There may be no better example of ideologically driven silliness than Ron Paul’s position on health insurance. Paul is right of course. People who choose not to have health insurance should not get treatment. It was their choice not to get the insurance and they should suffer the consequences of their actions. People who draw to an inside straight should generally lose.
Ron Paul’s reality is so driven by theory that he cannot cope with this actual fact. Not everyone chooses to be a callous degenerate. Maybe people who don’t pay for health insurance bank on that. Generally humans are generous and caring and they will make sure the fool who did not get health insurance gets treatment. And the cost of treatment will be added to the hospital’s operating costs and passed along to people who can pay i.e. people with insurance.
It is the role of government to understand these basic human foibles and channel and regulate them. The Congress and the President have figured this out and offered a solution in the form of mandatory health insurance. It is a good solution which will force every potential user to support the system. It is human nature that the bill is intended to corral. The instinct to be thy brother’s keeper no matter how stupid the brother is.
There are alternative solutions. For example, a mandatory prohibition against for-profit hospitals serving people who cannot pay. Most people, being caring humans, would hate this. Newspapers would abound in tragic tales of people without insurance being callously turned away. But it would work. And no one would hate it more than corporate, for-profit hospitals. After all they make money off of every patient whether or not they can pay. The costs are passed on to the rest of us.
Back in the old days (prior to the 1970s), there were few for-profit hospitals. Almost every hospital was a charity, and people who could not pay were covered by the hospital, expenses passed onto the community, which paid through contributions, fund raisers, and cost sharing. There were no corporations to support so what now is consumed as corporate profit was then plowed back into the hospital, in part to support indigent patients.
(Most of our community and charitable hospitals were absorbed by mega corporations in the biggest scandal never reported. Trustees who had an obligation to the community interest sold out… often for large payoffs… and helped convert the hospitals to corporate profit centers. A handful of people got rich, lots of people lost access to community based health care. Prohibiting for-profit hospitals from serving uninsured patients may create a demand for charitable health care systems, supported by the general public, accepting any insurance they can get, serving the less fortunate.
Let the free market rule.
Here is where we comeback full circle. Prohibiting for-profit hospitals from accepting uninsured clients would be interpreted by the zealots like Ron Paul as government interference with the free market. After all we are saps enough to insist that uninsured dumbasses get medical care at our own expense. We should be saps enough to allow the corporations who have been ripping us off with high cost health care to profit by our foolishness.