Friday, August 14, 2009

What Do These Four Principles Have To Do With J.C.?

Nothing, that's what. Doug Groothuis, over at The Constructive Curmudgeon, proposes these solutions to solve the nation's health care woes:

1. Tort reform to end needless lawsuits against doctors.
2. Decrease taxation to free up the ecomony for more productivity and more money available for charity.
3. Closing the borders so that millions of illegal (and uninsured) aliens stop taxing our medical system. Perhaps 10 million do this now.
4. Let people opt out of personal health insurance if they want to. It should be their choice.

Oh dear! I still don't understand if Groothuis is shilling, or if he is just too naive to know better and just parrots the misinformation others spoonfeed him. For example:

1. Malpractice costs are less than 1% of the nation's health care expenditures. (PDF) Eliminating malpractice costs would do nothing to change the fact that the U.S. spends twice as much as many countries with better health systems and outcomes.

2. This is exactly the opposite of what we need to do. Just today, a study appeared showing that income inequality is at an all time high. One would expect, following Groothuis's logic, that since the rich are making more money than ever before, charity would have taken care of the health needs of the poor. But no, the slice of the pie for the rich is never big enough. We are always told that if only we lower taxes, things will be better for everybody. How are the Laffer Curve and Reaganomics working out for you?

Moreover, I would rather die of an incurable illness than be forced to accept health care as charity from people with Groothuis's beliefs and attitude about society.

Until we can shift people's attitude to let them understand that basic health care services are a human right and not an act of charity, the Groothuises of the world will be able to talk us with all their smugness about statism and the loss of freedom that would ensue by letting the government run health care, while people struggle to keep their head above water.

3. Coming from Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, or Michael Savage, the idea that "we should close the border so that millions of illegal (and uninsured) aliens stop taxing our medical system" would be just what you would expect. But coming from a self-professed Christian, such talk is particularly offensive.

Illegal immigrants take unbelievable risks crossing the border not simply because the grass is always greener on the other side, but mostly because life on the other side is impossible for many, thanks to some extent to the myopic and exploitative policies that benefit U.S. corporations, aided and abetted by the U.S. Government.

Didn't Jesus say something about the least of these? And wasn't it Jesus who said "If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me"? That's why the piety of people like Groothuis emanates a stench that's hard to stomach. Particularly because he just advocated lowering taxes to free up money for charity.

4. Letting people "opt out of personal health insurance if they want to" is another horrible idea because it makes it harder to provide health care to those who need it most (children, the elderly, people with catastrophic illnesses, etc.) Those are the people that bear the highest costs and the only way to make those costs affordable is to spread them out among the rest of us, particularly those who have more to spare.

Also, why does this freedom of choice apply only to health insurance and not to other areas of the commons? Why not allow people to opt out of paying for the FAA, or the military then? If a person does not fly, why should he or she have to contribute to the upkeep of our airways? If a person is a conscientious objector, shouldn't he be able to refuse to pay taxes for the military, at least the portion used for offensive (as opposed to defensive) purposes? Why not allow those who grow their own food opt out of paying the portion of taxes that go to the USDA? Are you following me?

I agree that in a perfect world we would all be free to choose what we support and what we don't, but in a perfect world people would also be their brother's keeper without having to be told that's what they should do.

Empathy is what people like Groothuis lack. They see themselves as teachers, instead of students. They may be capable of giving charity, but the charity they give means nothing to the people who receive it. Unless givers are capable of stepping into the shoes of the people they think they are helping, charity is quite self-serving and hollow, in spite of their pious pretenses. Even assuming their best intentions, that is the impression they convey.

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