Saturday, March 20, 2010

Letter to My Congressman: In Response to "Responsible Health Care Reform"

Dear Congressman Wolf,

I recently watched your video "Responsible Health Care Reform" and I wanted to discuss it.

I agree with opposing a bill on their use of procedural tactics to attempt to get it passed by stealth.  But there are moral and economic grounds which are more important on which one ought to oppose even the existing government involvement in medical care, such as the Medicare program.

You say that you want to fix what's broken while keeping what works, and then you go on to talk about securing Medicare.  Well Congressman Wolf, if Medicare needs securing it is because it is broken.  And I will argue that it is broken because it is wrong in fact and in principle.

Economically, Medicare serves to isolate the users of medical services from the costs of the services that they use.  The result of this will always be increased demand for services and thus the explosion of costs, which the government must always control by rationing in some form or another.  The form doesn't matter.  What matters is that there is an inherent contradiction in the premise behind Medicare.

Politically and Morally, the Medicare program is based on the idea that the government can manufacture a right to medical care since all people need it.  It is wrong because the government cannot manufacture rights to goods or services without violating someone's rights.  Any government action that does not serve to protect fundamental individual rights to life, liberty, and property must *necessarily* result in the government acting to violate rights to the same.

Programs like Medicare initiate government force against citizens who have not broken any laws or violated anyone's rights.  It is a form of redistribution of property by use of compulsory taxation for a program that will benefit anyone other than oneself and does not act to protect fundamental individual rights.  And in the process it ends up dictating to doctors how they will do their jobs because people can no longer afford to purchase medical care outside the auspices of such a program.

(edit 3/21 - add: From an economic standpoint...) The fundamental issue is NOT how we get insurance coverage for those who don't have it.  The fundamental issue is how do we make medical care affordable.  Only a solution that addresses the fundamental issues will solve the problems with medical care.  Medicare has failed because it has attempted to address the issue of coverage without caring about affordability.  The same will be true of National Health Care. 

In order to make the best medical care affordable to American citizens (which is the ultimate goal), we need to return to a system of free trade on a free market by removing ALL of the onerous government regulations strangling innovation and eliminating ALL government handout programs which create incessant demand.  This means a repeal of programs such as Medicare because they are impractical and immoral.

I encourage you to read this article, Health Care is Not a Right, by Leonard Peikoff

Francis Luong

(edit 3/21 - comment: Although I identify the fundamental economic issue, there is also a fundamental political philosophy issue: the question of whether we consider men free and ends in themselves.  This is something that I indicate in the penultimate paragraph but I fail to make explicit.  Oh well... something for next time.)