Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Snake Bares its Fangs

John David Lewis has written an excellent article that succinctly explains why universal medical care/socialized medical care/single-payer medical care/public option medical care systems are not only impractical economically, but are also immoral. We must pay special attention to the medical care scene for the present as the America's Affordable Health Choices Act is coming up to vote in the next month or so.

As I have explained in my article Poisonous Snake Bite? Run to the Hospital!, the impracticality of socialized medical care (this is the label that is most accurate and the one I will use consistently) is a simple supply and demand problem. If politicians say that people can have as much medical care as they want at no price then people start to "demand", i.e. use up more medical resources than they otherwise would have and a shortage of medical resources occurs (doctors, instruments, medicines, etc.). Yes, that means long lines for appointments and treatments, if they are available and if the politicians determine that you are allowed to have any.

But not only would the present supply be overwhelmed by a massive increase in demand, it would also decrease. Of all the rambling that goes on about how overpaid doctors are, it is seldom acknowledged the nature of the doctor's profession. To become a doctor requires years of intensive study, experience, and the willingness to take on the risk of contracting a disease or illness from one's patients. To demand that a doctor take on more patients for less money is to demand that he work harder and take on an even higher risk of getting a sickness without getting just rewards. Such is enough to make a doctor decide to exclude patients with a certain governmental insurance plan, to open up a concierge practice and accept cash payments only, or to leave the medical profession altogether. It is already happening, so imagine how much worse things will be if the AAHCA is passed. Medical insurance does not mean one is guaranteed to actually receive medical care.

But, of course, John Lewis above has warned us about using purely economical arguments. An author on the blog Noodlefood once said that humans are willing to create Hell on earth if they think it is moral.

Socialized medical care is immoral. To say that one has a right to medical care is to also state that someone has a duty to satisfy that right, which means that the right to medical care requires the enslavement of some to satisfy that right. There is no right to medical care, for it runs into the contradiction that some have the right to violate the rights of others. Unless these moral implications are made clear to the public, we will only be fighting a Sisyphean battle with this type of legislation; right up until it inevitably gets passed.

It would not get passed, or even considered, if it was to be rejected on moral, rather than solely practical, grounds. As always, I recommend reading the analysis Moral Health Care vs. “Universal Health Care”, which deeply examines both the moral and practical sides to the debate about universal medical care. Sending an e-mail to one's representatives would not hurt either.


Burgess Laughlin said...

Your theme -- socialized medicine is immoral as well as impractical -- is on target.

Of course, the problem with rebutting proposals for extending socialized medicine goes even deeper than the moral argument (which is an argument against altruism and for rational egoism).

The moral argument for socialized medicine, has no rational basis. Instead, it must be based on mysticism of one sort or another. And mysticism is based on supernaturalism, the notion that there are two worlds or two dimensions of one world.

To rebut socialized medicine and similar programs at the root requires overturning supernaturalism, mysticism, altruism, and statism -- in favor of views of one natural lawful world; reason as an exclusive guide; rational egoism; and capitalism, the social/political system that is dedicated solely to protect individual rights -- especially the fundamental rights to life, liberty, and property as steps in the pursuit of happiness.

The fight to pull up the roots -- down to supernaturalism -- will be a long one, but it can be done.

Benpercent said...

Thank you for your epistemological observation Mr. Laughlin.