I know I'm going to regret this as soon as someone compares me to Hitler in the comments, but...
I have a question about conservatives and health care that I’ve never been able to get an answer to.
Now, as I understand it, the conservative approach to health care in the US is basically: You’re on your own. If you want health insurance, buy some or get hired by an employer who offers it. If you don’t want health insurance, no problem, just pay for your health care as you go. No government involvement in health care.
So, if we adopt this system, which is more or less what we have now (minus Medicare and Medicaid, of course, but those are only for a limited segment of the population), there will be a certain number of people who choose not to buy health insurance and go around uninsured.
And there will be a certain number of THOSE people who get into motorcycle accidents or get shot or get cancer and have to go to the Emergency Room for treatment, since, if you don’t have health insurance in the US, that’s where you go for primary care.
And there will be a certain percentage of THOSE people who can’t afford to pay for their treatment, and, in fact, will never pay for it. I mean, I know hospitals use collection agencies and everything to get money out of people, but some people you will just never collect from.
So the hospitals pass on the costs of treating those people to the rest of us, in the form of higher medical costs and higher insurance rates and whatever.
So I guess my question is, is that a good system? In the conservative view, do we, as a society, just pay for the deadbeats who show up at the ER with no insurance? And if it would be demonstrably cheaper, for society as a whole, to have some kind of low-cost universal health care, why wouldn’t you want that? I mean, why pay more just to avoid having a government-run universal health care system?
The alternative, of course, if to refuse to treat people who can’t pay. So if you’re a conservative, is that cool? Are you alright with, say, poor people or illegal immigrants being refused treatment and bleeding to death in front of hospitals? I mean, that’s certainly one approach you could take. Anyone want to step up and own that?
So I don’t see a third way. Either (1) the rest of us who dutifully pay eat the expense for the deadbeats who choose not to pay, or (2) we refuse to treat people who can’t pay for it. The first one seems totally anti-conservative, because it encourages people to leech of others. I mean, if someone else is always going to pay, why should I spend the money upfront? And the second one seems, well, maybe a little cold.
Am I missing a third way? Serious question.