Is it ethical to contract for a service you know in advance you'll be unable to pay for simply because you really need it?

It may seem like a simple question with an easy answer, but it's not.

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With the limited information provided I'll go ahead and take the obvious answer. A contract is a promise. If you promise something you already know you won't be able to deliver, you are lying. So, no, it's not ethical. Can I assume there are some mitigating details still to come?

Suppose you need surgery? You have insurance which will pay for much of it, but you are not in a position to pay the copay?

I've had to "sneak" on to a bus. Basically tell the driver, "I just activated my card, but it takes 24 hrs" when I knew it was held up at school and the school didn't have their shit together so it took 4 days to activate instead of one. Every time I got on the bus I would hold my breath in anticipation that it would work and every time it didn't I looked at the driver with pleading eyes as they waved me back. I didn't have other means to pay for the bus at the time. I was literally that broke. It was a matter of "survival mode"...but....I had to get to school and get my kid to school.

Actually, my question is a kind of sneaky critique of the US healthcare system. 

When we have a technology whose purpose is to save lives, how can we ethically let that become a business? And can we apply the same standards we'd apply to another business?

For example, if I go to buy a car knowing somehow that I'll never be able to finish paying it off, that's clearly unethical, but can we apply the same standard to the business of saving lives?

This country was founded on the idea that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. IMO "life" implies health and healthcare. Healthcare should be a basic right afforded to all.

I think we shouldn't view healthcare as a business for profit. That means healthcare is withheld if there's not enough profit in it. That's immoral.


RE: Actually, my question is a kind of sneaky critique of the US healthcare system. 

Well now I feel sheepish :) geez Unseen, just say what you REALLY mean, lol. That changes everything!

People in impoverished nations frequently take out "microloans" and have no guarantee they will be able to repay. They use it many times for basic medicine we take for granted. Like it's not immoral. it's SURVIVAL.
Why do you ask Unseen? Are you going to get your skin re-tanned and your tummy tucked? Lol

A few months ago, I had a breathing difficulty that resulted in two ER visits and numerous tests and consultations. The resulting bills amounted to about $15K, much of which Medicare paid. But that left me with several thousand dollars I was supposed to be responsible for. But on a fixed income, there is no chance I'll ever get those bills paid off. Even if I could afford to start paying them back, at my age there will always be another problem coming along. 

For example, I need to cataract surgery. I'm going blind in one of my eyes. So, I've set up the surgery which will be done in 3 or 4 weeks and will probably cost even more than the breathing difficulty. I do so knowing that I won't be able to pay my share.

Luckily, the health industry is used to this situation. They bill for a while and then give up. So, who pays? To some extent, it's everyone else who can. The burden simply shifts to those who can pay, and their healthcare costs go up.

Can you see now how insane and dysfunctional the system is? On the one hand, I feel bad that I can't pay my share, but what is my option? to go blind?

I'm sorry to hear that Unseen :( So here's what you do: You go to the place that issued the bill (the hospital most likely, wherever it says on there) and talk to their finance people. Tell them exactly what you just said. They have a "hardship" process, you provide financial etc, write your statement. The debt will get forgiven. I have gone through that process on SEVERAL occasions with my ex-husband's back situation...

If that doesn't work (but it will) send me a message and I know of plan B, C, or me :)

That changes everything!

I think the point of Unseen's post is to make us question that. Does it really change things? If you cheat the system to get life saving surgery, should you also cheat the system to get basic necessities like food, water, housing? To what extent does this ethical loophole apply?

Unseen was right, his question is far deeper than it appears on the surface.

RE: If you cheat the system to get life saving surgery, should you also cheat the system to get basic necessities like food, water, housing?

I don't call survival "cheating." Basic needs are basic needs, and there is nothing unethical about trying to make it when you literally have nothing. As long as you're not hurting anyone, or committing any crimes, or flat out lying (which is fraud) then...for basic needs it's not unethical. it's necessary.


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