What's Wrong with Nationalized Healthcare?  

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Well, Mark finally got to asking a reasonable question, and I must say he did a fine job. Of course, I was up to the task of answering. I'm not going to include my answer in the block quote here, because this is good enough to stand here as its own post.

Very well. Rather than argue about fifteen points at the same time, which wearies me, let's talk about nationalized health care.

Why do you feel it is wrong? May we start from a simple dialogical position? Tell me why you think it is wrong.
Here are five reasons:

1. Government is evil.

Governments are good at two things. Killing people and breaking things. That's why we put them in charge of the military, and with civilian leadership and a robust Second Amendment to make sure that American civilians aren't the target of such.

Governments are, by their very nature, evil. Thomas Paine was absolutely correct when he said, "Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." Just look at history for your proof. Consistently, the more government there has been in a situation, the worse things have been. That's why the American philosophy seeks to minimize government's presence and influence. To quote a comment that was left on another blog, "Only an idiot would place [his] health care into Congress's hands." Truer words were ne'er spake.

2. Lower standards in quality of care

Liberals have told us how wonderful the Cuban hospitals are, but only show us pictures from the hospitals that the government folks use. The ones the average guy has to go to are infested with cockroaches, have live wires exposed throughout, and are in a condition that no American would consider "healthy".

They tell us Canada's hospitals are wonderful, but there are more MRI machines in the state of New York than there are in the whole of Canada, and when Canadian doctors need treatment (along with some of the wealthier Canadians), they come to the US. No long wait periods, even with the inappropriate government intrusion we already have.

Frankly, as "broken" as our healthcare system happens to be, it's still better than the models Barack and his minions are looking to emulate. In England, if you're too old (by their standard), you don't get help, and even if you are young enough, you still wind up waiting for months when you need a specialist, even if your condition is critical.

On the American side, there were a few issues brought on by the government-created HMO I was insured with, but when my ankle needed attention, I went from initial doctor's visit to the specialist to the surgeon to the operating table and finished recovery in less time than the aforementioned Brit takes to get to the first visit with the specialist. This could have been quicker had the aforementioned HMO not contributed to higher prices for these services and added unneccessary procedures into the mix.

3. Higher cost

There is absolutely no way injecting even more layers of bureaucracy into the health system can be done without driving up the cost. Whether a medical bill is paid by the patient or the insurer, the bill still must be paid, and the bureaucrats' fee is no small matter, either.

There are only three ways the government could try to get the money to do anything in this area:

a. Cut taxes - A Republican would cut taxes, which would increase receipts, but with all the debt this country already has from this same sort of intrusion into poverty, old age welfare, and the like, it's highly unlikely enough money could be raised even it it were a good idea.

b. Raise taxes - A Democrat would raise taxes, which would cause receipts to fall, and the debt to increase even further - and not a new dime available to pay for this venture. Transferring the cost from the doctor's office to the IRS doesn't to a thing to save anyone money. It only changes whom it gets paid to, and how many people need their cut.

c. Charging fees - This would simply be another form of tax increase.

4. Yet another liberal failure in the making

Liberals told us that we could, with a small income tax, provide supplemental income to the elderly and care for the poor. Today, that very taxation is out of control, and even with a skyrocketing national debt and proof that cutting taxes would bring in more money, more tax increases are on the table.

In addition, the programs that were set up to take care of the poor and elderly are dismal failures, along with programs for education, school lunches, disaster relief, farmers, foreign aid, housing, and more. There is no evidence that this new federal government program will be any more successful. I'm sure you don't mean to tell me that any of the above were huge successes, or that somehow putting a government with such a dismal track record on all of the above things that it never should have gotten into in the first place is going to somehow succeed in this venture AND pay off the financial obligations is got itself into by engaging in the above.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. - Einstein

5. Outside the legitimate and legal function of the federal government

The legitimate role of government in America is to secure for Americans the unalienable rights with which they are endowed by their Creator. In the philosophy that we are SUPPOSED to be working under here, this is held to be a self-evident truth. The Constitution sets forth who gets to do what in each branch of government, and the Tenth Amendment guarantees that the States and the People are secured all powers not specifically set forth for the fed in the Constitution, thereby guaranteeing that the People and the States are always more powerful than the federal government.

Nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government, in any branch, authorized to do this. Since the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and does not make allowances for this kind of intrusion into the powers of the States and People, then the whole idea is unconstitutional, therefore making it illegal for the federal government to embark on such a measure. Having engaged in such activity in the past doesn't make it legal either.

Here are five very solid reasons I think nationalized healthcare is wrong. Government should not be trusted with such things, standards of care would be lowered as has happened everywhere else this has been tried, costs would increase, it would fail from the beginning, and there's nothing authorizing the federal government to to this in the first place.


Update: Mark responds, and in civil tones as well...
Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't the plan to simply give people who normally can't afford insurance an option? I don't think we are really talking about government interference on a scale that you seem to suggest.

It was my understanding that we aren't really talking about socialized medicine. We are simply talking about changing a few things so that the poor and sick have an option besides bankruptcy.

I will admit to being rather clueless about it all. The engines driving health care are far more complex than I can fathom. Likewise, I doubt you fathom them either. Once again, I will keep an open mind and try to make an informed decision when I see the actual proposals.

So far, what I have heard is this: If you have health care, you can keep it. If you don't, here is an option. Somehow this doesn't seem so bad. Of course, there are many other things to consider... but like I said, I am far from being an expert.
My response:

Mark, it would be far better to move in the other direction for various reasons:

1. Getting the government out of the way opens the door for more Americans to become wealthy through their creativity with regard to providing this stuff, and puts the power back in the hands of the people where it belongs.

2. When the people do things independent of the government, the quality increases. There would be better quality of service, and with market forces playing their proper role, costs would drop even as doctors and other healthcare professionals would prosper.

3. With costs coming down, fewer people would need insurance to pay for their medical expenses, forcing insurance rates down as well.

4. The government does not provide "options". What they are telling you is that if you don't have insurance, you will be required to go on the government plan. Furthermore, the chances that this would not grow out of control are slim to none, and slim left town years ago when they told us something similar about Socialist Security. There's no evidence that the "slippery slope" concept will not apply here.

On top of that, you have Obama saying that his plan will simply "compete" with private insurers. What is to stop him from using it to put the private insurers out of business? Would the government plan be subject to the same regulations?

Even if it is, you can bet the government will write the regulations to favor their plan over private insurers, and use that to move more people to their plan, eventually bringing everyone over until the only health insurance in the country is theirs.

This is why only a fool would trust something as important as his health to something as evil as a government.

5. Getting the federal government out of the healthcare business moves that aspect of its existence to within its Constitutional limits. That can only be a good thing. Imagine a government that actually obeys the laws it is required to function under!

The engines driving health care are far more complex than I can fathom. Likewise, I doubt you fathom them either.

The engines driving healthcare wouldn't be so complex if market forces would simply be allowed to to their job. Instead, we have doctors being told how much to charge for their services by HMOs and patients being told that they can only go to the specialist their own doctor recommends. If I can choose my own specialist, and I decide to let price be a factor, that alone will force costs down. It's simple economics, which you don't have to be an expert to understand.

Most things in life are quite easy to fathom. All you have to do is be willing to learn.