The Solution – Socialization (Part 3)

One of the common assumptions about those opposing universal health care is that they just don’t care about others.  I have read stories about people, real people with families and lives, who have lost everything because of absurd health care costs. Some of them even had insurance, they were just unlucky enough to get a certain kind of cancer or disease that wasn’t covered. It is horrible and sad.  Of course I care!  I just do not believe that giving the government control will do anything but make the situation worse.

Conservatives, I think, tend to look at things more logically. Maybe this does occasionally make us appear heartless, when we don’t think a life is worth a certain cost to society. Liberals are more emotional, but their automatic response to a perceived wrong is that the government should fix it. They see a sick, dying, uninsured child, and they cry and say to themselves, ”The government should make this better.” I see a sick, uninsured child, and I make a donation to St. Judes Research Hospital, and wish that me taxes were lower so I had more to give. But that’s just me; maybe most conservatives look at dying children and laugh, and then wish their taxes were lower. However, being a heartless conservative, I also look at the costs to society if the government were to get involved.

Imagine that there is one, dying man. It would cost every person in America one penny to make him better. He can’t do it himself; he is unable to afford the treatment, it doesn’t matter why. Should everyone in America be forced to give one penny to save his life?

What if it cost every person in America ten cents to save his life? Should the government be allowed to take that money and give it to him to save his life?

What if it cost everyone in America $1000? Should we still use the money to save his life? There has to be a price at which it isn’t worth it anymore. If you think it is worth a penny to save his life, but not $1000, try to figure out what the difference is. What if it was still just one penny to save his life, and a million other lives? What if it cost everyone in America ten cents for every life that was saved, and another cent for every mother who took her child to the emergency room because she thought his cut was infected, or she was worried he had swallowed some toothpaste when she wasn’t looking, or she thought his mucus was too yellow, or she was concerned because he hadn’t had a bowel movement in almost two days, or he had bumped his head, or he had a sunburn, or he had spit up a little more than normal, or he hadn’t slept last night. Maybe one in a million of those cases was worth a trip to the emergency room, but you paid one cent for every 999,999 that wasn’t.

Universal health care says that everyone in America has a responsibility to pay for everybody’s heath care, and doesn’t put a limit on the cost. Conservatives think that the price shouldn’t be paid by everyone. Liberals say that universal health care is the government paying for your health care; conservatives know that universal health care means everyone is paying for it, and it will be lower quality. I think that I should have a choice. If I want to help someone else, I will donate to a private hospital, and they will use 85 cents, not 30 cents, of every dollar to treat patients. If I want health care, I will pay for my own insurance. I may have to sacrifice to pay for it. There are plenty of things I would like to have if I didn’t have to pay for insurance. I chose not to have those things. If there is someone who can’t afford it, the solution is to implement policies that will lower health care costs for everyone, so that eventually everyone can afford it.

The government has caused a lot of problems in Health Care, but I also recognize that a huge part of the problem is insurance.  Just the fact that there is insurance.  Anytime you’re not paying directly for a service, you use more of it.  Co-pays make it easy to use more than you otherwise would.  Imagine going to a grocery store.  Once a week you can go, pay a $20 co-pay, and get whatever you want.  Do you think you would shop the same way you shop now?  Or would you get more than you need?  Would you pick up the more expensive brand?  Would you bother looking for coupons?  Would you bother looking at the ads each week to see which stores are having sales on the things you want?  Would such a system affect the cost of food?  Why would anyone think it would work on Health Care?  I tried comparing it to Auto Insurance.  There’s a large deductible.  I wouldn’t go to the doctor more than I needed to if it cost $500 each time.  I have a few dents on my bumper.  And I just live with it.  If I wanted it fixed I could pay for it myself without going through my insurance. It seems like a decent system, where I prioritize and place different values on different amounts of damage.  I might be willing to pay $20 to ask a doctor about my cough, but if the deductible was $500 I would maybe just buy some Nyquil and save the doctor visit for my broken leg.  What’s the solution to this?  I don’t know.  You know how car insurance companies are always advertising better coverage than their competitors.  “A 15 minute call could save you 15% or more.”  “Get yourself better protected from Mayhem, like me.”  Maybe if Health Insurance companies were allowed to compete… no, that’s crazy.  Forget I mentioned it.

When the government started instituting regulations and requirements in the health care profession, prices went up. Imagine a town where everyone can afford to pay their own medical bills. It may be hard, maybe some of them are close to not being able to afford it, but they can. Then the government makes a law that says the hospital has to provide care to everyone, even if they can’t afford it. Some people who used to save to pay for their health care realized they didn’t have to, so they spent their extra money on a nice vacation, then when they needed treatment they were honestly able to say they couldn’t afford it. Someone else comes to the town and needs a relatively expensive treatment, but they don’t pay for it. Health Care used to follow free market society rules, and so prices were in balance with what people could afford. But suddenly they have to provide free care, and in order to stay open they need to either raise the costs for everyone else or cut costs and provide lower quality service to everyone else. If that happens a few times (which is will, once it is illegal not to provide care), then prices go up. Suddenly, no one can afford to pay for their own care. Is that the compassionate solution? Interfere to guarantee a few people care, ensuring that everyone else is unable to afford to pay for themselves. It may be more compassionate to the one person, but it effects everyone. And it is a compounding problem. The more regulations there are for Doctors, Nurses, medical schools, Pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, insurance companies and medical supply industries, the more expensive everything is. So the government continues to introduce new regulations, in an attempt to ’help’, and things get more expensive, then they come in and say there are so many problems they need to take over the whole industry.

Instead, we should start down the opposite path. We should have less regulation. Free market societies are self regulating. If a drug company produces a drug that kills people, no one will buy from them and they will go out of business. Meanwhile, the drug companies that thoroughly test and research their drugs will be able to produce medicines more affordably than they currently can. Drugs will be more affordable if there is less regulation on the drug companies. Maybe you’re horrified, thinking, ”We can’t stop regulating the drug companies! If a drug company kills someone they will just go out of business? How can you be so heartless?!” Well, it happens occasionally even with the very expensive FDA in business (remember, we’re paying for all the government programs), right now there are drugs on the market that have adverse side effects and sometimes kill people. Government regulations have not fixed that problem. But they have made many drugs unaffordable, which would be much cheaper without government interference. We have the same effect with doctors and nurses. If medical schools were competing for students instead of the other way around, we would have more doctors and cheaper medical schools. Doctors could make less because they wouldn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt to pay off. Less government regulation makes everything cheaper, and those savings would be passed on to the consumer. Then more people could afford to pay for their own health care. Maybe we could do away with health insurance altogether, a prospect that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. Quality would go up; quality always goes up when industries are directly accountable to their customers.

As for the very poorest, the 10%-15% who can not afford it right now. If the prices at every level were cheaper, then easily a third of them could start paying for themselves. The number of charity clinics and hospitals could increase, because everything would be cheaper! If taxes went down people could donate more to research hospitals and clinics, and the money would go further because drugs, doctors and medical supplies would cost less. So the very poorest would have resources available to them, many more than they do now. Would some people still fall through the cracks? Perhaps, but I don’t think it would be nearly as many as would die waiting for treatment or from neglect under a system where the government had complete control. Basically, I think people agree that there are a lot of problems with the current system. I think it is horrible that some people can’t afford to pay to take care of themselves. However, my solution is to have the government less involved, resulting in everyone being able to take care of themselves. The alternate solution is to have the government take over everything, ensuring that it will cost everyone more and everyone will get lower quality care.

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About whyimconservative

I'm a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom with a Biochemistry degree living in Austin. I love my kids, my husband and my country. I want to explain why I'm conservative.

Posted on June 2, 2011, in Health Care and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Pamela: “What if it cost everyone in America $1000? Should we still use the money to save his life? There has to be a price at which it isn’t worth it anymore. ”

    That is the precise reasoning which Conservatives volley at Democrats concerning “death panels”. Be careful there.

    However, if you were to speak with medical professionals, not politicians, they would say much along the same lines, though slightly askew. When I was still thoroughly deep in researching health care debate material, I came across a medical school study specifically about that (I know it’s worthless without now, on a different computer, to be able to provide as a source, but anyways)—- they argued that the more cogent argument was concerning the TYPE of care provided for end of life: continuing the folly of “preventative” care, which is wildly expensive, or the more aptly-appropriate use of “palliative” care.

    “Free market societies are self regulating.”— no— no they are not. Greenspan, an Ayn Rand acolyte, learned as much, much to his horrified dismay, with the insipid greed of the financial meltdown from ’07/’08 (and if you haven’t read “All The Devils Are Here”— do so post haste).

    “With members of the House oversight and government reform committee blasting Greenspan for his past decisions that helped pave the way for the current financial crisis, he acknowledged that his libertarian view of markets and the financial world had not worked out so well. “You know,” he told the legislators, “that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.” While Greenspan did defend his various decisions, he admitted that his faith in the ability of free and loosely-regulated markets to produce the best outcomes had been shaken: “I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.” In other words, whoops—there goes decades of Ayn Rand down the drain.” http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/10/25-6

    The market hand does not guard and guide the market. Not anymore. That’s a naivete that should have shattered with the ’07 crash.

    “Doctors could make less because they wouldn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars in student debt to pay off.” — (look at that mad dash towards the field of medicine as prospective students learn “they can make less”).

    And once again, I’ll point out to you: The individual mandate was developed by the Conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, who testified before Congress in 1993, arguing that it was PRO-capitalism— that it FIGHTS Socialism:

    “In 1993, for example, Heritage’s Stuart Butler testified before Congress in support of a new, “more rational” social contract under which government would provide greater assistance to those lacking health care in return for greater individual responsibility. Explained Butler: “This translates into a requirement on individuals to enroll themselves and their dependents in at least a basic health plan — one that at the minimum should protect the rest of society from large and unexpected medical costs incurred by the family. And as any social contract, there would also be an obligation on society. To the extent that the family cannot reasonably afford reasonable basic coverage, the rest of society, via government, should take responsibility for financing that minimum coverage.”

    http://volokh.com/2010/03/29/was-the-individual-mandate-a-republican-idea/

    http://pnhp.org/blog/2011/02/02/senate-judiciary-testimony-of-prof-charles-fried-on-single-payer/
    (btw— I watched this full session on CSPAN— all of the speakers were phenomenal)

    • It is going to take me a while to thoroughly reply to all your points, as well as look through all the information you gave me. I’ll quickly address just a few things. The first thing you said was about ‘death panels’. I’m not sure exactly what you’re trying to dispute. I do not believe my health is anyone’s responsibility but my own. If I think it’s worth the money to keep myself at a certain level of health, I’ll use it. I often choose not to go to the doctor when my kids are slightly ill, or when I’m in some kind of pain. I’ve spent several months of two pregnancies in a lot of pain from my gal bladder; I could have surgery to get it removed, but I choose not to because it’s expensive. I dealt with that pain for a few months, knowing it would go away after the birth, because I wanted to use the money we had on necessities I put a higher priority on. That’s my choice. If it was a free surgery, I would probably get it. The problem is, it’s never free, but most people aren’t intelligent enough to know that. No one else should have to pay for my surgery, no one else should have to pay to keep me alive, no matter how little or how much it costs. If I’m deathly ill and could spend every cent of my family’s money extending my life a month, I would rather not, because I do not want to leave my children and husband destitute. Someone else might make a different choice, and that’s the way it should be. It should be my choice, not the government’s.
      You say the crash of 2007 shatters the illusion of a working free market economy. I come to the opposite conclusion; it proves that government involvement in the economy does not work. The crash was a result of worthless securities being sold and resold at inflated prices. These included bundled subprime mortgages. The government has been passing laws for almost two decades forcing banks and mortgage companies to make loans to people they felt were being ‘discriminated’ against. I believe it was Clinton who passed a law saying mortgage companies had to accept welfare as a valid source on income when determining eligibility for a loan. Previously it was hard for people on welfare to borrow $100,000, because banks knew they were a risk and had an economic interest in not giving money to people who could not pay it back. The government withheld accreditation from banks who didn’t comply with their regulations, and also promised federal backing for loans that fell through. What part of that is ‘free-market’? There were plenty of greedy people who took advantage of these federally backed loans to create false wealth, but it could not have happened without government interference. Which happened, of course, in the name of the ‘greater good’, specifically giving houses to people who couldn’t afford them but supposedly deserved them at the expense of the taxpayer.
      You also refer to Republicans a couple of times. I agree that Republicans have had a lot of horrible ideas. Bush instituted two horrifically socialist programs (Medicaid D and No Child Left Behind). I am Conservative, which is not a party, but more a set of beliefs based on small government and personal freedom. I don’t consider myself Republican.

  2. Should we end medicare? get rid of all socialized medicine in this country?

  3. So, you’re in favor of hospitals turning away the sick, injured and dying, if they can’t afford to pay for their free-market care?

  4. Want to know more about Obama, punch into Google the lies of Obama and the broken promises of Obama. He is for socialized single payer (the government), we have a speech when he was campaigning in a speech to a labor union where he said that he favors European soicialized single payer system. He is the epitome of arrogance so typical of a single child.

    On a side note I see no link to follow your blog.

    • Hi! Thanks for your comments. You know, I used to think that the liberals in power (Pelosi, Obama, etc.) really did want to help this country and were just dumb enough to think that handouts were the way to do it. The more of them I see the more sure I am they literally are trying to destroy the country. As long as they are in power they will be fine. And it kills me.
      I will see about adding a ‘follow’ option. I haven’t written in a long time, but I just added a new post.

    • I think the follow button pops up from the bottom right side of the page.

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