The issue of health care will be one of the most important in the campaign in the general election. The Republican nominee will likely present a plan to provide health care that includes tax breaks and avenues to create choice. The Democrats will almost certainly have some form of universal health care, or socialized medicine. I have debated universal health care with many a liberal and I have found the idea to have four main fallacies.
The first fallacy comes from the compassionate idea that all individuals deserve health care even if the can't afford it. While in a perfect world this would be nice, the reality is that free health care isn't a right in the constitution. Once the government begins to create rights where they weren't there, then it stops doing the things it is supposed to do. Compassionate people want the less fortunate taken care of. Misguided compassionate people want the government to take care of the less fortunate. Many of these very same people freely admit the flaw of socialism in general but view health care in a category separate. This is itself a fallacy. There are plenty of things in this world that are vital to living: health care, transportation, lodging, etc. If health care is seen as exceedingly vital and thus it should no longer be treated by the same market principles as everything else, where will it stop? The government can soon say that mortgages are too important for the market to take care of and create universal mortgages. The bottom line is that you either believe the free market works best or you don't. If you don't then you live in socialism. If you do, then you apply the free market to everything.
The second fallacy is that universal health care is free. Of course, that is plain nonsense. If those that can't afford health care have it paid for for them, then it is someone else paying for it. That is the dirty little secret that no proponent of universal health care wants to address. They all constantly scream about forty some million uninsured, but then act as though a magic wand will make them insured. It won't. It will either happen by raising everyone's taxes, or just those that can afford it. Either way this is nothing more than another form of income redistribution. The less fortunate are provided for on the backs of the more fortunate. Not only is this more class warfare, but it has a long history of failure. Punishing the successful at the benefit of the less successful maybe a good political strategy, but it isn't good policy. It is the successful that drive the economy. Burdening them with extra taxes only gives them less incentive to be successful.
The third fallacy is that universal health care disregards the principle of value. If you pay for your own health care, then you will pay attention to price and quality. If someone else is paying for it, you will abuse it because value is unimportant to you. As consumers we shop around. We don't buy the first car, tv or washing machine we see. We try and figure out which one is best. That's because we are paying for it. In universal health care someone else is paying for it and thus we no longer need to try and figure out value. All universal health care will do is drive up health care costs by consumers who have someone else paying for it. John Stossel found some amazing things when he examined the field of laser eye surgery. He found that doctors made house calls, worked weekends and evenings, the gave patients their home and cell number. They did all this because their patients demanded it. That's because unlike other medical procedures laser eye surgery isn't covered by insurance. Since patients paid for it themselves, they suddenly became the sort of consumers they are with any other product or service. Not surprisingly, laser eye surgery is one of the few medical procedures that has seen its cost drop not increase.
The final fallacy is that universal health care has worked where it has been tried. My liberal friends are fond of pointing out Sicko as some sort of proof of the greatness of universal health care. Despite that piece of propaganda, the realities of universal health care is long waits, bad care, and terrible medical conditions. In Britain a woman pulled out her own teeth with pliers and vodka because she couldn't wait any longer to see her dentist. A Canadien Member of Parliament actual went to America to get treated for cancer because the wait would have been too long in their own country. In Britain, record number of people go outside of the country to receive treatment because of fear of infections and long waits.
Socialized medicine doesn't work. It doesn't work because socialism doesn't work. We have a long history of failure in all socialized states. No amount of compassion and misguided good intentions will change the inherent flaws in any system that socializes any industry, and the fallacies I pointed out are proof.
Please check out my new books, "Prosecutors Gone Wild: The Inside Story of the Trial of Chuck Panici, John Gliottoni, and Louise Marshall" and also, "The Definitive Dossier of PTSD in Whistleblowers"