Everybody realizes that the current healthcare system in the United States has problems. Unfortunately, much of the discussion about what to do rests on a false premise. The argument goes something like this: Our current free market system is not working: health care costs are astronomically high, and close to 50 million people aren’t insured. Maybe it’s time to let the government try its hand.

But we don’t have a free market health system; we have a highly managed, bureaucratic system that lowers the level of health care and increases costs.

As Acton’s Michael Miller argues in a new video short, the government is already involved in healthcare, and this is part of the problem. Getting the government more involved will only make the situation worse.

  • MaryAnn

    America doesn’t have a free market system in anything. Consider the state’s intrusion into electric power, coal, lumber, pharmaceuticals, automobiles, aircraft agriculture; where there is a market today, the state has intruded and almost destroyed it. It is the nature of the state to expand and liberty to contract. Reagan also said we are always one generation from tyranny. If this present generation doesn’t wake up, we will lose liberty. Once lost, liberty cannot be restored.

  • Hyperbole

    Nevermind the laughable and immature idea that any government role in the economy is “tyranny.” What gets me about the above comment is the last line, which is all too common in hyperbolic libertarian circles. What nonsense, that liberty can’t be restored. Under your own world view, wasn’t “liberty” restored, or at least enhanced, in 1996 when welfare reform was passed? Wasn’t it restored or enhanced with the Bush tax cuts? With the deregulation of the financial industry in the late 90s and early 00s? With the deregulation of the airline industry in the 70s and 80s? On a grander scale, wasn’t liberty restored to Germany after World War II, and to America after the Revolution? Not that it always takes violent action. In your mind, it probably only takes another Republican president.

    Get a grip on your rhetoric.

  • Roger McKinney

    hyperbole: “Nevermind the laughable and immature idea that any government role in the economy is “tyranny.”

    How else would you define tyrrany? When Americans talk about being free, what are we free from, if not state interference in our lives?

    De Toqueville warned two centuries ago about the danger of the US falling into soft tyranny, by which he meant tyranny of the state which the people voted upon themselves. We have lived with such tyranny for so long now that most people consider it the normal state of affairs. Only by reading about the freedom that Americans used to enjoy will you see the present state of affairs as tyranny.

  • Hyperbole

    Please, tell me about the freedom that Americans used to enjoy. I don’t think the freedom to get sick and be faced with the choice of no treatment or bankruptcy is much of a freedom at all. You proceed from the premise that the only possible limiter of freedom is the government. I guess I have a more expansive concept of freedom. I don’t think the poor, the starving, the ill, those desperately afraid of becoming ill because it would ruin them, et al., are truly free. Are they free to do take a risk by starting their own company? Are they free to divorce their abusive husbands whose employers provide their health insurance? Are they free to flourish? You say yes, of course they are free to do that, because the government isn’t saying they can’t. But the point is that they can’t, not who is making it so.

  • Ferrygull

    Are you saying that government exists to protect the citizen from anything that can go wrong?

  • Hyperbole

    No, I’m not. I’m saying that it’s wrong to think of “liberal” social policies as being about a trade-off between equality and liberty, or between security and liberty, or what have you. I think that egalitarian policies and a strong safety net often increase real human freedom, and the question is ultimately, whose freedom do you want to protect? Do you choose the freedom of the millionaire not to be taxed? Or do you choose other freedoms, like those I suggested above? Different people can weigh these things differently, but I think it’s absurd that our discourse grants libertarians exclusive rights over the terms “freedom” and “liberty” when really they are interested in a specific kind of freedom for a specific group of people.

    All of this, obviously, rests on the premise that “real human freedom,” which I think is synonymous with “autonomy,” is an equally valid kind of freedom as the traditional “freedom from government power.” You can come back at me with Isaiah Berlin and his critique of “positive liberty,” if you want.

  • Roger McKinney

    hyperbole: “All of this, obviously, rests on the premise that “real human freedom,” which I think is synonymous with “autonomy,” is an equally valid kind of freedom as the traditional “freedom from government power.”

    Your definition of freedom is a great example of why it’s impossible to communicate anymore. Communications requires common definitions of words. But everyone feels free to create their own definitions of words and use them without warning others. It’s a typical socialist technique, and your definition of freedom is a socialist forgery, whether you’re aware of it or not.

    Freedom from tyranny always has been defined as freedom from the state. Any other definition is dishonest. Poverty alleviation is a matter charity, not freedom. All you are arguing is that the state should force people to perform charity at gun point. Is that really Christian charity?

  • http://forum.alitervisum.com/ Aliter Visum

    Roger McKinney wrote: “Freedom from tyranny always has been defined as freedom from the state.”
    ———————————-

    Actually, “freedom from tyranny” is freedom from whoever or whatever is despotic or oppressive.
    ~

  • http://forum.alitervisum.com/ Aliter Visum

    Jonathan Witt wrote: “Our current free market system is not working: health care costs are astronomically high, and close to 50 million people aren’t insured [...] we have a highly managed, bureaucratic system that lowers the level of health care and increases costs.”
    ———————————-

    I say, “we have a highly managed, bureaucratic system” of insurance companies whose only motivation is profit by any and all means which is why “health care costs are astronomically high, and close to 50 million people aren’t insured.”
    ~

  • http://forum.alitervisum.com/ Aliter Visum

    Michael Miller argues: “Getting the government more involved will only make the situation worse.”
    ———————————-

    I say, it’s rather either getting the government uninvolved or making it something other than the government of the people, by the people and for the people will make the situation worse.
    ~

  • Neal Lang

    “Actually, ‘freedom from tyranny’ is freedom from whoever or whatever is despotic or oppressive.”

    Actually, “tyranny” is defined as:

    TYRANNY: A form of government where a single ruler is vested with absolute power. The defective version of monarchy (see Monarchy, Statism, and Totalitarianism). Any absolute and oppressive power. Infamous tyrants include Mao Tse-Tung*, Adolf Hitler*, and Joseph Stalin*.

    MONARCHY: Literally government by a monarch or sovereign, such as a king or emperor, who has supreme power over a realm. Key contemporary advocates include Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn.

    TOTALITARIANISM: This is the view that any institutional separation between the state and nongovernmental organizations (such as churches, private hospitals, civic groups, charities, etc.) must be eliminated. Totalitarians insist that all the major institutions of society should be directed by the state (see Statism). Key political movements include Italian Fascism, Nazism, and Communism.

    STATISM: Generally, a program or viewpoint that looks to the state for resolution of social and moral problems, rather than to individual effort. Specifically, a condition where the nongovernmental institutions of a society develop an overextended and unhealthy reliance upon political structures for the solution of problems. Statism stands in direct violation of the principle of subsidiarity (see Subsidiarity, The Principle of) and sphere sovereignty (see Sphere Sovereignty). Statists believe that the resolution to social problems should be obtained through legislative measures.

    SUBSIDIARITY, THE PRINCIPLE OF: A principle from Catholic Social Teaching but with correspondences to American federalism (see Limited Government) and the Dutch Calvinist concept of sphere sovereignty (see Sphere Sovereignty) which views society as comprised of various networks of natural mediating institutions (such as family, neighborhoods, churches, voluntary organizations, the free press, among others). Each of these institutions has natural functions, responsibilities, and obligations. For example, families raise children, churches provide moral and spiritual guidance, and so on.

    Subsidiarity teaches that the higher or more complex social structures (such as government) should not interfere unnecessarily in the affairs of the lower social structures (such as the family). Unnecessary interference from the higher structures robs the lower structures of their natural functions. Over time this interference can cause the breakdown of the mediating institutions in a society. If breakdown occurs politics will replace private association as the infrastructure of society.

    Subsidiarity does allow for the interference of higher institutions in the affairs of lower ones in situations of crisis, emergency, or when they are not capable of being self-sufficient. However, when such interference occurs it should be specifically focused, limited, temporary, and seek to reestablish the institution’s self-sufficiency.

    SPHERE SOVEREIGNTY: A principle of Reformed Christian social ethics, usually associated with the thought of Dutch Prime Minister Abraham Kuyper*, that identifies a number of God- ordained creational spheres, which include the family, the state, culture, and the church. These spheres each have their own organizing and ruling ordinances, and each maintains a measure of authority relative to the others. Just social and political structures, therefore, should be ordered so that the authority of each sphere is preserved (see Limited Government and Subsidiarity, The Principle of).

    LIMITED GOVERNMENT: The idea that government is not all-competent. Government is one social institution among others having its own distinct sphere of responsibility and authority. The tendency of government is to assert regulatory authority beyond its proper bounds. Limited government was an essential idea undergirding the founding of the American republic. The framers of the Constitution, who had experienced first-hand the tyranny (see Tyranny) of the British monarchy, reckoned that it was imprudent to endow one branch of government with supreme power. They reasoned that unless authority was distributed equally among different branches of government, fallen human nature would eventually cause leaders to become tyrants. As Lord Acton wrote nearly a century later, “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Key thinkers include John Jay*, James Madison*, Alexander Hamilton*, Thomas Jefferson*, and John Adams*.

    In order to be truly tyrannical the tyrant must have the power to coerce the subject to take an action against their wishes. Only governments possess the “power” to do this. The Free Market operates by meeting consumer demands, while the government operates by coercing “the Peoples” actions.

  • Neal Lang

    “I say, it’s rather either getting the government uninvolved or making it something other than the government of the people, by the people and for the people will make the situation worse.”

    Beyond security, government has been proven totally inadequate to “satisfy” human needs. Everything that government touches, from welfare to Social Security to medical care turns into a mess. The vast majority of “red tape” involved in providing medical is do directly to governmental requirements. Before ObamaCare the screwed mess that was the provision of medical services in the US was directly do the government’s already excessive involvement in that sector. Before government got involved in medical care, the costs of medical services remained will within the means of the typical American family. Once government got involved, beginning with Wages controls during the industrialization leading up to WWII the costs have steady exceeded normal inflation. This was because the consumer of medical services did not negotiate and pay for them. The cost of medical insurance was increasingly shifted to employers. Starting in 1965, when Congress created Medicare and Medicaid, the portion paid for by government exploded. The government was already running Veterans medical hospitals and clinics, but with these two program the government became the prime medical care provider in the country. When people think something is “free” they use more of it, and any economics book will tell you that when demand goes up and the supply is limited that prices will go up also. ObamaCare will exacerbate this “supply and demand” problem. See what happen to gas supply and demand when government fixed gas prices.

  • Neal Lang

    “Under your own world view, wasn’t ‘liberty’ restored, or at least enhanced, in 1996 when welfare reform was passed?” Wasn’t it restored or enhanced with the Bush tax cuts? With the deregulation of the financial industry in the late 90s and early 00s? With the deregulation of the airline industry in the 70s and 80s? On a grander scale, wasn’t liberty restored to Germany after World War II, and to America after the Revolution? Not that it always takes violent action. In your mind, it probably only takes another Republican president.”

    Governments exist solely to secure for “the People” the Creator endowed Rights of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness. Beyond this any excess governmental powers amount to tyranny. Besides being proven incapable to manage its own affairs, much less the affairs of all “the People,” there is not one thing that our Federal Government does, beyond defense, that it correctly manages. Liberty for “the People” of the US will only occur when the Federal Government stops being the charity of “first resort.”

    “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” – Thomas Jefferson

    Thomas Jefferson said in 1802: “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property – until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

    I think he had it pretty well pegged!

  • Neal Lang

    “Please, tell me about the freedom that Americans used to enjoy. I don’t think the freedom to get sick and be faced with the choice of no treatment or bankruptcy is much of a freedom at all. You proceed from the premise that the only possible limiter of freedom is the government. I guess I have a more expansive concept of freedom.”

    Nothing the government does or can do stops “the People” from becoming sick. Getting sick is as natural as being born and dying. Everyone will eventually die, should the government pass an edict to end death?

    “I don’t think the poor, the starving, the ill, those desperately afraid of becoming ill because it would ruin them, et al., are truly free.”

    People make lifestyle choices which usually lead to their economic consider. No one starves in the US, and even the poorest have access to food, housing, medical care, TV, telephone, automobiles, and amenities that the truly poor people of this World could only dream of. The “Social Safety Net” begins with the individual, from there it extends to the family, and from to private community organizations, churches, and other charitable organizations. The Government run Welfare system in our has never accomplished its proper role which was aiding people with a “hand-up.” Instead government aid has perpetuated and reinforced the bad habits that get people into trouble in the first place. Because government is there to wipe-up the spilled milk, those who suffer from underachievement are aided and abetted in their lack of self-respect and ambition. Most private charities take a different approach and insist on the those that they try to help also try to better their condition in life. Government Welfare takes an entirely different approach, it makes harder for those people who accept to get off it. After all, there is no incentive for the government welfare worker to get the poor back on their so that they might become self-sufficient and no longer a burdened on society, because then the government welfare would be out a job.

    Please point to one government welfare program that has been a success. You can’t because there is none. From education to housing to health care, everything the government touches it makes worse, not better.

    “Are they free to do take a risk by starting their own company?”

    Of course, they are, they just need to set the right priorities. Of course, ObamaCare has just made entrepreneurship in this country immensely harder. But what the heck, less entrepreneurs means less jobs which means more people will need government handouts. There is genius in Obama’s madness.

    “Are they free to divorce their abusive husbands whose employers provide their health insurance?”

    Why not? If the husband is truly abusive he will be responsible for the injured wife and children’s health care.

    “Are they free to flourish? You say yes, of course they are free to do that, because the government isn’t saying they can’t. But the point is that they can’t, not who is making it so.”

    You have a rather dim view of humanity. Just because you can’t make it without government preferences and handouts doesn’t mean everyone else can’t.

  • Neal Lang

    How Long Do We Have?

    About the time our original thirteen states adopted their new constitution in 1787, Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Democracy some 2,000 years earlier:

    “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

    “The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, those nations always progressed through the following sequence:

    “1. from bondage to spiritual faith;
    2. from spiritual faith to great courage;
    3. from courage to liberty;
    4. from liberty to abundance;
    5. from abundance to complacency;
    6. from complacency to apathy;
    7. from apathy to dependence;
    8. from dependence back into bondage”

    We are now in the dependency phase because too many people think that they need government to provide for them.