FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE

Friday

A Note About Socialized Medicine

In recent days, I have made a couple of posts concerning the topic of Government-controlled health care. My stance has always been that our health care system needs less Government, not more, if we are to see real improvements. And, with each passing day, my disgust at the idea of Government-controlled health care is further validated by the stories coming out of countries with such programs.

Because of my stance on this issue, I have received feedback from readers who disagree with me. (While I always welcome disagreements, I hold those who choose to do so to a high standard. I expect for their contrary arguments to be logical, well-thought-out, and based in reason – not emotion.)

I thought that I might take a minute to address one particular issue that has been brought to my attention. I want to focus on this issue, because I am told that I never consider this problem in any of my arguments. That is “the plight of the poor.”

I have been told that my approach to the issue of healthcare focuses a great deal on “politics,” but, ignores the ways in which the flaws in our healthcare system affect the uninsured poor.

Do I ignore this facet of the discussion? No. I believe that utilizing a free market approach, encouraging competition, and deregulating the health care industry would go a long way to reduce costs and improve quality, which is beneficial to the rich, middle-class, and poor alike.

But, I will admit that I don’t discuss the issue directly for one primary reason. This argument, about the plight of the poor, is completely and totally based on emotion. It is an appeal to people’s sympathy and not their rationality. Arguments such as these have no business guiding public policy. Our Government was not instituted to legislate personal morality, just like it wasn’t instituted to legislate “feel-good” policies. It was designed to promote freedom and liberty.

So why do I say that this argument is completely based on emotion rather than logic? Let’s begin with this example. Do you believe that our Government was designed to promote individual freedom and liberty? If so, then how do you rationalize the Government taking money from someone who has earned it (via taxes) and giving it to someone who has not? The individual being robbed of their money receives nothing from the Government in exchange, while the individual receiving the money from the Government is afforded something they didn’t pay for. The Government has essentially violated the freedom and liberty of the person being taxed, and engaged in wealth redistribution.

What conclusion can be drawn from this? The LOGICAL conclusion is that the Government has engaged in an action contrary to its design. But, along comes the argument that the Government is only taking that money through taxation, because it seeks to “help the poor.” I guess that makes it OK then.

Of course it doesn’t. But, when the appeal to emotion is in place, it will be used as a way around logical reasoning. The rule of law will be ignored, and the focus will become the plight of the poor. It is used a justification to side-step the original design of our Constitutional Republic, and impose new Government powers.

There is another reason that I don’t discuss the plight of the poor directly, and it sort of relates to the problem of appealing to emotion. The “facts” surrounding the plight of the poor, are often mischaracterized and over-inflated. They are intentionally distorted and embellished to do nothing more than produce an emotional response from the public.

Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than the claim that there are:


“40 million uninsured people in America.”

This figure will occasionally be morphed in larger numbers by individuals like Michael Moore, who has claimed the number to be between 45 million and 50 million. But, the standard figure reported by most media outlets, and repeated by so many politicians is 40 million.

The figure comes from a 2005 Census Bureau report which states that the number of uninsured people living in the United States is 46.577 million. I guess that’s where Moore got his larger numbers from. But, look closer.

The report also states that the figure of 46.577 million includes “non-citizens.” How many of those are non-citizens? 9.487 million people. That drops the number of uninsured AMERICANS to roughly 37 million.

So, that is where the rough number of 40 million originates. But, even that number has some significant flaws. Another look at the Census Bureau report reveals:


- 8.3 million uninsured people make between $50,000 and $74,999 per year.
- 8.74 million uninsured people make more than $75,000 a year.

That means that over 17 million of these “37 million uninsured Americans” can easily afford health insurance, but choose not to purchase it.

Do the math. That leaves the number of uninsured Americans who cannot afford health insurance at roughly 20 million people.

20 million is still a big number. But, it is half of what the media and Politicians report. And, it only equates to about 7 percent of the population.

Of course, you also have to consider that many of these 20 million uninsured Americans are only uninsured for a short period of time. The Congressional Budget Office conducted a study and found that 45% of America’s uninsured will receive coverage after 4 months, generally after a job transition.

Do you see all of the details that are left out when discussing the uninsured? The people who use the figure of 40 million uninsured Americans are twisting the facts to appeal to people’s emotions. It is, at best, intellectually dishonest.

That is why I haven’t directly dealt with the issue of the poor. In my opinion, it is not the proper basis for a logical discussion about an issue that will affect the entire nation.

There are solutions for the plight of the poor. But, abandoning the principles of freedom and liberty by robbing the taxpayers and adopting socialist policies are not the proper solutions.

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