Stimulus Health Care: Give Me Freedom Or Give Me Death

Sometimes commenters reveal the crux of the matter so beautifully, it seems wrong not to share. The question before the American people is simple: Is cradle to grave health care a right or a privilege? Are there some things that the government, i.e. all taxpaying citizens (remember only about 50% of working Americans pay Federal Income Tax) should provide for the whole? [Previous posts on the topic here, here, here]

A constitutionalist would say the list of government services should be rather short–defend and protect our borders and people, infrastructure for commerce, etc. Now, education and all manner of health and human services are considered necessities. Please note that I didn’t say that educated children and healthy people are necessary since there are no guarantees there, plus, it’s the government so there’s really no accountability, only that the services “should” be provided.

Commenter Lane comes down on the side of health care being another big government provision:

Thank you very much for providing more information regarding the Health Care provisions in the Economic Stimulus Package. I, however, must disagree with your bleak assessment of having the government support and help those who have or lost or never had or are losing health care. The decisions you mention, that of bureaucrats deciding who lives or dies, seems to lead one to believe that an insurance company or a self employed physician (both working for profit) do not make those decisions. The information for each patient will always be managed by clinics and physicians. That is the case in all modern health care systems. In fact, the insurance companies are notorious for doing exactly what you claim the government will do. The government is most likely going to come up with a flow-chart, that all health care providers do, that sets an efficient pay structure for procedures. If you want the government to act more like a business, than it would seem you would support this portion of the bill. As it allows many people who are not served by the current employer based insurance scheme to gain access to much needed health care for themselves and their families and have it run efficiently.

I hope you take a closer look at the details of the bill and take a moment to think about what our current health care system really looks like.

Lane fails to mention that I can sue an insurance provider. I can’t sue the government. Sure, some insurance companies have made heartless decisions, but there IS recourse. Good luck fighting with a government bureaucrat. Think IRS. Think DMV. Reader Rachel responds to Lane’s underlying bias:

Lane,

One particular phrase in your comment sticks out to me; namely, the following.

“The decisions you mention, that of bureaucrats deciding who lives or dies, seems to lead one to believe that an insurance company or a self employed physician (both working for profit) do not make those decisions.”

I find it interesting that you mention as an aside that insurance companies and self-employed physicians work for profit. Please correct me if I have interpreted this phrase wrongly, but it seems to me that your implication is that working for profit is somehow a bad thing.

I know it is a common conception that it is evil, selfish, and destructive to work for profit. The rich are maligned for their accomplishments, and the name of Capitalism itself is associated somehow with an aura of evil. However, it is the ambitious individuals that came to this country in order to pursue their own happiness and their own profit that made us so great. The people on whose backs this country was built were not working for their neighbor, they were not building their businesses so that they could hand off their hard-earned money to undeserving third parties; they did it for themselves.

When I go see my physician, I know that I am getting the best care possible, simply because I know that she is working for her own profit. A wise businessman knows that the best way to make a profit and stay competative is to provide the best services possible at the lowest prices affordable. My doctor has never failed to give me excellent service, and that’s what keeps me going back to her…and she knows it.

The government, however, is not a business, nor should it try to function as one. Their purpose is (or should be) to protect the rights of businesses and individuals, not to dictate them. It is, in the words of our founding fathers, “a necessary evil.” The government has absolutely no initiative to provide the best services possible, because if it is the only entity you can go to for your product, there is no need for competetive quality. It has no need to provide its services at the lowest price possible because it doesn’t have to worry about profit. All of its expenses are paid for in taxes by the very people who “buy” from them. By socializing healthcare, the government is essentially making our medicine system into one of the largest, most dangerous monopolies in history. Remember what happened to England when it socialized its healthcare? All its best doctors packed up and moved to America, where they could function freely under the free market.

Our free market is being shackled by the current administration. The greatest evil a government can do is to put its hand into businesses. The social project failed. Miserably. And yet it is being recreated here in our own great nation.

You advised the previous posters to carefully consider the current healthcare system, and I urge you to do the same. Check your premises.

I strongly urge any who wish to expand their educational horizons to read any of the works by Ayn Rand. It is amazing how well she predicted just the kinds of things that are happening now…which is astounding, given the fact that she died five years before I was even born.

If you have ears to hear…

Again, I am not naive to pencil pushing Insurance case workers making care reimbursement decisions seemingly by fiat. I am also not naive to people trying to game the system. I am also not naive to doctors doing extra testing for liability fears or just plain laziness. There is all sorts of waste and stupidity in the system as it now stands.

There seems to be some wide-idealistic belief that these forces would magically disappear if the government were in charge of the whole kit and kaboodle. This is mind-boggling to me. The government turns nearly every thing it touches to shit and people now want to place their health and their lives in the government’s hands and delight in the notion of “free”?

There is no free.

Baby Boomers who see the market, see their bank accounts shrinking and are looking at the children they’ve raised and want guarantees for their old age. That was part of President Bush’s drug reimbursement program–a guarantee. So government-run health care expansion seems like a good choice. Everyone wants a guarantee.

These services come at a price, both personal and economical. And those driving government-run health care are making the assumption that the free market can’t figure this out. But it can. The problem is that no one is talking about how. I’m quite confident that technology and innovation can help streamline this business while doctors continue giving elite care. Doctors are notoriously slow to change methods. That could be encouraged.

Fundamentally, it’s a question of belief systems. Either a person believes the individual or the government is the biggest force for good. I trust individuals more. The government has shown me over and over to be a harsh task-master. Right now, we have Congress people whose claim to fame is winning an election making decisions about executive pay, telling businesses how to do their jobs, controlling the banking industry, etc. Do these same people deserve the power to decide who lives and dies? No.

Cross-posted at MelissaClouthier.com

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