Monday, August 24, 2009

health care blues

This little bit from Beth's blog helped me understand a bit more about why the health care debate is so confusing:


I repeatedly hear that the current health care system is broken, that we "cannot afford the status quo," and then hear the current system referred to as "free market" or "capitalistic." It is not. Our economy is a mixture of free market and government-controlled central planning. I realize many people are finding it harder to afford health insurance and medical care, but in a system where freedom and government control are so intimately and complexly combined, it should be open for debate which aspect of the mixed economy is the cause of rising prices and shrinking affordability.

Health care expenditures in this country are already half public and half (heavily regulated) private. Sound economic arguments exist which explain how it is the public (centrally planned) half which created the "status quo" and why increased privatization (i.e. capitalism) is the the solution.

It seems like this health reform is a done deal to me. Something is going to get through congress in the fall. I'll be surprised if it doesn't.

On NPR today there was an interview with a guy who wrote a book comparing health care systems around the world. His book was premised on the idea that all people have a right to adequate health care (and this was briefly mentioned in the intro, as if - of course! - everyone already agrees to that).

But to me that seems like the biggest issue. DO we have an inherent right to adequate health care? Why? Based on what? And does that right trump the right of others to their own property and the fruit of their labor? Because if I have a fundamental right to health care (or housing, or a job, or food) then someone has got to pay for it. In other words, the government has to forcibly take away money that someone else has earned (violating their rights) to fulfill my rights. Doesn't make sense to me.

Aren't privately run charities way more efficient and effective in helping the needy? What about Catholic Charities? or St. Vincent de Paul?....why couldn't we all be encouraged to donate to private charities?

I get really annoyed when I think about all the things we are going without (fixing the car, paying medical bills on time, family vacation, home repairs...etc.) in order to pay our taxes. It's a bummer.


Beth said...

Thanks for the complimentary link!

Trying to explain my ideas without coming across as a heartless jerk is one of my challenges. It seems that if you question the right to health care, people interpret that as being self-centered and uncaring. I struggle to find a way to best explain why I see the free market as the most benevolent of systems....
but then again, for many, there is nothing I can say which would convince them.
Thanks for being a fellow advocate of freedom and individual rights. It's heartening to have allies.