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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Paul Hsieh - Why ObamaCare is Immoral and a Free Market Is Moral

Another excellent piece by Paul Hsieh published on Pajamasmedia.com titled "The Free Market is Not Another Form of Rationing." Hsieh makes the case that a free market in medicine is not just practical in terms of "lowering costs for everyone" - it is a just and moral system because it is based upon a foundation of individual rights. In making a purely economic argument, conservative opponents of socialized medicine often "concede the moral high ground" to liberals rather than demonstrating that a free market is both practical and moral. Quoting Hsieh:
Health care does not magically grow on trees. Instead, it is a service that must be created by hard work and rational thought. The producers thus have the moral right to sell it to willing consumers on any mutually acceptable terms. There is no “just” distribution of medical services apart from the voluntary exchanges between producers and consumers in a free market.

Hence, if Bill makes more money than Joe and can purchase a $500 MRI scan that Joe can’t, then Bill deserves it. That’s not rationing, that’s justice — just as it’s not rationing if Bill can afford a house while Joe must live in an apartment, or if Bill can afford steak whereas Joe eats hamburgers.

In contrast, government programs that attempt to guarantee “universal health care” are unjust. There is no automatic “right” to goods or services that must be produced by another — that would be state-sanctioned theft or slavery.
Individuals are entitled to health care that they purchase themselves, is owed to them by contract (e.g., insurance), or is given to them as voluntary charity.
Check out the full editorial and leave a comment on their site.


Perplexio said...

Speaking of Obamacare... is it just me or is there a disproportionate amount of coverage for HR3200 and a relative lack of coverage of the Republican sponsored Health Care reform bill-HR2520?

Kevin said...

The problem with arguing for the moral high ground is that you either a) have to have an agreed common morality or b) have to spend a lot of time explaining your moral philosophy to keep from coming off as "belonging to a bizarre fringe group". This is why people fall back on utilitarian or pragmatic reasoning. 20 second sound bites are not amenable to a detailed and reasoned discussion of moral values.

This is also why some people work very hard to shape the "default" morality of society in the background through the educational establishment. The free-market solution to this problem is to remove the educational monopoly, something that technology is making easier every and easier all the time.

Richard said...

Great stuff. I think it's very important to trounce Peter Singer's illegitimate attempt to conflate supply and demand with rationing.

mike250 said...

speaking of healthcare and rights, john lewis had an article in huff post about it.

the comments are really vile.

Dave said...


Kanakaken said...

So by this reasoning, if bill is capable of buying a steak because he has made lot's of money from Joe's poorly paid labour, it's OK for Joe to starve to death because he's unable to buy food after unforseen complications in his life, caused by Bill's indifference.