According to Greg Hagen, a recent Bulletin letter writer, we need a “new smooth expressway” to national health care. No premiums, no co-pays, no deductibles, etc. Improved coverage. Medicare for All.

Sounds like the royal road to Big Rock Candy Mountain, does it not? (e.g. Nirvana)

Better watch the signs, though. Falling rocks. Potholes. Bumps.

And Taxes. Of course. Like Hagen we all know that there is no free lunch. He states a 4% tax on incomes above $29,000.

But maybe 10%? Or just add it on to our now annual trillion-dollar deficit? Indulge now, pay later. And what if the feds come to realize that deficit spending is getting out of control? At what point then might the government opt for a cost containment regime, deciding that it can no longer afford Hagen’s goodies? Cost benefit driven rationing. Spend less for high cost, low benefit patients (e.g. the sick elderly). Medical care allocated using criteria like quality of life, life expectancy or other utilitarian algorithms. Assisted suicide and medical neglect, a cheap way out? Besides, it’s easy for sophists to confuse extraordinary care and final exit “care.”

So what? Aren’t health insurance companies, individuals, families, even hospices doing that now? I think that there is a hospice in Washington state that is being pressured to opt into a physician-assisted suicide protocol. But for all that I would rather go face-to-face with an individual provider, a private company than with a policy laid down by an all-powerful federal government.

Lastly, then, if you think that this is alarmist scaremongering, look around. We are becoming, increasingly, more of a utilitarian association, something akin to a big boiler factory than a moral community. So, soaking up the ethos of the times, cost-benefit health care could become the norm? Compromising quality and choice while claiming we have “affordable” health care?

Linda Stanton