I occasionally post about the adverse results of socialized medicine but probably haven’t said much about what I think about it. A friend asked the following via email:
I have been meaning to ask you for a more detailed explaination of your stance on universal government run health care as it is being proposed right now. I understand you oppose it, but as someone who is poor and hasn’t had healthcare for 11 years and has used the emergency room for most of my healthcare needs, why it is bad.
I know there is no free lunch.
I know that someone is paying for it.
I want to know why YOU are opposed to it and why.
My response (except for a few personal things that were deleted to protect privacy):
Health care… Big, big topic.
I understand the no insurance situation. [details deleted]
I have tried to express this in a “Just One Question” format but haven’t quite been able to do it. Here’s my best attempt:
If it were possible to keep someone alive and robust essentially forever (baring catastrophic injury) but it cost $1M/year per person should the “government” supply it for everyone?
Of course the answer is “we can’t afford that”.
The thing is we are rapidly approaching the point where immortality may be achievable for some people. I suspect age-wise I am just above the cutoff line where it will be technically feasible. My kids (and probably you) have a good chance at that.
All government health care plans equalize (for the most part–people in power typically are more equal than others even if the law says otherwise) the care. There simply isn’t budget for everyone to get “the best”. Care will be rationed or it will be substandard. Look into what happened in the UK. The waiting lists cause people to die. Too old, too fat, or smoke? You don’t get the knee replacement or other care because that money would be “better spent” on someone younger or healthier.
Government bureaucrats will make the rules and/or review cases deciding who gets care and who dies. It WILL be abused. It might be on racial or religious lines or it might be on the basis of who you know. Whatever the case it won’t be on the basis of what you and/or friends and family think you are worth or can afford. When someone pulls the plug on me I want it to be because I and/or my family decided it was time or couldn’t afford the cost rather than some government official that decided they didn’t like my skin color or I had been just a little too uppity with some of my blog postings.
If Bill Gates and other extremely wealthy people are allowed to pay for whatever the free market can come up with immortality will probably be achieved soon. It will be extremely expensive and only a few will be able to afford it. But the price will come down and someday it will be affordable by the middle class. If equality of care is enforced we may never have that available to us.
See also what Alan Korwin has to say about it: