Paying for our health care

Leaving it to the peopleIn the past 50 years, we as a society have taken steps away from our capitalistic roots and have moved toward collectivist reform. The argument for collectivism is simple: if there is a problem, let big government fix it. The argument for voluntary cooperation in a truly free market society is that if you allow people to cooperate voluntarily and don’t interfere with them, they will work to improve their own situation more than somebody who is appointed to do it for them. This is not an ideology to quickly accept. What about the less fortunate?  Some subsistence social welfare, some market regulation, is necessary.  However, if we look at the record of history, the only times when people have performed more charitable activity and improved their standard of living in a substantial manner is when government has played a trivial role in their lives. Why, then, are political self-interests nobler than economic self-interests?We need to understand that the government’s goal is not efficiency, and it never has been, because it is not accountable to profit and loss margins like business is. So what are the benefits of government increasing its role and controlling major industries such as banking and health care? There are no positive outcomes of this kind of control.Obama’s objectives might be good, but restricting the freedom of some to provide for the equality of all will disrupt our means of success on a greater national scale.  If we as a nation blindly follow this poorly-conceived idea of nationalized health care, there will be fewer doctors, much higher taxes for all, increased poverty, lower standards of health care and a longer wait to receive it. With nationalized health care, this means that the government will be running more than 50 percent of the industry. This is bad because of the importance of health care. Why put an institution whose goal is not efficiency and timeliness in control of our health and well-being? Furthermore, why punish the hard-working citizens who can afford their own health care plans by taxing them more than 50 percent to provide for those who can’t?It is a fallacy to think that students will be as willing to become doctors under a nationalized system for several reasons: medicine will take longer, and doctors will receive less pay and more patients. This will increase the already long-waiting period for medicine and doctors’ visits.We propose changing the system from employer-based health care to an open-state, free-market systemwhere people can buy insurance across state lines among competing companies, as well as instituting a flat tax system. These changes should cover all Americans with free market solutions and motivate workers to earn, pay low taxes and thereby strengthen the economy.Ryan Walker and Rick Valenta are both seniors at UVM.  Ryan is a Business Administration major and Rick is a Political Science major. They have been writing for The Cynic since 2008.Government interventionTo say this country is undergoing a health care crisis might be an exaggeration. We are not in the midst of the sort of catastrophe that comes to mind when that word “crisis” is uttered. There is no massive, threatening epidemic like the smallpox outbreaks of the past or the AIDS problem in Africa.Our lives are not threatened by disease on a grand scale and no new and uncertain medical trends seem to be popping up within the nation. But, by and large, health care issues in this country do not reveal themselves in titanic rumblings. They come down to parents who can barely afford to mend their child’s broken limb, or the dying man who is denied a heart transplant by his insurance company. These individual instances boil down to one particular estimation — that these peoples’ well being is not worth caring for. These are instances in which there are literal, dollar-value estimates placed upon the worth of these peoples’ lives. At best, this is a problem, but at worst it’s practically criminal. Picture the homeless man who is cast out of a hospital or, in some instances, left behind by the ambulance because he has no insurance policy to cover the transportation fee.Such cases are ones in which the pull of basic human dignity seems worth codifying into law so that these injustices don’t continue to happen in our country. The problem is, many of these hospitals really can’t afford to take-in everybody with an illness. They turn away people who can’t afford vital treatment — not out of some callous disregard or raw greed, but out of a genuine inability to provide this care to everybody in need. So, if we want to dispel this injustice, we need our government to step in to help us support hospitals and doctors who otherwise are forced to do wrong.But, before you start grumbling about big government or making comparisons to — god forbid — France, think of how much money is spent in this nation, how many resources are consumed and how many liberties are sacrificed in the name of protection.Our defense budget is of a scale that dwarfs most countryies’ entire economies, but it has lately yielded little good for America. It could neither prevent the terrorist attacks that reshaped our world, nor soften the forces of nature like hurricane Katrina and, used improperly in foreign lands, seems to actually inspire more people to hate us. It is time we think long and hard about our priorities here — if we can pay to have soldiers, missiles and bombers protect us from bodily harm, why can’t we pay for doctors to do the same? Perhaps it is time we trade our capacity to take lives for our capacity to save them.Jeremy Spiro-Winn is a senior Political Science major. He has been writing for The Cynic since 2006 and was the editor of the opinion section from 2007 until 2009.