…to propose instituting a universal healthcare system, when the federal budget (and deficit) is out of control, economic recession is looming (if not here), and annual reports constantly point out the incredible waste and inadequacy of current government healthcare (whether Medicare or Veterans Affairs hospitals). Remember the reports of poor treatment offered to stateside Iraqi war veterans? And then there’s the recent spread in the April 20th, 2008 issue of Parade magazine. Entitled, “The Looting of Medicare,” the article estimates $70 billion of Medicare’s $400 billion budget for 2008 will be lost due to mismanagement and fraud.
Hot on the heels of this report on Medicare’s sterling record, the Clinton campaign quietly informed the public this week that instituting Hillary’s healthcare plan will require a tax hike that will take “5-10% of the average taxpayer’s annual income”. The consequence of Hillary or Obama’s healthcare idiocy is perhaps best illustrated in visual terms:
Universal healthcare might seem like a good thing on the surface. Americans like to think of themselves as compassionate people, and compassionate people do not deny medical care to others. But “universal healthcare” (which I would distinguish from universal emergency care–which we currently do have in this country), is a good example of the old adage about how the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Good intentions have to be wed to sound policy, science, and economics. Those who suggest a government mandated universal healthcare system are in fact advocating something that is the surest way to guarantee inadequate healthcare for all (and send the country, and perhaps the rest of the world–based as it is on the American economy–spiraling into economic depression).
I saw firsthand the criminal inhumanity of government healthcare during the years I volunteered at the Truman Restorative Center (a state run elderly care facility). Government excels at waste, because it is practically immune from numerous mechanisms of accountability that are present in the private (capitalist) sector. Government programs are, for all intents and purposes, protected monopolies. Monopolies are never good, for they allow stagnation, squelch innovation, and make efficient allocation of resources unnecessary. Capitalism has allowed such rapid technological and economic progress because it thrives on the adaptation that comes from competition.
In the private sector, if you’re not profitable and can’t do things efficiently, you go bankrupt, and can lose your house, credit rating, and possessions. Not so with government. Elected officials can spend money that isn’t theirs, and suffer no personal fiscal loss or consequence when their schemes destroy lives or fail miserably. Which of course is one reason we have so much pork-barrel spending and ceaseless government scandals. It is far more difficult to fire an incompetent, federally employed worker than someone in the private sector. It’s not irrational to suggest more people will die from medical malpractice under a callous, unaccountable government system.
Capitalism, not government socialism, has provided more prosperity, security, and more beneficial healthcare than any other system in the world. Some sort of healthcare reform is necessary, but it must be driven by innovation more than regulation.
The founders of this nation believed in limited government, because they knew the propensity of government for tyranny and waste. Read the Federalist Papers and other works of the founding fathers, and you begin to understand the brilliance of this nation grew out of a belief in the ingenuity and hard-work of individuals, and the freedom of those individuals from significant government regulations and mandates. Government was only intended to do what individuals and local communities absolutely could not do for themselves (such as negotiate with foreign powers and defend the nation militarily). I believe the founders would have heard Obama and Clinton’s plans for universal healthcare, and understood the economic disaster (and therefore disastrous level of healthcare) that would result from implementing such a proposal.