The case against government-sponsored healthcare

Hunter Lewis

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   During President Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, one of his claims to fame was to create a law that is based off of universal healthcare but with his own twist. Since then and when Obamacare was passed in 2010, the topic of universal healthcare has been on the rise and become more and more controversial, as politicians like Bernie Sanders have based their entire platform off of this idea. But is this what America should adopt? No.

   The idea of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd party purchases plays a large factor in the topic of universal healthcare. A 1st party purchase is where someone spends their own money on an item or good for themselves. Their goal is to spend the least amount of money for the best quality good. A 2nd party purchase is similar but only one of those two things, price and quality, matters to them. For example, they are spending their money on a good that is not for them, so they care about price but not necessarily quality. Or this is reversed the product is for them, but they aren’t paying for it so they only care of the quality, not the price. Then that leads us to 3rd party purchases which is someone spending other people’s money on a good they will not be using. So they are not concerned by price or quality.

     By definition, all government purchases are 3rd party purchases, and when it comes to healthcare it will be no different. So why would anyone expect for our healthcare, which if given to the government, would be paid for by anything less than a third party purchase.

   A legitimate role of government is not to provide medical care to its citizens. Thankfully the role of government is very clearly defined in our constitution and our Bill of Rights. Government is very similar to that of a hockey referee. Their job is to ensure that the game is played as smoothly as possible, to make sure the players obey the rules and that there is no cheating, also to make sure the players are safe. Their job is not to pick winners or losers, to cheerlead for one of the teams, or even to provide medical care for the players. Government’s role as defined by the constitution is very similar to that analogy.

   If we view healthcare as a good and not a right, we not only allow for competition, but for better quality at much lower prices. When we deem things as right, that doesn’t mean we have the means to make it available to everyone, and the money in order to do so. Deeming something a right still does not guarantee that to happen. In the South African Bill of Rights,  deem housing is a right, but how many people in this impoverished nation actually have homes? Or decent ones at that.

   Lasik eye surgery is a great example of this, it used to be about $10,000 an eye to get the surgery done. Why? It was very regulated and not widely available. It has now become very unregulated, widely available with plenty of competition and now costs $1,500 an eye.

     Healthcare is the only “business” where you could go in, ask for something to be done, and they cannot give or guarantee you a price. Imagine going into Starbucks, ordering a cup of coffee then asking “how much.” Then they tell you “drink the cup of coffee and we will get you a price afterwards.” That is completely backwards and part of the problem.

   Deeming something a good allows for unregulation, which allows for competition, cheap prices, high quality and wide availability,and healthcare is no different. In this case “good” out trumps “right”.



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