President Obama and those who espouse his proposals for health care reform often present seemingly compelling arguments for why the government should dig its fangs deeper into medicine. They argue that the quality of care in America is far below that of Canada and Britain, and that citizens of those nations live longer precisely because their governments have socialized medicine. They insist that administrative costs of private insurance are much higher than the administrative costs of Medicare and Medicaid and as a result private insurance is unaffordable. They note that Americans spend more of their GDP on health care than any other nation. For all these reasons and more, they argue, we need to “crack down” on the insurance companies, create a public insurance program which offers coverage to everyone, and mandate which treatments Americans can and cannot undergo.
Richard Ralston, Executive Director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, debunks all these myths. In a recent article, Ralston addresses 39 common fallacies Obama and those who support his policies continue to use in order to confuse and mislead people about the true problem in health care today: government control.
1. “The quality of health care in America is ranked lower than 36 other countries.”
When you hear this, always ask, “Ranked by whom and how?” In 2000 United Nations bureaucrats at the World Health Organization sent a survey to “officials and experts” selected by the U.N. Why should we be surprised to learn that government “officials and experts” in France thought that their government-run health care system was the best in the world? The scoring of these surveys also made them meaningless. For example, 25 percent of the scoring was weighted based on the assessment of how “fair” the financing was in each country. For “fair,” read socialist—the list was largely a ranking of how socialist each country’s system is.
9. “Government controls will lower the cost of insurance premiums to what we can afford.”
When you hear this, ask why the government requires those who struggle to afford insurance to pay taxes on the money they use to pay for it. Ask why the government mandates that insurance cover treatments advocated by special-interest lobbies even when people do not want the coverage. Ask why state governments refuse to allow competition—and lower premiums—from insurers in other states. Government controls are now making insurance more expensive. Affordable insurance is hard to find because it is forbidden by law.
The Undercurrent is a magazine distributed at college campuses and communities across the country. We release a print edition once per semester, and in the interim, regularly post additional articles, blog entries, and campus media responses reports to our website.
The Undercurrent's cultural commentary is based on Ayn Rand's philosophy, Objectivism. Objectivism, which animates Ayn Rand's fiction, is a systematic philosophy of life. It holds that the universe is orderly and comprehensible, that man survives by reason, that his life and happiness comprise his highest moral purpose, and that he flourishes only in a society that protects his individual rights.
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