Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Striking Observation of Socialist Health Systems

Actress Natasha Richardson died in 2009 because she could not be treated for head injury in Canada, she is an unfortunate victim of socialist health care

I have argued before that US health care ‘insurance’ is not really health insurance because it covers uninsurable health conditions. In my past article I said,

"There can only be insurance where insurance companies can create groupings and sub-groupings of classes. In order to do this, they have to --- wait for it --- discriminate! Suppose insurance company X has a number of professional boxers and economists as clients. They would of course have to segregate the two groups. The professional boxer has to pay a higher insurance premium because his risk of injury is much higher than that of the economist, more importantly, he has to be pooled together with other boxers while the economist has to be pooled together with other economists. Putting the two groups in one pool will amount to a redistribution scheme as the economist has to pay a higher premium, subsidizing the boxers he is being pooled with."

"[Situations which are] under the control of individuals are not insurable. There is really no such thing as car insurance since the physical condition of a car falls under the responsibility of its owner. No insurance company would offer car insurance since they will incur losses because of clients taking advantage of car insurance. This rule is also the reason why so -called government 'unemployment insurance' creates more unemployment. The government has created, in the realm of health care, a scheme similar to having insurance on the loss of sales of a business ---- it is that ludicrous!"

"It is obvious that health care insurance in the United States even before Obamacare is really just a fraudulent redistribution scheme creating perverse incentives that will make a population less healthy and more degenerate. It is therefore no surprise why so many Americans do not have health insurance for the simple reason that they did not want to pay high premiums to subsidize sickness, recklessness and degeneracy and in the process creating more of such."

Ludwig von Mises stated that,

"The psychic forces which are active in every living thing, including man, in the form of a will to health and a desire to work, are not independent of social surroundings. Certain circumstances strengthen them; others weaken them. The social environment of an African tribe living by hunting is decidedly calculated to stimulate these forces. The same is true of the quite different environment of the citizens of a capitalist society, based on division of labor and on private property. On the other hand, a social order weakens these forces when it promises that if the individual's work is hindered by illness or the effects of a trauma, he shall live without work or with little work and suffer no very noticeable reduction in his income. Matters are not so simple as they appear to the naive pathology of the army or prison doctor."

"Social insurance has thus made the neurosis of the insured a dangerous public disease. Should the institution be extended and developed, the disease will spread. No reform can be of any assistance. We cannot weaken or destroy the will to health without producing illness."

Many free marketers argue that data affecting mortality rates cannot be used when comparing the US health care system (which is semi-socialized since the State comprises 50% of health care spending) with UK/Canadian health care systems because Americans kill each other more often, consume more narcotic drugs and have unhealthy lifestyles leading to obesity and illnesses. However, those unhealthy lifestyles and crime statistics are also caused largely by government and not by some wild American ‘culture’. The unhealthy lifestyle is subsidized by the welfare scheme as explained above while the high crime rates and narcotic drug usage can be explained by the destructive ‘War on Drugs’.

It is interesting because the US system encourages sickness while the UK/Canadian system discourages it. The UK/Canadian health care systems discourage getting sick because getting treatment is such a hassle and quality is low. Waiting lines don’t really coincide with consumer preferences while sin taxes and FDA regulations do not give citizens of social democratic Europe many options to live unhealthily. This is the reason Americans are obese while Europeans are fairly fit (not to downplay the thousands who die every year in the socialist hospitals of the UK and Canada, see here, here, here and here). In the end though, no one is happy and human freedom is lost when responsibility and control over health and life are surrendered to politicians.

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