What’s So Bad About Universal Health Care?
This was the question I confronted when I was interviewed by a delegation of reporters from a Danish television station’s New York bureau on May 7. But something different from the stereotypical “What’s so bad about universal health care?” question had been posed. The questioners were different from anyone I had been confronted by before. These people were themselves Europeans who actually wanted to know why America was so far behind when it comes to universal health care.
The reporters I was speaking with were not the typical American agenda-driven liberals from the mainstream press engaging in “gotcha” journalism. These reporters really wanted to know.
Their want was also something personal. As Europeans, and especially as Danes, universal health care is a common, prevalent, and often seen aspect of their daily lives. These reporters honestly wanted to know why the most powerful country in the world is “behind the curve” of what seems to be the latest advancement in healthcare. These reporters seemed to be saying that if Europe does it, everyone should do it, and by saying this, they reflected a sentiment shared by many all over Europe.
Why, they seemed to plead, is America not accepting the advice of Europe? Why is the greatest country in the world not listening to her ally Great Britain, for example, who has enacted universal health care? The beliefs, and emotions, of these reporters reflect the thoughts of many Europeans: that America’s policies are most successful when they meet up with the policies of Europe. The question now is whether or not the policies of American and Europe should be the same on health care.
The "What’s so bad about universal health care — Europe does it, why shouldn’t we?” is intended to be leading, almost rhetorical. The mainstream press, as well as many liberal politicians, would answer that there is no reason that we should not enact universal health care, if for no other reason except that it is normal in Europe. They say that if it is good enough for a plurality of countries — Denmark, Sweden, Great Britain, just to name a few — then it should be good enough for America as well.
But their argument is poorly constructed. If, for example, Denmark, Sweden, Great Britain, and others instituted a law that said everyone must jump off a bridge, would we institute the law in America also? Europe is Europe; let it burn its health care system to the ground if it wants to, but as for America, let us make our own decisions.
America is constantly plagued by leaders and citizens of European countries who advocate America socializing its medical system. Europeans say that it has worked for them. The fact is many people who say this have either never experienced enough economic freedom to understand, or they have never been taught the difference between the value of a capitalist healthcare system and a governmentally-controlled socialized medical system.
When a board of government officials runs the world of medicine — as President Obama’s proposal would have it — how can anyone who had studied history believe it will get better rather than worse? When the government puts all other health care companies out of business, won’t there be a number of serious economic concerns, as well as a number of serious problems for the taxpayer’s pocket, not to mention the great many private sector jobs that will be lost because private health care institutions are unable to compete with the government? Just because Europeans promote it, doesn’t mean that it is in America’s best economic interest.
Moreover, which country gets more immigrating persons annually, Denmark or the United States? Hands down, the United States. Some estimate 12,000,000 people have crossed the border of the United States illegally, and the number continues to grow, because they want to experience things such as our health care system. Can Denmark say that a similar number of people choose the same desperate measures to get across their border so that they can experience European countries?
No. America is the nation people emigrate to, not from, because we have a great health care system, a great economy, and because we have a free and independent private sector. Neither Denmark nor any of the other European universal healthcare nations is as vigorously sought after because none have any of these things.
Europe’s government-dominated economies are suffering more in this recession because they choose to institute unnecessary, harmful, government programs; and America is successful, to be brutally honest, because it avoids doing almost everything that Europe wants it to.
America is a nation that has a free economy, and, in turn, a private-sector health care system. Many liberals, however, propose that we make America less unique among the nations of the world. They want to assimilate America into European styles and tone down health care. We fought a war in the 1770s and 1780s to rid ourselves of other countries determining our fate. Why should we do everything with the consultation of foreign power now? We shouldn’t. John Adams said it best, “I cannot express it better than in his [John Jay’s] own words: ‘to be honest and grateful to our allies, but to think for ourselves.’ ”