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Health care: It's death or taxes


I came across an interesting bit of commentary from Forbes.com, discussing the history of health care in America. Written by one Yaron Brook, it contains both untruths and opinions I ardently disagree with.

First, the obvious lie:

Prior to the government's entrance into the medical field, health care was regarded as a product to be traded voluntarily on a free market--no different from food, clothing, or any other important good or service.... Had this freedom been allowed to endure, Americans' rising productivity would have allowed them to buy better and better health care, just as, today, we buy better and more varied food and clothing than people did a century ago. There would be no crisis of affordability, as there isn't for food or clothing.

This is not true. Prior to the government's entrance into healthcare, the quality of care was drastically lower than it is today. There was no such thing as an MRI machine in 1955. Advances in medical technology have not been cheap. We also have much more powerful and effective, and more expensive, drugs available today. The increased quality of health care has been a major factor, probably the major factor, in its increased cost.

Next, the elitist opinion:

In a system in which someone else is footing the bill, consumers, encouraged to regard health care as a "right," demand medical services without having to consider their real price.

In context, it's clear Mr. Brook believes health care is not a right, but rather should be paid for by individuals (either directly or by purchasing insurance) according to their means. From this opinion, I can infer Mr. Brook is neither sick nor poor.

Taken to its logical conclusion, Mr. Brook is arguing that when the poor get sick, they should be left to die for lack of care they can't afford. If a surgical treatment or prescription drug could save a person's life, and the person was indigent, Mr. Brook believes society should let that person die.

I pray that Mr. Brook's vision never becomes reality, and if it does, I pray for his sake that he never experiences poverty and illness, or his heirs will have to worry about the cost of a funeral.

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