Universal Health Care

Published in the Hollister Free Lance, September 16, 1998
Dear Editor:

In the September 11 Free Lance, Donald McDonald argued that we should have universal health care. He relies more on sympathy than facts, however, citing the admittedly unfortunate examples of a couple of local families. Unfortunately, he does not make a compelling case to prove his argument.

First, providing health care is not really the purview of our government, although regulating it is. Government should provide those functions that people can't provide reasonably for themselves -- infrastructure (like roads, which is why I can support something like Measure J while being opposed to universal health care), education, defense, and so on.

There are numerous other outlets for getting health care -- corporate health plans, private health insurance, pay-as-you-go doctor visits, etc. Yes, some of those may be expensive, but expense isn't necessarily a good reason for the government to get involved. This leads to my second point.

The basic needs of humans include food and shelter. In fact, for most people, those are two of their major expenses over the course of their lives. With the rare exception of chronic or catastrophic health problems, medical care probably doesn't rank in the top three expenses for most people. I even suspect that most people spend more on automobiles than health care.

So instead of focusing on a comparatively minor expense for most people, I would suggest Mr. McDonald petition the government to provide universal housing, food, and even transportation for everyone. If government picked up the tab for those items, I'll bet people could even afford their own private health insurance. That would solve the health care problem while meeting two more basic needs of people (and one very common need of most people).

So why shouldn't the government get involved and meet those most basic needs of its citizens? Why should people have to pay for such basic things in life as food, shelter, health care, or even automobiles? Why not let government take care of all of us? Oh, yes, I remember -- because we're not a Communist country.

Want to comment on this? E-mail me at [steve@svpocketpc.com].