Saturday, August 15, 2009

The nationalization of your body

Mark Steyn's latest essay is about health care not surprisingly. As usual some good thoughts in there and well worth reading in full.

Here's the money quote that jumped off the page for me:

"And there's nothing you can do about it because,
ultimately, government health represents
the nationalization of your body."

There goes 'my body, my choice'.

1 comment:

N.S. Allen said...

I wonder how familiar Mr. Steyn is with Singapore's health care system, which he endorses at the end of the article - especially because Singapore's system totally disproves the argument he makes about rationing being the only way for the government to cut health care costs.

For instance:

In Singapore, the government requires you and your employer to save a certain amount of money specifically for health care. Only certain, government-approved types of treatment can be paid for from that savings account. This helps lower costs, because citizens are able to react to what they're paying for while being forced to spend responsibly. They end up avoiding needless care by themselves.

In Singapore, private care and insurance compete with government care (what you and I might call a "public option") for patients. This helps lower costs, since the private care providers have to work to get customers' attention. Meanwhile, government subsidies make care very affordable - if you get treated in a public hospital in Singapore, up to 80% of your care can be subsidized.

Also? Singapore spends 3% of its GDP on health care. We spend more than 15% of ours. If rationing were the only way government could lower the cost of care, as Steyn claims, essentially no one in Singapore would be getting it. Instead, they have one of the most effective delivery systems in the world.

Long story short, Mark Steyn is right that Singapore has a really great health care system. But it's great because the government does some very important things (only a few of them listed here) to guarantee care for everyone and to lower health care costs. And if we want to have a great health care system, our government needs to do a few things, too, regulation and a public option included.

It's not about nationalizing your body. It's about making sure that everyone else can afford to keep theirs healthy and cared for.