Thursday, February 17, 2011

Editorial: Health care starts with us, not reform

An unusually smug unnamed Courier editor opines, "If we all paid better attention to what we eat, health care reforms would be a formality and those who get cancer could be the exception." I think this only shows that most Americans, in particular the editor, really don't understand the breadth of what we mean by "health care," nor what it's like to live in a country where health care is secure.

Conservatives love to mouth the mantra, "America has the greatest health-care system in the world." If you accept that as true, it's got to be very hard to understand why we get below-average health-care results on pretty much every useful measure. So it's tempting to divert the blame for that from the system to the individual. You eat crap, whatever happens is your fault, right?

That said, I hardly know where to begin. Even leaving aside simple stuff like accidents and babies, one might conclude from this that the editor thinks a higher-quality diet prevents mental illness, viral and bacterial infections, parasites, genetic predispositions, drug reactions, allergies, and any number of other maladies.

I don't think the editor means what he seems to say. He's trying to talk about a complex issue in a very small space and just not managing to keep the result from sounding idiotically facile. That might take another ten minutes of editing, and deadline looms.

Yes, a better average diet will reduce health problems on average, but a forward-thinking, nonprofit, prevention-oriented health-care system, as well as a sustained public-policy priority on a healthy populace, would furnish a lot more support for eating right.

This isn't the tired old dichotomy of either I do for me or the government does for me. This is about working together to build systems that help us all to help ourselves.

7 comments:

Elizabeth May said...

Dear Steven Ayres,
It's nearly 10:00 pm and all of my friends are so tired of hearing about this legislative session. So hear I am. Did you read this article this morning? http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2011/02/17/20110217arizona-medicaid-fees-pushed-by-lawmakers.html

I have worked for conservative causes for many years, but it didn't used to be mean. I am so ashamed of the part of this article that referrs to the bright orange identification cards, with large black lettering, to be carried by AHCCCS and Food Stamp recipients. I haven't been able to locate the bill number. I should have it by the morning. The whole health care issue during this session and my inability to make a difference is frustrating me to the point that I might not read the Republic tommorrow.

This editorial that you are writing about is characteristic of a coursening of our culture. Last night I had a neighbor over for dinner. She said that the legislature's decision to let these people on the transplant list die scared her. She said,'I'm really scared about what kind of country we are going to be."

Steven Ayres said...

That bill you're looking for is HB2675, sponsored by Steve Dial. The bright-orange-card requirement has been dropped as too extreme even for this Legislature. The photo-ID requirement is still the centerpiece.

I share your neighbor's concern, obviously. I hope that what I'm doing reaches people like you, caring conservatives not blinded by the hype, because you have the most power to head off the stampede over the crazy cliff.

It's the responsibility of all thinking people to reduce the influence of crazy talk at both ends of the ideological spectrum by driving the snakes out of our own nests. The right has done that twice in the last century, once in the '50s against McCarthy and again in the '60s against the Birchers. The left did it in the '70s. It's time for another round of housecleaning. The question is whether there's enough spark left in the honest right to take on the task.

dovh49 said...

This is about working together to build systems that help us all to help ourselves.

When your being forced to "work together" at the end of a barrel of a gun there is no such thing as "working together". Government cannot be charitable because being charitable requires a freely giving person and government forces people to pay for these goods. It is only theft (with the threat of violence or the actual use of violence) from one segment of the population to provide services for another portion of a population.

If you truly care about people then you will stop the cycle of violence and end any more handouts. You will also end licensing requirements and regulations for doctors and stop regulating the insurance companies. Then prices will be able to fall dramatically and the poor would more easily afford medical care. The poor that couldn't afford it still could be helped by private organizations and still get care. The free market is what truly creates a healthy and vibrant people.

The Coyote Blog is doing a series on the Obama(non)care health insurance right now. Mises.org also has plenty of articles on these ideas also.

People who truly care put there money, voluntarily, where there mouth is. John Stossel did a show recently (found on Hulu) about how conservatives (btw, I'm not a conservative) give more than liberals even though they make, on average, less money than liberals.

Steven Ayres said...

We tried the system you advocate, d. It's now called the Gilded Age, or the age of the robber baron. It did not work out the way you imagine.

dovh49 said...

Yes, and it ended poorly because of government interference. Then came the progressive era which brought on the great depression. Progressivism is that which does not work. We've seen it time again. It only leads to despotism, elitism, and the suffering of the poor.

Steven Ayres said...

So you'd rather force me to live in the cannibal-eat-cannibal paradise that you envision. No, thanks. You really need to buy your own sovereign island, d.

dovh49 said...

Nice try Steven, the only one forcing anybody to live a certain way is you. You use the violence of the state to get what you wish. I never said you couldn't live the way you want. It's called panarchy. I have no problem with you living the way you want. It is you, dear sir, that wishes to use violence against others.