Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Burden of Health Care

One of the themes pounded by the proponents of government control health care is the bizarre notion that health care is some sort of burden. Statists put a great deal

Progressives know that if they can frame an issue as a burden, then they can frame their power grab as an altruistic act.

"That bar of gold you are carrying sure looks heavy. Here, let me take that for you. There. Now isn't that better."

Considering the state of man, one realizes that health numbers among the most valuable thing a person has; therefore health care is the most valuable investment that a person can make.

When you look at health from an individual perspective, you find that it is a great asset. When you look at health care from an individual perspective, you find that it is not only an investment, good health care numbers among the best investments that a person can make.

It is only when health care is thrust into the hands of a third party that it becomes a burden.

If we had a system based on lifecycle analysis, in which people were charged with caring for the bulk of their health care, then health care would behave as an investment.

The phenomenon is clear in athletics where athletes invest a great deal of their resources in tweaking their health for maximum performance.

My niece went into the field of athletic training. Her degree involved intensive training in state of the art sports medicine. The teams that hire folks trained in sports medicine don't see sports medicine as a burden; they see it as the asset that keeps their team competitive.

Many of the greatest innovations in medicine actually come from sports medicine where people are making tremendous investments to get an extra edge. One need simply look at the sudden explosion in marathons around the country. When I was a kid, many saw the completion of a marathon as an exceptional feat. Today's events have people by the thousands applying the discoveries of sports medicine to complete the events.

Healthcare only starts behaving like a burden when it is placed in the hands of third parties.

The third party health schemes favored by progressives (first employer based health care and now socialized health care) create the situation where health care becomes a burden. The reason that filing a health claim is such a hassle is because the investment you want to make in your health shows up as an expense (a burden) to the third party funding it.

In several speeches, Obama has positioned expanding government control of health care as necessary to maintaining a competitive economy.

It is only when the funding for health care is thrust on a third party that it behaves like a burden on the economy. Because the employer is not the beneficiary of the care, employer based insurance transforms from an investment in one's health to an expense that companies need to control and reduce.

When government takes over healthcare, it transforms what would be an investment on an individual scale to a burden on a national scale.

Government care is a burden that must be paid for from higher taxes. As the taxes are a serious burden, the government inevitably begins a system of aggressive rationing of care. Already we hear Pelosi and Obama talking in terms of squeezing dollars out of the health care system when faced with questions about the burdens created to our society by their schemes.

Much of the modern progressive movement is based on Hegel's dictum that freedom is slavery and slavery freedom. The traditional claims that the path to serfdom is a path to a greater freedom. However, one finds that healthcare was really lousy back in the glory days of serfdom.

Although the king's court was full of great talk about all the hard, altruistic work done by the lords for their serfs, the serfs were seen as a burden and were usually left to die in destitution.

The great advances in health care occurred precisely because people in a free market valued their health and figured out ways to improve it.

If, instead of finding ways to increase the third party stranglehold on healthcare, we were talking about ways to help individuals finance their care (the Medical Savings and Loan); we would continue the process of innovation and move the medical industry from being perceived as a burden to being perceived as a benefit.

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