This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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The Bill Always Comes Due
Healthcare is a hot topic. The myth is that it is a right and it is free. The truth is, however, that the bill always comes due. As expected, the Democrat Party decided to cast their voter nets into a stream filled with intellectual laziness. This should frighten American citizens because a shift toward a morally dishonest Leftist platform of government programs promising “free stuff” breeds and exacerbates demagoguery.
As an immigrant from socialist Finland, I am especially terrified by the idea of a government-run, “free” health care system promoted by virtually every 2020 Democrat presidential candidate.
Noble Intentions but Failed Results
Presumably, some Left-leaning readers might tend to be surprised that someone can oppose a noble idea like free or affordable healthcare. Isn’t healthcare a 21st century human right? First, please spare us the silly semantics. “Free” and “affordable” are rather overused soundbites built-in to government gibberish and designed to appeal to our basest emotions. Furthermore, the supporters of universal healthcare — like the system in Scandinavia -– naively believe that any public policy and governance proposal is effective so long as the intent is noble or has a nice-sounding name. Following implementation, actual results do not seem to matter, and the blame conveniently shifts towards the free-market system.
“Free” and “affordable” are overused soundbites built-in to government gibberish and designed to appeal to our basest emotions.
This nefarious scapegoating process demands more government power under the auspices of so-called public intellectuals. This is the tiresome cohort who argue that a government program fails because it was insufficiently large or bold enough rather than its inherently flawed nature. Case in point: Did someone in all honesty believe that ObamaCare was designed to succeed? It was merely a necessary political gambit to manipulate America’s public sentiments toward acceptance of greater government regulation of the healthcare insurance industry.
The Scandinavian System
The Democrat Party has apparently shifted from idolizing collapsing socialist Venezuela to another socialist “paradise,” namely Scandinavia. With that mind, I would be remiss if I didn’t share my family’s experience in Finland’s socialized healthcare system. After all, without exception, every European nation with socialized or universal medical care is also fiscally insolvent despite egregiously high tax-rates.
In Finland, every citizen seems ingrained with the belief of supposedly never being placed in a life-threatening situation while waiting for medical treatment or face financial difficulties for paying for it. This idea was pushed to us by our politicians, teachers, bosses, colleagues, neighbors, friends and, of course, the elitist intellectuals. Consequently, citizens lack the incentive to put money aside for unexpected circumstances such as medical expenses. And why should we when the highest marginal tax rate in Finland is over 60%? Thus, we expected the state (alas, other taxpayers) to take care of us if or when the need emerges. It turns out all that was a blatant lie.
A Personal Story
In early 2003, my mother was diagnosed with an aggressive form of ovarian cancer. It progressed beyond the point of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Surgery was the only solution. Although naturally devastated and frightened, we quickly agreed to this grim option. To our shock, the doctor notified my mother that she would qualify for an appointment with a cancer specialist in three months. After the seeing the specialist, there would be another three months or so before surgery could be done. When the government promises to deliver a service to you in six months, expect to receive it, at best, in nine months. This particular timetable essentially constituted my mother’s death sentence. After being told our whole life that in Finland, unlike in America, you’ll never die on a medical treatment waiting list, we learned very fast that this statement was and is a blatant lie.
In a highly regulated and licensed marketplace. Finland’s government does allow private healthcare companies to operate. Licenses, however, are not allocated through a competitive bidding/auction process. Instead, they are parceled out through connections to the political ruling class. Naturally, competition is stifled, and providers can set prices astronomically high.
But what other option is available to someone, like my mother, with a serious condition? Through a private doctor, my mother went through consultation, surgery, and initial recovery in 45 days. With the grace of God, she is today cancer free. But unfortunately, we had to declare bankruptcy as a result. So much for the “never having to face financial difficulties because of medical expenses” promise. It turns out that was also a blatant lie.
The Health Care Myth: Lies and Empty Political Promises
Under a socialized healthcare system, subjective value judgments are a necessary part of evaluating whose condition or state of health deserve priority and hence treatment. This is an unavoidable consequence of the law of scarcity and excess demand: You make something “free,” and reactionary people tend to over consume it while the supply diminishes. Subsequently, the government must ration care and medicine via something that Sen. Ted Cruz and others called “death panels,” which is a very familiar concept to UK citizens who are trapped in that country’s National Health Service.
Measuring good quality of life is one of the main problems in making such evaluations. As an example, is a blind person more worthy of a heart surgery than a person who sees perfectly but has ovarian cancer? This creates an additional problem in preventive treatment: If quality of life is measured on an ad hoc basis, an ailment that leads to poor quality of life later on should be treated immediately. Not treating it would diminish one’s comparative value against others in the future.
Circling back to my family’s experience in Finland, even with extremely high payroll taxes deducted from our paychecks, our family came to learn firsthand how “free” was far from it. When government makes healthcare “free,” not only would you pay for all of it through higher taxes, but also with something far more valuable than money. And something that none of us can ever regain: Time.
The True Cost of Health Care
With the cultural, political, economic and philosophical direction of the progressives in America, the US will sadly become a copy of a European-style system. It will have universal dependency augmented by bureaucrats whose main concern is anything but saving time or taxpayer money. That being said, I beg of Americans to think deeply about the ramification of these so-called noble government programs, which promise Heaven on Earth. More often than not, these blatant lies deliver unhealthy dose of taxes, long waiting times, and most importantly, deadly rationing via government death panels.