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Aug 28, 2008

Comments

jay

Hi, I happened upon your blog because I liked your comment on Tim Farage's blog.

I loved the speech. It was powerful and beautiful. As a politician, I believe that Kucinich knows more than I do about politics and, following his lead I shared in his Bacchic frenzy.

However, it made me think as well, and in an unusually receptive state inspired by his magnificent speech, I wondered something that troubled me.

What is the consequence of state-funded health care? Truly, a world in which everyone could access a doctor when they need one is a beautiful idea. Imagine the possibilities! People, freed of the need to worry incessantly about paying for stuff when they need it would be able to focus their energies on what's really important to them.

But what of our need to interact with consequence in order to learn? If free health care is available, how can people be expected to behave in a healthy manner when medical help is freely available?

If the very noble goal of universal health care is to allow everyone live in a healthy manner, we should be careful not to allow people to depend on it as we cannot trust them to not take advantage of free health care. I certainly would be more inclined to take risks; if I break my leg, I no longer will have to pay for it. Or, rather, I won't have to pay in dollars: only in pain. So the incentive to live cautiously, as the wise all say we should, is at least somewhat diminished.

Graham Glass

Hi Jay,

Many countries have state-funded health care, including my own country of origin, the UK. I have a mixed experience - it's certainly great to not have to worry about a sudden huge payment for a health issue. However, the waiting times for non-trivial treatments can be long and thus many people who can afford it get private health insurance. It's similar to public vs. private schools; those with the money prefer to go private.

Be careful when you use the phrase "free health care", because of course it's not free. It's mostly paid for by the middle and upper classes.

In the US, I don't think that having taxpayer-funded health care will make much difference to people's health, just their wallets. It's already pretty obvious how most people could easily and cheaply improve their health, but they choose not to.

Cheers,
Graham

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