'Health Care' for All — Affordability for None

First, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio “issued a bold guarantee of affordable health care for every resident,” including the “undocumented,” according to excited news reports.  From the Birkenstock Left (Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.) to the Latte Left, (Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez D-Neverland) et. al. came applause. Then, most early Democratic presidential candidates began clamoring for “Medicare for All!”

Why stop there?  What about food stamps for all, redeemable not just at Shop-Rite, but Whole Foods, too?  Affordable transportation -- by bus, subway, Uber or Southwest Airlines (new slogan: “It’s now free to roam around the country”).  And housing, rent-controlled from the Bronx to Beverly Hills.  All covered by the unalienable right to equality with those who have more.

De Blasio epitomizes today’s reactionary progressives.  A Democrat who supported Nicaragua’s repressive Sandinistas and honeymooned in Castro’s repressive Cuba, he  more recently has proposed repressing Asians’ access to his city’s best public schools.

De Blasio’s a statist social engineer, like virtually every big-name Democrat.  Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and the rest run for president by worshipping at the altar of invasive government.  They can because the Left confiscated the vocabulary of humanitarianism as early as the French Revolution’s “liberte, eqalite, fraternite.”  Which, of course, delivered anything but.

However, the Left fights not for Anglo-American concepts of individual liberty.  Rather, it seeks, with the cultlike passion of all anti-democratic movements, hard Left or far Right, liberation.  Liberation from tradition, personal responsibility, and most of all liberation of government -- especially its ruling clique -- from checks and balances, from rights reserved to the people and other fundamentals of American constitutionalism.

Such governments convert citizens into subjects.  They do so by promising voters more, more necessities and more desires.  This works because, as French writer Albert Camus recognized, “the welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.”

Which returns us to Democrats as the party of the endless free buffet.  According to De Blasio’s diversity bean-counting, New York’s Asian students “disproportionately” merit acceptance by the city’s elite schools.  To post-liberals, this is “unfair,” obstructing their imposition of a leveled utopia.

They never mention or in their insatiable drive for more power don’t understand that leveled utopias produce precious little of high quality, including research scientists, physicians, nurses, medicine, equipment, or facilities.  What is produced tends to be reserved for the rulers -- for the good of the people, of course.

So, ask not what the ever-expanding welfare state will do to you, ask only what you must do for it.  At the end of such roads lies something like Communist China’s “social credit” loyalty rating of every person, which determines access to education, housing, even food.

What has this to do with “single-payer-for-all” government medical insurance?

Americans buy our own auto, home, and life insurance.  Smokers pay more for the latter.  That two-thirds of us are overweight, one-third obese, and 70 percent of medical conditions preventable means no tax hike ever will be sufficient to make universal government health insurance both affordable and profitable enough actually to be provided.

In the United States, for the moment, the vast majority not on food stamps still buys its own groceries.  It also pays for its own clothes, secures its own housing, cars, computers, and cell phones -- and definitely not from Uncle Sam’s Single-Payer Outfitter.  Most of those old enough to remember trying to send a package cross-country in less than a week by the single-provider U.S. Postal Service before competition from FedEx, UPS, and the rest understand.

“Affordable health care for all” from government is an economic oxymoron.  Like its stepbrother, Medicaid expansion, and cousins, federal, state, and local public employee pension programs, such care lies beyond governments’ means.

Federal debt tops $21 trillion. Gross national product in 2017 was $19.5 trillion. To Washington’s red ink add another $6 trillion in state and local government debt plus unfunded public employee pensions.

What happens when your obligations exceed your resources, and the gap between them continues to grow?  Right, bankruptcy.

Expansions already obligated for Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security are squeezing funds for infrastructure, education, research, and defense.  And that’s without a national version of de Blasio’s “affordable health care for all.” Nevertheless, this country quickly must counter aggressive military modernization by China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. 

Those committed to saving the welfare state should talk honestly.  The talk should be about shrinking that state to its original, sustainable purpose -- helping the indigent, those once recognized as the deserving poor, perhaps now also those with otherwise uninsurable medical preconditions.

And those insisting on single-payer, universal-access medical insurance provided by the federal government, in a country in which an aging population already overburdens Social Security and Medicare, ought to do the same. They should start by acknowledging that their version of “health care for all” ultimately necessitates delayed, rationed treatment. Check the Veterans’ Administration. Even more, by turning all Americans into wards of the state, it subverts the budget, the nation and the individual.

The writer is a communications consultant in Washington, D.C. Any opinions expressed above are solely his own.

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