Socialized Healthcare

Written by Lila
Thursday, 22 January 2009 10:09
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Of all the "change" Obama has promised, it's the healthcare system that concerns me the most.

I read an article today that reminded me of something I read in an old book and thought it amazingly applicable to the argument of socialized healthcare. The article was entitled The Obama Presidency: Here Comes Socialism and was published on January 20, 2009 by Dick Morris on The Hill. His paragraph on healthcare is as follows (emphasis added):

"But it is the healthcare system that will experience the most dramatic and traumatic of changes. The current debate between erecting a Medicare-like governmental single payer or channeling coverage through private insurance misses the essential point. Without a lot more doctors, nurses, clinics, equipment and hospital beds, health resources will be strained to the breaking point. The people and equipment that now serve 250 million Americans and largely neglect all but the emergency needs of the other 50 million will now have to serve everyone. And, as government imposes ever more Draconian price controls and income limits on doctors, the supply of practitioners and equipment will decline as the demand escalates. Price increases will be out of the question, so the government will impose healthcare rationing, denying the older and sicker among us the care they need and even barring them from paying for it themselves. (Rationing based on income and price will be seen as immoral.)"

But why would the supply of practitioners and equipment decline? Beyond the obvious limit on supply when demand becomes unlimited by making it "free", have you thought of the effect of limiting the doctor's control over his life and his wages?

This brings me to a paragraph from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and was first published in 1957. This is a quote by a man in the story named Dr. Hendricks who quit and refused to practice medicine.

"Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything - except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the 'welfare' of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only 'to serve.' That a man who's willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards - never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy."

And why is it relevant? Isn't it just a fictional story? The interesting thing about stories is that they speak the truth in a way that makes people think about reality in a way they might not have thought of it before. Great teachers use stories and parables when they teach to bring home a point that can change the way you think and therefore, reality.

So before you run off thinking that healthcare is some sort of faceless "right", think of the long term ramifications of your "desire" and if the end is truly where you want to go. Is your wish to go to the doctor and not have to pay the bill going to truly going to make healthcare better?

Last Updated ( Thursday, 22 January 2009 10:34 )