The Health Care Difference

While it may have been unintentional, a quote in New York magazine helps make the point I have been trying to make about universal health care (HT: John Scalzi)

"With universal [health care], you'd get the same kind of
mediocre shittiness that you'd get in all other kinds of standardized
approaches. But for millions of people, that would be a big upgrade."

Americans are unbelievably charitable people, to the extent that they will put up with a lot of taxation and even losses of freedoms through government coercion to help people out.

However, in nearly every other case of government-coerced charity, the main effect is "just" an increase in taxes.  Lyndon Johnson wants to embark on a futile attempt to try to provide public housing to the poor?  Our taxes go up, a lot of really bad housing is built, but at least my housing did not get any worse.  Ditto food programs -- the poor might get some moldy cheese from a warehouse, but my food did not get worse.  Ditto welfare.  Ditto social security, unemployment insurance,and work programs. 

But health care is different.  The author above is probably correct that some crappy level of terribly run state health care will probably be an improvement for some of the poor.  But what is different about many of the health care proposals on the table is that everyone, not just the poor will get this same crappy level of treatment.  It would be like a public housing program where everyone's house is torn down and every single person must move into public housing.  That is universal state-run health care.  Ten percent of America gets pulled up, 90% of America gets pulled down, possibly way down. 

I don't think most Americans really know what they are signing up for.  Which is why it is so important for health care socialists to have people like Michael Moore running around trying to convince the middle class they will be getting better health care.  Because there is almost no possibility of this being true, and health care proposals will never pass if people realize it.

More here.


  1. Francis W. Porretto:

    Well put. There's a direct comparison to another socialized American industry: education. Now, you might say that education isn't socialized, because private schools are still permitted, but the effect of the mandatory, and very high, school taxes all of us must pay is to compel most of us to send our spratlings to the government-run schools, simply because the money that would have paid for a private alternative has already been taken from us by force. And of course, American grade-school and high-school education have become so laughable that most high-school graduates of the past thirty years couldn't find their own asses with both hands and a hunting dog.

    Socialized medicine, whether on the Clinton plan or any other, would perform even worse than the government-run schools. To function at all, it would necessarily compel 100% participation -- no private alternatives allowed. It would eventually require stringent price controls. It would put bureaucrats in charge of decisions that would mean life or death for millions of disenfranchised others. And the opportunities for graft and corruption would be unspeakable.

    VA medicine and Medicare have already witnessed many of these developments. Dare we even entertain doing to the whole country what VA hospitals have done to America's veterans and Medicare has done to America's elderly?

  2. M. Hodak:

    It's even worse than Francis is saying. The opportunity cost of socialized health care is not part of this discussion.

    With the market guiding health care dollars, we actually have a decent shot at significant life extension in the next few generations--by decades or centuries. Hillarycare or any of its variants will literally cut short the lives of our progeny versus what they could hope for if the current pace of advancement is allowed to continue.

  3. Mesa EconoGuy:

    And, just to pile on, the people [government] advocating socialist medicine will be forced to ration, and will also control the cost reporting mechanism [government, taxation]. They will tell us it’s working! Unbelievably better than we had ever anticipated!

    So, in any rational analysis environment, voters should run screaming throughout their houses, many jumping through windows.

  4. Mesa EconoGuy:

    Unrelated – Back to Star Wars 30th

    Forgot about this one, Python does Star Wars:

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