Monday, June 29, 2009

Health Care vs. Property Rights. Do Police and Fire Depts. make us socialists?

Opponents are mounting their predictable arguments against real health care reform and if you listen to conservative talk radio ( I do so you don't have to) or read their blogs it quickly becomes obvious that something more visceral than a simple policy disagreement is going on.  To be honest Im not sure why but for the right health care has seemingly become the economic tipping point beyond which we start dissolving individual property rights, much in  the same way social conservatives think gay marriage will cause the sky to fall.  Neither makes much sense. 

In the interest of full disclosure I should say I don't love Obama's plan but politics are the art of what is possible, not what is best.   That said it seems strikingly clear to me that to the extent we believe in morality and common goods we should not have such arguments about disengaging health care from profit motives.  It should be the obvious thing to do.

The reality is that governments in fact do a very good job of providing tax funded single payer services that protect private property, we call them police and firemen and as far as I can tell nobody is arguing that you should only get the police or fire response that you can pay for.  That would be an obvious moral failing.   The point we should be asking conservatives to expand on then is why they believe society should value personal property above personal health. 

If it is unthinkable for us to allow a house to burn or be burglarized if the owner cannot afford protection how is it any more reasonable to allow people to suffer or die needlessly if they cannot afford adequate health care?   No matter what my income conservatives see my property rights as sacrosanct but for some reason they believe  my health should be contingent on how much money I have.  

They should have to explain why.

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