Only Criminals Dodge Health Care

What makes the health funding and decision making argument so intense is that we find it so hard to think straight about it. We have a fantasy that if the government mandates coverage then everybody will get good coverage. Well, here’s one man who opts out completely from health insurance and his argument is very interesting.

In my view, the more people who can do what he is doing the better off our health care system would be. Literally everybody would save money and if he had to be the exception his status as an exception would be freely and prudently chosen.

What’s wrong with this case?

And how do you answer his last question?

Freedom, Mandates, and Financial Solvency (with an implied comment on the power of naming)

Rep Paul Ryan wrote a rather tepid response to the health funding and decision making  plan that President Obama passed into law yesterday. It was published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Of all the parties in the discussion, Rep Ryan has presented the most clear alternative, so he’ll be interesting to watch over the next few years. If he has charisma, the Republicans might be wise to lean on him.

However, I was most struck by two comments by readers. I have no idea whether these views are widely held, but you need to look at them closely. At least some people support the new law for the reasons described below.

Way to many procedures being done for no reason. I agree people should be mandated to live a health life style. How many times do you see overweight people with handicap parking and driving those electric shopping carts. Who is giving out these permits, doctors. Instead they should be telling these people to exercise and lose weight and some of there disabilities will actually improve.

comment in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

But costs are not Ryan’s main beef. He is an idealogue. He wants small government, commerce, low taxes and individual freedom, financial solvency be damned.

another comment

Way back when women were not allowed to vote, some of the opposition was the male chauvenistic argument that women love to meddle and that if they are allowed to vote, we will have a state that meddles in all our affairs. I always thought that was pretty funny. It would be so nice to think that one sex has this vice more than the other. Oh well.

Meddling is a sin, but since we don’t have any room for religion in public life it is not worth pointing that out here. More to the point is this simple fact: with a federal health funding and decision making plan in place, there is nothing that people do with their time that does not affect our federal budget. The state now has an interest in absolutely everything you do.

I think it was my brother Nate that made this point about motorcycle helmets. If an insurance company insures a driver of motor cycles, they have, it seems to me, the right to tell them to wear a helmet or at least to charge a lot more in premiums for those who don’t agree to wear the helmet. After all, they will have to pay a lot more money to reconstruct shattered skulls than bruised ones.

Since the motorcycle rider has made a voluntary association with the insurance company in order to defray potential emergency expenses, he can walk away from that arrangement if he disagrees with the terms. Everything is private and voluntary.

Now we bring in the federal government. It carries, or at least will eventually carry, the final burden for every medical expense in this country. For now we can set aside the favors and bribes that will become a routine element of federal health funding and decision making. Let’s just accept the fact that we are all now paying for every stupid thing that anybody ever does.

In a world where symbols dominate the discourse, we have handed the federal government the right to eliminate anything they can persuade the people they should not like. Today it might be motorcycle helmets. Tomorrow it might be babies with missing chromosomes. On Friday it might, through an unimaginable social revolution, be people with STD’s. On Saturday it might be a mental disease.

The lady who wants doctors to be mandated to tell obese patients to lose weight needs to understand that when the power she has voted to Leviathon wants to eliminate some problem she carries, it won’t sit when she tells it to. This is not a Night at the Museum.

That is why I would urge you to reread that second quotation. Do you notice what he thinks of freedom? It is an ideology. Financial solvency is his priority.

Ideologists have a habit of projecting onto their opponents their own vices, in particular, ideology. They also have a tendency to create false dichotomies. The great lesson of history, vis economics, is certainly this: individual freedom has always been the only predictable path to financial solvency.

We are living out the Law of the Catastrophic Continuum. The next steps are not hard to predict, though their timing is. Being frightened infidels, afraid of reality, unwilling to accept the certainty of death and the risks of life, we are building a tower to heaven. It will end in haos and catastrophe, but not until we’ve convinced ourselves we can touch the sky.

But at least we know it won’t end with a flood.

Health Insurance and Religious Freedom

Patrick Reilly over at the Cardinal Newman Center wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal that shows the threat to religous freedom if we have government run health insurance.

As we reflect on the health insurance crisis, a few points need to be distinguished or observed.

  1. The debate is not over health care directly but over health insurance and who will provide it.
  2. Therefore, the issue centers on who, i.e. what bureaucratic agency that controls the money (because we have so willed it) will make decisions about individual person’s health care.
  3. If we further separate authority from responsibility in our health care “industry,” costs will only continue to go up, most of them hidden, and all of them borne by doctors and patients.
  4. Control over health care decisions is control over everything you do, for there is nothing you do that goes unaffected by or does not affect your health care. As the linked article shows, your religious convictions affect the decisions you will make about the health care you provide. What you eat will add costs to the national health insurance budget. Whether and how you exercise, where and how you work, the music you listen to, everything.
  5. Therefore, if the government convinces all the citizens in the country to pay for the health care of all the other citizens in the country, it will stand in between those citizens, judging for them how that money will be spent and how those decisions will be made. And they will, necessarily, make decisions about what and how people eat, dress, work, worship, love their neighbors, etc.
  6. Only the doctor has been trained to know what is best for the patient, yet, even here, through certification, the government has fouled the nest.
  7. It is not obvious that Obama is trying to turn our health insurance into a government run system, but he is certainly taking steps that move it in that direction. We are already way too far along that path and need to turn around.
  8. There is not the national will or understanding to turn around for one simple reason: we have no desire to reconnect responsibility and authority.Furthermore, we don’t trust the people who ought to bear the authority because of that break. It is the same in education, the military, welfare, etc.
  9. The government alone has the power to legally compel people to follow their priorities. If the government is given authority over health insurance (though they cannot bear the responsibility), then we give them power to legally compel us to follow their prioirities in a manner inconceivable to Henry VIII.
  10. And finally, those who are seeking to establish this government run health insurance system need to remember that bureaucracies, once in place, have no more love for those who established them than for those who resisted them.

If we establish a government run health insurance system, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson will feel certain that all their labors were in vain. And they will be right.

We will have had a republic for a little while, but we will not have been able to keep it.