Asimov

"Essential Services" and Health Care

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My dad and I were having a discussion about what he viewed as essential services the government must provide their people. He stated that one of them was health care.

Myself, I'm against a national health care system, but I wanted to hear your guys' thoughts on the cons of a national health care system.

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With all seriousness I would suggest Capitalism the Unknown Idea.

No one has the right to enslave anyone to their irrational desires.

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My dad and I were having a discussion about what he viewed as essential services the government must provide their people. He stated that one of them was health care.

Myself, I'm against a national health care system, but I wanted to hear your guys' thoughts on the cons of a national health care system.

Ask him if FOOD is essential, and if food supply should be treated differently from other services. Free meals for everyone?

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My dad and I were having a discussion about what he viewed as essential services the government must provide their people. He stated that one of them was health care.

Myself, I'm against a national health care system, but I wanted to hear your guys' thoughts on the cons of a national health care system.

Ask him if FOOD is essential, and if food supply should be treated differently from other services. Free meals for everyone?

I agree with Arnold, and why stop with just that example. How about free cars, houses, haircuts (Dr. Peikoff's example), clothes and on and on and on. With so many people showing up for the free cars it would not be long before the supply out weighed the deamand and the government would run out or change standards. The person that wants it for free of course would want the best they could get for free, let us say a Cadillac and loaded. After a while the funds for the free Cadillacs would run low and then the government would put controls on what you could get, forget the Cadillac, how about a stocked Chevy Cobalt. There will also be no negotiating of excessories as everyone must have the same service/car.

The above example could be transferred to any "essential good". But, who is the government going to enslave to pay for all these "essential goods?" Remember that the government does not produce wealth, so where are the resources going to come from to support such activities?

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The more "essential" the service or product in question, the stronger the case for keeping government out of that sector of the economy.

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It is useful to link together factual evidence of ineffectiveness of governments providing medical services to show errors in common statements in favor of the same because not everyone approaches life the way a student of Objectivism does. There is evidence in research journals to show that 'universal care' is ineffective in a population as a whole and for an individual. It is also useful to break the term 'essential services' into its constituents, because many people believe government-regulated nutritional information on packaging, for example, is an essential health service. First, what is an essential service? Is there some definition that encompasses an individual over his lifetime that a government can statically put into place? Most proponents of universal care want every possible service and treatment to be deemed essential.

In terms of access to physicians, how does a government, if it is to be a regulating body, go about determining what equal access means? When those in favor of essential services talk about access, they always mean equal access. How do you determine what is equal in distributing physicians amidst a population, and what is equal in terms of services? Does one restrict mobility of individuals between communities and states? If a person who had a limb amputation has a physician who recommends more rehabilitation, does the government stop providing for his care because he has reached his 'limit' of care, because money has to be allotted to a person who has a cold and decides to visit a family physician after 5 years because he thinks he has bronchitis rather than a cold, 'needs' a consult?

In terms of access to technology, how does a government decide which technologies to adopt that are "right" for any individual? Especially given the shortening life cycles of technologies, how does a government decide to spend tax dollars on advice pamphlets to drink corn silk tea rather than buy a few thousand lithotriptors to spare the expense of surgery to remove stones? Is there some so-called expert committee who is to decide for an individual what is best for that volitional individual? What if you have a terminal condition and you don't want treatment? Do you still have to pay into the system? And, going back to stones, how many thousand lithotriptors should the government buy? When there is a waiting list for a cancer screening technology, who and how do citizens urge their elected officials to buy better and newer technology, and for whom? Do they wait till it's too late before some better technology is bought and distributed - and distributed how?

There are always the proponents of the semi-government system as well. They'll cite systems in Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland or Japan as model systems. What I have observed seems to be excluded from these references to model systems is that the 'guarantee' these governments give their citizens is double billing; you pay your taxes to have medical care for yourself and everyone too, plus you pay for private providers, for certain types and better standards of care deemed "optional" - like chemotherapy or diabetes consults - if you're not impecunious after all your taxes.

And how do universal care proponents imagine the paperwork and gigantic bureaucracy required to manage all these (and more) elements will be paid for? This is where the argument in favor of a society without money starts up again, and that here is proof that money is the root of all evil. For arguments against doing away with money, you can of course refer to Atlas Shrugged. :)

Any mature individual in our literate society who claims that “heck, I dunno, those kind of details are for the government to decide, I’m no statistician / clinician / epidemiologist / individual elected to public office, but I know what’s right” is admitting that his claim that governments should provide essential services is irrational and there is nothing in reality to support it.

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Cometmaker,

Although I can see and understand your argument, I think you are taking the long way around the bush. Most people hold that slavery is immoral, by pointing out that that is what would have to happen to have their "Essential Services" usually gets them to agree or evade. If they are evaders you are wasting your time talking to them any ways. Plus in your example you are not fighting the problem from it's route. Most politicians would say; "yep those are the problems, and it is your job to solve it."

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Is your father religious? I have occasionally used the following argument against religious people:

When someone states he believes health care is a 'right', I point out that health care requires doctors, nurses, etc. to provide it for you. I argue that rights cannot depend on other people providing them for you, and I ask if rights come from other men, or from God?

I works to get them to think, sometimes.

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My father's religious leanings stem from ideas proposed by Centers for Positive Living and "Science of Mind" by Ernest Holmes.

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Thanks for the replies guys, I actually did bring up the fact that food could be considered more of an essential service than health care, and he didn't really have a reply to that one, except to say that the government does have "welfare" programs to make sure people can eat.

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Thanks for the replies guys, I actually did bring up the fact that food could be considered more of an essential service than health care, and he didn't really have a reply to that one, except to say that the government does have "welfare" programs to make sure people can eat.

Then I would have followed up with; who is going to pay or where does he think the government gets it's money to pay for these programs. To have wealth one must produce a value/good. The government's job is to protect it's citizens rights not enslave some of it's citizens to the whims of other citizens.

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Then I would have followed up with; who is going to pay or where does he think the government gets it's money to pay for these programs. To have wealth one must produce a value/good. The government's job is to protect it's citizens rights not enslave some of it's citizens to the whims of other citizens.

I don't think you quite understand, but I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. It IS a case of involuntary taxation to provide health services for everyone, but it is also a case of everyone pooling their taxed resources together in order to ensure that everyone has health care.

Who pays? The people.

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When I hear somebody claim that the government should provide for [insert value here] I take it to mean that they want the government to organize society to produce [insert value here]. There are many problems with this as Cometmaker described just a few. But all the problems focus on the issue that there are tough choices to be made and somebody somewhere has got to make them. In the case of the government, those decisions are made by those in charge (whether a privileged ruling class or the entire mob) and then imposed onto society. Under Capitalism, it is the entrepreneurs that organize society and who make those tough decisions. Unlike the government, people don't have to follow what the entrepreneur chooses. Actually, the entrepreneur is rewarded or harmed by how well he makes decisions and not only that but how well he makes decisions that align with what those in a society actually want. After all, it is individuals "voting" with their dollars that decides the course of which decision is made.

From this vantage point it is clear that it is the political economic system that evolves under Capitalism that, in the long run, always offers up exactly what people want and to the benefit of all involved!

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I don't think you quite understand, but I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. It IS a case of involuntary taxation to provide health services for everyone, but it is also a case of everyone pooling their taxed resources together in order to ensure that everyone has health care.

Who pays? The people.

No, I think you do not understand. You and all your other poolers do not have the right to decide how to spend my productivity, and making it a law does not make it moral.

If, in a free society you wanted to worry about everybody having medical care you could get your poolers together and work at it. I on the other hand could choose not to be part of your goals as I have my own. Your are correct that the people are paying, my example is by people applying their own volition and the other (yours), by force. Which one is moral?

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I don't think you quite understand, but I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. It IS a case of involuntary taxation to provide health services for everyone, but it is also a case of everyone pooling their taxed resources together in order to ensure that everyone has health care.

Who pays? The people.

No, I think you do not understand. You and all your other poolers do not have the right to decide how to spend my productivity, and making it a law does not make it moral.

If, in a free society you wanted to worry about everybody having medical care you could get your poolers together and work at it. I on the other hand could choose not to be part of your goals as I have my own. Your are correct that the people are paying, my example is by people applying their own volition and the other (yours), by force. Which one is moral?

Like I said, I did not disagree with you, and I wanted to clarify what the discussion entailed. You then clarified your position and now it makes more sense. Thanks for your clarification.

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My dad and I were having a discussion about what he viewed as essential services the government must provide their people. He stated that one of them was health care.

Myself, I'm against a national health care system, but I wanted to hear your guys' thoughts on the cons of a national health care system.

You can't start a discussion like this without identifying what premises are being assumed. There are so many issues assumed by your father, that I think you need to challenge him on them.

  1. The people don't belong to the government which then has an obligation to provide "for them".
  2. Essential, to whom?
  3. Services, provided by whom?
  4. Is force an acceptable means of social interaction?
  5. Why health care? There are many more essential services that people need.
  6. Why is government the means to provide essential services?
  7. What is the proper function of government?
  8. Is it constitutional to favor one group of citizens at the expense of another group?

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...You then clarified your position and now it makes more sense. Thanks for your clarification.

Your welcome and I hope my responses were helpful.

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My dad and I were having a discussion about what he viewed as essential services the government must provide their people. He stated that one of them was health care.

Myself, I'm against a national health care system, but I wanted to hear your guys' thoughts on the cons of a national health care system.

You can't start a discussion like this without identifying what premises are being assumed. There are so many issues assumed by your father, that I think you need to challenge him on them.

  1. The people don't belong to the government which then has an obligation to provide "for them".
  2. Essential, to whom?
  3. Services, provided by whom?
  4. Is force an acceptable means of social interaction?
  5. Why health care? There are many more essential services that people need.
  6. Why is government the means to provide essential services?
  7. What is the proper function of government?
  8. Is it constitutional to favor one group of citizens at the expense of another group?

Cometmaker,

Although I can see and understand your argument, I think you are taking the long way around the bush. Most people hold that slavery is immoral, by pointing out that that is what would have to happen to have their "Essential Services" usually gets them to agree or evade. If they are evaders you are wasting your time talking to them any ways. Plus in your example you are not fighting the problem from it's route. Most politicians would say; "yep those are the problems, and it is your job to solve it."

RayK, Paul's Here summed up in his usual cleaving way my purpose in providing my example questions to pose to a supporter of a government system. I'm not saying the "food is essential too" argument is not the direct and desirable route to take. However, without also pointing out the irrational assumptions and erroneous causal links, the food argument is seldom sufficient for any lasting rational synapsing to occur.

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However, without also pointing out the irrational assumptions and erroneous causal links, the food argument is seldom sufficient for any lasting rational synapsing to occur.

Cometmaker,

If I understood you correctly, could you please explain why you think pointing out that no one has the right to enslave anyone else is not enough to shoot down an irrational idea such as "essential services?" I meet with an average of 20 different people per day in my office, where we discuss many different ideas. When we are discussing those ideas, I am limited in my time to get my point across so I go right to the root in the most profound way I can think of. Second, If you were to ask all those questions, that Paul listed, at one time most people would most likely become overwhelmed. I give them enough information or ask them just enough to get them to think and then send them on their way.

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I certainly didn't mean to run off a list of questions that someone is supposed to answer all at once. Rather, getting the answer to those questions would enable one to get to basic premises. The approach would be to ask questions like that within the context of the discussion of the subject.

As for equating altruist issues with slavery, I don't think that many people would buy that argument without establishing the correct moral code. Slavery is viewed as a system in which people are forced to physically labor for another, have their movement restricted by law, and in which people are owned a property. The connection between slavery and taxation or "essential services" will only be grasped by someone who already respects individual rights. Even in places like Sweden with tax rates as high as 90%, people don't view themselves as slaves.

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----------

and in which people are owned a property. ---------

CORRECTION:

and in which people are owned as property.

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As for equating altruist issues with slavery, I don't think that many people would buy that argument without establishing the correct moral code. Slavery is viewed as a system in which people are forced to physically labor for another, have their movement restricted by law, and in which people are owned a property. The connection between slavery and taxation or "essential services" will only be grasped by someone who already respects individual rights. Even in places like Sweden with tax rates as high as 90%, people don't view themselves as slaves.

I use the example all the time, and when a person grasp that they are enslaving someone they usually have two reactions, anger for noticing that I am indirectly calling them a slave master. Or anger beause they have been caught and do not like that their meal ticket is about to become informed. I do think that most will still be full of contradictions as they do not have a rational philosophy to guide them. But, they at least leave my office understanding that slavery comes in many forms, including taxation.

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As for equating altruist issues with slavery, I don't think that many people would buy that argument without establishing the correct moral code. Slavery is viewed as a system in which people are forced to physically labor for another, have their movement restricted by law, and in which people are owned a property. The connection between slavery and taxation or "essential services" will only be grasped by someone who already respects individual rights. Even in places like Sweden with tax rates as high as 90%, people don't view themselves as slaves.

I use the example all the time, and when a person grasp that they are enslaving someone they usually have two reactions, anger for noticing that I am indirectly calling them a slave master. Or anger beause they have been caught and do not like that their meal ticket is about to become informed. I do think that most will still be full of contradictions as they do not have a rational philosophy to guide them. But, they at least leave my office understanding that slavery comes in many forms, including taxation.

I am curious as to why anyone would accept your argument. (Perhaps you could give an example of what you say to people.) If the Supreme Court can weasel its way out of considering the draft as a form of involuntary servitude, perhaps you could argue your case before the Justices.

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Paul,

One of the first things I do, according to the situation, is ask them if they think it is immoral to enslave because of race, sex, religion, etc.? They have always answered yes. Then I ask them why they think it is moral to enslave because of productivity? I follow that up with how they can claim that it is immoral for the other enslvements while being okay to enslave because of one's ability to use reason to produce wealth? They usually end up agreeing, and stating that they had never thought of it that way. Sometimes these conversations take a couple of weeks worth of sessions while other times it only takes one.

I once held a round-table forum with my clients and hired a facilitator to ask questions. One of the facilitators questions was, why do you come to Progressive Exercise/Ray Kilmer? One of my clients answered by stating that he "hated coming to workout with me." He also stated that he gets "mad thinking that I pay to have him kick the crab out of me." Her follow up question was to ask, why he still comes? He responded by stating that "Ray drips his philosophy out on to you and leaves you no escape, he is a walking, talking example of his stated philosophy." For my clients that stay long-term (more than a couple of months), they see that I am an admirer of Ayn Rand/Objectivism and that I try and exemplify every virtue that I hold.

I spend close to 12 hours a day sometimes 6 days a week in my office with my clients. A large amount of the people that I have conversations with happens right in my office. They ask questions and I try my best to answer their questions, every one of them. Over the last 7+ years I have many similar conversations which has allowed me to reformulate an answer that I do not think was precise or concise (I am limited on time), enough. I listen to their questions to my answers and whether or not I have done a good job explaining my answer, I discard that which does not work and formulate a new answer. The underlying principles are always the same althgouh the way I explain it sometimes differs.

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My dad and I were having a discussion about what he viewed as essential services the government must provide their people. He stated that one of them was health care.

Myself, I'm against a national health care system, but I wanted to hear your guys' thoughts on the cons of a national health care system.

You can't start a discussion like this without identifying what premises are being assumed. There are so many issues assumed by your father, that I think you need to challenge him on them.

  1. The people don't belong to the government which then has an obligation to provide "for them".
I don't understand what you're saying here. My dad assumes that the government is established to protect the society they govern, and health care is one way of protecting them.

Essential, to whom?
To everyone, because at some point, everyone needs health care.

Services, provided by whom?
By those who work in the health care industry.

Is force an acceptable means of social interaction?
Is taxation?

Why health care? There are many more essential services that people need.
He's not ignorant of this fact, but that is not germaine to the discussion. We were discussing the necessity of health care (as per the movie "Sicko").

Why is government the means to provide essential services?
Because then everyone, even those who can't afford it, will have access to health care.

What is the proper function of government?
That probably depends on who you ask.

Is it constitutional to favor one group of citizens at the expense of another group?

How is this an issue in health care?

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