The greatest driving force in human history is not hate or greed but self-preservation; an innate resistance to losing one’s life, livelihood and family. It is through our natural instinct to survive the rigors of human nature, the rise of everyday competition, that circumstance breeds urgency, innovation, excellence and even empathy. Sadly, I can lend no such credence to the state of government healthcare. While the political leviathan of socialized medicine is supposedly predicated upon universal need, it is more commonly defined by waste, apathy, and the not-so-friendly institution of centralized ineptitude.
If you want a glimpse into the frightening future of medical malpractice, look no further than our VA hospitals where poorly equipped facilities offer about as much hope as they do heartache. Whether in need of routine checkups or critical surgical procedures, thousands of our veterans are treated as burdens and callously left to linger on waiting lists; a growing number of which die from neglect or commit suicide out of sheer anguish. These stories of socialized futility are hardly aberrations for similar experiences are prevalent in England, Cuba and yes, even the liberal love child known as Canada; a country that boasts one-tenth the U.S. population and an average wait time of two months for an MRI. In a fifteen-year period, researchers estimated 50,000 Canadian women died while waiting for adequate care. If advocates can claim the moral high ground by invoking greed but ignoring reality, what’s the cost/benefit ratio of a life lost to gross negligence or equitable incompetence? Dependency doesn’t demand excellence; it invites the lowest bidder to misspell mediocrity on your entitled epitaph.
I’m not here to claim private healthcare is a pinnacle of perfection endorsed by the most meticulous proctologists. Hardly, for few within the business are truly clean. However, by comparison, independent providers and physicians are overwhelmingly driven by an inherent need to survive by offering a product and degree of service superior to their competitors, including a federal singularity that caters only to itself. In other words, when you make the rules and there is no commercial alternative, what is your motive to improve and innovate to satisfy the expectations of your customers? Better yet, what are the consequences for failure? The same government that can’t balance its checkbook or give a simple, unrehearsed answer wants to dictate every aspect of your life; most notably, the acceptable terms of your unconditional surrender. If Washington is so incestuously corrupt, as Bernie Sanders loves to reiterate, why would anyone want to give more power, money and control to those who so summarily abuse it?
Healthcare is the Holy Grail of progressivism because its inescapable necessity invites political indoctrination; a medium easily manipulated to blackmail voters or a convenient ploy to question the sanity, but more succinctly the rights, of any gun owner. Many of the same Congressmen who profusely declared Obamacare a success – fiscal fairy dust that made healthcare even more unaffordable and countless employees unemployable – refused to subject their own families to its ill-conceived guidelines. Attempting to pay for the healthcare costs of over 300 million Americans, let alone squeeze them into a broken mold showcasing a singularly inferior product, is about as progressive as barbecuing science books to raise awareness for Global Warming. Unless you believe imitation isn’t the sincerest form of flattery, the road most traveled is typically the one with the most dining options and the fewest bureaucrats selling trillion-dollar sporks. Why would choosing insurance or a trustworthy doctor be any different? A government “death panel” ordering hospitals to pull the plug on gravely ill patients is bad enough, but refusing to allow parents the opportunity to save their own child’s life by accepting offers of medical assistance from other countries is simply sadistic. Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans obviously didn’t meet the British court’s honorable criteria of “redeemable effort”.
The inherent flaws of private healthcare do not require sacrificing liberty or quality care on a glass altar of unsustainable socialism. Lasting and immediate reform can be achieved by eliminating or restricting the exclusion of “pre-existing” conditions, adjusting the rates of emergency and surgical care, opening foreign pharmaceutical markets to lower the cost of drug prescriptions, and by establishing tax-free healthcare coops for businesses or municipalities. Likewise, the cost of routine medical procedures can be lowered by either subsidizing the purchase of vital Hospital equipment or by providing abatements for the companies that manufacture these devices. If Washington can waste 100 billion annually on illegal immigrants, or subsidize the human rights abuses of terrorist nations, Congress can refund our forsaken trust by finding creative methods to lower the medical expenses of actual citizens without infringing upon the autonomy of choice.
As for those struggling individuals unable to afford insurance, a greater emphasis should be placed on upgrading, staffing and properly equipping community health centers; as well as encouraging more area doctors and nurses to volunteer their expertise in exchange for student loan forgiveness or future job preference. Whereas “access” to medical services is a right, free or discounted healthcare is a privilege incumbent upon helping yourself; albeit by working to survive or by seeking higher education/training to earn a better living. There is absolutely no shame in requiring assistance during times of financial distress or personal misfortune. However, other than enduring a permanent disability, refusing to provide for your family or make an honest attempt to meet your medical obligations is not need; it’s exploitation. A lack of personal accountability is a surplus of contempt for those affected by its absence.
Forcing Americans to embrace a single-payer healthcare system is as absurd as claiming only one company should sell shoes or manufacture cars. After all, Crocs are equally traumatizing whether at the plant or in the office and who doesn’t want a convertible Yugo tank with a fully-functional etch-sketch GPS? The American pioneers of discovery were not the offspring of a federal mandate, clamoring for affirmative action, nor were they motivated by the thought of the fruits of their labor being confiscated for the common good of bad government. Rather, they personified a spirit of ambition that risked failure for the potential reward of a dream – realized by a tireless work ethic – dedicated to pushing the boundaries of the status quo.
While most medical personnel possess an intrinsic desire to both transform and save lives, they also rightfully deserve to thrive within an environment that both compensates their unique abilities and stokes the fire of human ingenuity. If “necessity” is the mother of invention, competition is undoubtedly the father of competence. Although some degree of oversight will always be required to combat fraud, negligence, and to maintain safeguards within an ever-changing industry, “the people” deserve the best possible care with the least amount of political subversion. Government does little-to-nothing as well as the private sector because in the real world efficiency, specialization and solvency, are not logical fallacies “mislabeled” as enemies of the state. When Socialism is defined as Communism without a bayonet in your back, success is defined by the number of functional limbs left to command instead of by the number of lives saved from its dysfunctional grasp.