A commenter over at Coyote Blog brings up what is probably the biggest fear anyone should have about so-called “universal” health-care. I know, health-care is a tired debate, which is why I stay out of it. So allow me to preface my reaction:
Don’t worry about the people who currently opt-out of insurance because they’re young and healthy and maybe a little brash – they’ll be forced to subsidize care for the old, the infirm, and the idiots. Stop worrying about whether you will be able to opt-out of coverage (you won’t). Forget about trying to determine whether such a concept is metaphysically possible (it’s not). Set aside the debate about how the quality of service will suffer tremendously (it will). Stop worrying about whether it will be cheaper than private insurance (it won’t). Stop arguing about how everyone will get the care that they need (everyone won’t). Put all that shit aside – it’s scary. But it gets worse.
Stop worrying about how the level and quantity of individual care will foreverafter be subject to congressional budgetary constraints – your bypass, your kidney transplant, your arthroscopic knee surgery, they’re now budgetary line items – and no matter how much you feel you need them, someone else will be making the decisions: “You don’t need ACL surgery, just get a brace. And in a few years, a wheelchair.” And so on. If you don’t think this will happen – remember that your health will now be in the hands of the same people who determined that our soldiers’ vehicles didn’t need to be heavily armored. That their bodies didn’t need to be heavily armored. The stewards of your health will now be the same people who build bridges to nowhere, or who last year, spent a day in-session honoring the Superbowl Champions.
Now, that thought – courtesy of my Public Finance professor, is pretty effing scary. But I think commenter Doug Murray at Coyoteblog really makes a good point:
When it comes to healthcare, I too am nervous that it’s quality may (sic) decline for me. But I’m scared to death that it will provide the excuse for government to micromanage my life even more than the income tax code does. You can already see it in the debates about motorcycle helmets. The idiocy question aside, the big argument says “since society is paying your medical bills, it gets to dictate what risks you can take.
When I first read Doug’s comment, I thought it was hands-down, scarier than my professor’s fears. But really, they’re a package deal. They get to control both your body, and the amount and quality of care that you receive. They will use treatment, or the threat of witholding treatment, the same way they use entitlements, subsidies and regulations today. Every aspect of your life will be politicized, and the last vestiges of human liberty, snuffed out.