Monday, August 5, 2019

Medicare for All: The Achilles Heel of Democracy

"Many things that are desirable are not feasible."--Thomas J. Sargent

"Feeling Pinched." Line drawing from high school
As I was retiring 18 months ago, an older friend who'd retired a few years earlier said to me, "You're going to love Medicare." Evidently the good vibes everyone feels toward Medicare have filtered down through the masses. Not only do we find a majority of this year's candidates supporting the notion of "Medicare for All," we're also seeing polls showing that a majority of Americans favor the same. This poll, for example, at states that 70% favor Medicare for All.

These number have me more than a little concerned.

Last summer while in a reflective mood and cleaning my garage, I began asking myself a "what if " question. "What if I'm wrong?" I was applying it to a variety of issues, including assumptions about my self. I found it an enlightening engaging exercise.

One question I asked was especially catalytic. What if we're wrong about Democracy? What if democracy is not really a good form of government.

Since everything has its pros and cons, what is the downside of democracy? The Colonialists who founded our nation did so in response to what they personally had experienced regarding the downside of Monarchy.

Several events followed these meditations which helped stir the pot on these matters. One was reading a bio of James Madison, our fourth president and a primary architect of the U.S. Constitution. Even though the nation was founded on the ideal of Democracy, Madison's private journals reveal that he had internal reservations about the American experiment.

The second event that help stir my doubts was seeing, and then reading, Ibsen's An Enemy of the People. 

I've shared the above with the hope that you will follow the links which lay a foundation for the point in my recent Medium article: The Basic Problem of Medicare for All.

One reason issues like this win so many advocates is because most people are fairly ignorant when it comes to economics. They've never studied it so they do not really grasp the issues at stake. Most are not stupid. It's just an area of public education that gets short shrift, and makes us more easily manipulated.

For what it's worth, I am not suggesting that there's no problems with health care in this country. It's a serious mess, and it's my hope things can be addressed in such a way so as to truly be a win-win-win for all. I do not have an answer here. I only know that Medicare for All seems untenable.

Meantime life goes on... until it doesn't. All things must pass.

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