What happens when health care entitlements grow

The health care article I recently penned prompted an inordinate amount of fan and hate mail.

Most respondents agreed that health care prices seem to be based on many factors other than the actual cost of services. Most agreed that navigating the provider / payer web is time-consuming and frustrating.

Some concurred that we cannot stay on the same spending trajectories and maintain solvency and quality. Others believe socialized European models offer the best example of societal care.

For the record, I want to care for people in need. Most of us do. For many of us, religious beliefs drive our desire to help.

Saying that government should have limits on what it spends on health care for adult citizens is not a betrayal of my religion. It’s a belief in it.

For decades, religious orders have established and serviced health care centers. As proof, think of the names of the hospitals in your area.

But when government expands its health care entitlements, religious institutions subconsciously step back. “That’s the government’s job.” Conversely, if government limits its involvement, I believe believers will step up to meet critical needs.

The reality is there won’t ever be enough funding – government, charitable or otherwise – to keep up with demand for services. Some rationing must occur.

How should we ration? Who should do the rationing?

With regards to the former, I prefer to ration by ability or willingness to pay rather than ability or willingness to wait. I may want to forego other expenses or sell certain assets in order to afford insurance coverage or a particular treatment. Someone else may not.

But under a socialist system, it matters not how badly someone wants to sacrifice for  something, he or she must wait in line with others who may or may not want the thing as badly.

As for who does the rationing, I don’t care which party is in power, I don’t want a bureaucrat overseeing the dissemination of health care.

With a single government payer of the likes Obamacare will lead us to, providers have minimal financial incentive to give outstanding care. Care quality will inevitably diminish, as will interest in the medical field.

Bright minds will pursue more promising careers in less regulated industries, or they will move to places where profit motive remains.

The United States will no longer be a net importer of people seeking the best treatment in the world. We will no longer be a leading exporter of efficacious research and technology.

One friend said it is tempting to think that “millions will literally die in the streets” without a nationalized health care system. I agree that the temptation is real because the needs seem great.

We need faith:

to let the free market expose and reduce costs;

to encourage charitable organizations to do what they do best;

to keep the onus on individual citizens to live healthy lives;

and to take back one-sixth of our economy from the grip of Obamacare.

Otherwise, our future political battles will not decide between a conservative or liberal form of government. They will decide whether conservatives or liberals can better run our social liberal government.

Kevin Thompson writes weekly for The Boerne Star. He can be reached at kevin@kwt.info.

1 Response to “What happens when health care entitlements grow”

  1. 1 doncamp0114 March 26, 2012 at 09:11

    We lived in Canada for three years during the mid eighties, and saw socialism first hand. There was no charge for health care, so everyone went to the emergency room for every little sniffle. To get an EKG or any serious test meant waiting for months. Oh, personal income tax was 48%; how else could the government pay for health care?

    I teach an evening adult Constitution class in Boerne, so I know the founding fathers were trying to avoid government taking over our personal lives. There are specific duties the federal government is charged with performing, such as providing military protection for the country. But there is no provision for the government to take over health care;in fact it is prohibited from doing so.

    Our government leaders do not need to look further than Europe to see how inefficient socialism is; wake up Washington!

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