We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
A thorough review of the history of medical care in America along with the legal rationales for government regulation of a variety of industries: Medicine as a Public Calling
Had medical care become an industry? A single industry? A monopoly? It's complicated, and like all areas in which government gets involved, it is more political than logical. As FDR said about Social Security, "This is not about economics, it's about politics."
At issue, in part, is whether medical care is a commodity. As my practice goes, it is far from a commodity. After studying the article, I began to wonder whether similar arguments might be equally-applicable to the legal and the accounting businesses. Even to the plumbing business.
If there is a good argument for utilities to be monopolies, it's that it's too hard to set up a lot of competing networks if each of them requires a complicated physical delivery system to each home. The medical system is nothing like that. It thrives on competition. Why make it a utility or a monopoly? We know perfectly well that's a good way to guarantee a degradation of service and an increase in price. We put up with these effects only when we have no good alternative. No need to proliferate monopolies.
Someone once told me "you can't use too much healthcare" so in their mind it's not something "that can be wasted" and is therefore a "public utility."
I then asked them if they had ever heard of hypochondria. I took it a step further and told them how, when he was in the Navy, my father's waiting room was filled the minute it opened with base wives having a coffee klatch. They'd show up with minor abrasions, bruises, hangnails...anything to get out of the house.
Free care has its downside. And it can be overused and misused.
I asked this person how they'd feel if, since health care might be 'free' someone got badly injured performing a ridiculously dangerous and stupid stunt? It's one thing to think twice about something which could shatter your leg when you might have to pay to get it fixed. It's quite another if you don't have to pay.
I'm not saying that consideration would stop anyone truly that crazy. But it would stop enough people.
However, we do need a way to manage costs for people who suffer from congenital and chronic issues which have nothing to do with their own life mismanagement. It's possible that shared-risk cooperative exchanges could provide better options for people than our current state of affairs. But that would require making insurance a truly open market.
Once healthcare becomes a state monopoly, the state will give itself the power to regulate every aspect of your life in order to limit the expenses your life will generate for the state.
After all, your "dangerous lifestyle" is now no longer something between you, your health insurance (who probably makes you pay a higher premium now) and your doctors, but a matter of public concern.
So the government will have to be able to dictate every aspect of your diet, your hobbies, your exercise regimen, your travels, etc. etc..
And of course monitor all that 24/7 to ensure compliance, with fines and mandatory admission to "clinics" as penalty for violations and to "cure you of your unhealthy tendencies' (like tendencies to vote for parties who would abolish the system).
If that's the kind of society you want to live in, be my guest and please move to North Korea. I'd prefer to retain some level of freedom from government meddling.