I posted this on Fecalbook, in reply to a long string of liberal Democrats gushing about the joys of Universal Healthcare. I presume I will be flamed for the response below:
Universal Healthcare sure does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Everybody gets care, we get to remove a greedy middleman, the insurance companies, and democratize the medical system. No sick person left behind, and all that. It’s hard to argue against it from any kind of moral standpoint, because of the simplicity of the concept. It’s very seductive that way.
Thomas Sowell explained the problem with it in a similarly simplistic way.
“It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it.”
Some folks are old enough to remember when healthcare was much more reasonably priced, when most common injuries and illnesses were relatively inexpensive to treat. Oh sure, things like cancer were still very expensive to deal with, but if you broke a leg or got bronchitis, it was cheap enough that even the poor could generally find a way to pay for it, perhaps with some assistance from charities and pro bono work.
These days, even a broken leg will typically cost around $2,500 at a minimum. Much more, if you use the emergency room. Strange, that it costs so much, or that healthcare cost increases have outpaced inflation for as long as I’ve been alive.
You see this in another industry, these days. Post-secondary education. Yes. College tuition and fees have exploded in cost over the last few decades. In fact, it is one of the few industries where the cost increases have outpaced healthcare.
Note, too, the drive to make college free for everybody. Universal Education. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
The common element to both is government involvement. Administrative costs in healthcare have exploded. Sure, doctors get a great salary, but most of the cost increase has actually been due to administrative burden. They have exploded since the late 70s, constantly outpacing the increase in doctor salaries.
Similarly, government involvement in student loans and college subsidization has exploded. Demand has gone through the roof, driven partly by the elimination of metrics like IQ testing, and their substitution with college degree requirements, and partly by the availability of government funds.
Healthcare, of course, has seen increasing regulation, subsidies, Medicare/Medicaid spending, etc…
To put it simply, government has created the problem as it exists today. And now it proposes to solve it by granting itself complete authority over the industry. It proposes to do likewise with education. Eventually, I have no doubt we will see similar in other essential areas like housing and transportation. Housing will become too expensive for everyone (it already is in many metro areas), and government will need to run that too.
In the end, the moral argument is a way for the government to hide behind its real goal: power. Control.
Maybe it even delivers somewhat on its promises. Maybe a lot of folks will get the care they need. Or maybe it looks something like the Cuban healthcare system, where only the politically connected get what they need. Who knows?
But do you *really* trust them that much?