Monday, May 16, 2005

The health care question

As most of my regular readers know, I enjoy using readers' comments as fodder for new posts here at the World. In today's reader comment, Renee Daley replies further to my assertion that the national Democratic Party has become the political engine of socialism/Marxism in this country:

As a former liberal and Democrat, I absolutely agree with you, David. Socialism is exactly where the left wants us to be. They will not be happy until we have universal health care and redistribution of wealth. If history taught us anything it was that this idea did not fair so well in the former Soviet Union. Just remember if Cuba is so great, why do we have mass exodus of refugees to the United States?

I believe the basic premise of what Renee says here, of course. The political left does have as its ultimate goal the propitiation of socialism in the U.S. and around the world. I trust my non-Catholic readers will give me a bit of leeway while I treat a couple of points that Renee made in her reply from a Catholic perspective.

The problem with universal health care as socialists see it is not the idea that everyone, regardless of economic situation or pre-existing condition, ought to have access to good health care. That idea is not radical, nor does it necessarily indicate socialist sympathies, and in fact it is well within the purview of proper Catholic thought. The problem with the socialist version of universal health care is twofold:

1.) The government would determine what is and is not covered. Assuming everything would be covered, does that also mean that taxpayers who are pro-life must be forced to pay for someone's murder of their unborn child? Would taxpayers be forced to pay for artificial contraceptives as well? What if euthanasia were legal (God forbid), would taxpayers be forced to pay for the killing of the aged, the infirm, the disabled? No health care system is morally acceptable where public monies are made to go toward paying for aborticide, birth control, or euthanasia.

2.) If the health care system is managed by the government, that means that the state can determine what it will pay drug companies, medical supply companies, doctors, and nurses. On the surface, this sounds like a great system until the doctors and nurses go other places where they can get better pay and benefits. If you don't think it can happen in a socialized system, know that it is happening in Canada right now. Many a Canadian doctor and nurse are practicing in the States because they do not feel they are paid well or treated fairly in Canada.

It may surprise many of my readers to learn that I have actually come to believe that access to decent health care is a right. Like other rights, however, the right to health care comes with responsibilities for all parties concerned. The recipient of health care cannot live a knowingly risque lifestyle, and then say to the public when that lifestyle results in inevitable health problems that the taxpayer must foot the bill. Doctors, medical personnel, and drug companies should not inflate prices for the sake of merely maintaining a profit margin. While I wouldn't dare insinuate that these parties should not make a profit or even live well, few would argue that the cost of health care has been inflated far above other social costs. The state, on the other hand, should not attempt to control costs, because the controls will be strictly artificial. Such controls do nothing to decrease the actual cost of health care.

There is no easy solution to the health care problem in America. A purely government system is one solution that is an unhealthy one.


At Tuesday, May 17, 2005 3:23:00 PM, Anonymous Renee Daley said...


I agree that health care should be available to all who need it. The federal government should not shoulder this burden. However the federal government should aide, companies and corporations to do more to offer these benefits to their employees through tax cuts and encentives to small businesses and the like.

For example, Matt's job at Corporate Research International. They only offered health benefits to those employees that were considered salaried, leaving numerous hourly wage earners with no health or dental coverage.

Then take for instance my employer - McClellan Health Systems. My cost has gone down somewhat since they took ownership of the nursing home I work at, but the sole cost of health, dental,vision coupled with city,state and federal income tax wipes out half of my pay check. If companies had encentive to help cover premium costs for health coverage for their employees both the employer and those working for them would be better off finacially.

However, those on the left will not hear of tax cuts for what they consider the wealthiest among us. If we eliminate the need of big government - there would no longer be a need for the democratic party as we know it today.


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