Here is the answer Ron Paul should have given 2 nights ago at the Republican debate, when asked about the hypothetical well-to-do 30-year old person who chooses to be uninsured, and then develops a chronic illness and needs care.
One dying person is horrible and bad, even if they, exercising their liberty, participate with their own death. You know that our nation exists only because many of our founding fathers chose to die ~in pursuit of liberty~, so do not trivialize or turn into sound-bites when someone makes that choice today. That said, today is not yesterday, and we can all agree that it is a difficult and ugly thing to have a person die because they ~exercise their liberty~.
However, it is even more difficult and more ugly to consider the alternative. Funding good programs is good, provided they are allowed in the constitution (and if they’re not, then let’s consider changing the constitution). However, funding many good things with no means to pay for them, is worse.
Consider the un-answerable debt and inflation that will follow giving everybody as much health care as they want, whenever they want it, with well-educated doctors. Many of you, age 50 or above, remember the small hospitals while you were growing up. The hospital you know will go away, replaced with a health machine that takes you in one door and spits you out the other. In fact, our nation is desperately trying to keep smaller and more life-giving options alive and accessible to people. For example, legal immigrant applications get special fast-track approval if the applicant has medical training and promises to work at a small rural hospital for a given number of years.
If inflation grows, the business end of the hospital cannot succeed. There is simply not enough customers or enough size benefit to absorb all the new regulations and higher prices of diagnosis devices. Also, if we replace the skill of many doctors with the glowing lights of medical machines, a human side of the hospital will be lost that can’t be measured in dollars. You know this is becoming true when service providers know your social security number better than your name.
If we loose the hospital, we have lost much more than a 30-year-old person’s life. With the nearest hospital now an hour away, it’s a long ambulance ride instead of a short car trip. Did you know that during emergency care, 50% of the people die if not treated within the first hour? If you are rightly concerned about 1 person dying, then you are even more justified to be concerned about a dozen or more people dying each year because we let the hospital close. And that’s not all. We loose much more than lives. The ambulance ride now costs $3000 instead of a car ride that costs $2 making insurance costs prohibitive. We have lost an investment in our nation’s infrastructure serving the hard-working middle class. We have lost 40 jobs of nurses, medical admin, and doctors.
Imagine the story of one of the medical workers at the hospital. First you loose your job. Then you can’t afford insurance. Then when you’re sick, you can’t afford care because it’s so far away and insanely expensive. Oh, and by the way, that house next door to you is now on the market for sale because the elderly lady who used to live there died of a heart attack on the way to the nearest hospital.
It is terrible and ugly when one person dies. However, let’s ALSO be careful to defend the liberties and financial responsibilities that keep many more people alive. Life is expensive. Liberty is expensive. This nation must pursue both.