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A Note on Health Care: Stop Wage-Enslaving Me Bro!

December 17, 2009

As you well know, there’s a major sausage-fest going on in Congress over health-care.  Ezra Klein and Yggie are pulling their best Colonel Jessup, saying that however grotesque this health bill may be, nevertheless it saves lives. And who’s going to deny that, You, You Lieutenant Weinberg?

It boggles my mind that after only one state level experiment with insurance mandates, many have decided to go national with the sucker, and extrapolate–never mind that the consequences of Massachusetts’ foray include such parting-gifts as rationing, additional tax-burdens for the middle class, higher than anticipated costs, debt for safety-net hospitals, and, to put the cherry on top, massive debt for the state as a whole. Whatever happened to federalism and value pluralism?

IOZ and Julian Sanchez have sane perspectives on the national health care debate and the motives of those promoting it. IOZ nails it:

Universal, tax-funded health coverage has been transmogrified through the usual Washingtonian alchemy into an insane mandate that uninsured individuals purchase, at great personal expense, extremely shitty insurance plans…Instead of using public funds to provide direct subsidies of medical treatment, you have private wealth confiscated through the threat of legal sanction for the purpose of increasing the market penetration of private companies. You’ve replaced a program of individual welfare with a system of corporate welfare paid for by the very individuals whose economic status would make them the recipients of the individual welfare you claim to seek.

I’d like to add a personal note to all of this drama. I have been without health insurance for about a year and a half. That was a deliberate choice I made because I had to take a risk to enter a start-up mode of sorts. And to do that, I needed every penny I could scrounge. I still do for the time being.

I do not believe there’s a mature conception of justice that requires transferring money from me–the young, relatively poor, entrepreneurial, and healthy–to the old and unwell. Or if there is, that’s not a state I want to live in. Forget politicians who like to appear generous precisely because they are not. Mandates are dandy, but to discipline these hacks, exit is king.

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