22 August 2007

Divide and conquer

The Atlantic Monthly continues its downward spiral with a new writer, Megan McArdle, who fits their criteria for clever writing that leaves aside those quaint notions of morality, as Alberto Gonzolez has said. Entertaining!

The benchmark for this kind of dross ran a few years back, positing that the earth could easily support 30, 50, who knows how many billions of humans! and that our human population could vary by huge amounts — 30 billion to 3 billion! — within a few generations, without problems.

Right. Unless, I suppose, you consider starvation, war, pestilence and economic dislocations problematic.

Megan performs this trick on a smaller scale in "The Morality of Health Care Finance," by accusing those of us who see single-payer financing as a way out of the immoral and deadly morass in which healthcare is now mired in the United States. We are, she thinks, simply in love with government, and would be in favor of single-payer even if it could be proven that private health insurance could do a better, cheaper, more efficient job — "as long as a substantial population remained uninsured."



Megan. How is a system better if it leaves "substantial" numbers uninsured? How could that be cheaper in the long run? How more efficient? You've been reading too much Ayn Rand.

That's like accusing progressives of being against torture, even if it could be proven that torture does a better, cheaper, more effective job — "as long as a substantial amount of the information gathered turned out to be false."

See, the fact is that torture is wrong because it's immoral AND it doesn't work. Same as our private health insurance system.

Megan's argument that single-payer is a way to transfer money from the young and healthy to the old and infirm sounds like a trial balloon from the health insurance industry. Will we learn in a few years that she was lavishly compensated by that industry for this bit of "journalism"?

The fact is that our current system transfers money from the young and healthy to the old and infirm without benefit to the young and healthy. A single-payer system does collect from everyone, but its efficiency and appeal lie in the fact that there is benefit for the young and healthy. They have the security of knowing that if they hit a tree snowboarding next winter, they'll be cared for. They have the satisfaction of knowing that if they're one of the unlucky few who wake up tomorrow morning suddenly transformed by a diagnosis of cancer, suddenly no long one of the healthy but one of the stricken, that their children will continue to have a parent, and they can concentrate on recovery, not the consequences of bankruptcy.

Shame on you, Megan, for working to divide people, to set the young against the old, and suggest to them that their interests are served by turning their backs on others. She complains that liberals have been calling her "evil," but in fact, to work to divide people, one from the other, is an evil action.
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.
Shame. We're in this together, Megan. Because it's moral, and because it's what works.

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