I’m against socialized medicine. I think. Maybe. But then again…
Here’s why I’m so certain about that:
I don’t like the idea of being forced to pay for other peoples’ stupidity. We live in a country where we are free to do a whole lot of things. Some people like to skydive whereas others think they’re crazy for doing it, and that’s ok. What socialized health care means in part is that each of us are paying for the care of people who get sick and injured doing things we’d never do. I like ice cream as much as the next guy, but when someone suffers from diabetes, heart issues, etc. because they weigh 400 pounds that’s a result of specific choices they made (hormonal issues aside). There ought to be consequence to action.
Well, either that or I should have a say in how those people live so they don’t need all the expensive medical care. But that’s a very slippery slope, and not only because if nothing else is readily apparent in our culture the fact that we don’t all believe in the same way of living certainly is. And I think it’s a good thing that people are able to live how they want (within reason, of course). We don’t want a police state that tells us what to do, eat, say, think, etc. every moment of every day. That’s not healthy, and while it’s an extreme example, that’s the sort of thing a path of controlling each other to make socialized medicine fair leads to.
But then I think about all the people (namely children and other dependents) who, through little to no fault of their own, have no health care whatsoever. My heart goes out to them, it really does. I want to do something about it. And suddenly socialized medicine seems like a lot better idea. Can we not find it within our hearts to tolerate those who abuse the system for the sake of those who benefit so exponentially?
This is my conundrum. How do we make a difference for those who need it while preserving the type of society that’s worth fighting for?
As I’ve written about a little in a previous post, I don’t think the essential issue here is what type of system of health care is ultimately better (although that question is not irrelevant and I’ll address it in a minute). The essential issue is that there’s a lack of morality that makes both socialized medicine and private health care dangerous options. With private health care, we worry that society’s greed and a lack of empathy for our fellow man will leave people shockingly under-cared-for. With socialized medicine, we risk losing any sense of personal responsibility and the rise of a society of entitlement and people who work a system for their own undeserved benefit (or, once again greed). Either system would work if we didn’t have to worry about immoral behavior.
But of course we do. And we all have to pick a solution to the problem of caring for our society. That doesn’t mean it has to be either of the solutions discussed above, but there does need to be a solution. Ultimately I come down on the side opposing a system of socialized medicine. I think we need to guarantee an appropriate level of care for those who need it (although I’m not exactly sure how we do that) but I also think that both personal freedoms and responsibility for choices made with those freedoms are really important. I think that such a system is capable of reaching greater heights of virtue than a system of socialized medicine. And I think to get there that more people should give more to care for those who are unable of caring for themselves. But I’m also aware that this is the real world, and that plenty of people wont. So…
And the circles start all over again.