But It’s Free!

Rubes.  Suckers.  Gulls.  Marks.  Pigeons.  Swedes.  Patsies.  Fools.  Stooges.  You thought you voted for “free healthcare” or “access to healthcare.”  What has impressed me most about all the public exercises about “free healthcare” and “access to healthcare” and similar sloganeering is how ambiguous the slogans actually are.

For instance, “free healthcare” means nothing more than that what you receive you aren’t directly charged for having received (it doesn’t, because it can’t, mean that the service is actually provided at no cost to anyone).  It may not be the healthcare you want, or need, but hey! you don’t get a bill for it, so why are you complaining?  Oh, yeah, here’s an example: this is why.  That “free annual examination” means only that your doctor can talk about with you what you already know, viz. “previously diagnosed stable conditions,” or in plain English, things that haven’t changed.  Want more?  Want him to look at that new oddly-colored mole on your back?  Or the one that was there last time but is now three times the size it was then?  Well, that’ll be another appointment and gee golly, the doctor’s next non-free appointment schedule is for Monday . . . in eleven months.

Similarly, “access” to healthcare means no more than that someone will provide you access to healthcare.  In other words, someone will set himself up as gate-keeper between you and your doctor.  We know it doesn’t, because it can’t, mean that everyone gets exactly all the healthcare he believes he needs, or even actually needs, because in point of fact there is a finite number of providers, and unless we’re going to take a leaf from the Great Awakening, and adopt a whosoever-will policy about licenses to practice medicine, demand will always outstrip supply (sort of like it does today).  So someone has to make the decision that of three patients who all want X but there’s not enough to give all three X, and so two get X and one gets Y . . . and none of those three patients, or the doctors involved, participates in the decision as to which of the three patients gets Y or in fact what Y actually turns out to be, in terms of care.

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