Looking at Health Care from a Social Liberal-Fiscal Conservative Perspective

As the Supreme Court hears the case regarding national health care, I find it interesting that we are on the 100th anniversary of Teddy Roosevelt’s third party run for president, when he included national health insurance in his platform. Since then, presidents Harry Truman and Bill Clinton have made achieving national health care a major issue, while Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter have also expressed support. I bring all this up to explain why I am not and will never use the phrase “Obamacare” to describe what I believe to be a detrimental change to the health care system. The fact of the matter is that progressives have been promoting national health care for a long time, and trying to blame the current law completely on Obama is unfair. Why am I against national health care? Well, for starters, I adhere to a mix of liberal and libertarian principles. One of the most important aspects of libertarianism–and the best kind of liberalism–is the Harm Principle. Perhaps best articulated by 19th century political philosopher John Stuart Mill, the Harm Principle states that government cannot prohibit a sane adult from doing something unless that action directly harms children or non-consenting adults. Thus, according to the Harm Principle, a person’s unhealthy life choices are their business, not the government’s. For instance, there is a man who shall remain nameless that at one point was taking in about thirty thousand calories a day and tipping the scales at a little over half a ton. That is as much as an average bull moose. In other instances, you will observe people who make it their life’s work to inhale as much smoke into their body as possible, thereby destroying their lungs. And in case anti-national health care Republicans would like to point fingers, let us also remember how much insurance costs have probably been raised by 5’11”, 300-pound cigar junkie, Rush Limbaugh. But I digress. At any rate, it is my viewpoint that smokers, gluttons, daredevils, hard-core druggies, and all of the other people who ravage their bodies should be allowed the ability to make their own decisions about such things. Because if I decide to eat five pounds of onion rings each day for a year, then shove sparklers up my nose in an audition for Jackass, it only directly effects me, and the government has no right to interfere. The problem is that if the taxpayers are paying for my nose to get stitched back together and for me to have bypass surgery, it is then other people’s business. If the government pays for everybody’s health care, they are more likely to claim a right to police everybody’s lifestyles. And they won’t stop at monitoring the truly abominable health decisions. Consider this: I consider myself to be a healthy individual. I get plenty of cardio, am an inch or two shy of six feet, and weigh about 175 pounds. I visit restaurants sometimes and eat some dessert every night, but people have observed that I do a great job watching what I eat, and whatever bad food decisions I’ve made apparently haven’t caused me to become overweight. But whenever I go to the doctor’s, I get a warning about cholesterol. Because part of a doctor’s job is to warn people about doomsday scenarios. In essence, the cholesterol warnings mean that I might be taking some medication decades from now and that I might live to be ninety instead of ninety-five. I’m perfectly willing to assume the risk. The problem is that in a country where we are already spending way more money than we should, I think there’s a good chance that government officials will try to ban anything non-organic in order to cut health care costs. I have here a joke I found on the Internet entitled “Ordering a Pizza from Big Brother” that I feel sums up the risk we face in a society post-enactment of universal health care and the Patriot Act…

Operator: “Thank you for calling Pizza Hut. May I have your…”

Customer: “Hi, I’d like to order.”

Operator: “May I have your NIDN first, sir?”

Customer: “My National ID Number, yeah, hold on, eh, it’s 6102049998-45-54610.”

Operator: “Thank you, Mr. Sheehan. I see you live at 1742 Meadowland Drive, and the phone number’s 494-2366. Your office number over at Lincoln Insurance is 745-2302 and your cell number’s 266-2566. Which number are you calling from, sir?”

Customer: “Huh? I’m at home. Where d’ya get all this information?”

Operator: “We’re wired into the system, sir.”

Customer: (Sighs) “Oh, well, I’d like to order a couple of your All-Meat Special pizzas…”

Operator: “I don’t think that’s a good idea, sir.”

Customer: “Whaddya mean?”

Operator: “Sir, your medical records indicate that you’ve got very high blood pressure and extremely high cholesterol. Your National Health Care provider won’t allow such an unhealthy choice.”

Customer: “Damn. What do you recommend, then?”

Operator: “You might try our low-fat Soybean Yogurt Pizza. I’m sure you’ll like it”

Customer: “What makes you think I’d like something like that?”

Operator: “Well, you checked out ‘Gourmet Soybean Recipes’ from your local library last week, sir. That’s why I made the suggestion.”

Customer: “All right, all right. Give me two family-sized ones, then. What’s the damage?”

Operator: “That should be plenty for you, your wife and your four kids, sir. The ‘damage,’ as you put it, heh, heh, comes $49.99.”

Customer: “Lemme give you my credit card number.”

Operator: “I’m sorry sir, but I’m afraid you’ll have to pay in cash Your credit card balance is over its limit.”

Customer: “I’ll run over to the ATM and get some cash before your driver gets here.”

Operator: “That won’t work either, sir. Your checking account’s overdrawn”

Customer: “Never mind. Just send the pizzas. I’ll have the cash ready. How long will it take?”

Operator: “We’re running a little behind, sir. It’ll be about 45 minutes, sir. If you’re in a hurry you might want to pick ’em up while you’re out getting the cash, but carrying pizzas on a motorcycle can be a little awkward.”

Customer: “How the hell do you know I’m riding a bike?”

Operator: “It says here you’re in arrears on your car payments, so your car got repo’ed. But your Harley’s paid up, so I just assumed that you’d be using it.”

Customer: “@#%/$@&?#!”

Operator: “I’d advise watching your language, sir. You’ve already got a July 2006 conviction for cussing out a cop.”

Customer: (Speechless)

Operator: “Will there be anything else, sir?”

Customer: “No, nothing. oh, yeah, don’t forget the two free liters of Coke your ad says I get with the pizzas.”

Operator: “I’m sorry sir, but our ad’s exclusionary clause prevents us from offering free soda to diabetics.”

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March 29, 2012 · 12:25 am

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