There is only one thing in man’s world that can offer any check on the unlimited power of moneyand that is government. That is why money always accuses government of trying to destroy free agency, when the great enslaver has always been money itself.
– Hugh Nibley, Beyond Politics
What will happen if health care is nationalized? Why, health care would be rationed out, people would be dying in the streets waiting for a new heart! You wouldn’t be able to go to any doctor you want, you’d have one assigned to you! Paper shuffling bureaucrats, not doctors, would handle all medical decisions, from what medicines you can have to what operations you can afford. Who would want that?!
What conservatives fail to realize is that this is exactly what happens today. Instead of government rationing out health care, we do it ourselves. The ranks of the uninsured swell every day, especially with the financial crisis. When you have to choose between the mortgage and your insurance, most people pick the house, spin the Russian roulette of health and hope the gun doesn’t go off as they point it to their heads. People die constantly from lack of organs for transfers. And it is paper shuffling bureaucrats in the insurance companies that dictate what doctor you can see, what medicines you can get, what operations you can afford. Doctors have very little say in what goes on – your insurance provider is the final word in what your health care will look like. And when health care is left up to the amoral free markets, it’s not about how deserving you are for good health care – it’s about how rich you are.
The practical arguments against government backed health care have no bearings. They describe how the health care system will deteriorate even further. But the truth is, it really can’t get any worse than it is now. My public health major sister tells me bitterly how despite our vast resources, America has the worst health statistics compared to all other post-industrialized countries. In fact, some former Soviet-block Eastern European states are doing better than we are. That’s just embarrassing.
Most of the arguments are, then, those of philosophy and theory. People don’t like the idea of government controlling everything. It destroys agency. It erodes human industry, innovation, and integrity. It spawns the welfare state, a group of “sheeple,” ready to do whatever the government says, completely incapable of thinking or acting for themselves. the government, we say vigorously, destroys freedom.
However, we also agree that when a philosophy grossly misrepresents reality, it is to be discarded. We did this with Marxist communism – great in theory, horrible in practice. And I contend that such arguments as these rarely hold up in practice.
If it were so, America could not have a great military. It’s completely government run. Though states all contribute, its massive bureaucracy holds itself nationally, and the President is the Commander-in-Chief. Yet, were we to attribute the same arguments of government-run health care to a government-run military:
The military would be grossly inefficient. Bureaucrats, not actual military generals and tacticians, would be calling all the shots. The rank and file soldier would be lazy, a leech off the state only working for great pensions and benefits, never dedicated to his or her job, mediocre at best, completely ineffectual at worst. The equipment they use is without innovation or technology, they consistantly use technology from the mid-20th century rather than the cutting-edge technology developed today. In fact, because the entire military’s basic structure is government owned, with the government choosing which companies manufacture what, there would be no innovation and advancement in American military technology at all. And their tactics and training would be, since they are government-run, incomplete. Individually, each soldier would be unprincipled and undisciplined, and the entire military as a whole would be a bureaucratic nightmare, sucking up trillions of dollars a year but rarely doing anything effective at all. They will rarely win wars, they will rarely win any conflict whatsoever. Their peacekeeping ability will be shot to pieces as each bureaucrat bickers with each other for bigger and bigger offices and salaries as the soldiers cluelessly look on, their hands tied behind their backs, unable to do what they were called to do: defend. Not like they would want to anyway, because they are simply government workers, and the motivation of every government worker is not effectiveness, but to preserve one’s own position, no matter what the cost is to the average every day tax payer.
How accurate is this statement today?
So, tell me again why the government can’t run an effective health care system?