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Healthcare is not a Right and Government Can’t Run Your Life

“What do you want to be when you grow up Billy?”
“I want to be a doctor!”
“Well, isn’t that nice. If you work hard and keep your grades up, I bet you can do it.”

And so Billy does just that.

Billy is driven by this idea of what he wants to be when he grows up. In high school he earns a place on the honor roll and a scholarship to university. He works heard to keep his GPA high and studies most diligently. He does so well that he’s accepted into a top-notch medical school. He works and works until it’s his turn to be a resident at a local hospital. The hours are long, the stress is high, and free time is a thing of the past. But there he is with a lab coat and a stethoscope peering out of his pocket doing what he always dreamed of doing. His student loan debt is more than most people have for a mortgage. Unlike some of his friends Billy didn’t desire to specialize. Many of his cohort aren’t done yet and will spend another 8 years of their lives obtaining a mastery of a special segment of medicine. Billy is content that he has worked hard and obtained his dream and he sets up practice in the small town where he grew up and slowly chips away at his debt.

Billy has a skill and you don’t.

What Billy has done is work hard to obtain a skill that he is able to use to make a living. Because of the massive amount of work that goes into it few others in our society will have that skill. On top of that the government heavily regulates the process of becoming a doctor. Even though Billy really could have learned all he had to learn with many fewer years of schooling the government mandates the process. This makes it even more difficult to become a doctor and more costly. Because of this there are few and fewer doctors around.

“The report projects that by 2025 there will be between 61,700 and 94,700 fewer doctors than patients will need. Among primary care physicians alone, there will be a shortage of between 14,900 and 35,600 doctors.” Association of American Medical Colleges Report

Add to that the majority of practicing doctors are older and will soon retire. This of course has caused the above mentioned Association of American Medical Colleges to take the stance that the government should help pay for new doctors. One must of course laugh a little at how transparent their plea is. They represent medical colleges, fewer people are going to them, so they support the government paying for people to go to them. They take the stance that the government should prop up a profession that it has helped to kill. Then of course the government creates a system of health coverage (they mockingly call insurance) that allows more and more people to go to the doctor. Statistics do show that people now treat the Emergency Room like their own personal general practitioner (Meisel & Pines, 2008). Why wait for an appointment, why worry about cost? It’s covered!

This is not your slave

As always, government control leads to failure.

There is a lesson to be learned from the book Jurassic Park about complex systems and the attempt to control them. It fails. Because, as Ian Malcolm puts it, “Living systems are never in equilibrium. They are inherently unstable. They may seem stable, but they’re not. Everything is moving and changing. In a sense, everything is on the edge of collapse.” While this is true we have also witnessed that such complex systems have an incredible ability to naturally react to instability. While they may be on the edge of collapse it actually takes effort to make them collapse. The dinosaurs ruled for millions of years and it took the outside influence of a massive meteor impact to alter that.

The economy of a nation is a complex and living system. No, of course cash and purchasing isn’t alive but it’s driven by human beings and thus is subject to the same organic flow of chaos theory as they are. I’ve always considered chaos theory to be misnamed because it results in, not actual chaos, but in order. Chaos theory really is the basis for Adam Smith’s “Invisible Hand”. When mapped one might expect chaos theory to demonstrate randomness in complex systems. However, what it actually demonstrates is that patterns emerge.

One of the classic modern examples is the wolves in Yellowstone Park. Humans, ranchers especially, consider wolves to be a dangerous creature. Perhaps it was a desire to overcome this fear that originally motivated humans to domesticate them, we’ll never know, but the fear lingers on despite our absolute love of the creatures they became. A pure wolf, is not a dog, and thus is something to be avoided. Because of this wolves were hunted and by 1926 the park was free of them. Once this apex predator was gone from the part prey populations began to rise. Elk, were especially of note since they were the largest of the prey animals. A mere 10 years later the part was already showing decline.

“The range was in deplorable conditions when we first saw it, and its deterioration has been progressing steadily since then.” reported a team of scientists in 1933.

Finally in 1995 the wolves were reintroduced. Since then the population of elk has been naturally managed and the number of trees, especially Aspen, have increased. No wolves had led to a decrease in trees! One would naturally expect no wolves to lead to an increase in the elk population or even to see grasslands cropped close, but the impact on tree populations was a little unexpected. The elk, it seemed, were cropping the shoots as the trees grew so they never were able to mature. This is what happens when we attempt to control a complex system. As side note, the wolf population has leveled out. It increased rapidly, as expected, due to the over abundance of elk but as they prey were brought into a stable number the wolves also leveled out to about 100 animals. I use this example because it is very easy to follow and helps us understand the idea of just how one thing can affect another.

Corporations ARE people.

It’s popular for the left to think of corporations as some independent entity and they seem to get really upset when anyone points out that corporations are people. But the fact is, all of our institutions are just people. It’s stupid to think of a business or corporation as anything other than that. As if it’s alive and can think and act on its own. That’s simply silly. Of course the left likes to use that language in describing corporations so that the listener tends to focus all their anger on this single cold entity rather than take the time to think about the hundreds of actual human beings that make up a corporation and have their lives tied up in its operation and success. It’s easier to talk about a greedy corporation than it is to talk about greedy employees, shareholders, or investors.

It’s important though that we comprehend the truth of this. Corporations are indeed people. Well, they are pieces of paper that legally bind people together in a business operation, but that is composed of and has to do with people. Individuals who are organic, independent and complex. They form a system of moving parts that strive to work toward the common goal of making money for themselves. They are an organic part of the complex system. Each part has its own motivation, skill, breaking point, risk aversion, and other very human attributes.

If we are to be totally frank about the matter it is highly unlikely that anyone within a corporation is greedy. Greed is defined as “excessive or rapacious desire, especially for wealth or possessions.” To begin with, who is say, except the individual, what desire is excessive? You may collect coins and be willing to spend a thousand dollars for that special coin. I, who do not collect coins, may see that as excessive. But is it? No, because I don’t get to decide for you what desires you have. Really when people talk about greed they simply mean that a person has more than they think they should have and they set that measure themselves. How often do you think this measure is built on a platform of envy?

Government simply cannot determine market values.

Like corporations are people, governments are people too. It’s always been a marvel to me that people trust government because government is just a bunch of people and the people who don’t know you. Who could possibly know your life better than you? Could anyone in some distant capital ever really have your best interest at heart? No human on earth knows your mind better than you do. Even if their motives were pure (they aren’t to be sure) they simply don’t have the ability to live your life well on your behalf.

That being true it is also true that they have no greater ability to manage a complex system than anyone else does. A man on a boat in a river can dip in his rudder and change the course of his boat. While his rudder and oar create ripples they don’t change the course of the river. What government seeks is not to just change the flow but to change the very course of the very river without thinking of the consequences. They don’t realize that doing so creates drought in one area and floods in another, they just move the river where they want and ignore the negative aspects because the river is where they want it.

That’s what happened with Obamacare. Very few people actually needed help with their healthcare. It would have been easy to dip in the oar and make sure those few were rescued from the river. But instead they diverted the entire river around those few impacting everyone else whether they liked it or not. It is a classic example of the needs of the few outweighing the needs of many. I suspect those few were an excuse to indulge impure motives of power.

Since the early 1900s, medical special interests have been lobbying politicians to reduce competition. By the 1980s, the U.S. was restricting the supply of physicians, hospitals, insurance and pharmaceuticals, while subsidizing demand. Since then, the U.S. has been trying to control high costs by moving toward something perhaps best described by the House Budget Committee: “In too many areas of the economy — especially energy, housing, finance, and health care — free enterprise has given way to government control in “partnership” with a few large or politically well-connected companies” (Ryan 2012 as quoted by Holly).

It is time to ask a very important question: what if the problems with healthcare can’t be fixed by the government because they were caused by the government in the first place?

I AM Important

In a complex organic system each part runs itself. The individual is actually the most important component of the whole. This is not an endorsement of rugged individualism or Ayn Rand’s emphasis on “I” but an elemental truth. Moses in the Old Testament met God on the mount he had a question for him. God was new to Moses you know. Moses had grown up in Egypt and known many gods, all of which had names, Horus, Osiris, Anubis but now, in front of a god that was actually speaking rather than stone or wood he realized he didn’t know him by any other name than “the god of the Hebrews”.  Moses says to God, “…Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?” The name of God had not been uttered or known to the Hebrews in Egypt. Now Moses was going to tell them he talked to them and the natural question was going to be what they were to call him. This is a good question of course because how can you call upon a god whose name you do not know?

I have always found God’s answer to Moses the most telling piece of scripture, “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:13-14 KJV) God understood all too well the concept of Cogito ergo sum. He existed as the ultimate individual, not “We are that we are”, but I AM! One need not be religious for that passage of ancient text to start one thinking about the word “I”.

If you are one of those arrogant, self-righteous, condescending jerks who thinks that those who don’t want government controlled healthcare because they want people to die and don’t care about others I am guessing it’s because your sense of self is low. Perhaps you try to build yourself up by being the white knight for some and by mocking a few others for not being as altruistic and wonderful as you. Whatever the reason you must know, will eventually find out, that socialism will never work. It is contrary to the very nature of human beings. If you are an atheist who believes man invented God or a religious person who is a Jew, Christian or Muslim then you comprehend, or have the potential to understand the importance of “I”. The atheist will see that this concept is so important that the most successful religions on the planet all share that idea and you think this is because man invented a god that symbolized what was most important to him and a god that would protect and value the person. If you are a believer then you see God as either your creator or your father and either way he considers you individually.

Privatize, Privatize!

Because the individual knows himself and his needs so well, only he can truly manage his own life. This is what a free market takes into account. It allows the individual to pick and choose what is important. People make mistakes, to be sure, and can fall on hard times. Society has shown itself very able to rise up and care for those people who need it. History has shown this too is best done at a smaller level. Family helping family, community helping community but the larger and more distant the help gets from those being helped the poorer the help tends to be and more people are affected by that help.

A free competitive market can still exist with third-party payment. Consumers want the most benefits for the lowest health care premiums and also want to limit employee wages assigned to health care coverage. Insurance companies and self-insured employers want to pay the lowest amount possible to physicians and hospitals. If the health care industry was indeed competitive at all supply levels, suppliers would aggressively offer insurers competitive prices for high quality services.

Insurers would have no trouble selecting health care policies for their policyholders that encouraged them to obtain the best service they could for the lowest cost. Consumers would protect themselves from unethical providers by taking their business to those who had a good reputation for quality work at reasonable prices without unnecessary services. In a competitive market, providers are forced to obtain this reputation or they go out of business. (Holly, 2017)

Obamacare “helped” millions of people who didn’t need help. That’s not an opinion, that’s objective fact. It messed with the lives of millions of people who were perfectly content with their situation and had written into the law that they were forced to take that help. How could any such law be anything other than a disaster? It could not be and was doomed from the moment it sought to control the lives of others. Getting government out of healthcare is the only solution that will actually work. The number of people who can’t afford it will be reduced as a result making helping them a much easier task.

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