Universal Health Care

What does equality mean? Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence purported that “all men are created equal.” However, he was not talking about blacks or the plight of the poor. Jefferson, though he permitted that his slaves be freed after his death, insisted on the matter that blacks were genetically inferior to whites. Furthermore, this international document went on to espouse the basic notion that all individuals are entitled to “inalienable rights” and henceforth are assured of equal rights. It is safe to say that what individuals make of this is “wholly” dependent on their abilities and efforts.

American society, for the most part, does not emphasize equal results or equal rewards; few Americans believe that every person should earn the same wages or hold the same amount of land. In other countries, for example, the government allocates tax dollars in order to assure that all of its members have the most basic necessity of health care. Though I understand why many fear an egalitarian system of property/wealth distribution, I am puzzled why this is a factor when it comes to universal health care. Sure, too much distribution of wages “might” advocate a system that stifles talent and limits opportunity, but such a system also assures the basic needs of those that make up its polity. Much of the American premise as it relates to one’s rights rest in the enlighten philosophy of John Locke, and later borrowed by Thomas Jefferson. Though Americans and western society heavily relate to the optimistic views of Lockean philosophy, Americans might be wiser to seek the more pessimistic writer, Thomas Hobbes… who promulgates that man has basic rights and is equal according to the laws of nature.

Furthermore, Hobbes contends that one cannot base equality according to mere size, seeing that a weaker person has the ability via technology to kill a stronger person.  I am sure we all  recall David and Goliath.Thus instruments are in place to promote equality, much like the common purpose or purported goal  of an American education. Because inequality in education exists, many minorities and rural whites do not receive the proper education needed to attend and be successful in college. Think about the number of elite private schools in the country that have a very small number of black students. Often enough, minorities and rural whites are victims of educational slavery in that they live in low property tax communities.

So, if Americans shy away from promoting absolute equality when it comes to education, it might be difficult to expect universal health care for the many that are sick and cannot afford to make basic payments; I find it interesting that the people most against it are those that can afford it. I just do not see how Americans can buy into liberty and equality on one hand, but take on a conservative action as it relates to class and healthcare on the other hand. This is a paradox to me.

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8 thoughts on “Universal Health Care

  1. If government-run education is so bad for low-income areas, why should we expect government to do a better job with health care? If a conservative believes that government tends to retard growth and success, then it is hardly a paradox that the conservative will look for a workable solution that includes the least amount of federal involvement while still getting people into the hospital (or into a better school).

  2. The key issue is cost, not coverage. Mandating coverage does not address costs. Figuring out how to lower costs will increase coverage. Any plan that does not address rising costs is not going to work in the long run, single-payer or private.

    “Government-run” is usually not a term associated with fiscal discipline. What government *can* do is help create a more competitive marketplace.

  3. I see it as we — all of us– being members of the state; if that is the case, it is up to us to make sure all members are covered — be it education or health care. I am not sure competition works as much as we think. Prices continue to go through the roof; however, greater regulation and a establishing a price ceiling might be of some good here.

    • Price ceilings tend to cause shortages, and we are already seeing a case of shortages in the health care industry.
      I would argue the regulations of the last 4 decades have created this mess. A truly free market tends to provide products for those who want the products. There are no shortages in a free market. The one misconception is the idea that the health care industry, up until now, has been a free market. Nothing could be more incorrect.

  4. Every time we enact a social program it becomes exponentially more expensive than what was on the sticker price. I’m with you that it would be good to find a way to cover everyone, but it has to be done carefully.

    Trying to build a comprehensive fix-all in less than a year is just asking for trouble. Rather than nibble off manageable parts like tort reform, transparent pricing, selling across state lines, and tax credits our elected officials are trying to pull a plank out of the middle of the Jenga tower.

  5. I have a great way to fix at least some of the cost problem. Stop advertising medications on television and print. Let doctors be doctors and patients be informed about conditions, but not attempting to self-prescribe and self-diagnose. It’s amazing how much money is spent on advertising drugs that has to be recouped somewhere and it’s usually recouped by doctors prescribing it to their patients and these name-brand drugs are expensive. Often they are effective, but they could be cheaper if billions of dollars weren’t spent each year on advertising them. That was perhaps not as coherent of an argument I could have made on that point, but hopefully you get my meaning.

  6. Not all insurance companies or pharmaceutical companies are bad. However, you use a key word, Carson: ethics.

    For example…I caught a radio broadcast of Dr. Drew Pinsky (I’m sure the females here are familiar with Dr. Drew…) talking about the state of health care. While he doesn’t have a problem with private insurance providers, per se, he does take issue with treating health care more as a business than a service. If a company is more about serving the stock holders more than the patients, then there is something ethically wrong with that. Pinsky also described how doctors are almost forced to choose procedures or tests that the insurance company will actually pay for…only to have the insurance company accept no blame if an issue is brought to them (“Well, your doctor signed off on it…we don’t practice medicine.”) Ethics, indeed!

    Can insurance companies be ethical? Yes, but they must be held to it. The best way to do that is (a) wise government regulations, and (b) consumer pressure. Open up competition while forcing them to be transparent. They must compete for business and HOLD the business. In this recession, you know what is keeping many small businesses alive right now? Service. If company A offers a widget for $10 and company B offers a similar widget for $10, the one that will succeed is the one with better service. I work in the manufacturing industry, and as manufacturers are forced to go to bare-bones pricing the key ingredient to holding or gaining customers is having better service than the other guy. Car insurance companies almost offer to tuck you in at night, bring you a warm glass of milk, and read you a bed time story. Imagine getting that kind of customer satisfaction from your health insurance company.

    Could we get that kind of customer service from a government-run plan? Or better ethics? I don’t think so. Customers will cut non-ethical companies from the herd. We all gravitate toward cheaper prices and better service for our dollar.

    We may still need a way to cover a small portion of the uninsured, but that is a significantly cheaper thing to achieve if everyone else is in an affordable private market.

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