August 14, 2009 -- I am told that today's system of medical care in the United States lets too many people "fall through the cracks."
The phrase is one of many cliches that substitute for thought, or argument, in the debate over what, for short, is called "Obamacare," although that scheme is just another step in the long process of turning medical and hospital care in America into a completely nationalized industry.
The phrase has ranked for decades among the Top Ten soundbites about medical care because the phrase carries the whole load of hidden premises behind socialized medicine that are seldom openly identified. The phrase implies, for example, that medical care must be available to anyone at any time without regard for payment. If anyone goes without medical care at any point, then the system has a "crack."
But, since medical care requires the scientifically challenging and costly discovery and production of drugs and medical devices, the building and equipping of hospitals and other facilities of enormous sophistication, and the careers and devotion of highly trained professionals in dozens of categories--and since these resources do not exist in nature--where does this ideal system assumed by Crack Theory come from? What makes it the assumed objective of a medical care system to provide these services and facilities and drugs to every man, woman, and child at any time under any circumstances?
If no one must fall through a crack in the medical care system of the United States, then who must be forced to mortgage his or her plans, work, savings, and hopes to put in place and maintain this seamless system of services, facilities, drugs, and equipment to everyone--regardless of ability to pay, willingness to work, inclination to save, inclination to limit family size, inclination to smoke, drink, do drugs, or become obese?
And if, somehow, this seamless system of servitude, paid for and supplied by the productive to all comers, existing or yet unborn, must exist for medical care, then, by the same assumptions, it must exist for education, nutrition, housing, transportation...
All must be provided, 24/7, forever, to all comers in a seamless system in which no one will fall through any crack. Whatever the responsibility or irresponsibility of anyone for working, saving, having children they can afford, taking care of their health, we still must be responsible for creating and delivering all goods and services to them in a seamless, crackless system.
Given such responsibilities, to be met through ever-increasing taxes, and debt to be paid or defaulted on by generations to come, there obviously would be no crack through which any of us could slip to have our own ambitions, our own long-range plans, our own income, our own savings--our own future that could be planned with our own efforts and resources.
There would be NO cracks--in a seamless system of lifelong providing of all goods and services to all comers--through which we could slip to choose, plan, and live the course of our own lives. And that is the goal, and destination, and rapidly approaching reality of the system that is called "caring," "decent," and "humane" by the builders of socialism: to leave no crack for individual freedom.
Walter Donway is a founding trustee of The Atlas Society and former editor of the journal Cerebrum.
This article was originally published in the August 2009 issue of Navigator magazine, The Atlas Society precursor to The New Individualist.