Socialism sucks. And while I’m on the subject of things that suck, Marxism also sucks, but I repeat myself. There is a simple reason why both socialism and Marxism suck, and it can be described in terms of homeostasis — the automatic processes your body uses to regulate your body temperature, blood sugar, hormones, etc. Here’s what I wrote before about homeostasis and command economies:
The wonder of the body is that necessary processes like the insulin/glucagon battle take place automatically, whether you think about them or not. And it’s a good thing that we don’t have to think about these functions. The chemistry necessary to turn those two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and onions on a sesame seed bun into the glucose your body needs (minus the icky bits your body doesn’t need) is a chemist’s nightmare. How long would it take you to break normal table sugar (and water) into glucose if you had to do the following chemical reaction manually?
C12H22O11 + H2O —> C6H12O6 + C6H12O6
Now aren’t you glad that your body does this automatically for you? I know I am….
Just as your body is best served to have the blood sugar levels controlled automatically by the pancreas working invisibly inside you (further down and a bit more to the right. Yep, right there), the invisible hand of market forces works best when the force of government is kept out of it. Government intervention is similar to the injections of insulin. While it can be of short-term benefit to the person involved, it is neither as fast nor as efficient as the automatic actions of the pancreas.
People and economies work best when regulated by automatic processes, and socialism is not automatic. It is the heavy hand of government trying to brute-force the kinds of decisions that are best handled by the “invisible hand” of the free market.
“But American health care is broken! We need the government to fix where the market has failed.” I’ve heard several people make that claim whenever the subject of rising health care costs comes up. But why are health care costs rising? Here is a very telling graph that I’ve mentioned before:
Notice that the more the cost of health care is paid by some third party like health insurance, the faster the overall cost goes up. But in cases like Lasik eye surgery, costs have gone from $10,000 per eye to under $500 in a few short years. Since people have to pay for laser eye surgery themselves, they have shopped around and sought out the best service for their money. But the chart shows that when people are not involved in the costs, as happens with insurance payments, costs go spiraling up like, well, health care costs.
Since third-party payments appear to be linked to rising costs, the proffered solution is to create more third-party payments by socializing medicine? Sounds like trying to put out an apartment fire by throwing logs and cans of gas in through the window. Oh, hey! The fire’s getting worse. Toss on more wood and gas!
But feeding the flames of the problem is exactly what socialist champion Michael Moore wants. His newest
piece of crap documentary, titled Sicko, is hitting theaters, so expect to hear more people call for single-payer socialized medicine. To prove his point about the problem of American health care, Moore took some people down to Cuba for treatment. I find it ironic that when Fidel Castro needed emergency surgery, even though Cuba is supposedly a nation of doctors, they flew in a Spanish surgeon to work on him. So much for the vaunted socialized medicine of Cuba.
It’s illuminating to read the IMDb comments attached to Sicko. Many commenters claim that America’s love of money is bad, and socialized medicine in Europe and Canada is good. As one commenter put it, “Michael goes to 4 countries with Universal healthcare coverage, including a longtime alleged nemesis Cuba. In all instances he finds that there is great medical coverage, FOR FREE. Ontop [sic] of that, medications are either free, or almost free compared to U.S.A.” But this Canadian commenter is wrong. Medical coverage in such countries is not free. It is paid for by taxation, and governments have to reach into your pocketbook to get the taxes. So in no way do nations with socialized medicine get their health care for free.
Interestingly enough, the plot outline as listed on the IMDb just changed. It was once described as a comedy about 45 million uninsured Americans, but now it says the film is a documentary comparing health care systems. The original outline trotted out the common claim that there are 45 million Americans without health care in the U.S. That’s 15%, or almost one in six people. But Stuart Browning does a great job of showing how that number is inflated in his video. Removing from that equation the people who voluntarily choose not to have insurance, like the young and healthy, and those people who could receive health insurance through programs like Medicaid but who don’t bother to apply, the number of truly uninsured in the U.S. is about 8 million people, or about 2.7% of Americans. Browning sums it up this way in his video:
A small minority of people slip through the cracks through no fault of their own – however in any nation there is a group of people who refuse to participate in society or take responsibility for their own well-being. Even if our government attempted to force them to receive regular health care, many wouldn’t comply.
So, why do we keep hearing about a crisis of 45 million uninsured?
Maybe, it’s because the problem of Americans without health insurance is exaggerated and used as a smokescreen by many reformers who advocate socialized health care financing.
Here’s another dirty little secret, although it’s not so secret any more — hospitals are not allowed to turn away any injured person who goes to the emergency room, whether or not that person can pay for medical services. In the movie, Faye Chao demonstrates this. She makes more than enough money to pay for health insurance, but she chooses to save the money rather than spend it. In one exchange in the movie, she talks about her experience with hospital care:
Faye Chao: I bike everywhere in the city, so I have gotten hit by drivers twice – and one time I ended up in the hospital. No, I didn’t have health insurance, but I was treated – and billed for it later.
Stuart Browning: Umm hmm. How much was the bill for? Do you remember?
Faye Chao: Honestly I don’t because I didn’t bother to pay for it.
Free health care! Just stiff the hospital like Chao did if you want free health care. Or you can do what socialist nations do and pass the bill on to the taxpayers. Do you really want your health care handled by the government? Before you answer, I suggest you first get your driver’s license renewed at the DMV. The cheerful, attentive service you receive at the hands of the DMV should be a fair example of the service you can expect from government-run health care.
Don’t worry about having to wait months for government-run health care services — just keep repeating to yourself, “It’s free.”
And like so many other free things, you’ll get exactly what you pay for.