Winston Churchill famously said “I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” What’s true for the entire economy of a nation is also true for an essential element of society.
When government is the sole provider of health care, that compulsory service becomes like lifting a bucket whilst standing in it. At some point, no further growth is possible, and scarcity ensues.
Avik Roy wrote last year about the British National Health Service barring smokers and overweight patients from surgery, due to budget constraints. He compared this to the open sore that is the U.S. Veterans Health Administration.
Left-wing advocates of the NHS-VA approach argue that rationing isn’t a big deal because in a free-market health care system, health care is “rationed” based on an individual’s ability to pay for it. But that’s balderdash.
Of course it is. Supply and demand. When demand increases, suppliers work to deliver more goods at a better price, in a free market. But in a government-controlled distribution system, supply is limited by the ability of the government to tax.
The government is horribly inefficient at spending money in individual service markets. Those who administer the programs have no incentive to provide the best service, and also no incentive to spend less money. So you get debacles like the nearly-bankrupt NHS and the deplorable VA.
Fixing the VA won’t fix American health care for veterans. Unless we also repeal Obamacare in a substantial way (not the “skinny repeal” Congress is trying to sell us wrapped in a flag-draped excuse of “transparency”), we will be taking our veterans from the frying pan into the fire.
And our nation will become one big VA or NHS single-payer Hades. It won’t take long for American health care to ban certain individuals from surgery. The left is always complaining about health insurance companies and their heartless decisions. But those decisions are almost always in response to some new regulation, or some high-dollar lawsuit.
Health care and financial risk assumed by insurance companies does not exist in a vacuum. It exists in a bucket controlled by the government. What goes into the bucket cannot grow beyond its confinement.
So government’s solution is to put more of health care into the bucket, and get a bigger bucket, because government is the bucket-maker and just like to a man with a hammer, the world is a nail, to government bucket-makers, the world needs to be placed in buckets. (To protect us sheep from wolves, ostensibly.)
Without fail, placing all health care in the bucket protects nobody, and limits everybody. Instead of one lousy insurer treating its insured badly, everyone gets treated badly. Where do you go when there’s nothing left outside the bucket and there are no bigger buckets around?
Things get scarce, like toilet paper in Venezuela.
This is where America is headed, unless we tell the bucket makers to stop, or better yet, get a whole new crew of bucket makers who understand that their job is to make smaller buckets not bigger ones.