Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Shame of Charity

There are roughly 74 million people on Medicaid - some 23% of the population.  Medicaid is supposed to be a safety-net program for poor women, children and disabled but, under the Affordable Care Act, it has been the dumping ground for the able-body to gain medical insurance.

Medicaid had 4 million enrollees when launched in 1966.  Since then, the population has grown 63%, while Medicaid enrollment has grown 1,738%.  How can this be?  Have Americans’ dependence upon government been growing at an accelerating rate?  So much so that today that 1 in 4 cannot provide medical insurance for themselves or their families? No.  The answer lies in the transfer from those that do, to those that do not, couched first as compassion and later as a life style.

Left-leaning political commentator, William Galston, wrote in the Wall Street Journal Opinion section on June 28th regarding the Senate Republican proposed healthcare legislation that cutting “public support for health care by $1.2 trillion over the next decade means depriving vast numbers of Americans of health security.” For Galston this means “people would be forced to rely on the kindness of strangers.” In Galston’s view, voluntary charity from strangers is antithetical to coercively taxing strangers to take from those that can take care of themselves and give to those who either cannot or chose not to care for themselves.

For collectivists like Galston, the purpose of welfare is not a temporary helping hand, but about a wealth transfer from the few to the many.  After all, collectivists are, by nature, collective.  It is about the many and not the individual, who need be relegated to a larger purpose. 

The Democrats gave the nation Obamacare, and the Republicans have shown, so far, little to materially change toward free-market healthcare.  The measurable difference between the two party’s plans is that the Republicans throw less federal taxpayer money at Medicaid than Democrats.  However, the basic underlying notions of actuarial sanity and free market forces that drive the price dynamics, quality, and availability remain largely absent.

There is pride and self-satisfaction in earning one’s living and pursuing happiness as each individual dreams.  It is the cold and grey world of tyranny when government and political elites rally to conform people to dependence on government.

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