The New New Deal, Part 1: Free Health Care

Free lunch for the unemployed, Courtesy of Al Capone during the Great Depression.

There are now quite a few politicians, such as Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, calling for New Deal types of democratic socialist programs. They include universal basic income, free health care for all, and a free college education, and claim they are now human rights. They feel that the United States is now wealthy enough to be able to provide these benefits, er–rights, to everyone now. Unfortunately, everything has a cost, whether or not you know how to measure and pay for it. Can something really be a right if it must be paid for by taxing someone else to pay for it? What if you can’t really afford it after all?

With Socialism, Communism, or Fascism the cost is hidden. It begins with a loss of political control to an elite that usually says everyone everyone is equal, but acts as though some are more equal than others. What follows is the loss of a strong incentive to work and a resultant decline in standard of living until everyone is equally poor. Of course, it doesn’t HAVE to be that bad. Some Western European countries have done well with some loss of incentives, and still manage to maintain a pretty good standard of living. So, I thought I’d spend a couple of hours coming up with a fix for our most pressing socio-economic problems. Here you go. You are welcome.

The Hidden Cost of Socialism

The youngest generation of Americans seem to be set on a course in favor of a dramatic increase in government-provided social benefits. If they eventually turn out to be an unstoppable political force, or job losses from automation create economic chaos, what path should America choose to make these social benefits actually work? I have in mind a bargain that would more clearly identify and assign the costs so that it is a win-win for everyone. For those who receive the benefits, there will be a price to pay, while for those who pay the taxes, there will be some benefit as well. Of course, the price will not be in money. After all, if someone really needs free health care and a basic income, they obviously don’t have means to pay for it. The price will come in the form of rights and responsibilities.

Win-Win Deal or No Deal?

Here is the deal. It is completely voluntary. Nobody will be forced to accept it and anyone can opt out of the deal at any time. No need to try and get control of the presidency or both houses of Congress to make a real change. However, if you choose to leave the program, you will not be able to change your mind and get back in for another 5 years. It’s a win-win deal for everybody, theoretically.

Free Health Care – Deal or No Deal?

Let’s start with health care because a society where everyone has access to health care would be a great privilege. I still don’t call it a right because a right doesn’t impose a cost on everyone else, which free health care does. Especially if people don’t keep themselves healthy. Here is the deal. In return for free health care, you agree to a lower priority for services that are severely limited, such as organ transplants. If there aren’t enough to go around, then the people who pay for their own health care get priority. You don’t expect billionaires like George Soros, Bill Gates, or Jeff Bezos to stand aside and let you go first if they need an organ transplant, do you? We may all have equal rights, but life will never be fair and some people will always manage to be more equal than others. It’s just human nature.

But that is just the start. You also have to accept the doctor, or physician’s assistant, or nurse, or counselor, as appropriate, that is assigned to you. You can’t expect to get the best, most in-demand doctors. Maybe you will get lucky and be assigned to someone who is willing to work for a lower salary to serve the public. Or maybe you will get the doctors that nobody else wants. It’s kind of a crap shoot. Again, you are at the back of the line.

But there is still more. The above sacrifices don’t actually help to pay for your health care, so we need you to help reduce costs. Some of the biggest costs on the healthcare system are the results of obesity, alcohol, drugs, and a sedentary lifestyle. You will need to go on a strict program of healthy living, which may mean you have to lose weight, avoid sugary foods, exercise, and stay off all but a minimal amount of alcohol and no illegal drugs. Even after years of a sedentary lifestyle, studies have shown how exercise can restore the body to health. One study showed how a late-in-life 6-month program of walking, cycling and jogging helped volunteers lose about 10 pounds, and largely reversed their decline in cardiovascular fitness. After six months of moderate exercise, the average volunteer’s blood pressure, resting heart rate, and cardiac output returned to his 20-year-old level! Better health translates directly into lower health care costs.

Ronald Reagan: “Trust but Verify”

As Ronald Reagan said about his nuclear arms agreements with the Russians, “trust but verify.” That’s just another way of saying we don’t trust you so we are going to monitor you to make sure you live up to your commitments. In this case, anyone who takes the free health care deal will be monitored constantly, and preferably in real time, through the use of wireless sensors. I know it sounds creepy, but it really will be for your own good. An active health improvement program should dramatically increase the health of a majority of the population and reduce costs so that they are actually affordable. We can’t just give away health care for free and watch people flush it down the toilet with bad behaviors! There is no free lunch.

Wireless Real-Time Health Sensors

That means anyone who wants to have free health care has to help pay for it in terms of personal responsibility and privacy. Isn’t that something we tell our kids all the time? Sounds like a deal to me! Besides, think of all the jobs that will be created in the health care industry for the monitoring and evaluation of everyone in the health care program!

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3, where we cover Free Higher Education and Free Money for Everyone!

2 thoughts on “The New New Deal, Part 1: Free Health Care

  1. Pingback: The New New Deal, Part 2: Free Higher Education | Earth People are Crazy

  2. Pingback: The New New Deal, Part 3: Free Money for Everyone! | Earth People are Crazy

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