7.17.2008

Why do conservatives oppose "universal health care"?

Mr. Talbot asks the question.

I think it's easier to understand what conservatives think when our terms are more clearly defined. "Universal health care" is more properly defined as the governmental usurpation of the health care industry. Here are some of the reasons conservatives oppose this idea:
1. It will create a culture of dependency and entitlement that will hurt the already suffering spirit of charity.

2. It will take away our ability to choose our doctors - we will not be able to avoid going to bad ones.

3. It will remove all competition in the medical profession. No longer having to compete with each other, the quality of the health care doctors provide will decrease. There will be less innovation.

4. It won't work well - less people will receive the health care they need.

5. It will cost more money than we can afford, most likely seriously damaging our economy. It will increase our already progressive tax system to an insufferable point.

6. It will turn politics into more of a power grab than it already is. Politicians will control who gets care and who doesn't. This will create problems we cannot foresee.

7. It will further damage the natural bonds of the family by moving ultimate responsibility for medical care into the hands of irresponsible and uninterested bureaucrats.

8. It will necessarily result in the government paying for abortion, contraception, embryonic stem-cell research, and even euthanasia.

9. It will undermine the rule of law. No where in the Constitution does it say the government should control the health care industry; such a policy is thus unconstitutional.
I know it's a sketchy, hastily written list, but I think it covers most of the basics. I would greatly appreciate additional reasons I may have missed or other corrections. Also, for those who would support such a policy: what's wrong with these reasons?

(I'd say a satisfactory conservative answer would require some serious political philosophy - most namely, a defense of the principle of federalism, mixed governments and separated powers. I also think the Catholic principle of subsidiarity applies. Decisions about health care ought to be made at a personal level. If the health care industry is taken over by the government, decisions will be made at the abstract and indifferent federal level. )

6 comments:

JaaJoe said...

Did you see the Bunk study stating 2/3 of doctors in America want National Health Care. The doctors who did this study also conducted one in 2002 and found that the majority of doctors did not want national health care, the problem with this is that the 2 question surveys drastically differ in there 2nd question. I found this article, 60% of Physicians Surveyed Oppose Switching to a National Health Care Plan, It's worth a read.

Zachary said...

I hadn't.

Interesting how things are spun.

Kyle R. Cupp said...

I am sympathetic towards a policy of public funding for healthcare, but very skeptical of those wielding political power controlling the system and making the pertinent healthcare decisions. I tend to distrust power structures, especially when matters of life and death are involved. Specific example: I've read that Senator Clinton and Speak Pelosi object to healthcare professionals and institutions receiving public funding if they refuse to offer abortifacients. Public funding of healthcare comes with strings attached.

For me, the operative question is how to have universal healthcare, perhaps through public funding, without consolidating and centralizing government power over healthcare.

An aside: an underlying problem in this debate is that the powers of the US government are ill or vaguely defined. Our government does much it doesn't need to, much of which it shouldn't do, so when an increase is made of the scope of government power, it adds to the confusing jumbled mess of proper jurisdiction and authority and tyrannical (even if benevolent) usurpation. We may need to have a big government; we do need to have clearly defined powers of what government can and cannot do.

Zachary said...

Hey Kyle,

Thanks for the comments.

You write,

"... the operative question is how to have universal healthcare, perhaps through public funding, without consolidating and centralizing government power over healthcare."

I want to say the honest answer to this question is that it's not possible to have universal care (whether or not there is such a thing is debatable, I think) without imposing it from above.

As to your other point:

"an underlying problem in this debate is that the powers of the US government are ill or vaguely defined"

I think the powers of the federal government are well defined by our Constitution; I think we interpret them in an expansive and ultimately incorrect way. The powers that are defined are few and limited. We have long disregarded the limits imposed on government by the Constitution in the name of progress. I think a return to the limited government described by the Constitution would be a great blessing.

It is true, however, that the powers of the state governments are not well defined and very malleable. Better-defined state power would be a good thing. We should pay closer attention to our local elections!

Kyle R. Cupp said...

I think the powers of the federal government are well defined by our Constitution...

In theory, yes. But our “rulers” look to more than the Constitution (and hence the consent of the governed) for what defines their powers. Sometimes what defines their powers is their own will. That whole Tenth Amendment thing is ignored or dismissed.

Anyhoo, I agree that the Constitution should be what defines the powers of the federal government.

Zachary said...

You're absolutely right about the 10th amendment being ignored.

And the rest of our Constitution.

It's shameful.