Immoral, Impractical Socialized Medicine

In his March 7th weekly address, Obama said this:

[B]ecause we cannot bring our deficit down or grow our economy without tackling the skyrocketing cost of health care, I held a health care summit on Thursday to begin the long-overdue process of reform. Our ideas and opinions about how to achieve this reform will vary, but our goal must be the same: quality, affordable health care for every American that no longer overwhelms the budgets of families, businesses, and our government.

Indeed, in his second debate with McCain, on October 7, 2008, Obama called healthcare a “right for every American.” Of course this notion is absurd. There’s no such thing as a “right” to force others to provide one with health care, cotton picking, sex, or any other service.

If one believes that health care is a right, then one’s goal should be not only “quality, affordable health care for every American,” but also equal health care for every American. Equal health care for everyone (except perhaps those with political pull) is the goal that Obama’s plan will achieve.

Here’s one way that Obama plans to make affordable healthcare available to all:

Make Health Insurance Work for People and Businesses — Not Just Insurance and Drug Companies. Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions so all Americans regardless of their health status or history can get comprehensive benefits at fair and stable premiums.

“Hello, is this the insurance company? I want fire insurance for my house. Yes, my house is already on fire, but I have a right to insurance.” This kind of persecution of insurance companies has prevailed for many years, causing premiums to skyrocket. “California law prohibits an HIV test from being required or used by health insurance companies as a condition of obtaining health insurance coverage.” Obama will make this kind of persecution more complete.

How will Obama pay for “quality, affordable health care for every American”? He will “Reduce Costs and Save a Typical American Family up to $2,500” through a series of tyrannical measures designed to confiscate property of drug companies and just force people to be more efficient and competitive than they would be in a free society.

Of course, government agencies are notoriously inefficient. (Consider the DMV, the Department of Meaningless Visits.) But the impracticality of socialized medicine goes far deeper than inefficiency. Socialized medicine—which already dominates American medicine through Medicare, Medicaid, and persecution of the drug and insurance industries—is impractical because it rests on the immoral premise that healthcare is a right, that healthcare must be provided equally for all.

Consider the contrasting case of the computer industry, which is much freer than the healthcare industry. When the newest, most souped-up, most software-laden computer with the most comprehensive service contract first comes out, it might cost $20,000 or more. Only wealthy Americans choose to buy, or can afford to buy, such an expensive model. Most Americans settle for a model and service contract that costs maybe $1,000 or less. But a couple of years later, after manufacturers have improved their manufacturing ability and brought their costs down, they can sell the old souped-up model for $1,000; and then the average man can enjoy what only the wealthiest could afford a couple of years earlier. Meanwhile, the wealthy can now buy an even more amazing new computer for $20,000.

This has been the pattern of all technological progress in all industries throughout the Industrial Revolution. A poor immigrant today making less than minimum wage off the books can afford to pay for a life-saving antibiotic that the richest of the rich could not obtain a few generations ago.

But suppose the government declares that owning a computer is a right, and so every American has the right to a quality computer, the best computer available. Then progress becomes an enemy of the state. Every new, $20,000 computer has to be provided to everyone. And so, instead of the average computer cost per person being around $1,000, the average cost is $20,000.

The government’s only recourse is to outlaw progress.

Moreover, some people who had no computer before are now entitled to one. And they need more service, because they keep spilling booze on it. And those who had two computers must do with only one, with less service. And soon the computer models become more stripped down, because that’s the only way to pay for an equal computer for all.

And so it has been going in America’s socialized healthcare industry for the past two generations.

“But a computer is a luxury, while health care is a basic need,” a welfare-statist might protest. Let me quote from an article of mine, in which I address

this view … that everyone should be provided with the same level of health care and education, which are “essential services,” no matter their income level. In other words: Money should be only for luxuries. There should never be any incentive for someone to work hard for something really important such as food, or one’s health, or the safety of one’s family. The thinking, industrious man and the loafer deserve the same of all of that. Working hard and making money should be only for things you don’t really need anyway. In short, we should have socialism for anything important, and freedom only when it doesn’t matter much anyway.

Of course, this view is absurd. Our Founding Fathers did not fight for freedom just so that their progeny could play tiddlywinks. What we think of today as luxuries did not even exist back then. Freedom is and always will be a matter of survival. If this is news to anyone, he should take a look at countries whose farms are owned by the state.

A welfare statist recently asked what we should do with all the poor people who will line up outside public hospitals that will close if we don’t extend socialized medicine. My reply: Give them all a piece of paper that reads, “Americans are not your slaves.”

The goal of our government should not be “quality, affordable health care for every American,” but rather the protection of every individual’s right to life, liberty, and property, so that he can use and enjoy what he has earned in the pursuit of his own happiness.

6 thoughts on “Immoral, Impractical Socialized Medicine

  1. Of course, the corollary of free health care is that enough doctors must exist to service all the folks who are now going to line up in droves for their free care. What will be the incentive for bright young achievers to pursue careers in health care? Certainly not higher wages. Perhaps we can simply force students to become doctors, adopting the mantra: “From each according to his ability to each according to his need.”

    Oh wait. That might be a copyright infringement. I feel like I’ve heard it somewhere before.

  2. Gladys, my nose is running. What should I do? Henry, you never know what that can turn into. Call Dr. Longlines and make an appointment, after all it’s free.

  3. Ron,
    Tremendous article. I e-mailed it to my family and friends letting them know the “hand them a piece of paper…” line at the end packs a punch! You have a new fan and I’m adding your site to my Google Reader. Thanks again.

  4. The US system is bankrupt. When 1/6 of the people do not have access to health care, this shows the system is seriously broken.

    In Canada, where everyone is covered, the administrative overhead is only 5%, compared to 30% by US private insurers. Who’s more inefficient?

    And everyone is covered the same, so doctors don’t waste time to fill paperwork to check if such and such procedure is covered for a given patient.

    The people are fed-up with the current US health-care system; they’d rather have a canadian-style one.

  5. It’s interesting how all of you know so much how Canadian health care works.
    Moving to Canada for work, from the US we lived in Vancouver for 8 years. To get an appointment for a checkup took 2 months. To get an appointment for an implant, 8 months. A trip to LA for treatment and back took a week. Friends of our went across the border to Washington and paid cash for treatment. Health care is not free if you GROSS over 20k a year. If you are indiginous you get free flights from the NW territories to Ontario and Quebec for healthcare. Our insurance cost us 350$CDN a month.
    It’s a great system if you are in perfect health (then you don’t need to access the system) or if you are poor and go to the doctor for mosquito bites.!

    You want a solution. Get the govt out of healthcare. Allow individuals to save upup and or invest their SS dollars in health savings accounts. Allow insurance companies to negotiate with groups (IATSE)(UAW) (NASE)etc for preferential rates. Use high deductibles to lower costs and let patients pay a portion. Let hospitals make a profit and get rid of ‘non-profit’ status, making costs realistic. And last but not least, no more ‘free’ medical care.

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