Saturday, October 20, 2012

"If Government Can Pay for a War, Why Can't it Pay for Healthcare?"

A recent status update of a friend on Facebook that I met with distaste.

The issue isn't whether or not government should help people, that's obviously its only job, but as to how. This is more an issue of federal scope of responsibility versus municipal and county governments. Local control and decision making power with a body (federal in this case) to ensure they don't fight is what this country was created to be.

The power and lure of a socialist national system, which is what the Democratic party in our country is evolving into, is the "helping people" mantra that sounds really good, to everyone liberal and conservative. In a large federal system, in practice it is expensive, inefficient, and bureaucratic. Let the feds do what they do best: and yes, that is protecting the borders through trade law and fighting foreign wars. We should be more involved in our local county health department and let our voice to DC be on what wars, battles, or defense measures we deem worth our time and money.

We simply cannot afford to provide a single-payer system: but even if we could, it's poorly administered, and that money could go farther on an individual and local level. Trusting a body that has already bankrupted social security and medicaid is folly.

An interesting read of the tax and spend clause of the constitution, shows that while it is certainly a legal and constitutional use of taxpayer money to pay for federal healthcare under the umbrella of its component "general welfare" clause, the interpretation is often debated. It is best to err on the side of too much liberty.

As we march toward socialism, we have many examples of countries who had originally followed our constitution in designing their own democracies but are now breaking under the weight of its own spending obligations and the tax burden that places upon its people. PIIGS come to mind, with Britain not far behind them. Any American who has lived in or used the social medicine systems in those countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, and many others, is full or stories of the rationing and limitation on care choices.

No question that our current healthcare system is in dire need of improvement through reform as I know firsthand after my recent frustrating attempts to secure health insurance for a self-employed family. However, there are many ways to encourage private health insurance to be better, such as opening up competition across state lines, or regulations that encourage performance and favor good behavior through competition, or empowering county health systems to provide care for the un and under insured in our communities, that should be exhausted before the radical move of universalizing healthcare that example has already shown us is no answer. There is work to be done, so let's focus our efforts on working where it will do the most good and indeed truly help others rather than just pretend that we are.

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