Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Universal health care

Posted by Lissa on September 18, 2009

This comment at a Miss Kitty post got me thinking . . .

She is a pediatric home care nurse, so she sees some pretty extreme cases of birth defects and the like. She also deals with families who have been bankrupted (or nearly so) by the medical bills of their children, some of which have no hopes of never liveing [sic] to see the age of 10.

Some of the things she talks about almost break my heart, but in the same thought I wonder, how can you be anti-choice and anti-public health care when you see what you see? I don’t doubt her compassion, or her skill as a nurse, but I don’t understand how she can hold the political/social views she does doing what she does. I wonder how your students plan to deal with that?

To me, it’s rather easy.  I’m anti-public health care because I think universal health care will make things worse, not better.

“Health care” is not a magical substance.  It costs money to produce and money to administer.  When the government tries to break down the “artificial” barrier of Do you have enough money to pay for the things you want, it doesn’t magically grow the pool of health care available.

Pediatric nurses need to get paid.  MRI machines cost money to produce.  Hospitals need electricity to run.

So — having determined that the system takes money to function, why is it unreasonable to require money from people who want use of the system?

Now of course I don’t like stories of families bankrupted by medical care.  But I don’t think that government health care will give better health care to more people. I think it will lead to limitation of those [life-saving] expensive medical treatment to a favored few.

There will NEVER be enough of the best medicine to go around.  Never.  To quote the great Sowell:

“The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it.
The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.”

It’s easy to look at a family that is financially broken by caring for a child and feel pity.  No children should be fatally ill.  No family should be destroyed because a child got leukemia.  There but for the grace of God go I, and all that.

But rather than have the government try to administer a limited pool of health care goods without a) going broke, b) messing with the medical marketplace such that R&D folks no longer have good enough incentives to invent new drugs/practices etc., c) running the whole thing with the efficiency of FEMA and the compassion of the IRS (thanks TOTWTYTR!), I think there are other ways to improve the system.  The solutions laid out by the Whole Foods guy seem like a dandy place to start.

A health care system run by money is sort of like democracy — it sucks.  Morally, no one should die because they didn’t have enough money to pay for treatment.  I get that.

But it beats a system where access to care is determined by bureaucracy.

P.S. Health care is not a “human right” because it requires the labor of other people.  If your doctor doesn’t want to see you, you have no right to REQUIRE that s/he do so.  If doctors want to quit or retire — and it seems like they might — then the health care disappears unless you force them to provide care.  Last I checked, slavery went out of vogue a long time ago.  (I’ve seen that thought expressed in a number of different posts, I don’t claim to be the original thinker on this point.)

P.P.S.  I think medical privacy is important.  I don’t want the government to get NEAR my health records, let alone “may investigate the affairs of a Gateway, may examine the properties and records of a Gateway, and may require periodical reports in relation to activities undertaken by a Gateway.  A Gateway shall fully cooperate in any investigation conducted under this paragraph.

P.P.P.S.  Wish I had time to refine this post — it’s sort of unwieldy and rambling — but y’all don’t want me to be late to work, do you?

UPDATE:  TOTWTYTR links, and says far nicer things than I deserve.  Thanks!

5 Responses to “Universal health care”

  1. scotaku said

    The whole “Health Care is a Human Right” really chaps me. It’s akin to saying that cell phones are a human right – sure, it’d be sweet, but in the real world, there’s labor and material, planning and distribution… things that cost time, money and effort.

    I blame Gene Roddenberry for this mess. I haven’t time now to explain why.


  2. MeatAxe said

    Roddenberry may just be one of the more recent manifestation of utopianism, which is invariably dangerous nonsense. In the sidebar of the collected screeds, disconnected ramblings and incoherent rants that I facetiously call a ‘blog’ is the following quote, clear and compelling (your clue it was not written by me)

    “I’m interested in keeping other people from building Utopia, because the more you believe you can create heaven on earth, the more likely you are to set up guillotines in the public square to hasten the process. ” — James Lileks

    This comment was mine, and written by me, not James Lileks. James Lileks did not write this comment.

  3. Borepatch said

    I think that the reason that the healthcare plan is getting so unpopular is that little by little it’s moving from a generic plan to a concrete plan. Despite Obama’s best efforts to keep it at the 30,000 foot level, the details will get out.

    As people learn the details, their thinking shifts from “those poor people” to “it’s going to do what??!?”

    At the end of the day, the choice is not between Good and Evil, it’s between doing this or doing that. Not “is it bad?”, but “will this make it worse?” It looks like ~ 55% of the population is starting to choose “worse”.

    As to rambling, you did cut to the heart of the matter: “I’m anti-public health care because I think universal health care will make things worse, not better.” Nice post.

  4. totwtytr said

    You deserve better accolades than my poor scribbling can provide. You, unlike so many, understand the fundamental problems with a government run health care system.

  5. […] thoughts only opposition to universal health care can be found here. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

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