The title of this post describes, in a nutshell, the scope of our national healthcare debate. At least, it describes the truth that YOU, the angry, pro-healthcare nationalization supporter, refuse to accept. You are not interested in the cold, hard facts in the case. “What if it happened to you!” you shriek, smugly imagining that if some horrible illness befell me or my loved ones, that I would immediately see the light. But the very worst could happen to me, and it wouldn’t change the facts, the facts that you refuse to accept. You are filled with outrage that all medical care, treatments, consultations, surgeries, pills, etc. that happen to be needed by anyone are not as widely available and cheap as ice cream. You have forgotten the long, hard slog that civilization itself suffered to get to a point where mere ice cream was cheap and abundant. And you are angered by those who point out that the ice cream isn’t free, that it never was, and never will be.
You protest: I just want the ice cream to be reasonably priced, and available to everyone. No, you don’t. You have a quarter, and that’s all you think you should pay. It doesn’t matter that the ice cream man sells it for a dollar, and that under no possible scenario could it be sold for a quarter without the ice cream man going broke. It doesn’t matter that in all likelihood, you have no true grasp of the infinite costs and complexities that go into creating and delivering a delicious ice cream cone. No, it is the ice cream man’s greed, his perfidy, the darkness in his soul that makes ice cream cost so much more than the quarter you see as fair and reasonable payment. You want the ice cream to be (mostly) free, and emotion, not rationality is the key driver of your thoughts.
So, you put your faith in the government running an ice cream truck. Of course, the government ice cream might initially be cheaper, after all, you are subsidizing it with your taxes, or your neighbors are. And the government ice cream man can make all kinds of rules the other ice cream men have to follow, and takes some of their money as well. Soon, the other ice cream men are driven out of business, having a “competitor” that makes the rules of the game, and twists them to his favor. The list of flavors begins to shrink, and the government ice cream man is deciding what you get, and how much. Nor is there any recourse, for the other ice cream men are gone, driven from the business, and you have no bargaining chip, no alternative. You get what the government ice cream man says you get, and if it’s not as much as you need, well, there is the whole neighborhood to think of, and one must consider the overall best interest of the community.
The government ice cream man keeps taking more and more of your money for “maintenance, some new freezers, etc.” The new flavors, which the old ice cream guys rolled out every couple of weeks, no longer appear. “But you promised cheaper and better ice cream,” you complain. “Why, you said you’d eliminate all the waste, how the private ice cream guys spilled a gallon of chocolate on the floor a day; you’d put an end to that. You said having all those different ice cream trucks and flavors was inefficient, and you’d fix that, and pass the savings on to us.” Hmmm. The old ice cream guys did seem to provide more stuff. It wasn’t perfect, of course, but it was far better than now — SHHH! Can that crazy talk, citizen. The government ice cream guy hears that, and maybe you don’t get any at all tomorrow.
And tomorrow’s going to be very hot, a real scorcher. Especially for you.