It’s my position as a conservative that there is no utopia that humans will ever attain. Life is a series of trade-offs. You trade one thing for another, and try to get the best deal. This is true not only for big government agencies, but also for individuals. That’s why it’s best for each individual to make their own decisions about virtually every aspect of life. The obvious exceptions would be actions that hurt other people (murder, for instance).
When we control these decisions for ourselves we are free. Whether it be simple things like whether you want ethanol in your gasoline or not, what type of lightbulbs you want to use, or what kind of guns you want to buy. It pertains to more complex things like what (if any) health insurance you want or how much of your check you want taken out for social “security”. When it comes down to it, it’s being free to chose what’s best for you.
But along with freedom comes responsibility. If you are free to decide whether you want health insurance or not, then that means that it’s also your responsibility to get it for yourself. It’s no one else’s job to provide it for you. Since FDR’s Raw Deal, I mean New Deal, our country has begun buying into the entitlement ideology. All of a sudden people became entitled to retirement funds (social security). Soon after elderly people became entitled to medical care (medicare). Then poor people were entitled to a helping hand (welfare), unemployed people were entitled to a safety net (unemployment benefits), and poor people were entitled to medical care (medicaid).
But with each of these programs people’s freedom slips away. Little by little, as our responsibility fades, so does our freedom. We no longer can chose whether or not we want social security; it comes out of our check automatically. The bummer for me is that by the time I’m old enough to cash in on what I’ve paid into social security, it’ll be bankrupt and gone. I’m getting screwed and so are a lot of other people!
And the new entitlement – Obamacare. Suddenly these supposed 40 million people who don’t buy their own insurance are entitled to it. But as soon as they become “entitled”, I become responsible for them. I already pay for my own health insurance, and now I have to pay for someone else’s? But who are these 40 million people? Well, a lot of them actually qualify for medicare and medicaid. A lot of the rest are illegal immigrants, and a bunch of the other people just don’t want health insurance. So, 40 million is quite the exaggeration.
And wait – if these people already qualify for medicaid, why do they need something else? Are you telling me that government run “medicaid” isn’t working? Are you telling me that “medicare” is broke? That’s right. These programs are not only failing in countries around the world, but they are actually failing in our own country. Medicaid is supposed to take care of the people who can’t afford health insurance, and guess what – it’s bankrupt. It failed. Care is not provided, many medical procedures aren’t covered, many medications aren’t covered. Exactly what’s happening in Canada and in Britain.
You see – there is no magic solution to our problems. We live in a flawed world, and a dream-world utopia is impossible. We just make trade offs. We trade price for quality and quantity. Lower the price of medical care, and you get less of it. People often wonder why US medical care costs so much. The reason is simple – we get more for what we pay. We have more doctors available, more medicines available, more beds available, more hospitals available. Compare that to countries like Britain where wait time for surgery is 6 months. Where you wait in a ward instead of in a private room. And where doctors aren’t available for appointments in a few days notice. Are these luxuries we’re willing to give up? A 6 month wait for surgery can be the difference between life and death. And it’s not a myth – people are dying in countries with “universal” government-run healthcare.
It’s simple. Trade-offs. It’s economics. It’s reality. And when you start believing in some alternate reality, and ignore the laws of economics, which are the laws of scarcity, you don’t get to a utopia. Instead, ever-so slowly you drift into tyranny.