As we approach New Year’s day, I hope you will take stock of whatever you have as part of your celebration. I don’t mean your belongings in terms of property. I mean you. You have you. You are special and uniquely you. You may have a great family. You may have friends that you care about and who care about you. In the United States, you have natural rights that are protected. And you have some sort of talent and skill that comes from your effort to learn it. You may be ready to learn more new things or teach old things or try out something altogether different. If you take an inventory of what your mind is capable of perhaps you should take a moment to appreciate your sanity. According to Psychology: In Search of the Human Mind (1), “the term sanity is a legal term for describing behavior, not a psychological one.” In order to evaluate a person’s sanity, you look at what they do.
Let’s appreciate the important distinction between sanity and insanity. The M’Naghten Rule is a definition of insanity that was written from an English court case in 1843: “to establish a defense on the ground of insanity, it must be clearly proved that, at the time of committing the act, the party accused was laboring under such a defect of reasoning, from disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he [or she] was doing, or if he [or she] was doing what was wrong” (2).
When you are sane, you know the difference between right and wrong. And you can also notice the difference between fantasy and reality because you can check your beliefs with what is real around you. Whenever you hear anyone in Congress suggesting that we need government universal healthcare, each of us can check the reality of nations that have adopted that program and see what it does to harm them and to benefit them. If you check into it, you will hear about long waits for surgery or sometimes a refusal to treat certain doom-laden diagnoses like cancer. Universal healthcare programs cost so much money and they all ration care to cut costs. They can only afford practical measures that cost a smaller amount of money. Universal government healthcare has been implemented where it exists when people can’t afford to pay for their own needs, in a bad economy. But universal healthcare further harms a bad economy.
Some say that if the government oversees costs, they can cut the high cost of healthcare. When they believe this they clearly ignore the fact that Obamacare was written mostly by insurance companies and the cost of healthcare radically increased under Obamacare. Functioning marketplaces, but not government, really can control costs through supply and demand and not by government fiat. The real clients of the Obama Administration era Congress who voted for Obamacare were the very corporations who have been overcharging us. There’s still a lot of monopoly power in healthcare and we all still live in the same politically neoliberal system that gave us a bad healthcare bill in Obamacare. I doubt a new universal healthcare bill would be any better. In fact, it could be much worse.
When Congress suggests that there’s a budget for a new program of any kind you should be skeptical. You should realize that our nation has a large debt. Congress wants to spend money that our nation doesn’t have. And you should realize that a political person such as a Congress member always wants more influence and to them a new program means more political influence. This is a defect of reasoning. Congress members like influence more than anything else. But not all new programs actually provide Congress with greater influence. As Congress has gained more power to influence the economy, they have clearly lost the ability to judge what will work well for the people of the United States. This has hurt their influence with ordinary Americans. Many bad policies are currently in effect and we can already see that Congress may choose to do what is exactly the wrong thing for the nation. As Walter Lippmann said, more power doesn’t mean greater wisdom.
Some persist and say again that the nation should have universal healthcare. Universal healthcare would be such a large program we should check the treasury and the current deficit to see how much money we have to fund such a program. The current federal debt is $21,861,315,992,472.00 (3). When we look into the treasury for gold or treasure what we find instead is IOU’s. That means there’s no money to fund universal healthcare and also that we already owe a huge amount of money as a nation to people who hold our debt. Out of control levels of ever-increasing debt have been harmful.
When people claim that the government’s debt can grow infinitely large without causing harms, we should look around and realize that harms are all around us from undisciplined government spending and bad economic policies. And our monetary system isn’t supporting a healthy economy and hasn’t since 2008. Any new programs whether they are a government war effort or a government healthcare effort are beyond what we can afford because of years of overspending. The outcome of more spending right now is just more economic failure for most Americans.
Obamacare was recently found to be unconstitutional. The legal ground for finding it constitutional in the first place was fallacious, but the Supreme Court made a bad ruling and found that because it was a tax and spend program, it was within Congress’s power to pass it. After the public mandate was repealed by Congress and the program could no longer be called a tax and spend program, it was declared to be unconstitutional. But it was already a failure in a practical sense because the lifespan of Americans decreased during its implementation. It was a tax on life and a biopolitical expansion of the government’s power over the American people that proved to be functionally toxic to people’s health. And it was unconstitutional because it interfered with people’s natural right to buy or not buy and to make their own healtcare choices.
Some want universal healthcare because they don’t want to pay for their healthcare. Economic insecurity is widespread right now and that’s scary. Some people have been through several job losses due to corporate buy-outs that cost them their jobs. Not everyone has been able to find another job. Meanwhile, inflation in healthcare has continued for a long time. But universal healthcare will increase economic insecurity and it will interfere with your healthcare choices. Natural rights can be easily abused under universal government healthcare. Mandated prescriptions, mandated mental healthcare or non-healthcare, mandated surgery or non-surgery, declarations of fitness or non-fitness, compliance or non-compliance. People should be able to make their own healthcare choices.
Some want universal healthcare so that immigrants can get free care. But that also hurts the economy where many people already don’t have a job and there’s a large federal, state and municipal debt in most communities. Universal healthcare conflicts with our U.S. constitutional right to protect our own body and to own it for ourself. The ACA has already proven a betrayal of good sense that doomed us all to a worsened healthcare system. To consider having universal healthcare again in the United States is to embrace insanity. If you’d like to learn more about American political ideologies over the span of U.S. history, buy a copy at Amazon.com of Political Catsup with Economy Fries for a dose of reality that finally makes sense.
(1) Robert J. Sternberg, Psychology: In Search of the Human Mind, 3rd edition, copyright 2001, 1998, 1995, Harcourt College Publishers, also digital media copyright 2001, Digital: Convergence Corporation, Ft Worth TX, 540.
(2) Robert J. Sternberg, Psychology: In Search of the Human Mind, 3rd edition, copyright 2001, 1998, 1995, Harcourt College Publishers, also digital media copyright 2001, Digital: Convergence Corporation, Ft Worth TX, (this reference from Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, 25th edition, 1990, p1374), 540.
(3) Treasury Direct, https://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/debt/current, accessed 12-28-2018.