With the fight in Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare, health care itself is back in the spotlight. Liberal progressives will tell you that health care is a right, like the right to free speech or to practice our religion. The health care is a right is the bedrock argument liberals use to promote universal, single-payer, government provided health care, equally accessible and free to everyone.
That is a crazy liberal utopian vision completely out of touch with reality.
A post by Michael Sean Winters in National Catholic Reporter titled “Health Care is Not a Commodity” made the fundamental liberal argument: “all the problems we have with the delivery of health care are more or less symptoms of one core problem: We treat health care as if it were a commodity like other commodities.”
Sorry, liberals, health care IS a commodity. Woe be it to our country if that ever changes. The hypothetical example cited by Winters was ” A person can buy a big fancy, flat screen TV, or an old used TV, or even decide not to have a TV at all, depending on what they want to spend. But, when you have a heart attack, you need surgery, and no matter what you can afford to spend, you should get the best care available and, certainly, the same care that a rich person could afford.”
There may be a moral argument there, but it doesn’t stand up to any deeper scrutiny. So let’s face some facts:
1. Health care IS a commodity. If the “care” itself isn’t, then the person’s skills, experience, education and training who is providing the healthcare are all definitely commodities.
2. No one has the right or power to demand that another person provide their labor, employing their education, skills, experience and training to anyone else for free – or under any other condition. Are we going to have government bureaucrats dragging doctors out of their homes in the middle of the night to go to work and provide care, in other words, employ their talents and time, both their personal property, to provide free care because the government says so?
3. If healthcare is a “right” does that equate to government’s obligation to provide it? I have the right to keep and bear arms, as guaranteed to me, and you, in the Bill of Rights. Does that mean government has an obligation to provide me with a gun? I have the right to freedom of speech. Does that mean the government owes me a printing press or at least a computer and high-speed internet so I can practice this right?
4. Whomever writes the checks makes the rules. If government is providing “free” health care, they are empowered to determine who gets what care, under what conditions and by whom. Also, if government is writing the checks, they can determine who doesn’t receive care. They will also determine the conditions of the education system through which we produce health care workers.
5. If government is writing the checks for universal care that is a “right” the price will go down? Not likely. The government is the most inefficient and poorly run organization ever (think AMTRAK). But, the salaries of those providing the care will very likely go down because government isn’t going to pay doctors and RNs, etc the current prevailing wage. So, that will make going to medical school and the huge expense that comes with that extremely less attractive. There will be a shortage of health care workers.
6. From #5 – To address the shortage of health care workers, is the government then going to mandate certain people that they MUST go become a doctor or nurse, etc? Then, is the government going to control the geographic distribution of health care workers to make sure everyone has equal access to health care that is now a “right?”
So we will have government deciding who gets care, why, under what conditions,denying people care (think of the scandals of the VA where hundreds of our veterans died waiting for care – THAT is government healthcare), they will control the education system of medical workers and tell them where they MUST live and that they MUST work in their field for whatever wages the government will provide.
Have liberals, like Bernie Sanders and his supporters, really thought this through or is theirs a completely emotional response ? “It’s not fair!”
If the Republicans can resurrect the repeal and replacement of the disaster that is Obamacare, they need to put freedom front and center of their reforms. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, government will never be the solution to our problems; government IS the problem. The cost, quality and availability of both health insurance coverage and health care itself will improve if it is treated as a commodity.
Free market competition across state lines, disconnecting health insurance to employment, health savings accounts, allowing individual citizens and families to form pools with other citizens to lower group costs and the removal of burdensome government regulations and red tape to lower costs are better solutions to the socialist liberal utopia.