For some time now, my father has been dying a slow death from Parkinson’s Disease. This has taken up much of my time and energies.
It has also been expensive, both for my family, and for taxpayers. It’s probably accurate to say that never before has dying been so expensive as it is today.
Not that health-care for the rest of us is cheap. I agree with the Establishment Left that the American health-care system is absurd. I have insurance, and yet it costs me a small fortune any time I need to avail myself of a doctor’s services (I have a high-deductible plan, since the alternative would be too expensive).
I recently visited a facility, showed them my insurance card – and then thought to ask how much it would have cost without insurance. It would have been CHEAPER! I asked them if they could simply charge me as if I had no insurance, and the doctor replied that if he did that, he could be sued for insurance fraud. He was no fan of the system either. In the future, I’ll be sure to ask about the uninsured price first.
The Establishment Left is right that our health-care system is dysfunctional, but I think they’re missing (as usual) an important point. They believe that we have enough resources to provide everybody within our borders with all of their needs and rights, and that this is sustainable in the long term.
Since the Establishment Left has expanded the definition of “rights” to the point where almost anything can be considered a “right,” I doubt this is possible. It seems to me, however, that “right” is an artificial construct. Even though we should recognize certain inalienable rights, I don’t think there can be a rigid definition of “rights” in other cases, but that it changes with the circumstances. In other words, I’m open to the idea that a more affluent/advanced society can recognize rights beyond the basic inalienable ones.
I wouldn’t mind living in a country where citizens are assumed to have the right to health-care, assuming that the cost isn’t too high – and when I say “cost,” I’m mainly referring to costs in liberties. Slaves enjoy free health-care.
When the Affordable Care Act was being pushed through Congress, there were concerns over “Death Panels.” Conservatives understand the concept of TANSTAFL (There Ain’t No Such Thing As Free Lunch), and that there’s no such thing as unlimited resources. At some point, tough decisions must be made. Can we trust government to make those decisions?
Not OUR government. Our government consists of Christians, Jews, Muslims and atheists. It represents no specific set of values or code of ethics. There is a “Congressional Black Caucus.” Do black Americans view death the same way white Americans do? Not according to the government, recognizes such cultural differences. Might this translate into higher costs for some ethnicities than others? Payton Summons comes to mind.
From the New York Times:
It is an attitude borne out by recent federal statistics showing that nearly half of white Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in hospice before death, compared with only a third of black patients. The racial divide is even more pronounced when it comes to advance care directives — legal documents meant to help families make life-or-death decisions that reflect a patient’s choices. Some 40 percent of whites aged 70 and over have such plans, compared with only 16 percent of blacks.
The Times article attributes this disparity to distrust of the hospice industry. Perhaps there’s some truth to that, but it’s hard ignore the fact that this goes hand in hand with other high time-preference traits found in blacks, such as not investing and higher crime rates. For example:
Generally speaking, Black people are still living for the moment with a “to hell with the future” mindset when it comes to money. Too many Black folks tend to only worry about themselves and the money that they have NOW. That way of thinking is crippling and must STOP now!
I don’t think Diversity is a strength when it comes to such decisions. It can lead to situations where high time-preference cultures will place undue burdens upon low time-preference cultures. It would be impossible to codify a set of laws that would work for everybody, and be fair to everybody.
The only long-term solution is separation into various ethno-states. Those who worship Diversity can have their own state; let them deal with their own problems.