Universal Healthscare

The campaign for socialized medicine in the US has long been a goal of the left. So besides the lack of details, the class warfare rhetoric, and the doublespeak, Kerry’s healthcare promises are merely a step in achieving something he dare not propose openly: the complete government takeover of the healthcare industry. Candidate Kerry is promising universal healthcare but trying to avoid the kind of political disaster of Clinton’s Hillary-Care takeover attempt.

...I have a health care plan that covers nearly 95% of all Americans. ...It's a plan that will cut soaring premiums, cut the waste, cut the greed, and cut Americans a break. And it's a plan that finally makes our health care affordable, our businesses more competitive, and America stronger. [johnkerry.com]

A plan that will raise your taxes, add to the deficit, and create a vast new class of entitlement that will ensure the kind of debt only a full blown welfare state can prescribe.

Kerry claims that he will, "cut your family's premiums by up to $1000," and eliminate waste, fraud, inefficiency, abuse, bureaucracy, irresponsible medical malpractice suits, rising drug costs, and greed. (Who was it who said that if you're going to lie, lie big?) Kerry's plan is long on promises and short on details.

...No one should have to live in fear that they are one doctor's visit away from financial ruin. And when I am President, no one will. [johnkerry.com]

...We'll be fighting ... to make health care a right for all our people... [johnkerry.com]

Health care is not a 'right'. The right to free speech, the right to own a gun, the right to a fair trial, the right to due process, these are rights. In contrast, positive rights are a slippery slope into egalitarian utopianism.

I can make up the 'right' to almost anything using the same criteria. I have a right to food, a right to an education, a right to a million dollar home, a right to a BMW to get to my livable wage job, which I also have a right to. Positive rights are rights that indebt others to me. It's a 'right' to the income and labor of others. Where do such rights end? The answer is they don't. They never end because they are based on a fundamental fallacy: "From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs." The definition of having a right to someone's service is simply: involuntary servitude.

John Kerry is ranked as the most liberal Senator in the congress by the National Journal and these kinds of proposals only highlight that liberal rating. Those who advocate universal healthcare have a disdain for capitalism and market economics and are really just continuing the push toward socialized healthcare that started with the failed policies of the New Deal and the Great Society. Our healthcare system is sick because of 30 years of socialization, not 'market failure'. Not surprisingly Kerry says the problem is market failure, greed, and the pursuit of profit.

...They've stood by while insurance companies made record profits and families faced record-high premiums. And while he's campaigning across the country, you almost never hear the words "health care" come out of the President's mouth. [johnkerry.com]

...Kerry has the courage to take on special interests to get health care costs under control. He will stand up to big insurance and drug companies that impede progress.

...George Bush has chosen to lavish tax cuts upon the wealthiest among us while working Americans struggle to afford health care for their families.

No mention of the mountains of paperwork and regulation that come from existing government meddling in healthcare. No mention of the already existing and massive subsidies that have driven up the cost of healthcare. No mention of the expensive litigation trial lawyers like John Edwards who put doctors out of business and raise the cost of health care for all of us.

Many states have regulated health insurance so extensively that even basic plans are expensive. In fact, health savings accounts aren't available in Maryland, Hawaii, or New Jersey. Requiring states to deregulate insurance--which Congress could easily do by allowing out-of-state insurance purchases--would mean that all Americans have the opportunity to buy basic plans. Over the years, Medicare's administrators have written, literally, more than 100,000 pages of rules governing clinics, hospitals, and physicians. This mountain of paperwork means that time and energy are going to bureaucratic compliance instead of patient care. Furthermore, Medicare pricing (and insisting that it apply to everyone but managed care) means that competitive pricing doesn't exist for many services. Washington needs to cut the red tape. [manhattan-institute.org]

If the system as it is now is broke, how does Kerry propose to fix it? Answer: have the government pay for it. Anywhere from $650 billion to a trillion dollars over the first ten years. The odds are it will cost a lot more than that, just like every other government initiative whose initial cost is always underestimated and downplayed.

Exactly how does shifting the payment from the customer to government lower costs? He is engaging in pure sophistry; by shifting the cost from individual to taxpayer he will be raising the cost for all of us, increasing administrative costs, bureaucracy, waste, fraud, inefficiency, and abuse, all the things he says he wants to eliminate from private sector health care but which exist in spades in government by its very nature.

The ultimate goal here is Canadian or European-style socialized medicine. Kerry knows it would be political suicide to propose wholesale nationalization of the healthcare industry. Instead he proposes an incremental approach to further government control over healthcare no matter what plan it's under.

Clearly, the 'market solution' for health care has not worked. Government action is needed to guarantee access to comprehensive health care for everyone. In response to this crisis, there is increasing support for making the achievement of universal health care a goal for our nation. [Universal Health Care Action Network]

The main problem with a single payer system is that it short circuits market forces, which like gravity, continue to operate nonetheless. Liberals seem to believe that competition and the profit motive are what drive up the cost of healthcare. I happen to think it's a good thing if I'm paying my doctor directly. Any reform that does not address this central problem is doomed to failure.

The further removed the patient is from actually paying for medical services the more expensive or more degenerate the care will get. In Great Britain health care is free and it is rationed. You are at the mercy of the system as to what procedures are available to you for 'free'.

In many respects the National Health Service represents a command solution to the problem of allocating health care.

On the production side, the state decides how much health care is to be produced and who is going to get it. The state is also directly involved with the production of health care. Most medical facilities such as hospitals are owned by the state and the people working in the NHS are employed by the state, either directly or as independent contractors.

Health care in the UK is almost totally financed out of taxation. 98% of the finance comes from general tax revenues. This means that people have no direct choice about whether they pay for health care or how much they pay. However, the other side of this is that all health care apart from charges for items such as prescriptions, eye checks and dentistry is free and available to all UK citizens who need it. [Office of Health Economics, UK]

I submit to you that this is where the left wants to lead us; full government funding of all healthcare. Once the government pays for everything it will have the say over what you get. "The man with the pesos, got the say-so's."

Even Kerry admits that we have the best healthcare in the world. (May 10th speech at Edinboro University) I guess when he had cancer he didn't feel the need to fly to France, Canada, or Great Britain where even the Office of Health Education web site bemoans:

...Yet health care seems to be in almost permanent crisis - there are shortages of hospital beds and patients are left to lie in corridors while politicians argue endlessly over whether more or less is being spent on the NHS. Why is it that health care is such a controversial area? Why is there never enough money to give us the level of health care we want? [Office of Health Education, UK]

That's a good question. Why is there never enough money to give us the level of health care we want?

Posted by Eric Simonson at July 19, 2004 3:44 AM