Sunday, March 8, 2009

On Health Care, etc

I just stumbled across "We Stand FIRM", the blog of the group "Freedom and Individual Right in Medicine", run by Paul Hsieh, MD. They have a lot of great entries and links and I recommend that everyone check it out.

I find the health care debate one of the more interesting topics these days. It always baffles me that so many people decide that health care is a "right". There are a number problems with that idea, but first of all, how do you then define health care? Is a visit to the emergency room a right? What if you were doing a dangerous activity like riding a motorbike off road without a helmet and you screwed up - do the rest of us pay for the consequences? Is medicine for your illness a right? How about a flu shot? What if you need physical therapy or chiropractic work? Should we all pay for your regular massages to keep you healthy and pain-free? Yearly dental check-ups? While you're at it, why don't we all cover that teeth whitening treatment you've been wanting ever since you stopped smoking?

Just like all social programs, these questions illustrate the problems behind government intervention in individual lives. Not only do you have the basic (major) problem of it being entirely immoral to forcibly take money from some to give it to others, but you also have this issue of line-drawing. Someone has to sit there and say, "no, I think they don't get this, but they do get that", and who is possible qualified to make those decisions?!

I remember having this discussion with Wayne back when I was still "liberal" and trying to understand the contradictions. I was arguing that there was a certain level of wealth and material possessions that was OK, and then there was unnecessary extravagance and someone should draw that line and share the wealth around. But who is to say where that line is? Who is to tell someone "no you can't send your child to the private college they want to go to", or, "nope, sorry, we're going to tax you so much that when you get that rare form of cancer that you don't know you're going to next year you won't be able to afford the cutting-edge treatment". Unfairness is inherent in that system in addition to blatent immorality.

Ok, I'm done for now :-)

Somewhat connected, I really liked this post on the "unexpected consequences" of Obama's tax plans on individuals and health care... from the FIRM blog.

For a great, clear overview on the many issues with socialized medicine, I recommend "Moral Health Care vs. Universal Health Care" from this winter's Objective Standard.

No comments: