Universal Health Care - A Very Bad Idea
A Response to Pro Health Care Folks Who Think I'm Stupid
I gave a rather long-winded response to someone who challenged my opinion on health care by insinuating that I was an ignorant troglodyte basically. Here's my answer:
It always comes down to name-calling and talking points with the health care true-believers. You assume that the free market is what caused the astronomical rise of health care costs. It's not! The government has been diddling with health care for 50 years and in that time has burdened the system with ridiculous regulations, burdensome paperwork and a heavy bureaucracy that it can ill support. Bureaucracies are like big dirty snowballs. They roll along collecting more bureaucrats who create more useless paperwork for each other. In segments of our economy where the feds haven't tried to meddle, things get done quicker, more efficiently and usually better. If my physician could make decisions strictly based on what was wrong with me and not on what someone in Washington thought ought to be wrong with me, if she didn't have to fill out 20 forms in triplicate and answer to a team of risk management people and lawyers, I could have affordable health care.
20 years ago my wife suddenly developed a volleyball-sized ovarian tumor. We'd just started a new business and invested everything we had in it. We had no idea what we would do. Her gynecologist told her not to worry. He did the operation for free, the hospital dipped into a local emergency fund to take care of the brief hospital stay. We were very grateful and did our best to give back to our community, providing free emergency day care at our center to people in need.
Under this health care plan, my wife's doctor will not be able to do such things for free. The law prohibits doctors from charging anyone less than what they charge the government. This well-meant law kills any sort of pro-bono work because if a doctor does treat a patient for free, he has to treat all the government insured patients for free and there goes his practice. If the doc goes ahead and does it and doesn't tell, and gets caught, he goes to jail.
This is what happens when you have government designed health care. It's like upholstering a chair with a sledgehammer when a staple gun is called for. You cannot sit in Washington and design a system that works effectively at the local level in all situations.
When I was a kid, I grew up without health care insurance. Our local docs charged people what they could best afford. Docs didn't get wildly rich until the government came along and started fiddling with the system to make it 'fair'.
I've seen how the system works with and without government interference and let me tell you folks, you can trust the doctors to be a lot more fair and compassionate than you can trust government bureaucrats. The most heart-breaking stories of medical neglect and misery that I have heard have come at the hands of government run medical programs and government/corporate medical protection rackets such as are common today.
You cannot solve the problem by giving the very thugs and bullies, who are responsible for the problem in the first place, even more power. I have been doing social advocacy work for seniors and people with disabilities and emotionally disturbed and disabled kids for 25 years. Ordinary people left to their own devices, in my experience are almost unfailingly generous and will do the right thing in their own communities.
Those who will not, those who are bullies and exploiters are a problem, but they aren't in charge, unless we elect them to office or put them in charge. That's what socialized health care does. It puts the foxes in charge of the hen house. When you have the kind of money concentrated in one place that a universal health care program represents, you WILL draw the greedy bloodsuckers you are complaining about like so many sharks to nibble off the edges till there is nothing left.
The only way to prevent that is to take away their power and put the health care system in the hands of those who have sworn an oath to care for the sick and turn the government to the task of beating off the sharks.
But the left won't consider that because they haven't the imagination to see how a decentralized system can work, even though such systems are more flexible, resilient and efficient than any centralized system known to man.
And, by the way, "Oh, yeah, well you're stupid!" isn't much of an argument, especially when I doubt a one of you started out in poverty like I did and worked for practically nothing all your working life to help people as I did (they don't call 'em nonprofits for nothing).
I own no home, have no savings, no medical insurance and work for myself when I can get the work. I'm the guy you guys keep trying to save and I'm here to tell you I don't want you to save me, especially if it means creating a gigantic bureaucracy to control every facet of our lives, stifle individual creativity, punish excellence and turn our nation into frickin' Detroit - the American poster child city for central planning and government funded development.
You look at history, at the dismal record of centralized government planning and you see what ought to be according to your ideology, and not what actually is. We are selling our children's futures for something that feels good and makes us feel less guilty because we're so well off.
And before you start telling me as a Christian that I don't really practice my faith (remember the old Golden Rule - I really do practice that and so do a majority of Christians), let's see you do what I've done, help the people I've helped, spent the unpaid hours I've spent doing real things to help real people and given back what I give back from my meager income (at least 4 times the percentage Barak Obama gives from his huge income).
It must be lovely to simply say I support global climate change laws and universal health care and save the whales and I don't use animal tested cosmetics and be able to sleep at night as though you've actually done something for your fellow man.
Let me see you out on the front lines and we'll talk about it. Let me see you collecting money and organizing your fellow church members to build a ramp for a disabled person in a wheelchair instead of saying, "Isn't there a government program for that?" and then going on your way as though that helped. Then I might be impressed. Maybe you do those kinds of things, but if you'll look at the stats, it's us "Christians" you talk so bad about that donate more money to third world development than the entire US government's foreign aid programs put together. Not only that, but when we send medical aid or build a well in a village, we drag our butts onto a boat and go over there with it to make sure it gets done.
I am well and truly sick of people who haven't a clue making sweeping statements about Christians who haven't bothered to find out whether they were true or not. I'm sorry if as a child you were frightened by a cranky Sunday School teacher. That happens! We're not all like that and it is every bit as wrong to stereotype the Christian community based on some anti-Christian propaganda you heard at some Students for Democratic Society Meeting when you were in college.
There, I've done it - I've gone off on a rant. I'm sorry, we were talking about health care. Good stuff if you can get it in its pure and unadulterated form!
Tom King - Flint, TX
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