The Times 'Ethicist' Said He'd Lie to Insurance Co., Plugs Universal Health Care

The Times liberal ethics columnist Randy Cohen pushed for universal health care in his latest column for the Times Magazine, "Smoke Screen."

Responding to a mother whose college-graduate son was denied health insurance coverage for admitting that he smoked marijuana occasionally, Cohen said he himself would have lied to the company, and worked in a plug for universal health care:

And so, were I filling out that form, I'd lie without remorse. (All right, with some remorse. Accompanied by resentment. I blame my upbringing. And my inept, albeit imaginary, therapist.) But I could not advise my child to lie - even an older child, even to an insurance company. I would feel a parental duty to teach integrity and encourage civic engagement. So I would urge him to supply an honest answer on that form and write an urgent letter to his elected representatives, particularly those working on health care reform. The real solution here is to guarantee access to medical care to all people, not just those pot-smoking liars.