It amazes me that I am hearing this on the RedState website. “The Conservative Case For Universal Coverage.” The person defending this oxymoron is Avik Roy. He wrote an essay of the same title for the Washington Examiner.
I don’t buy it.
One great point Roy made in his audio interview was that there was no need to destroy everyone’s health insurance just to cover the few people who need help. In fact, in the interview it comes out that Obama and the Democrats are not concerned about helping the needy so much as trying to offer the majority some freebies because it is politically beneficial for them to do so. They buy votes. And in trying to do so, many of those who are needy still end up being left behind since so much of the budget is spent on the middle class.
But while I appreciate that point, I’m still not buying it. In his audio discussion, Roy pressed his “conservative” moral claim by saying, “we’re not libertarians.” No, we’re not. But the fact that we’re not libertarians does not prove that it is conservative to want to legalize slavery, is it? So it isn’t necessarily enough to justify “universal coverage” either. In his Washington Examiner article, Roy writes,
When Ryan proposed ensuring that Medicare and Medicaid grow at the rate of inflation, he was lambasted for attempting to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly. By the same token, would Republicans be attacked as callous if they simply took the Obamacare subsidies, which also grow at the rate of inflation, and expanded them to a broader population? Democrats will look silly if they oppose a policy they aggressively supported in 2010. Call it health reform jujitsu.
To credibly advance this approach, conservatives must make one change to their stance: They have to agree that universal coverage is a morally worthy goal. No conservative politicians oppose universal public education; instead, we champion reforms that improve the quality of public education that poor Americans receive. Ensuring that every American has access to quality health coverage is a legitimate goal of public policy, and it can be done in a way that expands freedom and reduces the burden on American taxpayers.
I hate public education and wish it could be destroyed. I’m pretty sure Rand Paul would prefer to privatize it. Yes, it is true that we “champion reforms that improve the quality of public education that poor American’s receive.” But that is simply a mission to prisoners to improve their conditions of captivity. I would much prefer we liberate them altogether.
It is clear in the interview that, for Roy, wanting to help people always means wanting the government to help people. Libertarian or not, one should easily see that such a desire really means wanting most other people to help people. Why can’t people help out one another or contribute to charities that helps those people who are in special circumstances?
To put this another way, if American’s have an obligation to pass laws that use taxpayer dollars to care for those in need, then why don’t they have that obligation to the Portuguese, or the Ecuadorians or the Chinese? This “moral imperative” seems arbitrary and fantastic to me. If it was taken seriously it would entail a demand for one-world government.
I should add that, even though I’ll never match Roy as a policy wonk, I’m doubtful of his assurances to contain costs. I think price inflation would continue under his system and make it more and more unworkable.
But, whether that is true or not, “universal coverage” is statism, not conservatism.