June 22, 2009–
Some Pessimistic thots on Capitalist Totalitarianism–
Sadly, I fear the American health care system will become a scary bureaucratic mess of capitalist totalitarianism, where Americans are required to buy insurance, and the insurance companies aren’t required to treat patients decently or even keep them alive.
Any time I hear of some state plan that requires people to buy insurance, I just cringe.
We Americans used to fear the Soviet system of communist totalitarianism, where the state told you what you could buy and where you could buy it, and where you could work and where you could live.
Here in America, the state doesn’t do all that–circumstances just does it for you. If you’re too poor to buy anywhere but Wal-Mart, it becomes your de facto store whether you like it or not. If you are required to live a middle class lifestyle just to keep your kids from being taken away from you (by the state), and you’re required to maintain a job to maintain that lifestyle, and for that you must have a car to get to said job, which you’re required to buy insurance for (by the state), isn’t the state forcing you into slavery by requiring you to buy so much stuff all the time?
Of course, you don’t have to have a car. But if you want to get back and forth to a job, you’re a lot likely to land it and keep it if you have a car. A few big American cities have public transportation, but most places in America have poorly run bus systems at best. (Hitchhiking will actually get you to most places faster, if you’re not scared to do it.)
Of course, you don’t have to buy things at Wal-Mart. No one’s making you do it. But how long are you going to righteously buy toilet paper at some other store for more money when you know it’s really the same thing and you’d sure like to buy some dog food today, too?
So. Yeah. No one’s making you keep that job. No one’s forcing you to drive a car or make insurance payments, right? Sure…you can just walk everywhere and drive around with no insurance until you get caught and have to pay some gianormous fine…..
So, I always wonder…..if you’re required to buy health insurance, what do they do to the people who just can’t or won’t? I suppose the people who can’t will have the same sorta-kinda health care we’ve got now, but what about those who won’t qualify for that? You’re gonna force them to make a payment every month to an insurance company?
Why not have single-payer, then? What’s the damn difference between making people pay an insurance company and just straight-out taking their money and providing them with health care?
Of course, we all know why single-payer isn’t more attractive. It brings up the spectre of Bureaucracy, mountains of paperwork shoved at you by mouth-breathing office drones who only seem to exist to make any of your dealings with a government agency into a full day of pure unadulterated hell. Just go mess with Welfare or DMV or Social Security or any of those guys for a day and you can see what kind of nightmare an American national health care plan could turn into. So even while I think single-payer would be a good idea, I also worry that it could get really messed up and turn into just another American government agency, which is supposed to help people but actually puts up as many roadblocks as possible in order to discourage all but the most desperate or the most cunning.
Aarrgh….what’s the answer? How are we supposed to come up with a humane intelligent system that actually takes care of people without costing a fortune? Or are we just doomed to watch our whole system lurch forward brokenly like a half-dead car, held together by popsicle sticks and chewing gum until it totally breaks down and we have to admit that we need a new one?