Some Thoughts About Universal Health Care

In discussions with Dave Jarvis some points have been raised about Universal Health Care and whether or not it's a good thing.  Not to pick on Dave but rather to highlight both sides of the debate as he is someone I respect even when I disagree with him, I would like to share a moment he made in a different article.

Strangely enough, I seem to be the only person active in New Hampshire politics who both supports life and who advocates health care for all. That is not a testament to my own extreme politics. Instead it is a testament to the extreme nature of the society I live in. Everyone deserves to live. Everyone deserves the fullest efforts of the society they live in to protect their health. That's the nature of life. And those are the expectations of God on civilization, that we ardently respect the health of others. To secure that principle in human society God has sewn through history examples of societies that didn't sufficiently care for the welfare of their own people. They all finished in the bloodiest of revolutions. And societies that care for others always flourish.

 Now what I find interesting about the above comment is that Dave implies that if you are opposed to abortion then it is a contradiction to also be against universal health care.  Let me explain why that's not the case...

Clearly Dave and I agree that life should be protected.  Since we have no proof of when "life" begins the only valid argument anyone can make in favor of abortion is that they do not believe it is a human life.  However even that argument falls apart in discussions of late term abortions because in many cases this is taking the life of a baby who can survive outside the womb and fits every definition either side has made for when life begins.  But I digress, this isn't a discussion about abortion, as I stated Dave and I agree it is wrong.

So clearly if we should protect life then why do I not see it as hypocritical to oppose Universal Health Care?  There are a number of reasons.

  • First and foremost, while it does me no harm to protect someone from murdering an infant the same cannot be said for Universal Health Care.  With Universal Health Care, bread is being taken from the mouths of myself and my family for in some cases self inflicted medical issues.
  • A derivative of this is the implications that it opens.  Clearly if my wages are being garnished to pay for you're well being then you open the door for me to mandate some control over your life and allow me to force you to stay healthy.  If you smoke, do drugs, engage in unsafe sex, eat unhealthy, partake in risky activities etc you increase the likelihood of needing additional medical treatments which in turn increases the costs needed to be paid out.  Since I'm being forced to subsidize those costs your risky behavior strips my family of more of our hard earned savings.
  • Not all health care treatments are to save lives.  Do we draw a line as far as what Universal Health Care will cover?  While the argument Dave makes here is valid for people with cancer or other such illnesses in which their lives are at risk, his argument falls apart when considering coverage for a couple (or as in the case of the Octa-Mom a single woman) who cannot get pregnant or similar non necessary medical treatments.  Why should my children have their college savings taken from them at the point of the government gun so a woman can bring more babies into the world she cannot afford to care for?
  • Lastly is that if Universal Health Care were implemented on the federal level it would be a violation of the Constitution as Article I Section 8 gives the specific duties of the federal government.  Anything above and beyond those duties were to be left up to the states to determine on their own.

So where would I draw the line?  At the point where protecting other lives harms others or oversteps to go beyond simply protecting life then that's where we should draw a line.

There is a lot more that could be said for either side of the argument so I welcome discussion.