popular professions are also the most highly paid such as lawyers, actors, and doctors. Lawyers and actors would still be paid the same amount of money if universal health care was passed. The only profession that would be adversely affected would be the medical profession. This devalues the work of a doctor compared to lawyers, and other lucrative professions. The argument my opponent made is foolish. It is the equivalent of saying to a janitor "is keeping the streets clean not incentive enough." No apparently not.

My opponent said that "just because someone else is giving the check instead of a corporation doesn't mean that there will be no incentive to save lives." Implied in this statement is the notion that the pay would be the same if it was from the government. This is completely untrue. Let"s take the average pay of doctors in countries which have a national health care service. Sweden 77$ (in 1000"s), Norway 77$, the U.K. 150$. Now this is by no means unfair of bad pay, but in the United States the pay is 230$ more than double what the pay is in countries which have a national health care service.
Debate Round No. 3
Wirtjo

Pro

Wirtjo forfeited this round.
Hons

Con

Hons forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Wirtjo

Pro

Wirtjo forfeited this round.
Hons

Con

Hons forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
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