I can’t remember a more spectacular fireworks show than what we had at the fairgrounds in Hampton July 3rd. I suppose Thomas Jefferson was pounding away on his keyboard on that day, 241 years ago.
We were at the Municipal Band concert and hadn’t planned on staying for the fireworks due to the yawners they used to have out at Beeds Lake. But the show that night came awfully close to the degree of genius of that declaration penned so many years ago.
Steve Huling did a fantastic and heartfelt job singing the Lee Greenwood classic, “God Bless the USA,” at the concert. It occurred to me that a lyric in that song embodies why we are burdened with this ongoing debate about healthcare.
“And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me”
Men gave that right to me? I don’t think so. Jefferson had it right; we are endowed by our Creator (or any amorphous form you personally deem responsible). A man may have died to preserve those rights or guarantee those rights, but no man gave us those rights. Those words may apply to slaves and slave-owners, but not a citizen of the country founded on the words in The Declaration.
If a man can give us rights, he can take them away. The reason we have this vast pool of wealth the single payer advocates want to tap into, is because of the guarantees provided by government that we may be enriched by our own efforts.
The number of people on the dole for healthcare may be thirty percent since Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society began in 1964. But the dollar amount is much greater. Medical costs skyrocket after age 65. Two thirds of medical costs in this country were borne by government even before The ACA (Obamacare).
Goods and services with no government subsidies or interference have shrunk to a quarter of their cost of 60 years ago in terms of hours worked. Healthcare has quadrupled during that same time with the help of government’s elimination of most of the competitive marketplace in 1964.
There are other reasons for higher costs such as the limiting of the number of doctors and hospitals that trade associations lobbied for over the years. Truman’s establishment of IRS deductibility for employer-provided health insurance distanced the patient from healthcare decisions and that led to increased demand with less restraint on costs. Nixon’s wage and price controls further isolated prices from patient choice.
The problem really is that the productive people who fund all this are starting to step aside. There have been 250,000 jobs lost due to the 50 employee cap on exclusion from mandated employer insurance. The businesses not started and not expanded because the extra work only went to taxes can’t be measured. Who wouldn’t want to simply enjoy life rather than work for free?
What to do? The money will run out. The haters who look at medical care as something they rightfully own will want to protect it like anyone would protect their property from thieves. These people must be appeased or they will become increasingly violent. Remember the so-called conservatives screaming, “Keep your hands off my Medicare!” a couple years ago? They thought it was theirs too.
Appeasement to me looks like continuing the socialist system for those who’ve planned their lives around it but advocacy of an insurance industry that only insures individuals and adjusts rates to reflect risk. Smokers, race car drivers, and Sumo wrestlers should pay what the insurance company offers or find a new lifestyle and pay less.
To blame high medical costs on free markets is to ignore the facts. That Jefferson guy said government will grow and liberty will shrink. A good first step would be to stop celebrating liberty that doesn’t exist, recognize the problem, and notice that immediate gratification is a sign of an uncivilized society. That is what single payer is. It is legalized theft that is not justified by wishful thinking.