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I came across this post on the Federalist blog just half an hour ago, which included a lot of information I hadn’t come across before: Some things we take for granted as “the way things work” because they’ve been around for decades and that’s what we’re familiar with. (Just like how we think of education in this country, based on the public school model that is most common.) The problems with third-payer systems are rooted in employment tax law from the 1940s. Medicaid and Medicare were set up in the 1960s to try to fix problems that arose as a result of the tax exemptions related to employer health care. The ACA was designed to fix the gap left where self-employed or working poor fell, people who didn’t qualify for Medicaid and who didn’t qualify for employer-provided health insurance. And employer-subsidized health insurance ends up driving costs up astronomically, as well as tying employees to jobs they otherwise would not stick around in, lest they lose their health insurance.

Additionally, while there are always cynical, aloof people who don’t care a whit for people outside their own small circle of friends and family, there are many who favor local solutions to individual problems, rather than a massive, centralized, one-size-fits-all approach. (Think of how difficult it is to change a regulation in a school system, or to choose curriculum that suits a student better, and then consider how slowly such a system responds to the individual concerns and needs of sick people.) I can’t speak for anybody else, but I have seen that many conservative people prefer to participate in organizations that raise funds for or provide charitable assistance for people in need. I see churches and other community associations providing help with food, transportation, child care, therapy, drug rehab, prison outreach, and other activities to help those in need. I don’t assume “liberals” are determined to destroy all that is good and noble in the country; it’s wise not to assume “conservatives” are that way, just because you don’t understand the types of references or allusions they make.

For example, “The poor ye have always with you,” means there will always be poor people, and God will judge us based on how we *individually* share or are selfish with what God has provided us. We don’t have the right to take *other people’s* resources to distribute them, because then we are stealing. But just because there will always be poor people, doesn’t mean the same people will always be poor. According to Thomas Sowell’s “Wealth, Poverty, and Politics” (cited here,-poverty-and-politics/ ), “ A University of Michigan study traced people over a 15-year period and found that 95 percent of those in the lowest quintile at the beginning of the study were in a higher quintile by the end. Remarkably, 29 percent had moved to the top quintile. An IRS study of tax filers between 1996 and 2005 found similar results.” Trying to eliminate “poverty” via government only ends up eliminating wealth for everybody (see: Venezuela, Soviet Union & the Eastern Bloc, Mao’s China [they began prospering again after the 1976 introduction of limited capitalistic approaches], Vietnam, Cuba, etc.), except for a small handful of Party officials who run the whole darn thing. (P.J. O’Rourke’s book “Eat the Rich” is an interesting eye-opener of a read, as is Thomas Sowell’s “Race and Culture.”)

Furthermore, as most people know, some people choose to do foolish, harmful, self-destructive things, regardless of how much “education” they are provided by teachers, ministers, family, friends, and government officials of various stripes. Some people choose poorly because they are heedless of consequences; some learn how to manipulate others into providing what the person just doesn’t feel like providing for themselves. I’ve seen lots of poor people who need the social safety net because of a confluence of health and economic circumstances beyond their control, and that’s what conservatives concede the need for. I’ve also seen a number of poor people who use the social safety net as a way of life, people who refuse to grow up and take responsibility for themselves — these are the people who overuse the resources available and abuse the trust and benevolence of the public and public servants. People who are determined to take care of themselves tend to do all they can to avoid going on public assistance, they use it responsibly while they receive it, and they seek to get off as soon as possible. So if you manage to do what nobody in history has done and find a way to successfully and reliable encourage that percentage of humanity who prefers to freeload, to instead become self-reliant and avid contributors to the greater good, this problem of “the poor” and willfully dependent will persist.

Note that I am distinguishing between people who are in poverty because of bad choices they persistently make, and people in poverty because of circumstances beyond their control, yet which they strive to mitigate. The former is the group I understand to be referred to by a “group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.” How would you resolve that? Garnish their wages for premiums? Some of these people have no incomes that come from honest sources, or their work is honest but “below the table” or unregistered day labor (paid in cash). Some people choose not to take care of themselves. How would you propose that be fixed? Lock them up in an assisted living center? Spending limits on their food stamps or bank cards so they can’t buy unhealthy things? Fasten them to a treadmill or exercise bike so they get in shape? After all, harmful lifestyle choices also contribute to rising health care and health insurance costs. (On a side note, Christine Kersey’s Parallel Trilogy [fiction] is an interesting examination of that idea.)

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