Friday, February 16, 2007

Just Say No (To Universal Health Care)

And speaking of Democratic Underground, I also caught this
discussion on the desirability of universal health care.
I'll give the discussion credit for this- it doesn't hide the fact that a national, single payer system restricts individual choice. The way the picture is painted on Democratic Underground, the choice is between a system in which everyone is ensured access and a system in which the poor are denied access. When you put it that way, who wouldn't choose universal health care?

Of course, the discussion conveniently ignores the question of efficiency- what sort of system for delivering health care is the most efficient? For my money, I'll take the free market, but hey I'm sure history is full of all sorts of examples where the government is more efficient than the market at delivering consumer goods and services.

Perhaps most interesting is the commenter that mentions the fact that universal health care spreads the costs and risks to everyone- a thought that really isn't followed up on. After all, if society shares in the costs and risks, this means society is responsible for the healthy and fit man of 45 just as much as society
is responsible for the alcoholic, overweight man of 45. In other words, society has a vested interest in individual lifestyles. And even more than the economic disaster it would wreak, I fear a system of universal health care that justifies intrusions into our private lives and private choices on the basis of public health.


Blogger The Non Stop Shoebox said...

Universal health care can only work if the people want it, like in Europe. We don't actually care about the occasional alcoholic using the system, as the whole point is that the rest of us hard-working ordinary people can concentrate on living our lives without the fear of incurring crippling debt should a child fall ill with meningitis.
Free Market better? Ever tried to get the insurance crooks to pay up?
Economic disaster? Compare the dollar to the euro or sterling.
Try not to be so naive in future, and I wish you good health for your sake.

6:24 PM  
Blogger QU 3L said...

An argument can be made for the state to cover crippling, unexpexted, medical bills - and even routine medical expenses for those who can't afford them. But that has nothing to do with the question of what is the most effective mechanism for providing health care.

One of the problems with the health care system in the U.S. today is that we don't have a real free market system- we have a system where individuals are completley divorced from their health care costs. We pay for routine care through insurance, which is generally provided by our employers- and our doctors and our insurance companies employ people just to deal with our insurance claims. These are added costs on the system, costs that we wind up paying.

9:52 PM  

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