Health care reform needs individual responsibility, not government mandate
Famed University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman once said, “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”
This still holds true when one considers the size and scope of the government, as well as the number of policies and programs that we are told we absolutely cannot live without.
One area of policy this statement is especially applicable to is health care.
Throughout the 20th century, Congress passed legislation that has consequently increased government involvement in the health care industry, linked health insurance to employment for most people and unintentionally increased the costs of care, while decreasing competition in the industry.
The Affordable Care Act is just another in a long line of bad government policies that seems to be based on intent rather than outcomes.
Although there is much in the over-2,400-page bill that is controversial and potentially problematic, the individual mandate, which imposes a financial penalty on individuals who do not possess health insurance, is easily the act’s most contentious and intently-discussed provision.
It was recently ruled by the Supreme Court that Congress could not mandate the purchase of insurance to individuals under the commerce clause, but that Congress was allowed to levy a tax on those without insurance coverage.
Although this could include wealthier people who may see no need for health insurance (and who could therefore afford the penalty), it could also easily include people who are self-employed, working multiple part-time jobs or who work for a company that doesn’t provide insurance. In such cases, penalizing those who don’t have coverage amounts to a tax increase on those least able to afford it.
Rather than lowering healthcare costs for Americans, this instead requires people to purchase insurance from the same companies that have been accused of overcharging and driving the costs up.
Essentially, the ACA requires that all insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions, and then ensure the subsidization of the costs for this coverage by requiring that everyone purchase health insurance, regardless of need.
While this is generally defended by referencing those suffering from conditions like leukemia and multiple sclerosis, it also easily includes people who smoke a couple packs a day, or who eat at McDonald’s several times a week and drink a liter of soda with each meal.
Which then invites the government into our personal lives to ban all sorts of things for “the good of the people.”
Once the government has its hands in something, it reaches for more control- once it controls health care, everything that affects our health is within its reach. We’re already seeing a push to eliminate smoking, and fast food and soda have also been demonized.
It’s obvious smoking, fast food and sugary drinks are unhealthy. However, as an adult (and as an individual) you should have the right to make those choices for yourself.
Do we as adults really need a babysitter to tell us what choices to make? With someone else making all of your choices, you will never learn self-reliance.
Whoever controls your health, controls your life. So, who do you trust controlling your life more: yourself, or politicians and bureaucrats with their own agendas and concerns?