A built-in false assumption with the health-care debate is that sickness is always no-fault sickness. It’s never socially acceptable to assign blame for people’s medical problems — especially blame on the patient.
But I’m not afraid to confess that I’m a judgmental person. And I’m pretty confident that most Americans who oppose socialized medicine share this same judgment: that some people are partly or entirely to blame for their unwellness.
I’m perfectly willing to provide subsidized health care to people who are suffering due to no fault of their own. But in those cases — which, unfortunately, constitute perhaps a majority of all cases — where the unwellness is a consequence of the patient’s own misdeeds, bad habits, or stupid choices, I feel a deep-seated resentment that the rest of us should pick up the tab to fix medical problems that never should have happened in the first place.
I’m speaking specifically of medical problems caused by:
• Cigarette smoking
• Alcohol abuse
• Reckless behavior
• Criminal activity
• Unprotected promiscuous sex
• Use of illicit drugs
• Cultural traditions
• Bad diets
Now, I really don’t care if you overeat, smoke like a chimney, hump like a bunny or forget to lock the safety mechanism on your pistol as you jam it in your waistband. Fine by me. And as a laissez-faire social-libertarian live-and-let-live kind of person, I would never under normal circumstances condemn anyone for any of the behaviors listed above. That is: Until the bill for your stupidity shows up in my mailbox. Then suddenly, I’m forced to care about what you do, because I’m being forced to pay for the consequences.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
The Bay Area's heroic Zombie has written what has to be the definitive essay against progressive health care reform. Her central insight - Americans are against gov't health care because they don't want to pick up the tab for their neighbors' unhealthy lifestyle decisions: Why America Hates Universal Health Care: the Real Reason
She expands on this at great length and illustrates her points with her trademark unflinching photographs, so you really should read the whole thing.