April 18, 2024

Government Medicine Ethics

Sarah Palin is making waves by saying that the Democrats’ mega-healthcare plan – which seems likely to pass the House at any moment – will give government the power of life and death over the elderly and infirm. Of course this is true. Of course it is. It’s simple common sense that whoever controls the money controls the process. That’s one of the things that’s wrong with government-run medicine: It puts control in hands of the one group who it should never be given to – government bureaucrats.


“In order to save government money, government health care has to be rationed… [so] than this elderly person that perhaps could be seen as costing taxpayers to pay for a non-productive life? Do you think our elderly will be first in line for limited health care? 

And what about the child who perhaps isn’t deemed normal or perfect per someone’s subjective measure of their use or questionable purpose in the eyes of a panel of bureaucrats making our healthcare decisions for us?”

Look, scarce resources have to be allocated according using some criteria. Currently that criteria is primarily based on financial success. Americans employed in middle and upper level positions have the best health care in the world. The lower end of the employment market and the unemployable get what’s left. You may not like it, but it’s a rationing system with a logical rational: The best and brightest get the best medical care.

Liberals want to change the allocation scheme to one controlled by a government bureaucracy because they believe that a government-run rationing scheme is more equitable than one based on ability and competition.

Nevertheless, theirs will still a rationing scheme, albeit one doled out by the Grays in the D.C. bureaucracy rather than by employment/cost-based allocation.  Nothing will ever change that elementary fact. The only difference is that liberals want to believe that health care is a basic right of being an American while conservatives believe that it, like all other goods and services, must be earned.

As the ultimate payer, by definition the government will have veto power over medical care provided to those persons subject to their plan. This is undeniable. When President Obama says that a public option will not change your current health care coverage he is, frankly, lying. It is inevitable that employers will stop providing medical insurance stipends if a government plan exists. Why should they when doing so would put them at a competitive disadvantage?

Indeed, the only time businesses undertake actions that damage their financial viability is when the government mandates them. No such mandate will exist for employers to continue to provide medical insurance. Just the opposite is true, because Democrats want private insurance to die off and be replaced by a government-run option.

Palin’s argument that the same philosophy that allows abortion rights could soon be invoked to allow the government to cut off health care from those it deems undesirable may sound extreme. But the truth is that when government controls the funding for public health care it is obligated to make those sorts of decisions in order to keep the plan solvent.

This, of course, is the one outcome that Americans should do everything in their power to avoid.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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