Medicaid and the Movement to Socialized Medicine

A town hall meeting led by Rep. Al Green was held in Houston recently to protest the proposed Medicaid cuts in the Republican health bill. A series of “If it were not for Medicaid…” type testimonials were given by several individuals. Most testimonials claimed they wouldn’t be able to afford treatment without the help of Medicaid. Another testimonial claimed their fight was in the name of a “right to exist”.

The only valid right is an individual’s right to his or her own life and is the premise that founded this country. Does government funded medical care recognize this right? The answer is no, it does not recognize individual rights, it violates them. A right pertains only to freedom of action; it does not entitle people to the products or services of others without their voluntary consent. Rights do not entitle a person to force other people to pay for those products or services. Any claim of “a right to exist” that is followed by demands to force someone else to provide the means of existence is a blatant violation of the provider’s right to exist.

The ideas underlying this country’s continuing transition to socialized medicine lie in the progressive movement which started more than a century ago, with the claim (among others) that the government should “solve social problems” and help those in need because they have a “right to exist”. But since the government is not a productive enterprise, it cannot directly provide medical care or pay for it. So the only way to provide this help is to force others to provide or pay for that care. The collectivist/altruist premise – the notion that men’s lives belong to “society” and that their duty is to sacrifice for others – is at the root of the entire progressive movement. Thus, we have an intrusive government claiming the right to dispose of people’s lives and redistribute their efforts in the name of the “public interest”. But any goal claiming to be in the “public interest” ends up forgetting about the interests of the people forced to provide and pay for that goal. In the case of socialized medicine the forgotten people are the doctors who are forced to provide the service on terms dictated by the government, as well as the tax payers who are forced to pay for the service. Collectivism’s catch phrase “the public interest” reduces to some members of the public being sacrificed for the sake of other members of the public.

In a free society, the government is constitutionally restricted to protecting the right of every individual by banning the initiation of force. It does not engage in any “public spirited” projects that sacrifice some for the sake of others. All such programs, such as helping those who can’t afford medical care, must be privately run with voluntary participation only.

In a future article, I will discuss the causes of the high cost of medical care cited in the testimonials above, and the end results of socialized medicine.

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