Freedom and Finance: Healthcare

by Rocket Finance


I oppose the nationalization of health care for a number of reasons:

  • I am convinced that we have the best health care in the world. Not always the cheapest, but we have access to the latest treatments and services and they are always getting better. Lazer eye surgery, better medicine, advancements in cancer treatments have come about primarily due to competition in what remains of the health care free market. Roger Stark from the Washingt0n Policy Center has some thoughts about what is not wrong with health care in the U.S.
  • There are problems with our health care system, but I believe many of the problems are government made – HMO’s, frivolous malpractice suits, other government policies have contributed to rising costs and discouraged good service. Remember that our health care system is already close to 50% nationalized, so at least some of the blame for our current problems has to lie at the feet of government bureaucrats.
  • Some problems with our health care are overblown, primarily the myth about the “47 million uninsured Americans”. You can decide if this oft-quoted statistic is a myth on your own. Investors Business Daily or the Washington Times are good places to start.

Before going further, I highly recommend this essay written by Betsey McCaughey that appeared on Bloomberg’s Opinion page. Her story about the health care bureaucracy in the U.K.’s refusal to provide drugs to prevent macular degeneration in the elderly until they had gone blind in one eye is especially compelling. You could also find some more reasons through asking just about any Canadian about their experiences in government run clinics.

The above items are all good reasons to oppose government run health care. However, the primary reason that I oppose the nationalization of health care is simple: Freedom.

We have often heard the old adage that “freedom isn’t free”. Typically that thought is connected to the many sacrifices of American soldiers over the last hundred years – and rightly so. However, there are other implications of this idea that are not a commonly discussed. Freedom exacts a price from the non-fighting citizenry as well. Good health care is not free and it is not a right.

For almost all Americans, health care decisions are made by the individual with advice from his physician and his family.  Government health care, while supposedly less expensive, will take those decision and put them in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats.

When our first child was born, our physician suggested several prenatal tests that could determine if our child might be born with Downs Syndrome or have other physical or developmental challenges. We chose not to have the tests because nothing those tests revealed would have changed the way we cared for our child. Had she been born with major health challenges, we would have cared for her and loved her to the best of our ability. In many countries, government health care would have forced us to carry out the tests and possibly even compel us to terminate the pregnancy if certain defects were discovered.

Government health care will not allow you to make up your own mind about treatment options – even if you have the money to pay for certain procedures or treatments. Currently, we have options. These options are sometimes difficult, but in the end our freedom is preserved.

As Americans, under privatized health care, you have the following choices for providing health care for your family:

  1. Work hard to get a job with good health care benefits. Many Americans do not have good health care because they don’t have a job with health insurance. Nothing is stopping them from acquiring the skills necessary to move up the ladder.
  2. Purchase your own insurance – choose the plan that fits your lifestyle, age, risk tolerance and health history. Compare plans and shop around to get the best price – just like everything else in life.
  3. Pay for treatment out of pocket. We will not always have this option under government insurance. My family was once without health insurance for a brief time and my wife needed her wisdom teeth pulled. They were causing major pain. The state health care plan that we were under would not pay for wisdom tooth extraction, so I told her to go to a surgeon and we would pay out of pocket. However, several surgeons told us that they could not accept a cash payment from someone on state health insurance. State insurance would not cover the procedure and the surgeons would not do the procedure for cash. We finally went to a different county, lied and said that we were not on government assistance and paid for the procedure out of pocket. We had no other choice.
  4. Beg. Seriously, if my son needed a heart transplant and our insurance would not cover it, I would bang on the door of every heart surgeon in the state and if none of them could help me out, I would go to the next state.
  5. Request aid from your church. Most congregations will help a member with a major health need. I have known churches where the entire congregation does not have health insurance. They all pitch in during times of need.
  6. Ask for help from friends and family.
  7. Go into debt. I would gladly charge up every credit card I had in order to get the medical care that my family needed.
  8. Go bankrupt. If going bankrupt meant that my child or wife or parents were going to get good health care, I would do it in a second. Under centralized health care, you don’t have that option.

Like I said, not all of these method for meeting you medical needs are fun, but they all preserve the free market that produces new, faster and safer health care techniques every day. I hope you never have a health care emergency where your only option for help is the “munificence” of the federal government.

This post is another in the series called Freedom and Finance. You may also want to read:

Freedom and Finance: Introduction

Freedom and Finance: Religion

  1. 6 Responses to “Freedom and Finance: Healthcare”

  2. By Sandy on Mar 2, 2009 | Reply

    This is a tough one for me. I have been on both sides of the insurance debate. It’s tough being someone who is working at a reputable company that does not offer health insurance until you are there for a certain time. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have the skills or education to obtain great health insurance. My current company which is a worldwide leader in its industry is reducing healthcare benefits. I think it will be interesting to watch the debates and hear the facts on both sides.

  3. By rocketc on Mar 2, 2009 | Reply

    Unfortunately, many of the forces that put health insurance out of your company’s reach are a result of government policies.

    It is possible that your company is actually lobbying Congress to pass nationalized health care since it could save your company a great deal of money.

  4. By plonkee on Mar 3, 2009 | Reply

    I’m British as you know, and over here ‘healthcare free at the point of use’ is effectively part of our unwritten constitution – supported by all political parties from extreme left to extreme right.

    I’m not sure which countries you are citing in general, but here in the UK you are always welcome to pay for your own treatment instead of using the NHS if you wish to do so. You can get any approved drugs (like the equivalent of FDA approved) if you are willing to pay for them. The decision whether to have tests is also up to the individual.

    In pregnancy you will be routinely offered ultrasound, and possibly CV or amniocentesis in much the same way that you would in the US, and there are similar take up rates. I don’t know of anywhere where termination is compelled in any circumstances. In many European countries (who all have socialised medical systems) the pro-life lobby is as strong as (but less violent than) the US, and there are several countries where termination is illegal.

    I fail to understand why it’s acceptable to have a socialised fire service, but not a socialised medical service. Perhaps it’s because a fire might affect your property, but my heart attack is an emergency only to me.

    At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you choose to fund healthcare as long as everyone has access to affordable heathcare. I think that the current US system makes starting a business particularly difficult which I find ironic.

  5. By rocketc on Mar 3, 2009 | Reply

    Good comments, Plonkee. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

    In reference to your point about emergency personel being socialized – there are a number of differences between the two, but the primary distinction is the issue of what is appropriate for local, state and federal governments. Your local fire department, adminstrated and funded locally is generally a good thing and every city sets up a department that fits their needs. Frankly, I am in favor of locally run schools, hospitals and just about everything else. When I speak of government control, I am primarily referring to federal control, which in our country is almost always a bad thing.

    In reference to your point about paying for your own medical care – proponents of national health care in the US are specifically trying to remove the “gap” between the rich and poor when it comes to health care. It sounds like your system does not do this.

    How does the UK system compare with the
    Canadian health care system? Because we here almost nothing good about health care north of the border. Just one example – my brother in law, who is Canadian, had to wait three months in order to have a broken finger examined by a doctor.

    In the United States, anytime a service is federalized, the quality goes down and corruption shoots up. Some examples: education, road maintenance, social security, and more.

  6. By plonkee on Mar 3, 2009 | Reply

    In the UK, access to emergency healthcare is excellent. We have very skilled medical personnel and great facilities. Access to elective treatment is varied – some specialities have waiting lists and some don’t. It also depends where you live. It shouldn’t and no one wants it to, but in practice it does.

    The areas where the NHS is weakest, and you would be advised to pay if you can are probably physiotherapy and dentistry. In all cases it’s not that the anything about the facilities or people is poor (same standard either way), simply that there are long waiting lists. We don’t have a quick fix for this.

    There isn’t a significant gap between rich and poor for most medical services. Most of the differences that exist are not caused by funding – e.g. it’s hard to get GPs to work in deprived inner cities regardless of the country you’re in. The notion of going bankrupt because you got sick would be anathema in the UK – the NHS is actually very popular and if anything people expect it to cover more rather than less.

    Although I realise that there is a difference between state, federal and local governments in the States, I sort of don’t get it. Here in England at least local and central government are not differentiated in people’s minds in the same way. I think it’s a bit different in Scotland which has 3 tiers of government and hates interference from Westminster.

    I think if we were in charge between us we could come up with a fair system. I am not as wedded to the completely free NHS as most of my compatriots are. I am certain that everyone (in the whole wide world) should have access to affordable healthcare, and there are many things that work out cheaper free (or nominal cost) in the long run – mostly because no one really lets people just die in the streets.

  7. By rocketc on Mar 3, 2009 | Reply

    The best thing you have ever written on this blog:

    “I think if we were in charge between us we could come up with a fair system.”


Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.