Universal Healthcare – more reasons to get Government out of the loop

by Skip

I was struck, once again, by the sage words of Professor Walter E. Williams over at Town Hall concerning Universal Healthcare (reminder, he was one of our first guests on Meet The New Press, ll bolded emphasis is mine.

Then read what yet another of our NH Legislators wants to do (after the jump)…..sigh…. 

Liberty Versus Socialism

A fortnight ago, I wrote about Mississippi Legislature House Bill 282 that would have imposed fines or revoked licenses of food establishments that served obese people. Fortunately, the measure died in committee. State Rep. Ted Mayhall, one of the bill’s sponsors, justified it by saying that he wanted to bring attention to the fact that "Obesity makes people more susceptible to diabetes, which puts a further strain on the state’s financially-challenged Medicaid program."

His sentiments were expressed by quite a few readers who didn’t necessarily support such a measure but opined that if a particular behavior or lifestyle imposed costs on others through tax-supported health care, the government had a right to intercede.

Similar justification was used for laws requiring helmets for motorcyclists and bicyclists. After all, if one exercises his liberty to ride without a helmet, and has an accident and becomes a vegetable, society has to bear the expense of taking care of him.

 I’ve said for years that if someone chooses to ride without a helmet, let them.  However, they had better have stickers all over the bike and helmet stating that they had insurance.  If not, the EMTs had the ability to just leave them by the side of the road. Dr. Williams is right – why should all of the citizenry, via their government, be forced to care for those participating in risky behavior? 

Note: my son rides….without a helmet.  I consider him an adult perfectly able to make his own, rational decisions.  And yes, I have informed him that if he dumps the bike and makes a vegetable of himself, expect no help from me….buy insurance! 

The fact that an obese person becomes ill, or a cyclist has an accident, and becomes a burden on taxpayers who must bear the expense of taking care of him, is not a problem of liberty. It’s a problem of socialism where one person is forced to take care of another. There is no moral argument that justifies using the coercive powers of government to force one person to bear the expense of taking care of another. If that person is too resolute in his refusal to do so, what is the case for imposing fines, imprisonment or death?

[snip]

Forcing one person to bear the burden of health care costs for another is not only a moral question but a major threat to personal liberty. Think about all the behaviors and lifestyles that can lead to illness and increase the burden on taxpayers. A daily salt intake exceeding 6 grams can lead to hypertension. A high-fat diet and high alcohol intake can also lead to diabetes. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to several costly diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart failure.

He’s right and all one has to do …


…is look over at Britian where everyone pays for a socialistic healthcare system.  People have to pay, and now the System there is starting to restrict who gets what kinds of care based on their lifestyles and present conditions.

There are many other behaviors that lead to a greater health care burden, but my question is how much control over your life you are willing to give government in the name of reducing these costs? Would you want government to regulate how much salt you use? What about government deciding how much fat and alcohol you consume? There are immense beneficial health effects of a daily 30-minute aerobic exercise. Would you support government-mandated exercise?

You might argue that it’s none of government’s business how much fat, salt or alcohol a person consumes, even if it has adverse health care cost implications. I’d ask: Wouldn’t the same reasoning apply to helmet laws and proposed obesity laws? Last year, The Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act was introduced in Congress. It’s a measure to prevent schools from serving "junk foods" such as pizza, burgers and French fries. If the government protects children from "unhealthy" meals at school, would you want government to also protect them from unhealthy meals at home?

When I was 14 or 15 years old, smelling myself, I thought I could take over the house. My mother told me that as long as she was paying the bills, I was going to do what she said. That’s great for a parent/child relationship, but do we want the same relationship between government and its citizens? 

Then I read this at the Concord Monitor and just cringed again.  Here all around us are the sobs of people screaming that healthcare insurance is too expensive.  I’ve said, over and over again, that one of the largest reasons that healthcare IS so expensive is not the doctors, the hospitals, the drugs, or the expensive equipment, it’s

Government.

And here is yet one more sterling example:

State Sen. Bob Clegg is on a personal crusade – to lose 150 pounds and to make New Hampshire insurers pay for weight-loss surgery for morbidly obese people like him.

Most of the cost of insurance can be directly attributable to government mandates.  Someone thinks that something is a good idea, or that something is unfair, or we have to help everyone, and then you hear that insurance has to pay for it.

Great, one more person’s good idea and truly believes that WE all have to pay for that good idea.

Clegg, a 53-year-old, 271-pound Republican from Hudson, is on his way on both counts.

I keep believing that the Republican Party is supposed to believe in less intrusive government.  Yet they keep sticking their hands in eveyone’s wallets?

The mantra here in NH used to be "lower taxes is the result of lower spending" – cannot blame this one on the Dems can we?

And yesterday, the state Senate gave preliminary approval to his bill to require that New Hampshire insurers include bariatric surgery as an option in treating diseases and ailments caused by obesity.
 
Clegg weighed almost 378 pounds when he decided that if he was going to live any kind of life, he needed to act. Clegg, who is running for Congress instead of re-election, drew inspiration from the man he backed for president – former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who lost more than 100 pounds through dieting and exercise.
 
But Clegg said his efforts to lose weight before surgery by dieting and exercise failed. His metabolism slowed to a rate where his body responded as if it were starving, causing him to keep eating.  Clegg said he paid $20,000 for his surgery out of his own pocket when his insurance company would not cover it – not an affordable option for many people.
 
He says that he had to go through a number of hoops before the surgeon would perform the operation. He had to diet, get counseling and meet with a psychologist, he said.
 
Now, he no longer is in constant pain from digestive problems that included acid reflux and diverticulitis.
 
"This is personal," he told his colleagues.
 

And it should have stayed personal, too.  Look, I’m not the most svelte of folks, but if I want to lose weight, I have no intention of demanding that government take care of me via mandates to insurance companies.

Clegg believes the long-term savings outweigh the initial costs to insurers. He points to studies that found the surgery can cure diabetes. Studies also show obesity affects fertility in women and may cause some cancers.

Once again, we see people who can make law that just don’t get real economics.  Mr. Clegg, the insurers are not going to ante up the extra cost.  No matter what he may say or think, this is effectively a tax, via a mandate to issue coverage, on those that purchase insurance here in NH.

I hope we all remember him the next time we pay our insurance benefits.

Remember all those folks that are "uninsured"?  No you know some of the reason why…. 

Leave a Comment

  • ken

    If you son dumps his bike and makes a vegetable of himself…you better help..in fact.you should bear all the cost of it according to your agrument…if not you…who…me? Is it not your stance that family take care of their own? What about your elderly grandparent in the county nursing home…what responsibility do I have for them? What exactly is the society responsibility for these kinds of people?

  • Ken makes some good points– all of this is difficult when you come right down to it. As to Clegg’s operation, it too is a difficult situation. I know somebody who had this performed, and while it “fixes” the weight on its face, the constant and strict adherance to the important requirements post procedure are, in some ways, more dangerous than what has been altered. Thus the counseling that is required. When a person fails to stay with the program, it seems to me that the costs that result could be higher than having done nothing. At the end of it all, I never feel comfortable with the government “forcing” companies and people to do anything. Beyond that, Clegg does little for me. We have riid that district of a Charlie Bass. Why would we want to send Clegg in his place? The other candidates have much more to offer…

  • skip

    Ken – two thoughts. As his parents, yes I should help. Family members should help. However, when as parents, I tell my adult child that his behavior is risky and that the consequences are severe, and he willingly disregards (for he does not have to “obey”) my advice, should I be responsible? My thoughts are also that as an adult, he is making his decisions and the consequences are his responsiblility. And as harsh as it may sound, he should have been sufficiently responsible for his own needs to have purchased insurance to cover that outcome.
    It IS a different situation than if he developed a disease out of the blue – no question that we’d be there. But again, having insurance should be the responsible thing to do as the first line of defense of this eventuality.
    County Nursing home? Actually, according to Dr. Williams, this is socialism already at work. Here’s a different model to examine – the Amish (and have posted multiple times on that chosen lifestyle as well here at GG). My take on it is that should be for those that have no family at all. Then only used when a medical condition makes it necessary to use that facility.
    Indeed, that is how SS was sold and started out – widow welfare. And yes, I believe that society should take care of that class of citizen.

  • Two more reasons to get government out of healthcare–the IRS and the DMV. You want that level of service for your healthcare? Go right ahead.

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