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The Dawning of the Age of Adolescence

July 30, 2009

We are attempting to put in place policies and programs that treat people as if they are not adults. Brief as it is, I think this video does a decent job explaining this point:

I certainly agree with the idea that we deserve the government that we get. If we, as a society, feel that the decisions and responsibility concerning our own health are things that our government should be shouldering, rather than us – then we deserve socialized medicine.

If this is our choice, then we must also acknowledge we will be necessarily handing our own choice over to a third party – and be willing to live with this decision. We also must be willing to accept that in the future, removing this government program will be impossible – given that it provides citizens with something they perceive as ‘free,’ in exchange for their votes and loyalty to keep that program going. Mark Steyn points writes about this change in rolls:

“The problem isn’t the cost. These programs would still be wrong even if Bill Gates wrote a check to cover them each month. They’re wrong because they deform the relationship between the citizen and the state. Even if there were no financial consequences, the moral and even spiritual consequences would still be fatal.”

[…]

“Once you have government health care, it can be used to justify almost any restraint on freedom: After all, if the state has to cure you, it surely has an interest in preventing you needing treatment in the first place.”

This idea of cultural infantilism is much more fully discussed in Steyn’s article: Live Free, or Die.

You are probably wondering, if I am against a socialized or nationalized plan – what alternative would I suggest? Well, I am certainly no expert on health care – however, I do have several guiding principals and questions that we should ask or consider when we talk about health care:

First, Thomas Sowell’s famous three questions:

  1. How much does it cost?
  2. Who pays for it?
  3. Does it work?

Now, several of my own:

  1. Does the new plan increase – or decrease personal liberty?
  2. If the new plan isn’t initially in conflict with personal liberty (question 1), can it easily be made to be so (for instance, by a future corrupt government)?
  3. Why does any plan need to be created at the National or Federal level? Why not let the states figure out their own plans, especially since they are much closer and more knowledgeable about their own peoples and situations?
  4. What evidence can you point to that our government can afford such a program, given the state of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security?
  5. Does the new plan increase personal choice? In other words, under any proposed plan, would an individual have more choices overall, or less?
  6. Does the plan encourage competition? Historically, industries that have free and tough competition, have to find ways to entice the customer to their service – or they will cease to be. Usually they do this through innovation, providing cheaper services, or providing better services for similar prices. Would whatever new plan we are considering create  competition, favor one business over another (such as one provider teaming up with the government, similar to lobbying), or eliminate competition?

Those are just a start, so I will probably return to this post and add additional questions. Feel free to add your own in the comments. In the mean time, here’s John Stossel’s take also:

And here are ten facts about the U.S. health care system you might not know (via The Hoover Institute – follow the link for in-depth explanations):

  1. Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.
  2. Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.
  3. Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.
  4. Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.
  5. Lower-income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians.
  6. Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the United Kingdom.
  7. People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed.
  8. Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians.
  9. Americans have better access to important new technologies such as medical imaging than do patients in Canada or Britain.
  10. Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.
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