Monday, February 11, 2008

Socialized Medicine is a BIGGER Problem

As many of you know, I am 100% against any kind of socialized medicine.

Reason #1
: Socialized Medicine is blatantly unconstitutional. The opening paragraph of the Constitution says (my emphasis in bold):

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. "

Notice that the common defense is to be provided (that is a role of government); however, the general welfare is to be promoted (the government should do things to promote the general welfare of the citizens - not provide it) In many cases this is simply just getting out of the way of the private sector.

Also, notice the verbage: "and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity". Any act of the government confiscating property or income from one group of people and redistributing it to another is not a form of Liberty. It is a form of servitude or slavery.

Reason #2: It goes against basic economics - supply and demand. The more demand that exists for a service or a product the higher the price for that commodity.

If the Federal Government steps in to provide health care for the masses, the demand will increase. The poor and even parts of the middle class have absolutely no restraint. If they have something for free, they will abuse it. This abuse for health care will manifest itself in the over use of medical services. With this increase demand the prices of health care will go up. Doctor's and other medical professionals will be able to charge higher prices. There will even become a greater shortage of nurses.

Who will pay for these higher prices? Tax payers will in the form of higher taxes. Once the tax payers complain too much, government will then go back to the medical industry to set some kind of price controls. Once this happens, the quality of health care will plummet. It will be nothing like it is today.

Part of the problem with health care now is that the Federal government and the states already participate in socialized medicine to some degree. This has already caused the price of medical services to increase. In the cases where the government has a cap on what it pays out, doctors and hospitals regain their losses by charging a little more to other clients for other services.

The Solution
1. We need to get away from employer based health care.
A side benefit to this is that whatever the business sells will go down in value because the embedded cost of employee health care will not be present. Putting extreme pressure on someone to stay with an employer because of a child with some kind of illness is a knock against Liberty.
2. We need to quit using insurance for general doctor visits; this causes insurance premiums to be higher. When you take your car for an oil change or service, do you use your insurance?
3. HSAs appear like they may be part of the solution. HSAs are great in that we can save money tax free for medical expenses. Usually an HSA comes with a high deductible. We should only use insurance for worse case scenarios anyway. In doing this, insurance premiums will be much lower. Having something like a high deductible HSA makes sure that the user shows restraint on the use of medical services. This also helps the price of medical services go down in general.
4. Do not use tax money to buy medical services for anyone. If someone is too poor to go to the doctor, then I call on Christians to step up to see to it that the children of the poor are taken care of. In the US we have many great charities like the Red Cross and Salvation Army. Why would a charity be better than the government? A charity helps insure some kind of restraint on many levels. With the government, a person is demanding for the service and does not see the true expense. With a charity a person generally feels more appreciative and will be less likely to abuse as they realize that the expense was paid for by a generous person. I also want to point out that the poor in the United States are wealthy compared to the poor in Bolivia, many parts of Africa, South East Asia and many other parts of the world. We don't have it that bad at all in the US.
5. Let the private sector solve this problem The government needs to back off a little bit and let the private sector step up. In a free market society, where a problem exists an enterprising person is not held back and can provide an economical solution. When you have a bunch of creative people competing with each other the price of that solution drops.

I'm interested in your comments. Please critique this and help me make this article better.


Zack Mason said...

This is very articulated. I think you presented your argument very strongly. It is clear that the only people who believe government health care would be a good thing are those you have never been to another country, and those who wish to pretend we would somehow be different.
The one point you didn't mention is the violation of "separation of church and state" this represents. Though the Constitution never mentions that phrase, those socialists who want government health care will always believe in separation of church and state. I would remind them that taking care of the poor is one of the jobs of the church, so how does the government dare involve itself in the church's affairs?

kevinc said...

Separation of Church and state? I like it!

General Ledger said...

The rules of the current game prevent the private sector from having a chance to win.

We decided to get rid of our HSA plan and go to a more traditional plan because nearly every medical provider we used was unfamiliar with the program and the HSA would never apply any of our medical visits to our 'deductable'.

I agree, the whole system needs to be overhauled. Health insurance should be used like auto-insurance. The big question is how can the system be changed? I'm resistant in saying that it can't be done from with in, but can it really?

Joel Odom said...

Don't forget that governments give companies tax incentives to provide health plans, so companies prefer to do that than to pay you more. If the government would stop using the tax code to dictate that kind of policy, employers could just use that money to pay you more, which you could save up to pay for medical services. When more people pay out of pocket, then the market will drive the costs to be more reasonable.