Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Debating about nothing

Last night's Democratic debate (via Memeorandum) was merely about tactics, beginning with a discussion of the mutual finger-pointing between Hillary and Obama over whose health-care plan would provide the most coverage for the most people.


I reject the idea that it is vitally significant who "won" that debate. Hillary and Obama are agreed on the only important question: Who is responsible for your health-care costs? They answer in unison: Not you.

Here is Hillary from last night's debate:
You know, health care reform and achieving universal health care is a passion of mine. It is something I believe in with all my heart. And every day that I'm campaigning, and certainly here throughout Ohio, I've met so many families -- happened again this morning in Lorain -- who are just devastated because they don't get the health care they deserve to have. (Emphasis added.)
"Deserve"? In what sense does anyone deserve health care? Health care doesn't just materialize out of thin air. Doctors and nurses require years of training, hospitals and offices must be built and maintained, drugs must be developed, manufactured and tested, etc. These are the things that, added together, we call "health care," and they cost a lot of money. So the question is, who's going to pay the bill?

Ultimately, it makes sense for the cost to be paid by the person receiving the care. He chooses what medical goods and services he wants, and because he's paying the bills, he has an incentive to choose wisely.

But if health care is an entitlement and a right -- if someone can be said to "deserve" a certain amount of medical goods and services -- then there is no longer any incentive to thrift, no reason for the individual to be careful in his health-care choices. This is the biggest reason why health-care costs have spiralled out of control in recent years: Third-party-payer systems that encourage people to go to the doctor's office (and take the prescribed medicines) without regard to the ultimate cost.

Some of the most important health-care choices, such as eating well and exercising regularly, are neglected because people know they can get "free" medical treatment if they ruin their health. Go to a buffet restaurant sometime and watch as hugely obese people fill their plates with red meat and other fatty foods -- that is what is driving the so-called "health-care crisis" in America. And both Obama and Hillary, by advocating universal health care (i.e., government-run, taxpayer-funded socialized medicine) are only promising to make things worse.

1 comment:

  1. YES! YES! YES! (Rodney Dangerfield quote as Thornton Melon in “Back to School”) Now breathe....whew! Man, the Socialists really do know how to get a roll of toilet paper flushed down the ol' Crapper don't they?
    (Metaphor for ruining our country)