Saturday, May 27, 2006

"free" healthcare

In his May 1st speech, President Bush said, “To make our health care system work for all Americans, we have to choose between two philosophies: one that trusts government to make the best decisions for the people's health care, or one that trusts the people and their doctor to make the best decisions for their health care.”

Some countries, like Canada, have already adopted socialized subsidized healthcare system. Should the United States provide free healthcare to her citizens? Although some speculate that free healthcare is a basic human right, I believe that such a service would be detrimental to American citizens. A federally controlled program would perform inadequately, acquire excessive power, and result in wasted funds.

Uncle Sam has demonstrated ineptness in many areas such as our education system, where public school quality continues to deteriorate. The Boston Globe quoted Barry McGaw saying, “Given what the United States spends on education, its relatively low student achievement through high school shows its school system is ‘clearly inefficient.’ ”

Lack of healthy competition causes this problem, because without it, the government doesn’t have incentive to offer better care, lower prices, or faster service. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Timothy J. Muris said, “Healthy competition equals healthy consumers. Consumers want high-quality, affordable, accessible health care, and the challenge of providing it requires new strategies.” If all citizens received free healthcare, quality would decline and competitors would disappear. Who can compete with free?

With a socialized healthcare system, control of it would be nationally concentrated. Executive Director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, Richard E. Ralston, explained the risks of this type of system. Among other problems, surrendering medical care to the government would diminish freedom of choice and result in even more mandatory fees. Choice is imperative to liberty. Without it, freedom is meaningless. The more dependent Americans become, the more liberties they give away.

Walter E. Williams, the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, wrote that in desperation, Canada had outlawed private healthcare insurance in order to sustain the unpopular, socialized government healthcare. If this happened in the US, independent healthcare providers would likely go out of business, leaving Americans with fewer options.

Finally, free healthcare wouldn’t really be free. Just like social security, “free” healthcare would be tax funded. With the national debt now over 8 trillion dollars, Uncle Sam doesn’t need to be spending any more money. Yet that’s just what giving all citizens free healthcare would do. Given governmental inefficiency, the government would undoubtedly charge inefficient prices for healthcare. Not only would it cost taxpayers more money, but without directly paying for healthcare, citizens would likely misuse it.

Those laboring under the delusion of “free healthcare” should open their eyes. It won’t be healthy, it won’t be free, and it won’t be freedom. The more liberties America’s citizens retain the better.


Wholesome Works said...

Good post!

I agree, giving the government more power is the wrong thing to do. This is supposed to be a country of the people, not the government.


Elizabeth Ellen Moore said...

I completely agree. The government should relinquish a majority of its responsibilities. It should NOT take more on. Thank you for writing this!