Monday, March 21, 2005

Universal Healthcare

According to a recent USAToday Poll, "8 in 10 in the poll said it is more important to provide health care coverage for all Americans even if it means higher taxes, than to hold down taxes but leave some people uncovered."

Oh how times have changed. In a recent piece, Larry Elder bemoans the entitlement mentality many Americans now have. He then tells this story:

Congressman Davy Crockett [Whig-Tennessee] told a reporter in 1834 that he learned about limited government the hard way. Crockett, back from Washington, D.C., where he had voted in favor of $20,000 relief for victims of a large Georgetown fire the previous winter, encountered a local constituent plowing his field. The farmer, giving Crockett a cold reception, admitted voting for Crockett previously, but said, "You had better not waste your time or mine. I shall not vote for you again." The farmer then lectured Crockett on the Constitution, demanding to know where the document grants the authority to give away public money in charity.

Crockett was lectured over the spending of twenty grand due to a fire. Today, only two out of ten offer a similar lecture due to the untold billions spent on a carte blance entitlety.

Americans today just don't seem to care about whether or not the Constitution even allows a "universal"--read: socialist-- healthcare system. Despite the governments abysmal record at solving problems, the American people seem willing to trust the government to run this massive system.

What has happened to us? We have either forgotten, or outrightly ignored our great Constitution. Why have we rendered as obsolete a document that has guided us so well these last two hundred plus years? There are no simple answers.

Another historical lesson: a woman approached Benjamin Franklin as he was leaving what was to be called the Constitutional Convention. She asked him what kind of government we had. "A republic," he replied, "if you can keep it."

As Americans allow the government a larger role in our lives, our republic will begin to fade. Healthcare may seem like a good idea today, but twenty years from now, the people may sing a different tune. Prudence calls us to limit the government's power, or lose the republic.

I'd just as soon keep it.

3 comments:

Loyal Achates said...

Larry Elder is a disgrace to humanity, for one thing.

It's easy for you to scoff at universal health care and wax nostalgic about the wisdom of some halfwitted farmer back in the 1830's while 45 million people have no defense whatever against illness and injury, and tens of millions more have only the most meager coverage. If you're one of those people, not all the medical science in the world will save you if something goes wrong.

And if you're going to count as 'charity' everything the government spends, we won't have a govenrment at all.

Article I, setcion 8, clause I of the Constitution states: "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;"

It's vague, yes, but it's vague for a reason. The Founders didn't want us to be locked in an 18th-century mindset forever; they understood the world might change.

Besides, socialised medicine would prbably be cheaper than the system we have now; the US spends more per capita on health care than any other country, and we still don't cover everyone. A standard system would eliminate alot of the waste.

I never considered entitlement programs a way of building dependence on the government; rather, i see them as a way of making the state subervient to its people, and increasing accountability. if people expect nothing from the government, that's what they'll get, and it's hard to make them care on way or the other.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

Let me see if I have this correctly.

First, the fact that "45 million people have no defense whatever against illness and injury, and tens of millions more have only the most meager coverage" is my fault? In other words, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness now includes a right to healthcare. Jefferson must have forgot that one. What was he thinking?

Secondly, "if your going to count as 'charity' everything the government spends, we won't have a government at all". Funny, I thought that was the idea. Early British colonists staged the Boston Tea Party over a tax of one percent on tea. I'm sure secretly they were proponents of big government.

Next: "It's vague, yes, but it's vague for a reason. The Founders didn't want us to be locked in an 18th-century mindset forever; they understood the world might change." Yes, but they also understood that only a small government could preserve liberty. The world has changed, but human nature has not. And ultimately, the founders set-up the best system to deal with the constraints of human nature.

Here's my favorite part: "Besides, socialised medicine would prbably be cheaper than the system we have now; the US spends more per capita on health care than any other country, and we still don't cover everyone. A standard system would eliminate alot of the waste." Pardon me, while I cease chuckling.

Since when is the government more efficient at anything? Welfare programs absorb up to seventy percent of the money for "overhead". Yet charities such as the Red Cross give almost ninety percent of the contributions they recieve to the people they are trying to help. My statistics are probably useless though, they come from that "disgrace to humanity" Larry Elder.

Ultimately, the free market should be allowed to deal with healthcare as it takes care of most other human needs.

Loyal Achates said...

Your statistics are useless. 70%? i'd like to see how he calculated that.

It's not your fault 45 million people have no health care, but you clearly don't want to do anything about it, and instead take potshots at the 80% of Americans who have some idea how to solve the problem.

Also, since when is the right not to die of an easily treatable illness not part of 'right to life'?

Mon ami, we don't live in 1775 anymore. The colonists revolted over a 1% tax on tea, but submitted to much larger taxes under the new American government. the issue wasn't taxation, the issue was fair representation.

Britain spends about 3/4 per capita what we spend on health care, and they have universal coverage. Do you know how much of our medical expenses are incurred by various insurance plans intersecting with each other, and the beaureacracy caused by it? or the amount of unnecessary surgery that is performed and useless prescription drugs that are prescribed because doctors are pressured to do so by their HMOs.

The free market takes no regard of human needs, it only goes where there's profit to be made. Poor people have no money, and so to the market they don't exist.

By the way, while 80% of Americans support Canadian health care, only 5% of Canadians support American health care.