Sunday, December 07, 2003

The Moral Hazard of Universal Health Care

Howard Dean and other Democrats have suggested the United States should work toward adopting a universal health care plan. This is a bad idea. As Republicans have warned us repeatedly, if there were no monetary repercussions to getting sick, people would be tempted to get sick all the time, just for fun.

Everyone understands that people love money. And even a child can grasp that if you make people pay for a service, they will ration their use of that service. This is simple common sense. But clear eyed conservative realists understand even more: Making people pay for services is bar none, always the best way to ration those services. It doesn’t matter if every other industrialized country in the world has decided otherwise. In the entirety of God’s creation, there cannot be conceived any kind of service, good, or tangible object which is not best distributed with this system. Except for national defense of course, pure capitalism must reign.

…Or agriculture, since we need our own supply of corn in case we declare war on the rest of the world.

Furthermore, this knowledge does not need to be demonstrated by fact. It is so fundamentally true that in the odd case that data seems to contradict it, like how the US spends more per capita on health care than any other industrialized country ($4270 per person vs. $2000 in 1998) and that it has a larger percentage uninsured than any other industrialized country (18% also in ’98), those facts must be suspect. After all, it could be that the remaining 82% of Americans are enjoying their healthcare 350% more than the average Canadian. Only the keen and perceptive eyes of a Republican leader can see through such distractions.

Lastly, let us understand that there can be no middle ground. We cannot say that, since we do not want the poor dying in front of hospitals, we will admit anyone if they will die otherwise. This is foolishness. Universal health care would be cheaper than having the poor wait till their ailments were critical and costly, so this kind of thinking is a priori wrong. No, Republicans understand that the potential damage done to poor person’s character is far more serious than anything that could possibly be going on in their spleen.

So next time someone suggests that or current health system needs to be changed, take a good long look at them. This is not a serious person. Serious people understand that life is ugly. Serious people understand that those born rich, who have never worked a day in their lives, (like Steve Forbes of George W. Bush) deserve medical attention far more than people who sweat 40 hours a week picking fruit in the hot sun. Serious people know that if someone were to go around curing the sick and the lame, everyone would go out and get Leprosy.


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