Days of Change

Day 1239 – Liberty on Trial

March 27, 2012

The Supreme Court will not answer any questions about Obamacare this week. This is only the beginning. This may only be a hurdle in changing the health care system, or a massive road block. One aspect that looks likely to be ruled against is the individual mandate. It’s a law that requires the purchase of insurance as an aspect of being a citizen. A state can do this, since states were given larger authority under the Constitution, but the federal government has never had this power. The administration has used the rhetorical argument that we are all in the health care system together. Actually, that’s just socialism.

We may or may not need medical intervention in our lifetimes, but that is no reason to require health insurance. In the past, people simply paid for medical treatment. Insurance started as a way to pay catastrophic and unforeseen medical expenses. Where we have a problem is not coverage, but cost. Current medical costs make every treatment financially catastrophic and only the bulk buying power of insurance companies are doing anything to reduce that.

The United States is the engine of medical science. That has a lot to do with the fact that we are the only major country left that has a free market in health care. As a consequence, we pay more for drugs and technology. We essentially subsidize the world’s socialized medicine. If we went to a universal health care model, we’d take the world down with us. Many countries have had to add more free market forces to their health care systems, since doctors are getting scarce and costs are getting too high.

Health may end up being the ultimate luxury. Long ago, people used to be either alive or dead. Whatever didn’t kill you made you stronger. Then we found miraculous ways of treating illness and helping people. Then people started abusing their health and were kept healthy by modern medicine. It may not be possible to put a value on life, but there are plenty of people who’ve been able to determine the cost. Now we just have to figure out what the price of freedom is.

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