Monday, September 17, 2007

The Health Care Freedom Coalition

A group of organizations supporting generally pro-free market health care have come together to form "The Health Care Freedom Coalition". Looking at their official agenda (PDF format), I find much to commend, and one item with which I disagree.

I do like the following elements:
No mandates
No government price controls
No basic benefits package imposed by force by the government
No government sponsored "connectors" or government-run purchasing pools
Health Savings Accounts for all American
Removing insurance mandates
Allowing insurance to be sold across state lines

I do disagree with their support of government funded insurance for the so-called "high risk pool". Instead, that small group of patients can and should be covered by private charities. I don't believe my neighbor should be forced to pay for my care, if I happen to have a higher than average risk of a rare cancer. But if he wishes to voluntarily donate to my health care fund because it accords with his rational values, then I would gratefully accept his contribution, recognizing that it was a gift, not mine by "right".

As Dr. Leonard Peikoff points out in his essay, "Health Care Is Not a Right":
Some people can't afford medical care in the U.S. But they are necessarily a small minority in a free or even semi-free country. If they were the majority, the country would be an utter bankrupt and could not even think of a national medical program. As to this small minority, in a free country they have to rely solely on private, voluntary charity. Yes, charity, the kindness of the doctors or of the better off--charity, not right, i.e. not their right to the lives or work of others. And such charity, I may say, was always forthcoming in the past in America. The advocates of Medicaid and Medicare under LBJ did not claim that the poor or old in the '60's got bad care; they claimed that it was an affront for anyone to have to depend on charity.

But the fact is: You don't abolish charity by calling it something else. If a person is getting health care for nothing, simply because he is breathing, he is still getting charity, whether or not any politician, lobbyist or activist calls it a "right." To call it a Right when the recipient did not earn it is merely to compound the evil. It is charity still -- though now extorted by criminal tactics of force, while hiding under a dishonest name.
And this is the case even if the patients are sick (or have a high genetic predisposition towards certain diseases) through no fault of their own.