For a while now, I have been fascinated by the contrast between the Left's position on abortion and its position on universal health care.
In the abortion debate, the Left was careful to try to establish a broader principal than just support for abortion. Their position was (and still is) that the government should not interfere in a woman's decision-making about her own body. Cool. That's a general principal that any libertarian could love (Note that there are many libertarians who accept this principal but argue that abortion is the one exception to it if one considers the fetus an independent life.) The National Organization for Women have cleverly embodied this general principal in the T-Shirt below:
So now we come to universal health care. And most every leftish plan has the government paying all of our health care bills. Well I can absolutely assure you now, both via common sense and observance of practices in European countries with socialized medicine, that a couple of things follow from universal coverage:
- The government will be the final decision maker for what care each person will or will not get, how procedures will be performed, and what drugs will be authorized. If they did not take on these decisions, the system would simply implode financially. The government cannot afford to pay the bills while allowing individuals to still make their own choices about their care.
- The government will have a strong financial incentive to change people's individual lifestyles. What they eat, how they exercise, their sexual practices, etc. all have a great influence on future health care costs. Already, we see countries like Britain starting to meddle in these lifestyle choices in the name of reducing health costs. It is why I have termed the health care Trojan horse for fascism.
I don't think even universal coverage supporters would refute these two points except to say maybe "yes, the government will do those things but we promise to be gentle." Here is Jon Edwards:
"I'm mandating healthcare for every man woman and child in America and that's the only way to have real universal healthcare."
"Evertime you go into contact with the helathcare system or the govenment you will be signed up."
During a press avail following the event Edwards reiterated his mandate:
"Basically every time they come into contact with either the healthcare
system or the government, whether it's payment of taxes, school, going
to the library, whatever it is they will be signed up."
When asked by a reporter if an individual decided they didn't want healthcare Edwards quickly responded, "You don't get that choice."
So given that, how does the left hold universal coverage in their head at the same time as they argue that "a woman should make decisions for her own body"? How can the NOW website sell "Keep your laws off my body" T-shirts while promoting universal coverage laws on their home page? How do you reconcile "pro-choice" with Edward's "you don't get that choice."
I am really interested in someone taking a shot at this. And don't tell me that the difference is that in universal coverage, the argument is just over what the government will and won't pay for. I agree not having the government pay for something is not the same as banning it when there are plenty of private alternatives. But in the systems being advocated by Democratic candidates like Edwards, there will be no "other system" -- the government will be the monopoly provider, or at least the monopoly rules-setter. It will be what the government wants to give you or nothing. And there won't even necessarily be another country to which one can run away to get her procedure, because America is that country today where victims of socialist medicine escape to get needed and timely care.