Healthcare is not the Fire Department

Joseph Manero
Apr 9, 2020 · 2 min read

In the latest rendition of Joe Rogan’s fabulously amazing podcast, he gets into a conversation with U.S. Congressman Dan Crenshaw (R, TX) about the nationalization of healthcare. Rogan makes the argument that we already pay taxes for many other public services, his main example being the fire department. As much as I love and respect Congressman Crenshaw, he didn’t really answer this question. So what is the difference between the fire department and healthcare?

When a building catches on fire, you call 9–1–1, the firemen come in their truck, the put out the fire, and that’s pretty much the end of the service. Sure they do an investigation to see how the fire started, but the only service they’re providing you is ending the fire, and saving the people in the building. They do not pay for the damages on the building, nor do they help repair it. This is not what we pay taxes for. The cost of that is eaten by the owner of the property, or if they have fire insurance by the insurance company. If we the fire department worked like the national health services of many other western nations, they would not only put out the fire, but also be forced to rebuild the building with taxpayer money. This is not something that is done, as far as I know, anywhere in the world. That is why this example is a incredibly flawed argument.

That being said, a publicly funded healthcare system on the model of the fire department is an interesting proposal- perhaps you make ambulance rides free, for example. But this is a completely different argument than the nationalization of the entire healthcare industry. Thus, nationally subsidized health insurance is incomparable to already public services, like the fire department, and we should not pretend they are the same thing.

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