What does universal health care really mean?

I think the point of universal health care (at least the government-run variety) is pretty clear. The goal is to equalize life outcomes so that people who work the hardest pay the most into the system, and people who live in risky/immoral lifestyles withdraw the most. The biggest losers in such a system are the productive people who make responsible, moral decisions about their lifestyle – they pay the most and withdraw the least. The biggest winners are people who don’t work at all but who withdraw a lot.

I think that universal health care makes people irresponsible. The driving force behind universal health care is the idea that people should be able to do anything they want to pursue happiness any way they please, and that the natural limits of reality should be circumvented by spending other people’s money to “equalize life outcomes”.

Socialized medicine proponents are funny people. They think that no one should have to deal with the costs of their own decisions as long as they are sincere in their pursuit of happiness – it’s just not possible to predict what decisions will lead to good outcomes and what decisions will lead to bad outcomes. I once had two Canadian women bragging to me in an airport about how great socialized medicine was until I explained to them that at my salary level I would be paying 50% of my salary to the government and I had not been to the doctor for anything other than a check-up in my entire life. They could not see why I might like to opt out of such a system even after I explained it to them. They apparently thought that at any moment I might develop the urge for an abortion or two and then who would pay for it? Life is so unpredictable for a Canadian woman – it’s better not to have to worry about it and just let someone else pay.

So, let’s see what passes for health care in various universal health care systems around the world.

  • Here’s my previous post on taxpayer-funded in vitro fertilization in Ontario, Canada. It’s a human right! And that means it’s FREEEEEE!
  • But there’s more. Sex-changes are also a human right in Ontario, Canada. It’s FREEEEEE! The taxpayer has loads of money for that.
  • Do you know what else is FREEEEEE! in socialist countries like the UK? Breast enlargements. Yeah, because it’s a human right!

And of course it goes without saying that abortion is a human right everywhere, and should be taxpayer-funded. It really is about playing on people’s fears, and buying votes with other people’s money. The reason that the socialists don’t want health care to be left to private companies instead of government is because private companies would insist that people pay based on their likelihood of filing a claim – as with car insurance. But that is too “judgmental” for the universal health care proponents – they think that no one should feel obligated to behave responsibly just because of petty things like money.

I wonder what my readers think about this.

Is it OK for some citizens to make decisions that are costly and risky as they pursue happiness in non-standard ways, and then assign blame and costs for the inevitable failures and expenses to their neighbors? Is there a right to pursue happiness at the expense of others? Is life predictable enough that people should be able to rationally assess the costs and risks of their own decisions? Would private insurers do a better job of holding people accountable to make good decisions about their own lifestyles? Should people choose how much health care they want based on the coverages they want and the risks they want to incur? Should a person be able to say that they don’t want to be covered for sex changes and have the amount they pay into the system reduced? Should a person be able to opt out of government health care entirely and just buy a medical insurance policy privately, based on their own needs?

2 thoughts on “What does universal health care really mean?”

  1. I could not agree with you more. In fact, I’ll go a step further and say that the very mentality that sees universal health care as a good idea is responsible for all the unnecessary expenditures it will inevitably be made to cover because it removes from the individual the responsibility to make sound decisions about their behaviors. If someone wants to abuse drugs, no problem. His neighbor will pay for his rehab. If someone wants to bungee jump, no problem. His neighbor will pay to mend his broken bones. If someone wants to whore about, no problem. His neighbor will pay for the costs of treatment for STDs or for the abortion that he’ll find necessary.

    Life becomes easier for all when everyone understands that life ain’t easy and acts accordingly. Take away the “freeee!” and people will think twice about engaging in risky behavior, or at least they will think twice about engaging in it a second time. Either way, they are taking the heat for their own mistakes, as I am willing to do so for mine.

    There’s an old Steppenwolf song (actually, they’re ALL old now) called “Move Over” wherein one finds the line:

    Don’t make me pay for your mistakes
    I have to pay my own

    That’s a large part of the message of the opposition to Obamacare.


  2. The “good side” of universal healthcare is the notion of compassion, along the lines of the good Samaritan.

    Problem is, even the people who benefit the most from it — low incomers — don’t want to pay for it. In Canada, we have a very healthy underground economy. People want all the benefits of socialism — healthcare, pensions, welfare, but decide to exempt themselves from the responsibility of paying into it. This leaves the honest taxpayer, i.e., social conservatives, to pick up both their tab and the other guy’s.

    Big Unions also love government-run healthcare. The government always finds it easier to cave to union demands and let the taxpayer shoulder the burden. So, with government-run healthcare, you are paying janitors and floor-moppers two or three times what they would be getting in the private sector.

    I still like the idea of compassion, though.


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