Could HillaryCare Lead to Lifestyle Legislation?

Mrs. Clinton’s universal healthcare plan would require every citizen to have health insurance. Those with lower incomes (how low?) would get taxpayer-funded subsidies, but most people would still have to pay for it. How will those who choose not to purchase health insurance today feel about the government dictating how they should spend their paychecks? In a free society, shouldn’t that be left to their own discretion? And what will the penalty be for those who don’t comply, and choose to remain uninsured?

Mrs. Clinton would have us believe that her  healthcare plan will reduce overall health care costs because more people will be able to get preventive care, which will reduce the occurence of critical conditions that require expensive treatment. However, there’s a fundamental flaw in this premise. The single most effective means of preventive health care is getting annual check-ups, because they disclose serious underlying conditions. But, among people who already have health insurance coverage, the majority don’t bother with annual check-ups. To ensure the cost-effectiveness of her universal healthcare, would everybody be required to get an annual check-up?

Many of the most expensive preventable medical conditions are related to unhealthy lifestyles (drug/alcohol/tobacco abuse, obesity, laziness, an affinity for high cholesterol foods). Many people who have unhealthy lifestyles avoid going to doctors because they don’t want to be told they need to change their lifestyle. Once the government is in the health care business, will they require people to take their doctor’s advice because, if they don’t, they’ll end up incurring unnecessary health care costs?

Suppose, at your required annual checkup, the doctor discovers you have high cholesterol and you’re overweight. Could you be legally required to adjust your diet and/or take cholesterol medication? What if you refused? Under Mrs. Clinton’s plan, you couldn’t be denied coverage, nor could your rates be raised to compensate for the higher risks you incur. Could you be fined or imprisoned? That just seems like too much government intrusion into one’s private life. But, if the government doesn’t enforce preventive health care, we won’t reap the cost benefits promised by the universal healthcare system, and it will end up costing the taxpayers even more to subsidize those who choose unhealthy lifestyles.

I predict that a great many people will not be willing to change their lifestyles to save the taxpayers money. Many aren’t willing to do so to save their own lives. And, until and unless we have universal healthcare, subsidized by taxpayers, that’s nobody’s business but their own.

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Published in: on December 30, 2007 at 5:20 pm  Comments (7)  
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This seems like a slippery slope down which we are unlikely to slide. The idea behind universal coverage is that everyone is covered and everyone has the opportunity to receive care. This is a human rights issue, not one of government control. The reason we see it framed in this way, each person must secure their own care, is that our country is not willing to help the lower classes.

    Unfortunately we are not willing to make the necessary sacrifices to ensure everyone in a sensible way so we are looking at piecemeal systems like this one.

  2. […] presents Could HillaryCare Lead to Lifestyle Legislation? posted at Government is not your […]

  3. Your whole argument sounds eeriely similar to the argument against a minimum wage. “What about $100/hour…what business could afford that??” The only people that talk about these wild extrapolations…they’ll be putting fat people in jail, dragging people to the doctor’s office, etc., etc….are the people that are opposed to the policies in the first place.

    Getting everyone health care insurance will stop the cost shift that goes in our broken system and drives health care prices through the roof for everyone. It will also gradually reduce the amount that people have to pay because it will encourage people to not be afraid to go to the doctor immediately when they have a problem.

    When we get to a single-payer system and the profit off sick people is ended, then we will see even bigger savings. That change will be coming from a few of the individual states in the U.S..

  4. Actually, I hear on Rush Limbaugh that John Edwards would require us to get regular checkups in his plan.

    I also read in Science News that yearly check-ups aren’t all they’re cracked up to be: they don’t actually reduce morbidity or mortality. Tests are not entirely benign, either. A friend of my dad’s died from heart test.

    My own feeling is that one should stay as far away as possible from doctors, absent any actual symptoms. They’re apt to find something that they think needs fixing that might never cause a problem.

    I take care of myself. I’ve made a study of home remedies and good eating since I was a young woman, newly cut loose from the military medical system. I only see a doctor if I have a real problem that I can’t handle, and I need and expert opinion or skills. I don’t want to be forced to pay for people who don’t bother to take care of themselves.

    “This is a human rights issue, not one of government control. The reason we see it framed in this way, each person must secure their own care, is that our country is not willing to help the lower classes.”

    Being one of the Lower Classes, I wish people would be a little less willing to take other people’s money to help others. The human right here is not to have your property stolen for the benefit of others. Nor to be enslaved for the benefit of others, because there is no right to the labor of another person, even a doctor or a nurse. There is no right to food, or shelter, or clothing, or medical care. There is only the right to work for these things, or to ask for them—not demand them as some sort of twisted right.

    I say this as one of the lower classes because this force charity makes the upper classes resent the poor, and try to protect themselves from the poor, by, for instance, requiring them to buy insurance for their beater cars, to subsidize the insurance on $30,000 cars.

    And now, with mandatory breathing insurance, they’re trying to protect themselves from, not the poor, because the poor are already paid for by the government, but from the lower middle class who are not insured. They think that somehow, magically, subsidizing insurance for the lower middle class will not cost them even more money than the emergency room visits they complain of.

    You know what? Mandatory insurance didn’t lower auto insurance rates, either.

    Live free, and prosper.


  5. Ah, Rush sez so…so it must be true! I’ve seen that Edwards plan talk being debunked somewhere else on the web, but I can’t seem to call it up right now. He died from a “heart test”, or a stress test? I’m not looking forward to my first stress test in a few decades.

    I understand that many disagree on the “human right” of someone to health care, but pretty much the rest of the entire world has dealt with this issue pretty sucessfully without their countries going into the abyss.

    What’s “mandatory breathing insurance”? Does everyone actually have mandatory auto insurance yet? ;)

    Be well…

  6. Socialized medical care is not cost effective, or efficient in any way. Foreigners consistently leave their own systems, seeking care in America, if their conditions are serious. But we’ll have it, evidence be damned.

  7. I don’t know of that many people that actually criticize the health care that actual people actually get in America. To say that they’re aren’t *massive* savings to be had by consolodating our payment structure for health care in this country is silly. Ask your local health care provider for more details. See if they like the current way that things are paid for now. I feel like I need to be an accountant to figure how much a health procedure that I had really cost, who paid what, how much I need to pay, etc., etc.. It’s craziness! And it’s all so that someone that had nothing to do with the process of doling out actual health care can make a profit.

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