A Life and Death Issue: Universal Health Care (II)
What is Universal Health Care?
Social Gospel peddler Jim Wallis of Sojourners answers the question posed in the heading in the following manner: “To guide our search for more humane and effective health care, we will need to establish some principles: for example, that health should be a human right and not a commodity for sale, and that wealth should not determine one’s share of health in our world. We need to build consensus on principles and priorities if we are to address successfully the enormous challenges of public health in a world of massive inequalities. And until something is done to make universal health care a reality in America, millions of families will remain poor.”
Wallis’ statement contains almost as many errors as words. The quote from his book also raises a number of serious questions. First, who is the “we” that will establish the principles that will guide us in this investigation? Does it include Jimmy Carter, who wrote the Foreword to Wallis’ book? Clearly, Wallis has someone or a group in mind. Who might that be? Will conservatives be allowed to participate, or will “we” comprise only leftwingers?
Second, where and how does Wallis establish the principle that health is a right? For Wallis, it is the principal thought that Jesus healed. The quantum leap conclusion, therefore, is that health is a right. Surely Jesus said that somewhere in the gospels, didn’t he? If, health is a right, as Wallis asserts, then why didn’t Jesus heal everyone while he was on earth and not just the few mentioned in the gospel accounts? Moreover, in this age of the Holy Spirit, why doesn’t the Spirit pick up where Jesus left off and become the divine health (care) dispenser?
Third, Wallis’ assertion that health (care) should not be a commodity for sale, entirely misses the mark. Health care, rather than being given over to the government to run, should be privatized in a free market economy. Mr. Wallis doesn’t want that because his particular brand of the Social Gospel drives him inexorably in the direction of Socialism and Socialism disdains the free market. No, what Wallis and those like him desire is a government run and controlled health care system (read: socialized medicine) that would be similar to the Post Office, the Department of Motor Vehicles, or the IRS running your health care according to their rules and on their timetable. Therefore, if you get turned down for a particular procedure, you have no recourse of appeal and nowhere else to turn.
Why do you think so many foreigners that have socialized medicine in their country of origin fly to the United States and have their procedures done? The short answer is: because it is much better and ultimately cheaper.
Fourth, if Mr. Wallis would like to see more charitable giving by United States citizens overseas to rid poverty (how does he intend to do that when we cannot even completely eradicate it in our own country?), then he might want to lobby for the President and Congress to lower corporate and individual income taxes. As far as the “massive inequalities” in the world are concerned, I’m still unclear how Wallis intends to remedy them. They have existed for time immemorial and I, for one, would be keenly interested in how he intends to rid the world of poverty.
But there is more to this. Does Mr. Wallis really expect us to believe that the wealthy do not profit from private health care in socialistic countries? Does he really want us to believe that the wealthy and prestigious in countries with socialized medicine actually stand in queues waiting for their turn for health care? That’s almost as silly as Mr. Obama, Mr. Kennedy, Ms. Pelosi, or Al Gore putting windmills on their lawns or driving Smart Cars. Do you think they are going to send their children to government schools? In fact, are we so naïve that we actually believe that they are going to do anything they want us to do?
What Wallis and far too many of our current politicians want is government controlled everything and America is being pushed hard in that direction and needs to muster up the gumption to push back—and soon!
In the last issue, we were listening to Canadian Bill Gairdner as he described the Canadian socialized medicine program. How did Canada get there? Did they always have socialized medicine? The answer is: No. There was a time when Canada’s health care was provided under normal free market conditions. Admittedly, “a very small number of Canadians got caught without insurance. Their remedy was usually the charity of the doctor or hospital, special community funds set aside for this purpose, mortgaging their assets, or assistance from family.” This all sounds quite feasible and hardly grounds for forcing and coercing Canadians to give their hard-earned money to those without health care. Thomas Paine once quipped, “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.” Thomas Jefferson added, “The natural progress of things is for government to gain ground and for liberty to yield.”
Economist Walter E. Williams says that with all that’s going on around us, it’s easy to blame the politicians. But, “Politicians tend to do precisely what we elect them to office to do. We Americans elect politicians to office on their promise to take what belongs to some Americans and give it to other Americans to whom it does not belong. Or we elect them to give some Americans special privileges that are denied other Americans…. Indeed, more than two-thirds of the federal budget is spent for programs that fit the category of legalized theft.” The net result is that every time Congress meets Americans lose another freedom. Again Williams: “Welfare and liberal visions of the War on Poverty haven’t simply been failures. They made whole classes of Americans indolent, dependent, and immune to the traditional cure for poverty—a growing economy.”
Either Wallis has no clue when it comes to basic economic principles or when it comes to issues like poverty, or, worse, he knows and doesn’t care. Wallis claims to be a Christian; to be an evangelical. If he is, it is next to impossible to understand how he could possibly be in favor of creating an indolent, non-productive class in America, or how he could vote for a president that is so “in-your-face” about his pro-abortion stance, not to mention Mr. Obama’s views on embryonic stem-cell research. But I digress.
Gairdner recounts how previously responsible, law-abiding Canadians took care of their health care. Almost imperceptively—freedoms are hardly ever lost all at once; rather, it is a gradual, piecemeal process—the government was creating an atmosphere where it was considered a travesty if there were even one person in Canada without health care. That same perception is being created in the U.S. today. Politicians talk about the huge number of Americans without health care. Hillary Clinton mentioned the number 47 million, which is absurd. Mr. Obama’s promise for universal health care will include every illegal in this country. If we drop illegal aliens from the list—which we should—we’re down to 30 million.
Then we need to ask how many of those 30-or-so million don’t want health insurance right now. They are young and healthy and would rather spend their discretionary income elsewhere. Why can’t they do that in a free country? If you answer, “They can,” I’ll respond with, “For now.” You see, Mr. Obama’s plan, like most of the failed socialized medicine plans requires 100% participation. The idea is if the state sees itself as the public protector (Nanny), then it is government’s duty to require free people to cough up their money to take care of others.
One of the key architects of Canada’s health care program was British immigrant, Tom Kent, who was “the socialist-minded adviser to Prime Minister Pearson.” He was followed by a long succession of health ministers, including Monique Bégin, who penned the book Medicare: Canada’s Right to Health. The title says it all. She and Wallis must have compared notes. But here’s the kicker on Kent. He was an unelected, yet highly influential person, who was an ardent socialist. He pushed socialized medicine on the Canadians and they were so apathetic that they let him. It was Kent’s rabid ideology that Canadians allowed to go unchecked. In essence, they permitted him to quash their freedoms and politicize the medical framework of the entire nation.In our next issue, we’ll examine more in detail how socialized medicine organizes scarcity and give you more interesting statistics from the Canadian Frazier Institute.
 Jim Wallis, The Great Awakening, Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right
 William Gairdner, The Trouble with
 Walter E. Williams, More Liberty Means Less Government, (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1999), pp. 51-52.
 Ibid., 55.
 Gairdner, Trouble, 301.
 Ibid., 302.
Labels: Universal Health Care