government run medicine treats doctors like vending machines & adult patients like dependent children

So says my letter to the editor in the Denver Post this past Monday:

“Universal” health care

Re: “Patient, take care of thyself,” June 14 Pius Kamau column.

Surgeon Pius Kamau admirably explains that “each man and woman should be responsible for their own health.” Yet, the “universal health care” he advocates as “ideal” erodes this responsibility.

“Universal” health care is a deceptive euphemism for government- controlled medicine. By forcing providers and patients to abide by its prices and rules, government treats doctors like vending machines and adult patients like dependent children. The only thing “universal” about government-run health care is poor quality, low access, and long waiting times. By restricting choice and freedom, authority-driven health care makes government the parent responsible for the health of infantilized adults.

Contrast this with consumer-directed health care, which combines a low-premium, high-deductible insurance policy with a tax-deductible Health Savings Account. Patients self-insure with money invested in HSAs until reaching the deductible, after which the policy’s coverage applies.

Free-market medicine and voluntary charities promote personal responsibility and accessible quality care.

Brian T. Schwartz, Boulder

Will Pirkey of Evergreen responded the next day, claiming that “Our society does not need more personal responsibility, but rather social responsibility.” I wonder where this “social responsibility” comes from, and what actions does it entail. Who determines that, and by what right?


Pirkey continues: “We have the moral and social obligation to ensure every American, rich or poor, gets the care they need without the threat of lifelong debt.” For sake of argument, say this is true. This does not provide an argument for government controlled healthcare. Since it’s had such a poor record, the “moral and social obligation” (or the personal chosen obligation, which is how I see it) compels us to consider that free-markets can provide quality at a good price, just as it does other products and services.

Pirkey also writes: “The personal responsibility argument here is just another sad example of the blame-the-victim public policy and discourse in the United States.” Surely there are victims here – those who cannot afford health care because government policies have driven up the cost.

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