Promoting Individual Responsibility

Intellectual consistency has never been a strong suit of Progressives (Leftists). They utter allegedly noble platitudes about empowering individuals to have more control over their lives, while simultaneously advocating policies that discourage individual responsibility.

Chronicle business reporter Chris Tomlinson serves as a case in point:

I’ve written many columns lambasting doctors, hospitals, drug makers and health insurers for their roles in jacking up health care costs. I’ve called for greater consumer price awareness, regulatory reform and an end to private health insurance as we know it.

As we prepare our holiday feasts, let me also call for individual responsibility.

Tomlinson calls for increased individual responsibility while simultaneously calling for a single-payer health care system that removes individual responsibility from the equation.

A single-payer system is one in which the government pays for all health care costs, as in Canada. In Canada, according to Wikipedia, “There are no deductibles on basic health care and co-pays are extremely low or non-existent….” In other words, there is no connection between the health care services that one receives and one’s health care costs.

Tomlinson inadvertently identifies the consequences:

Hospital emergency departments are routinely filled with people suffering from chronic diseases, experiencing acute symptoms and seeking charity care that neither governments nor hospitals can afford. Turning people away is against the law, so doctors address the acute symptoms, the chronic disease goes untreated, and the patients become repeat customers.

In other words, individuals know that they can receive free treatment, and they take advantage of that fact. They have no financial incentive to be responsible. This is what Tomlinson wants to unleash on the entire health care industry through a single-payer system.

Tomlinson can’t have it both ways. He can’t have greater individual responsibility while also creating a system that provides no incentive for individual responsibility. He can’t have greater individual responsibility while giving government greater control over the lives of individuals.

If Tomlinson really wants to promote more individual responsibility, then the solution is simple: hold individuals accountable for their actions.

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