Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as "bad luck."”     Robert A. Heinlein,    The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

January 8, 2009

The Logical Conclusion Of “Universal Healthcare”

by Brad Warbiany

Paul Hsieh, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, opens:

Imagine a country where the government regularly checks the waistlines of citizens over age 40. Anyone deemed too fat would be required to undergo diet counseling. Those who fail to lose sufficient weight could face further “reeducation” and their communities subject to stiff fines.

Is this some nightmarish dystopia?

No, this is contemporary Japan.

The Japanese government argues that it must regulate citizens’ lifestyles because it is paying their health costs. This highlights one of the greatly underappreciated dangers of “universal healthcare.” Any government that attempts to guarantee healthcare must also control its costs. The inevitable next step will be to seek to control citizens’ health and their behavior. Hence, Americans should beware that if we adopt universal healthcare, we also risk creating a “nanny state on steroids” antithetical to core American principles.

He goes on to provide quite a few anecdotal pieces of evidence from universal healthcare states, as well as some of the creeping nannyism found here between our own shores. Anecdotal evidence, of course, is not proof… But enough of it is suggestive of the old saying: “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

Among the problems of universal healthcare is a simple concept. When you rely on others to pay for what you need, you are inherently giving them a level of control over you. When you allow a monopoly organizations with guns and the power to tax to be the party upon which you rely, you ensure that you have basically no check on their level of control. In a free healthcare market, I could choose to be obese with the knowledge that my insurance premiums would go up (or that I may be uninsurable). In a socialized universal healthcare model, choice goes out the window.

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5 Comments

  1. [...] Brad Warbiany nails it: [...]

    Pingback by Universal Health Care: Gulp. « Moody’s Pen — January 8, 2009 @ 5:27 pm
  2. Japan is the only country I know of that’s doing this. It’s hardly a necessary feature of state-funded health care.

    Comment by Joshua Holmes — January 9, 2009 @ 8:51 am
  3. Here is a universal feature of state-funded health care – health care is not fungible and therefore by definiton unequal and rationing.

    What makes an X-ray or MRI or lazer surgery work? The skill of the operator and Doctors, Pharmacists and Nurses are not all created equal and do not have equal skills.Moreover there are limited numbers of these people and supply is rather in-elastic.

    State funding of healthcare does not guarantee everyone good healthcare, it merely substitutes random lots for meritocracy as a way of deciding who gets the care or at least the best care.

    It is not far off that the choice of treatments and whether to treat will be based upon genetic tests (see the guidelines for the use of the medicine Tegretol for example). That means with govt healthcare there will be a database with all your genetic info stored therein and treatment decisions will be prioritized by likelihood of success.

    Consider this scenario – government and taxpayers not wanting to spend money limiting access to treatments – drug companies and hospitals not wanting to risk their success percentage advocating treatments only in those with a high likelihood of good outcomes – limited numbers of highly skilled people in each field and unlimited numbers of people wishing to access the treatments.

    Comment by persnickety curmudgeon — January 9, 2009 @ 2:42 pm
  4. What they do in Medicare, is not pay for it.

    Comment by VRB — January 11, 2009 @ 6:31 am
  5. Aint it the truth VRB! I am a pharmacist myself and some of the ways the govt. “saved money” through medicare prescription plan….

    - Hold back and slow down payment for services rendered…suppliers must be paid every 2 weeks – many medicare/government insurances would hold payments at least 6 weeks thus making pharmacies finance the whole scheme, and their was no mechanism to force payment.See how many pharmacies failed within 2 years of the start of medicare prescriptions.

    - Reimburse for many medicines below acquisition cost and it was fill all precriptions or none. So again, medciare was stealing from the pharmacies not just their product but their service and overhead as well…

    - Subsidizing mail order facilities which work on a PBM or kickback model – hence in effect the government was overpaying for drugs on purpose so they could not only get the rebates to respend on other things but could claim they need more money to fund next years benefits.

    - strong arm drug makers into changing their
    business models and rebate/discount programs. Sounds nice for those who need prescription medicines but who loses out? Stock holders, bond holders, pensioners, bond holders. From where is the burden shifted? research dollars, tax revenue, employment, advertising expenditures etc.

    Its all just burden shifting or burden abandonment if you ask me…

    Comment by Persnickety Curmudgeon — January 11, 2009 @ 9:20 am

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