Why the Health Care Issue is Different

I was sitting here today, and was trying to discern why the government-run health care issue made me more nervous than other government welfare programs.  I get ticked off, for example, about the horrendous rates of return (think negative interest rates) paid out by Social Security on what are nominally our retirement account premiums.  But I don't get nervous.  Why?

I think because unlike other welfare proposals that [just] cost us a ridiculous amount of money, the current plans for providing universal health care imply that my personal health care and health care options will get much worse.  When government provided housing, my housing did not get worse.  When government provided a ripoff retirement plan, my personal non-government retirement savings did not take a hit.  In all these cases, we paid out tons of money to provide some terrible base-level services for the poor and the true-government-believers in the middle class, but my options did not get worse.

However, in the case of health care, most proposals on the table will very likely result not only in much higher taxes, but also in my personal health care options getting worse.  The government will not want to provide multiple levels of service, and can't afford anything beyond "crappy", so as a result we will all end up with crappy service (Insert Rush song "trees" here).  A lot of crap is written about how great all these other socialized medicine services are, but thousands of people travel from other countries to have medical procedures in the states, and about zero travel the other way.  More on the topic of closing coverage gaps at the price of making your own personal care worse here.  More on why these gaps are not as large as advertised here.

Update:  Quick proof -- My chosen health plan is now illegal in Massachussetts

  • Kevin

    but thousands of people travel from other countries to have medical procedures in the states, and about zero travel the other way.

    You might want to qualify that to account for surgical tourism - people leaving the US to have non-emergency procedures done in places where they can have a 5-star vacation, the operation, and a 5-star recovery suite for what it would have cost to have the work done in the USA.

    Of course, these people aren't being worked on by National Health Services.

  • http://www.linesinthesand.net Doug Murray

    When government provided housing, my housing did not get worse.

    Mainly because you can opt out of government provided housing.

    When government provided a ripoff retirement plan, my personal non-government retirement savings did not take a hit.

    If you could opt out of this, I imagine your overall retirement picture would improve. I say you took a hit.

    When it comes to healthcare, I too am nervous that it's quality my decline for me. But I'm scared to death that it will provide the excuse for government to micromanage my life even more than the income tax code does. You can already see it in the debates about motorcycle helmets. The idiocy question aside, the big argument says "since society is paying your medical bills, it gets to dictate what risks you can take."

    Unless, of course, we can opt out.

  • http://fallofthestate.blogspot.com Brian Moore

    "But I'm scared to death that it will provide the excuse for government to micromanage my life even more than the income tax code does. You can already see it in the debates about motorcycle helmets. The idiocy question aside, the big argument says "since society is paying your medical bills, it gets to dictate what risks you can take.""

    Yeah, that's what scares me the most. And the worst part is, I agree with it! If you have national health care, you MUST restrict the potentially-negative-health activities that people could do, in order to keep costs down. And what about certain other things that are not just potentially unhealthy, but perhaps considered socially unacceptable by the people in charge? When all you have to do is prove that an activity is potentially healthcare-cost-increasing and you can make it illegal, we would live in a very, very oppressive country.