Skip to comments.The Case Against Socialized Medicine
Posted on 09/28/2004 1:19:47 PM PDT by johnnyb325
One of the greatest dreams of American liberals is a nationalized health care system similar to the one in Canada. They argue in favor of such a system because they believe health care is a basic "right," and because they believe the current system is flawed beyond repair. As with most problems, they advocate government solutions, not private enterprise solutions. Unfortunately, the government has an abysmal record of correcting problems, and American health care would be no exception.
First, let's examine the "right to health care" claim. Obviously, there is no right to health care established in the U.S. Constitution. However, we do have a moral right to health care, some will argue. Unfortunately, those who make this argument do not understand what a "right" is.
A "right" is the ability and autonomy to perform a sovereign action. In a free society founded on the ideal of liberty, an individual has an absolute ability to perform such an action - so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of another individual. Health care is not speech: In order for you to exercise a theoretical "right" to health care, you must infringe on someone else's rights. If you have a "right" to health care, then it means you must also have the right to coerce doctors into treating you, to coerce drug companies into producing medicine and to coerce other citizens into footing your medical bill. This is Orwellian. "Freedom" for you cannot result in slavery for others. Thus the concept of a "right" to health care is an oxymoron: It involves taking away the rights of other individuals.
Surely, though, we can agree that doctors, the pharmaceutical industry and insurance companies earn excessive profits, you say. Well, that depends on what your definition of "excessive" is. Doctors literally hold the lives of their patients in their hands. How much is someone who saves lives everyday worth? The same is true of pharmaceutical companies. While it has become fashionable to condemn their profits, the fact is that these profits fund medical research, which leads to more medicines being produced, and, consequently, more lives saved. Insurance companies spread the cost of health care among many people who might not otherwise be able to afford it, and thus make health care readily available for many.
While on the topic of profits, we should examine them. The word "profit" is considered to be a dirty word by many on the political left, but why? What makes a profit bad? Nothing. On the contrary, profits are very positive. When you come to class in the morning, there is a good chance you either drive a car or ride a bus. Do you think the bus driver and the workers who built your car or the bus did so that you could get to school on time? Of course not, they did because they wanted to make money. Yet their pursuit of a profit benefited them as well as you.
Adam Smith once said, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest." As we have seen, profits and self-interest are not bad things.
Let's pretend, for a moment, that the left gets its way, and the United States adopts a universal health care system. This profit motive will effectively be removed. Doctors will then be government employees, and, as such, have far less accountability, as well as lower pay. Could we still expect the best and brightest to strive to be doctors? Probably not. More than likely, they will pursue other careers where they can make more money.
Some love to bemoan the fact that the United States is one of the few industrialized nations without a government health care system. Yet they rarely note that the United States produces disproportional amounts of the new, life-saving drugs, largely because of the profits drug companies make. Will we continue to produce these drugs if we abolish the profit motive? Not likely. Chances are, they will not be produced at all, and more people will needlessly suffer and die as a result.
When we examine countries that have embraced socialized medicine, we find long waiting lists, expansive red tape and little concern for the individual. Do you really want to be told which doctor to go to? Do you want to wait years to have necessary medical procedures performed? If so, then socialized medicine is for you.
But if you believe in individual rights, competent healthcare and sound economic policies, we must get the government out of the doctor's office.
- John Brown is a senior in political science. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Misleading as to food and water, not true as to gives life.
Food and water are true necessities. If you don't obtain them, you die.
Yet they are not free. Not anywhere, not here. You have to bust your ass to get them, and nobody is interested in your bitching if you can't get enough or the kind that you want.
"Health" care sometimes extends the life your parents and God gave you. It does not, by itself, give you life, and there are many, many circumstances when as much "health" care as you can buy or can pursuade others to buy for you won't extend your life by a nanosecond.
Your right to life means no one can kill you without just cause. It does not mean that if you have metastatic ovarian cancer or a brain tumor that someone else's children or elderly parents should (or even can) go without so you can buy more life.
You can't buy more. It's not available.
This is really the answer. It should be like home owners and car insurance. No payout for the small stuff, just the bug stuff.
I forgot about tort reform. That's a biggie, I am sure. When every single person who works in an industry lives with the daily threat that some judge or jury could on a whim decide they owe someone millions of dollars, and continually has to pay huge insurance bills to guard against this, that's another factor that leaves precious little room for a truly free market to function.
Oops. that's the "big stuff"
I don't care that your "average joe" likes stealing.
It's still wrong.
No rights are established in the U.S. Constitution. Some (but not all) are enumerated.
Another point: Doesn't this just mean that hospitals are the ones administering the socialism?
-Government mandates that hospital ERs treat everyone, regardless of ability to pay.
-This gives all hospitals a budget item they can't avoid.
-Other hospital bills (for regular patients) are, inevitably, raised accordingly. (Or the hospital eventually must shut its doors.)
In other words the government gives hospitals an unfunded mandate (you MUST treat these people) and then sits back and lets the hospitals go ahead and collect the "ER socialism tax" by themselves. And of course there are a web of regulations all hospitals must navigate in doing so.
So while the government is not in charge of the tax collection and distribution directly, it really is just a way of "farming out" the socialism, like I said.
I agree, but that doesn't work as an argument in favor of the status quo.
The status quo already involves a large amount of what you and I both agree is morally equivalent to stealing. A lefty's going to say "we're *already* doing socialism, just not *well*". Which is true on both counts.
Social Health has all the accuracy, skill, professionalism, and privacy of your basic military pre-induction physical.
Put your toes on the line, bend over and smile.
Show me a model, anywhere in the world, where socialized medicine is working well. You can't; which is why we need reform rather than jumping in with both feet.
Right. And what the lefties will say (I've heard this approximately a zillion times :) is that under our current system, poor people mostly have a big incentive to wait until problems become bad, then use the ER for their medical care, because that's free. Lefties will say that this is the most costly way to deal with that poor person's medical problem, and given that we're already covering that poor person one way or another (which I would rephrase: given that we already have socialism to some extent), why not revamp the system so that it covers that poor person in a more efficient way, at a lower cost?
I don't think this argument is incorrect. If it is, I don't know the counter argument.
A response like "we shouldn't move to socialism" seems to miss the point that we're already halfway there. That horse has left the barn.
My preferred response would involve more free market in whatever way feasible. At the very least, this position would allow conservatives to at least look more like they acknowledge there are problems.
I agree with you.
And no I can't show you anywhere that socialism is working "well". I think what reasonable lefties would say, with some justification, is that ours is working (in some aspects - not all) especially poorly. In particular lefties can point to specific inefficiencies in our current (half-assed socialist) system, which arguably could be locally improved (even if the end result still wouldn't be all that great).
The "poor people relying on emergency rooms" phenomenon is an example.
Maybe this article should be forwarded to Bill Frist and Denny Hastert, prime movers of the multi-billion dollar Medipill bill backed by Pres. Bush. Both major parties are to blame for the insidious slide toward socialized medicine. Don't enable either of them.
No man should be forced to work for less than their due fee. In that vein perhaps there is room for government licensure of another level of care that would provide relief for those with less resources. The medical profession is against this idea, also for noted reasons.
When they socialize it,and you try to get it.
Then your education begins.
Medicaid people in most states have primary care coverage, they are for the most part too irresponsible to take care of themselves or their "dependents" until it reaches an "emergency" status at least in their eyes. As a group they are the most demanding and ungrateful bunch of patients.