Thursday, April 23, 2009

Where is the Political Lexicon?

Thomas Sowell has come up with another excellent article about "universal health care".

What especially stuck out to me was this:
Those who think in terms of talking points, instead of trying to understand realities, make much of the fact that some countries with government-controlled medical care have longer life expectancies than that in the United States.

That is where the difference between health care and medical care comes in. Medical care is what doctors can do for you. Health care includes what you do for yourself — such as diet, exercise and lifestyle.

In many arguments against universal health care it has been absolutely essential to distinguish between having health insurance and actually receiving medical care. Having insurance does not automatically mean that one will receive what the insurance covers.

In truth, universal health insurance would actually greatly restrict access to medical care, contrary to what politicians assert, and reduce the quality of it as well. This is due to the economic principle known as supply and demand. When supplies (of a product or service) increase while demand decreases, prices decrease; when demand surpasses supply, prices increase. In both cases, prices help keep supplies aplenty by regulating demand: when things become unaffordable, people become more frugal; when it becomes cheaper, people buy more.

If politicians were to completely abolish prices from the medical system and promise the masses that anyone could get medical care at any time and be guaranteed to receive it, demand would greatly surpass the amount of supplies, and a shortage would result.

A shortage occurring in the medical industry is deadly. People who need treatment in the short-term, those that have a disease or injury, are delayed from getting it because they are in line behind people who have the sniffles or are being reckless in their hospital visits.

For an extensive analysis about the failings of universal health care and how it has already been partially implemented in the US, I recommend the essay "Moral Health Care vs. Universal Health Care" by Lin Zinser and Paul Hsieh, accessible in its entirety for free.

To close with another quote by Mr. Sowell, about politicians:

This is just one of the many ways in which self-righteous busybodies leave havoc in their wake, while going away feeling noble.

No comments: