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Is there a “Libertarian” Case for Making Universal Health Care “Work”?

As I suggested in my recent article on “conservatives” who support socialized medicine, not just Medicare and Medicaid but the ObamaCare 2.0. bill that thankfully was pulled even before a vote, ObamaCare should just be repealed. No “replacement” necessary.

In my my earlier article, I also wrote, “So not only would we be better off by repealing ObamaCare, Medicare, Medicaid, the entire Social Security Act of 1935, but also all income taxes, and giving the IRS the heave-ho. That way, when government stops stealing from the people, families can once again afford to see a doctor or go to a hospital. More charities will spring up and more people will be financially able to donate to them. And a change in cultural attitude would result in sickness no longer being subsidized.”

And now, an article on America Thinker by Daniel John Sobieski also suggests to at least repeal ObamaCare, by passing the same bill that Congress already passed in 2015 that Barack Obama vetoed, and that rational people should hope that Donald Trump would sign. Let the medical-related businesses, doctors and consumers make their own adjustments.

In a related recent post, Tom Knapp responds to an article from the allegedly libertarian Niskanen Center, titled, “Universal healthcare access is coming. Stop fighting it and start figuring out how to make it work.” (Are you sure that’s not the “Nixonian Center”?) The Niskanen Center has involved an actual Libertarian Party activist, Ed Crane, and the famous “Koch Brothers” who have been referred to as “libertarians.” However, the Center seems to devote itself to causes involving global warming and a carbon tax, and attempted last year to make a libertarian case for Bernie Sanders, according to Wikipedia. In other words, this is not a libertarian think-tank.

But on the issue of health care and the Niskanen Center’s idea of making Universal Health Care “work,” Tom Knapp writes:

… On the moral/ideological end of things, the liberaltarian case is that we should support (or at least find ways to work with) single-payer healthcare and a basic income guarantee because they can make some things better for some people.

That’s true as far as it goes. But it’s also true for burglary. If burglary is legal, I can go around stealing and pawning people’s big-screen TVs and make good money, right? But stealing is wrong. And the only way the state can hand out free stuff — be it healthcare or monthly checks or whatever — to one person or group of people is to steal from, or enslave, some other person or group of people. Single payer healthcare and basic income guarantee schemes fail the most basic moral test per libertarianism.

As a practical matter, they also fail on two other metrics:

1. Suppose the scheme “works.” Congratulations. You did something immoral and got the result you wanted. But if your aim is to abolish, or at least minimize the size, scope and power of, the state, you just accomplished the opposite of your goal. Making the state’s schemes “work” perpetuates the state and its schemes. Accomplishing some side goal in a way that works against your real ultimate goal is not a win, it’s a loss.

2. These schemes can only work temporarily, and the longer the sugar high lasts the harder the comedown is going to be. Ask the Venezuelans how state socialism is working out for them. Making single payer health care or a basic income guarantee “work” for now means more harm to more people later. Better to let these schemes fall apart on their own than to help the state stretch them out until the inevitable correction looks like the Holodomor.

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