Health care thoughts

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:


6 thoughts on “Health care thoughts

  1. or he could just look at The Netherlands where a doctor can kill you, because he has other patients who need the bed and are more deserving because of age, general health or connections.

    Don’t laugh, don’t ridicule. It has happened. It happens in all government run health care where they are the only game in town.

  2. 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

    I guess you haven’t been without health care after all now have you?

    I would imagine you haven’t even had to pay for the health care you’ve received. What you’re complaining about is not free health CARE, you’ve already admitted that you’ve gotten that. What you’re complaining about is free health INSURANCE. Two completely different things.

    I know there is no free lunch.

    Apparently not.

    I know that someone is paying for it.

    But don’t really care…as long as the “someone” isn’t you.

    I want to know why YOU are opposed to it and why.

    Because there is no free lunch and someone has to pay for it.

    That isn’t reason enough?

    I must question why the commenter is poor. Is it due to some physical or mental disability? A natural or personal disaster that impoverished them? Or is it because of the decisions and choices that they made in their lives?

    The vast majority of “poor” people in this country (I put “poor” in quotes because even the poorest in this country have access to luxuries that would put them firmly in the upper middle class in most countries) are poor as a direct result of the decisions and choices that they made in their lives. What obligation does society have to shield people from the consequences of their life choices? And why?

    I also have to wonder…is it truly that this person can’t afford health insurance? Or is it that this person can’t afford health insurance while maintaining the lifestyle that they choose to live? If they are truly “poor” they probably qualify for medicaid. If they don’t qualify, are they living in the least expensive apartment? Eating the least expensive food? Dining out seldom if ever? Do they drink, smoke or have any other high dollar, but completely voluntary, expenses? Do they own a vehicle or do they use public transportation? Do they have Cable TV and Internet service? Are they REALLY unable to afford health insurance? Or is just that they have different priorities?

    If the issue isn’t really a matter of being completely unable to afford it, but is a case of them choosing to forgo health insurance in favor of other priorities…explain to me again why society is responsible for this choice?

    Finally, if the government is responsible for providing your health care, explain to me why society shouldn’t have the authority to dictate all aspects of your life that effects the potential costs of that care?

    If you’re not willing to give up the authority to make the decisions about what and how much you eat, whether you can smoke or not, whether you can drink alcohol and how much, how much exercise you must perform daily, what types of recreational activities you can engage in, etc etc etc…then why should society be stuck with the bill when you refuse to care for yourself?


  3. In the end the “Health Care” deal Obama is seeking is not about health or care.

    It is about control.

    As such, it fails the “Jews in the attic test.”

    EnNgGGGG — Thank you very much for playing our game.

    No sale.

    No dice.

    Nothing doing.

  4. If he thinks he’s poor and has health problems now, wait until obumble care kicks in. No ER for him today!!!!

    Good questions, all, sailorcurt. Doubt that we’ll see any answers forthcoming.

  5. If free health care is an un-innumerated right and (fire)arms are an innumerated right, I want the government (taxpayers) to pay for my guns and ammo also.

    Get the point? You may have rights but you have to spend your own money to utilize them. Of course, charity is an option.

  6. Megan McArdle’s post offers economic skepticism re fully nationalized health care. Like other arguments based on utility, it risks total collapse if a magic screw enters the debate. The magic screw is a Black Swan whose existence cannot be ruled out, no matter how many white swans you’ve seen. For better and for worse, it is much easier to argue about what is correct than what is right.

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