Comment: I applaud your efforts here,

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I applaud your efforts here,

I applaud your efforts here, and I do think that exploring ideas that meet the current system halfway are not a bad idea. Especially as part of a plan to keep on rolling as the health care system gradually comes under free market forces.

I am wondering about the Constitutional, legal, and moral underpinnings, however. I'm a huge Penn fan, too. And I think the quote you chose is a good quick-draw yardstick to use.

In the example of the bystander who breaks into a house and steals to pay the doctor, I'm not at all sure you are justified in making the case that because the bystanders act is MORAL that is therefore LEGAL.

It seems to me that it is this linking of moral and legal that forms the basis of your case. And I don't think it's a link you'd be wise to assume. People steal for many reasons; some of them quite moral.

I'm betting you'd find my theft of my neighbor's car moral if I needed the car to rush my child to the hospital. Perhaps you'd even find it moral if I needed the car to rush my co-hort in a bungled armed robbery to the hospital. But what if I needed the car to rush to the store and get coffee because I knew my husband was likely to hit me if there was no coffee in the morning. What about if I needed the car because I'd forgotten to buy butter for the big dinner I was hosting for my husband's boss. (If the boss isn't impressed, my husband could lose his job; my children could be homeless, hungry.)

In all these cases, the morality of my theft is open for interpretation. For my neighbor, the theft of his car isn't; the harm done to him is the same regardless of the morality of my action. What is legal needs to be pretty. Firm. I should be arrested for stealing the car in any of these situations.

However, a jury and judge provide the mercy, the softer side. They look at a clearly illegal act and take into account my motivations, their understanding of the morality of my actions.

Your bus accident bystander's theft is moral and illegal. The doctor's refusal is immoral and legal (although I think there's some kind of professional ethics about failing to provide aid). Moral and legal often don't go together. The complex web of our court system, in fact, developed in large part because moral and legal aren't synonymous and we recognized the need to account for that.

I don't think you've quite made the argument that because it is moral to provide assistance to the victim of an accident, it should by definition be legal.

Maybe you can. But it has to be addressed, I think, if you want to pitch this idea to libertarian types.