COMMON SENSE Volume XV: Health Care
"We're Mad As Hell, And We're Not Going To Take It Anymore!"
By Tom Hurst & Rebecca Iocca, 2009
Just 50 years ago, nearly every American could easily afford quality health care and health insurance. Indeed, hospital stays cost a small fraction of one's yearly wages, and doctors even made house calls. Why has all of that changed? Well, it can't be that we don't spend enough because the U.S. already spends twice as much per capita as any other country. And it can't be that we lack "free" socialized national health care because the government already provides more than half of all the health care in America and highly regulates the rest.
So, what's the real cause of our medical meltdown? In a word, it's government! Whether it's drugs that take a decade and a billion dollars to gain FDA approval, insurance plans that are required by law to cover virtually everything, the shocking inefficiencies and fraud of Medicare and Medicaid, an insurance market that favors groups over individuals because of federal tax laws, the provision of "free" care for illegal aliens and the poor, or limiting the number of physicians to keep wages artificially high, government always makes health care more expensive and less accessible. But such sad details and numerous similar issues are only symptoms of the two fundamental problems - problems created and perpetuated by government, of course - that are destroying our current health care system.
The first problem is that people have come to believe that health care is "free" because either the government or their government-empowered insurance company pays most or all of their bills. And when people can get as much health care as they want at little or no cost to them, their unlimited demand quickly outstrips the limited supply, and only rationing - long waits and high prices - allows the system to work at all. The solution to this issue lies in a fact we all know: nobody ever spends somebody else's money as wisely or as frugally as they would spend their own. By simply getting government and our employers out of the health care and insurance business, and thus allowing consumers to make their own health care choices and pay their own medical bills, the magic of the free market would instantly work wonders as "greedy" doctors, hospitals, and insurance and pharmaceutical companies would do their very best to give us what we want and need at a price we could afford. After all, not only does this simple principle work miracles in every other sector of the economy, but it worked in health care before government involvement.
The second fundamental problem is that government has fostered the idea that health care is somehow a "right", and thus the best possible care should be provided to everybody at all times, no matter the cost. Aside from the fact that a "right" that requires some to become de facto slaves to provide health care for others at no cost is no Constitutional right at all, these are expectations that simply cannot be met. Further, since any health care or medical advance that seems even remotely useful ends up being paid for by government, corporations dedicated to meeting the endless demand for them jump into bed with corrupt politicians. Of course, the economic reality is that money and resources are limited, so health care provision must be prioritized. The solution here is to realize that if individuals couldn't demand extravagant health care as a government sanctioned birthright, society's use of health care resources would be far more rational and far less costly.
In the end, the only way for you and your family to enjoy the same low cost, high quality health care your parents and grandparents had is to vote for people who will work to get the government completely out of health care. And the less money we spend on health care, the more we'll have to spend on other things, so eliminating government involvement would also increase our standard of living. Remember, evil flourishes when good people do nothing. Take action by supporting independent candidates who are pro-Liberty!
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