What Kind Of Care, Anyway?
By: Warner Todd Huston
For those that want universal healthcare, the panacea of “coverage” is expected to “give” all those currently without healthcare coverage the access they need to the medical care they now lack. This sounds wonderful all things being equal. It sounds caring and big hearted of them to want everyone to get medical care. But what is the practical outcome of this desire with a system in government hands?
Obama has claimed that he wants to create a sort of standard minimum of coverage provided by government for those entirely without. Again, it sounds like a great idea but how long does that minimum standard stay minimum? Unfortunately, what might be considered minimum now would quickly become all inclusive with just every kind of service imaginable added to the plan as inevitable government “mission creep” continues to raise the bar for political reasons.
Where today a government administrator might imagine that liposuction, botox, and sex change operations don’t fit a minimum coverage, inevitably some Congressman or Senator would have a high donating constituent, or some advocacy group that would cajole them to add it later. this will inevitably cause costs to the government plan to grow without end.
As the founders knew, government tends to take on more and more power unto itself, growing like a weed in a garden until it encompasses the whole plot, chocking out all competitors in the free market. Unless the people cut back government by voting for cost cutters, corruption fighters or small government aficionados, government will become an unwieldy beast. We’ve seen this in California and this is why the state is bankrupt, too.
Applying this to healthcare, we will surely see what might be a basic, minimum coverage plan start out, but it will soon grow to gargantuan proportions once more and more services, operations, and drugs are added to the list that taxpayers will be forced to pay for. More and more patients will uses these unnecessary services causing the system to groan under the weight of what is demanded of it.
In the end, costs will simply run so high that the system will quickly become bankrupted and unsustainable.
Life sustaining services are one thing. But once it is determined that citizens have a “right” to such services on the public dime, it won’t be long before people decide that laser eye surgery is a right, that cosmetic surgery is an important quality of life issue, or that penile extension surgery is something that no one should be forced to do without. And for each of these “necessary” services, a compliant Congressman or Senator can easily be found to vote “yes” on including such necessities in the public plan.
We can easily see that this will be the case when looking at the prison medical systems as a case study. We’ve all heard the ridiculous stories where some judge somewhere forced a state to pay for inmates’ liposuction or sex change operations because these medical systems re operated under color of government authority. Does anyone think that when the first state prison medical system was created that the politicians that authorized it would imagine that a sex change was a necessary medical service to inmates? Certainly not. But we arrived at that point anyway, didn’t we?
We also have the example of the coverage currently offered to New Hampshire state government employees. Due to union overreach and pliant lawmakers, their coverage has evolved into the sort of outlandish, Cadillac plan we are talking about. For a $60 a month premium, state employees get over $20,000 worth of services. Surgery is “free,” MRIs and CAT scans are as well. All sorts of premium services have been added to their plans through purely political, not medical, means.
These examples are the templates that any federal plan will follow. And America will drown in the bills.