Health care: More heartache

Matthew White

I’ve always been suspicious of something that sounds too good to be true.

For instance, the promise of providing health care for every man, woman and child for free. Sure, health care is something that every person needs, but doctors don’t work for free, and the products they use are expensive. How then can it be provided for everyone without everyone paying?

Proponents of universal health care would solve these problems – for instance, provide free health care for everyone – by expanding the size of the federal government and increasing the role it plays in our daily lives. Also, they would collect more of our money in taxes to pay for these helpful “services.”

The creation of a universal health care program would mean a new government bureaucracy, perhaps the largest in history, that would concern itself with processing payments and keeping health statistics on all Americans.

It would also mean the destruction of our private health care industry. Under a universal health care system, doctors would be financially motivated to play the paperwork game rather than provide health care. Because navigating the bureaucracy would become the way doctors earn a paycheck, it would take priority over helping patients, a simple technicality of employment.

A further disadvantage of universal health care is it would likely decrease the amount of doctors in practice. Doctors, who are used to billing patients’ insurance companies, would instead have to negotiate with a government body, and would likely see a cut in pay.

The new bureaucracy would increase the amount of personal information in the government’s hands, decreasing even further the small amount of individual privacy we have left. The government has a long history of security lapses and inefficiency; should we really invest that sort of trust in it?

At least now, under the current system, we know what to expect. Giving up the ability to make decisions about our health care would potentially pose a very serious risk. What if it made decisions that went against the patient’s (or patient’s family’s) wishes? If the government’s footing the bill, it’s the government the doctors will listen to.

The last (perhaps not final) disadvantage is that the new bureaucracy would be sustained through tax dollars. This means whether you needed care or not, you would still owe the government the same amount. It would also mean that you’d be paying for other people’s medical care.

So, if you want to put a system into place that puts your personal information at risk, allows the government to make health care choices for you, takes the financial incentive out of being a doctor and increases your taxes to pay the medical bills of people you haven’t even met, then maybe universal health care is for you.

As for me, I’m going to stand by the words of Winston Churchill. “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

Matthew White is a senior magazine journalism major and point/counterpoint columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].