Saturday, August 15, 2009

Caring About Health

Where would You Like to see Your Government wi...

Image by wstera2 via Flickr

Where the ‘economic argument’ regarding health care reform fails.

Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe has a great article at Mises Daily: A Four-Step Healthcare Solution. Please give it a read. I am very much in agreement but there is a point I think needs to be addressed in the light of current events.

Points one and two, regarding government licensing and over-regulation of health care providers and the medical industry, are right on the money. Using licensing and regulation to “paper over” the cracks simply doesn’t work. Government intervention does nothing that academic accreditation and consumer watchdog organizations can’t do for themselves.

Point three paints a clear picture of how government interference rewards the irresponsible and breaks the feedback needed to provide quality service. Addressing consumer concerns creates quality service. Defending the irresponsible at the cost of the responsible creates… well you can clearly see what that policy has created.

All of these arguments provide useful talking points on health care reform. But point four has a problem. The unsentimental analysis of the economist simply opens the door to “Death panels will kill my baby” reactions.

Where the logic is true, subsidizing the irresponsible creates a market for irresponsibility, many of the causes for ill-health and infirmity lie far outside the sphere of personal responsibility. Age, for example, or the simple fact that the actions of a few irresponsible people can easily overwhelm the precautions of the responsible.

I personally think the argument for point four is simply the government is incapable of participating in the “care” portion of health care. Any given government policy, no matter how well-intentioned, devolves into a series of detached bureaucratic functionaries matching perfunctory profiles against arcane checklists and stamping “denied” or “approved” in the appropriate box. Those involved with the people themselves become dispensers of '”policy” instead of care.

Private charities can do so much more when people are free to give of their time and resources without interference. People, not “programs” provide real care. That’s what builds community and that’s what creates reform.

Related articles by Zemanta

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, August 07, 2009

Nasty, Brutish and Short

Leviathan Thomas Hobbes, 1651

Image via Wikipedia

In Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes presents a sad picture of the nature of mankind: “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Back in the days of Bellum omnium contra omnes ("the war of all against all") you could define “health care” as a strong arm, a fast mind and a sharp stick. Better sharpen those sticks, folks, it looks like "the war of all against all" is back again.

It seems everybody is plagued by signs and portents of a fascistic coup. Rush Limbaugh is seeing Nazi eagles in the Greek caduceus and Rep. Brian Baird is hiding from brownshirts. Those not seeing apparitions of Hitler (or the Joker) seem to be obsessed with Astroturf.

How will it all end? After all the carefully staged theatrics and “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” orations are at an end, Pres. Obama will warm up the Executive Pen and sign off on his own Healthcare Package, making it an Executive Order. This will be followed quickly by a stern, fatherly speech on the theme of “Now look what you made me do.”

The skies will part, angels will sing and the Republican Brownshirts will be taken up by the Rapture. Democrats will raise high their Nazi Caduceii(?) and align with the Planetary Intelligence. The rest of us will bear witness to the Miracle of Astroturf turned to (purely medicinal) Marijuana.

The petty bickering will cease and the output of carbon dioxide will suddenly drop by two-thirds, quickly killing most plant life. The death of most animal species (us included) will follow soon after. Better sharpen those sticks.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]