Sunday, July 01, 2012

Spurious Argument

Democrats are, as mentioned here before, delighted that “Obamacare” was upheld by the Supreme Court, but Obama can’t really use that in his reelection campaign, because the majority of Americans wanted the keystone of the legislation (the individual mandate) to be overturned. I, of course, am less concerned about trivia such as that than I am about palming off health insurance extension as “health care reform,” but liberals call me dirty names whenever I bring that up. Their defenses range from nonsensical to illogical.

The main defense seems to be, “Well I spent several years without health insurance and being sick was terrible, so how can you say that the ACA is a bad thing?”

Well, first of all, I didn’t say it was a bad thing, I said that it wasn’t what we needed to do. I argued that we needed to fix a broken system, not merely include more people in the system and leave it broken. Further, I spent some 18 years without health insurance myself, but I don’t think that my personal needs should be the determinant for national policy; not everything is about me.

The common welfare and the sum of individual welfares are not the same thing. Ideally, we would put an armed guard in front of every house in every city 24/365 and assure that no one is ever murdered in their sleep. That is the maximum assurance of individual welfares. Can any city, can the nation afford to do that? Of course not.

So a story of one person who, in my case, had an unhealed splintered fracture of the fibula for eight years which caused serious pain when walking is not a matter of national concern. It simply cannot be. It concerned me for eight years, but I did not, and do not, expect that Congress or the President of The United States should give one single thought to my stupid fibula.

The other argument is that it’s perfectly okay to pass mediocre legislation because it is a beginning that will be built up over time into the perfect program, just as Social Security and Medicare were.

Sadly, no. Those two programs were passed with very limited coverage and over time the coverage has been expanded, but the programs’ natures have not been changed in any significant way. The numbers have changed to accommodate the economy, but the functionality of both programs is precisely the same today as they were when initially passed, and the only change is that eligibility has been expanded to cover many more people.

The ACA is already designed to be universal and, while some people will slip through the cracks, the entire population is covered by it in the form in which it was initially passed. Proponents are claiming not that it will expand, as Social Security and Medicare have, but that it will automatically morph into different functionality, which is by no means certain.

If you have a wildfire which is covering a small area, you can assume that it will spread to cover a larger area. There is a natural impetus for it to do so. But the argument that ACA will become what it should be is more like saying that one has installed an automatic fertilization system which covers his entire garden and is hoping that it will gradually, over time, become an automatic irrigation system. There is no natural impetus for it to do that.

My argument is not that we should not have done the ACA; my question is why did we settle for this action without even trying to do anything better first? This as a second choice after we tried to do something better and failed, sure, but why settle for this first?

"Because," you say, "something better would not have passed." How do we know that when we did not even make the attempt?

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