Whatever name it goes by—socialized medicine, national healthcare, a “single-payer” system, etc.—when the government controls the market for healthcare services, the government can use that control to tell you how to live your life. In Britain, that’s exactly what the so-called conservatives are now proposing:
Failing to follow a healthy lifestyle could lead to free NHS treatment being denied under the Tory plans.
Patients would be handed “NHS Health Miles Cards” allowing them to earn reward points for losing weight, giving up smoking, receiving immunisations or attending regular health screenings.
Like a supermarket loyalty card, the points could be redeemed as discounts on gym membership and fresh fruit and vegetables, or even give priority for other public services - such as jumping the queue for council housing.
But heavy smokers, the obese and binge drinkers who were a drain on the NHS could be denied some routine treatments such as hip replacements until they cleaned up their act.
Those who abused the system - by calling an ambulance when a trip to the GP would be sufficient, or telephoning out of hours with needless queries - could also be penalised.
The report calls for a greater emphasis on the “citizen’s responsibility” to be healthy and says no one should expect taxpayers to fund their unhealthy lifestyles.
Taxpayers should not be expected to fund someone else’s unhealthy lifestyle, but then again, taxpayers should not be expected to fund anyone else’s lifestyle, healthy or not.
The problem with asking taxpayers to pay for some aspect of someone else’s life is that taxpayers are then given an incentive to minimize the cost of that aspect of life. And under the guise of minimizing costs, people are then told how they can live their lives.
Inevitably, government will assume more and more control over our personal decisions if we decide that other taxpayers should handle our healthcare bills.
Think it can’t happen here? It already is. Here in my hometown of New York City, the government tells chefs what type of cooking oils they can use, the government tells women whether or not they should breastfeed, and there are even politicians attempting to dictate whether little league kids use aluminum or wooden baseball bats.
And the argument that politicians give in favor of micromanaging our lives is that we will be healthier and safer, so arguing against giving government this control is inherently cast as an argument against health and safety. You don’t want to be seen as opposing health or safety, do you?
This trend will only accelerate, because the appetite of government is insatiable. Left to its own devices, government will continually accumulate more money and more power. And there seems to be no countervailing force to prevent that from happening.
Sure, lots of people will be happy if the day comes that the government relieves them of the burden of having to pay for their own healthcare. But those people should think through the consequences before giving government that power.
Once individuals give away their personal power to government, they don’t get it back.
By Evan Coyne Maloney
Click to view image: '91385-uncle_sam_taxes.jpg'
|Liveleak on Facebook|