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  #1  
Old 09-15-2011, 10:25 AM
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The emptiness of libertarianism

Wolf Blitzer had a good exchange with Ron Paul during the recent debate. Blitzer asked what should happen when someone chooses to not get health insurance, then has something bad happen and falls into a coma. Paul, IMHO, gave a non-answer. When asked whether that person should just be permitted to die, Paul said, among other things:
Quote:
PAUL: No. I practiced medicine before we had Medicaid, in the early 1960s, when I got out of medical school. I practiced at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio , and the churches took care of them. We never turned anybody away from the hospitals.

(APPLAUSE)

PAUL: And we’ve given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves and assume responsibility for ourselves. Our neighbors, our friends, our churches would do it. This whole idea, that’s the reason the cost is so high.

The cost is so high because they dump it on the government, it becomes a bureaucracy...

http://www.mediaite.com/tv/cnntea-party-debate-audience-cheers-letting-uninsured-comatose-man-die/
One problem with that answer is that it only works for those who happen to belong to churches with the ability to raise huge sums of money, unless churches are going to really gear up with their fund raising efforts so that they can pay for unaffiliated people to stay in the ICU. Medical care costs have changed a bit since Dr. Paul practiced medicine. I don't know why this burden should fall to private charities. The richest country in the world (is that still us?) should be able to provide basic medical care, even for people who don't go to church and don't have any neighbors willing and able to pay for their medical care. Is he saying that churches would pick up the tab for a six-month stay in an ICU? I don't belong to a church, why do I get a free ride on that guy's big hospital bill?

People like Ron Paul and Paul Ryan would "fix" the looming Medicare/Medicaid problem by simply cutting off benefits. To me, and I hope to a majority of voters, that approach is unacceptable. Policy makers should focus on ways to reduce medical costs, not just tell people to do without. For example, if more people had health insurance, more people would take care of themselves, and fewer people would use emergency rooms for their primary care needs. Paul is just wrong when he says that "...the cost is so high because they dump it on the government, it becomes a bureaucracy..." That's a cop out.

Libertarianism has surface appeal, but it just doesn't work. When applied to the health care issue, libertarians would have people die for lack of medical care. They won't admit it. They will try to dance around the issue, but they have no way out. That's what their governing philosophy means.


Last edited by Honus; 09-15-2011 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:32 AM
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What does it mean for a church to take care of someone in a coma? Is he suggesting that churches pay the medical costs? What local church can afford even a few months of hospital care even for a single member? Maybe it made sense when hospitals were run by churches but it certainly doesn't make sense when medicine has transmuted into another capitalist business. What models are there out there which provide medical care to most or all of the population that are not versions of socialized medicine in one form or another?
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:17 AM
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People should do what they have always done: Die.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
People should do what they have always done: Die.
Who will be in charge of removing the bodies from the streets?
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:21 AM
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Bacteria.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:28 AM
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Around here, the highway department picks up the carcasses of deer that get hit by cars, but they get a healthy assist from the vultures. On some of the less traveled dirt roads, the vultures and bacteria pretty much take care of the whole job.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:30 AM
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My father-in-law asked that when he dies we just hook him up to his tractor and drag his carcass into the woods at the far end of the pasture. He was only partly kidding. It's probably illegal but I'd sure like to bury him on his farm. He'd like that.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:38 AM
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So much fail... Costs for hospital and medical services would be much lower without government involvement, as they once were.
Ron Paul never said just cut it off. People have become dependent, so it needs to be phased out. Etc, etc. It's a weak attack, and pathetic, quite frankly. As if society has never operated without a nanny state.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Botnst View Post
My father-in-law asked that when he dies we just hook him up to his tractor and drag his carcass into the woods at the far end of the pasture. He was only partly kidding. It's probably illegal but I'd sure like to bury him on his farm. He'd like that.
I'll bet it's legal to do that. The local health department might have restrictions on where you can bury someone. The tough part might be getting whoever attends the death to release the body to the family. I would call the local health department. He might also want to get a pre-paid plan through a funeral home. They would know how to make the arrangements.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by MagnumPI View Post
So much fail... Costs for hospital and medical services would be much lower without government involvement, as they once were.
That's a conclusion, not an argument.
Quote:
Ron Paul never said just cut it off. People have become dependent, so it needs to be phased out. Etc, etc.
Right. Phased out and then people get cut off.
Quote:
It's a weak attack, and pathetic, quite frankly. As if society has never operated without a nanny state.
Of course it operated before Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. It operated poorly, but you are correct, it operated.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:46 AM
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Wasn't it Sharon Angle who suggested we barter chickens for healthcare? Another great libertarian thinker.
A lot of Paul's positions appeal to me on an emotional level but his rosy view of human nature is as naive as that of hard line socialists. Great on paper but in reality not so much.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:50 AM
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Hah! Humans by nature can't be trusted, so let's give them monopoly power of force and theft and cart blanche to do whatever they want. Oh, but only the worst ones, who seek such power.
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Old 09-15-2011, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by MagnumPI View Post
Hah! Humans by nature can't be trusted, so let's give them monopoly power of force and theft and cart blanche to do whatever they want. Oh, but only the worst ones, who seek such power.
Good point, although I don't know what the alternative is.
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:02 PM
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... Give yourself a fighting chance?
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:03 PM
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Bring out yer dead! Bring our yer dead!

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