by Jay Johansen | Jan 1, 2009
To those of you who support national health insurance, I have one question: Don't you care about the poor? For surely the inevitable result of greater government involvement and control of the national health care system is that the poor and the lower middle class will be shut out of quality medical care.
It doesn't take a genius or a prophet to predict this. Just look at existing government programs. In what program that the government runs now do the poor get equal treatment with the rich?
I'm writing this in 2009. Earlier this year the government gave hundreds of billions of dollars of "stimulus money" to the largest banks in America. It followed this up with a bailout of the big auto companies. Suppose that the owner of a corner grocery store called the White House and asked for a few million to bail out his business. Do you think he'd get anything? Would the person who answered the phone even connect him to one of the hot-shot government decision-makers, or would he just be told to get lost? Suppose some homeless person called and asked for some bailout money. Would they talk to him for five seconds? Of course not. The people who get the money are people who already have lots of money and lots of political connections.
Under a privately run medical care system, you get all the medical care that you can afford, or that charitable organizations will assist you to obtain. The rich get all they want. The middle class usually have insurance and get all they reasonably need. With all the free clinics and charity programs and emergency rooms that will take people regardless of ability to pay, even the poor get pretty good medical care.
Under a government-run system, government bureaucrats would decide what medical care you get. If you honestly believe that the bureaucrats will tell a member of Congress or a billionaire campaign contributor that he can't have that vital organ transplant because a homeless person is ahead of him in line, you're living in a fantasy world. The rich and powerful will still get all the medical care they want. Everyone else will be at the mercy of bureaucrats.
A government-run medical system will combine the smooth efficiency of the motor vehicle bureau, the integrity of Congress, and the compassion of the IRS. The biggest losers will be the middle class and the poor.
© 2009 by Jay Johansen