The Long Version

Retired broadcast journalist. Blogging helps scratch the itch. Recovering exRepublican – Sober and still Conservative.

Archive for November 2018

No. Socialized Medicine Is Not the Answer

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Socialized medicineWhenever I see people arguing about universal healthcare aka single-payer system aka socialized medicine, I always see the same rationale when it comes to why it would work here when it has been less than ideal in every other country where it is used. “Because we (America) can do it better! We can do it right.”

That’s a fallacy.

No different than this idea that we can somehow make Socialism work as a political governing ideology. No, we can’t. No one has and no one will.

Socialized medicine will fail here just as we see it failing, or at best providing benefits well below what we’ve come to expect from American medicine. Why?

Human nature.

People lack appreciation and/or respect for things they get for free. If I have to provide examples here, you’ve never been in a public park restroom. People don’t value what they don’t pay for. When there’s no skin in the game they don’t care. When you take competition from a marketplace and replace it with guaranteed free services it creates expectations from which an entitlement mentality forms.

It is well documented in single-payer systems where doctors and nurses deal with more self-entitled people coming into their facility demanding healthcare because, “my tax dollars pay your salary.” It’s demoralizing for medical professionals. Quality of care suffers. People become objects to be slowly dragged through the system (often waiting long periods of time between treatments or to begin them) to milk as much money from the government as it can.

When you try to take the profit motive out of business and give government the reins to that business, all you really do is transfer the motive away from the business to customer relationship required to maintain customer loyalty to that business, to “how can I get more government money from this person?” To combat this the government with its deep pockets of taxpayer dollars, will pour more money into a broken system. It will pass more regulations to make things “fair.” Due to the fact that tax dollars are NOT unlimited, the government must, at some point, pick and choose what it deems a “necessary” operation or treatment to save on costs. In one example out of Canada a dental patient was in need of a root canal. The government said no, it was an “unnecessary tooth” and would only pay to have the tooth removed. “Necessity” is subjective.

Our healthcare system became the best in the world because of our innovation which is spurred by competition. Argue till you’re blue in the face, but if you take away competition, innovation will slow or even die with it because innovation is risky and expensive. Who will invest in new treatments, drugs, or surgical procedures, if government price-fixing doesn’t provide a way for the risk taker to get a return on investment?

The problem isn’t our medical system. The problem is with our politicians who always manage to get their grubby fingers into the private sector. They’re in bed with the insurance industry, big Pharma, and the large healthcare conglomerates. The mutual back-scratching is endless. Regulations have largely catered to these big businesses, not to patients or doctors. I believe one step to take would be to remove as many federal regulations as possible. Allow insurance to be sold across state lines. Make it a true competitive marketplace. Insurance shouldn’t be tied to employment. That doesn’t mean employers can’t use it as a benefit to entice high quality workers but it shouldn’t be incentivized with tax perks. We should be allowed to shop for our healthcare just as we would a car or home. Enough with these hospital “networks” that only take such and such insurance.

Free market forces are incredible regulators and balancers when allowed to function properly and under the watchful eye of honest ethical leadership. Does that mean there will be winners and losers? Yes. But that’s life. Those who provide the best care and service for the best price will win and prosper. Those who don’t will lose and go out of business. Family doctors and practices will return to communities rather than reside only with large, exclusive, medical conglomerates. Family practitioners and general physicians would be salaried in a single-payer system with less control over their pay and though many argue their pay would not go down that simply isn’t feasible unless the number of doctors and nurses is curtailed or reduced. Over-specialization in medicine, which is one reason costs are so high in the U.S, will self-moderate based on market forces.

The truly needy who can’t afford care can, and should, be provided with care. There must always be a safety net. There is no reason we can’t create one that actually works within the private sector.

I don’t claim to know all the answers, nor do I believe government can’t have a role in our healthcare system, but it should be one of oversight and enforcement of laws to make sure the care providers and companies in the medical industry are operating fairly and ethically. Government enforces the rules and laws deemed necessary by the people it governs. That is one thing it can and should do well. Government should not be paying individual bills or managing the private sector. That is not its function and it has proven over and over again how poorly government manages anything business related.

We can get our healthcare system back to where it is healthy and functions to help all Americans afford and have access to proper healthcare. We don’t need to follow in Canada or Great Britain’s footsteps.

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Written by DCL

November 9, 2018 at 3:33 pm

Is a Second Reformation Unfolding in Front of Our Eyes?

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[Image Credit: Ferdinand Pauwels, Public Domain]

Republished by permission

November 1st is traditionally known as “All Saints’ Day” in the Western Christian calendar–a day to remember all of the faithful departed. The day (eve) before All Saints’ Day was “All Hallows’ (an older word for “saint) Eve.” Later, in a series of twists and turns (more reminiscent of the latest TV sitcom, rather than “normal” history) this Christian holiday devolved into our contemporary Halloween.

What is less known about this day is that it marks the moment an obscure German monk and college professor presented a list of religious concerns for a formal debate, unwittingly sparking one of the most momentous events in Western history–the Reformation.

Many in the conservative Protestant tradition resonate with Martin Luther’s bold stand to proclaim the truths of the Bible, and to resist the authoritarian forces of control. But what they forget are the true aims of Luther and the first generation of reformers.

Martin Luther did not mean to start the Reformation. As a “doctor” of theology, he was trying to start an academic discussion about common church practices, such as “indulgence preachers,” who were basically selling get-out-of-Purgatory-free cards. He initially had no intention of breaking ties with the Roman Catholic church.

Many factors led to what we now call the “Reformation.” The first was the rediscovery of Biblical Greek and Hebrew. Most of the Reformers were serious students of these languages, and the insights they gained from this Scriptural engagement fueled the momentous changes that many celebrate on Oct. 31.

The second factor was the cultural movement we call the “Renaissance.” At its most basic level, the Renaissance looked back to the artistic and literary achievements of ancient Greece and Rome. Cultural life blossomed, spawning artists such as da Vinci and Michelangelo, composers such as Palestrina, and authors such as Dante Alighieri. In northern Europe, the Renaissance took a more “bookish” turn. Sparked by Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of the movable-type printing press, northern Europeans could suddenly produce and exchange ideas quickly through the printed word. Towns like Basel in Switzerland became centers of scholarship and book-production. Erasmus of Rotterdam led this movement through his scholarship and his wit. With biting satire and vast learning, Erasmus criticized the many moral and spiritual failings of the Catholic Church.

However, in the ensuing conflict, Erasmus remained loyal to the Roman church, unlike many of his protégés. Johannes Oecolampadius worked closely with Erasmus in Basel, putting together the first printed edition of the Greek New Testament, as well as new editions of classic Christian thinkers and pastors like Gregory of Nyssa, John Chrysostom, and Basil of Caesarea. As Oecolampadius dove deeper into the original Greek and Hebrew of the Bible, he joined the ranks of the Reformers. Eventually, their devotion to God’s Word led them into sustained conflict with Roman church officials, and finally into a full-fledged “Reformation.”

These Reformers shared the goal of returning the church to a purity and fervency that they read about in the New Testament (in the original Greek) and in the church fathers (many of whom wrote in Greek). They did not want to reject all of previous church history—they saw themselves as truly “catholic,” in one sense of the original Latin word. Catholicus means “universal,” and the early Reformers tried to reform Christian worship and church practices according to what Christians had “universally” believed and practiced.

The Reformation began roughly 500 years ago. What many don’t realize, however, is that a similar reformation is occurring today, only not in the churches, but in the schools. Classical Christian schools, to be more specific.

Like the original Reformers, educators in the classical Christian school movement seek to train and equip the next generation of leaders who will boldly stand for the truth in their culture, churches, and homes. They seek to inspire students who will bravely challenge the status quo, motivated by what they see in Scripture. And they hope that students’ brief exposure to the Great Books, the Great Thinkers, and the classical languages like Latin and Greek will enable them to gain the wisdom and eloquence to lead a new Reformation.

Is it possible that by teaching students to stand on the shoulders of these intellectual giants, they, like the Reformers before them, will be able to steer the world down a completely different path than the one it is currently on?

For Further Reading

Getting the Reformation Wrong: Correcting Some Misunderstandings – James R. Payton, Jr.

Church History (vol. 2): From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day – John D. Woodbridge & Frank A. James III

An Introduction to Classical Education: A Guide for Parents – Dr. Christopher Perrin

Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning – Robert Littlejohn & Charles T. Evans

The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education – Ravi Jain & Kevin Clark

This post: Is a Second Reformation Unfolding in Front of Our Eyes? was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Gregory Soderberg.