September 6, 2016 by Anders Ingemarson
This is the second installment in a multi-part series. We are covering areas where our individual rights are clearly being violated or threatened, but where Americans in general, and our elected officials and political nominees in particular, tend to bury their heads in the sand instead of taking corrective action.
We are taking a two-pronged approach: first we are getting the practical side out of the way by illustrating that most of these issues are not that hard to fix if only the will-power is there; respecting individual rights by separating state and the economy is neither brain-surgery nor rocket science. Then we offer a few thoughts on how to pull the head out of the sand, face the moral injustices and individual rights violations of the current system, and start doing something about them.
In the first part we addressed Social Security. This time we are tackling healthcare.
Three major areas need addressing to return control of healthcare choices and financing to individual Americans and their families: health insurance, Medicare, and Obamacare.
The health insurance market needs two main reforms: (1) regulatory repeal, including but not limited to mandated coverage for preexisting conditions and selling health insurance across state lines, and (2) make health insurance tax deductible for individuals instead of corporations. Together, these reforms would create a thriving health insurance marketplace for individuals and families with a wealth of choices for all possible needs, and drive down health care costs across the board.
With a thriving, competitive health insurance market in place, the stage is set for a gradual dismantling of Medicare. Give current enrollees and those approaching the enrollment age an incentive to leave the system by offering unlimited tax deductions for healthcare expenses. They may choose to stay in the current system, but we think the thriving market place will eventually entice most of them to seek out the plethora of new market based opportunities. The same goes for people below the cutoff age who will soon realize that the competitive rates and choices of the free market are better than all available Medicare options.
Obamacare will die out for the same reasons as Medicare, just faster. Why pay exorbitant insurance rates for an inferior product when the market place has so much more to offer?
Other areas need to be reformed as well, such as medical malpractice insurance and drug regulation, but the above are the “Big Three.”
If it is this easy in practice to unshackle ourselves from the yoke of government healthcare control, why isn’t it happening? Why aren’t we on the path towards separating state and healthcare? Why don’t we see presidential nominees and other candidates championing healthcare reform this election season? Why are so many refusing to “de-ostrich” and pull the head out of the sand?
As with Social Security the issue is one of morality. The collectivists advocating for more and more government control over healthcare try to sell us on the notion that healthcare is a right and that “free” healthcare is a moral good.
They play on our fears to further their cause. They know that one of the scariest prospects we face in life is falling ill without having access to adequate healthcare. If your life or that of your loved ones have ever been in danger due to illness you are sure to remember the traumatic experience. The prospect of it happening again, and not knowing what job or financial situation you will be in at the time, makes it easy to be taken in by their arguments: “Wouldn’t it be better if nobody had to worry about healthcare coverage?” and “Don’t we owe it to the less fortunate among us to have access to the same healthcare as we do?”
They conveniently evade the fact that government healthcare is reducing our options as rationing is the inevitable result of any goods or service being “free,” because demand will always outstrip supply: a two weeks wait for an MRI turning into six months; a critical but expensive prescription drug being replaced by a cheaper, less efficient, generic alternative.
And they fail to mention that when providers are being forced to cut their fees and face regulatory burdens, then the supply is vanishing as well. Witness the struggle to find a new competent GP when your family doctor decides to retire 10 years early because he’s sick of spending more time on government mandated administration than on seeing patients, and of his compensation being reduced year after year.
And of course the lyrics of the collectivists’ siren song omit the unseen effects of regulating your healthcare needs: A life-saving drug or medical device that doesn’t get developed because the prospects of government price control are keeping investors away; a brilliant mind lost to medicine, instead choosing a career in a less regulated field because she wants to follow her own mind without being shackled by bureaucrats.
We are no admirers of Franklin D. Roosevelt, but his “we have nothing to fear but fear itself” applies to our current healthcare situation. To pull your head out of the sand, you have to realize that the fear of being left without healthcare coverage can only be addressed by separating state and healthcare. By letting a thousand free market health care flowers bloom you will receive higher quality and have less expensive products and services to choose from. If you should fear anything, it is placing your life in the hands of the collectivist who wants to control your healthcare choices.
With the source of your fears identified, you can confidently begin advocating for getting the government out of healthcare on moral grounds. No matter how urgent the need, no matter how strained the finances, no matter how uncertain the future, you know that using the voting booth to force your neighbor to pay for your healthcare is immoral. You know that healthcare is not a right.
You know that you have the moral rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which means the rights to act and to keep the gains of your actions, while respecting that your neighbor has the same rights; neither his nor your healthcare needs constitute a moral claim on the other.
As you stop listening to the siren song of immoral government controlled healthcare and tune in to moral free market solutions, and as your advocacy starts to pay dividend, you will find that exploring health care options will be no different from shopping for a new cellphone: you will have a hard time keeping up with all the new features and marvel at how much more you get for your money with every passing year. And you will feel secure in the knowledge that whatever happens, the best in healthcare will be waiting for you and your loved ones when you need it.