Universal Health Care

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Have you ever wanted to start your own business? Have you thought about health care:

Once upon a time, Ms. Smith and Mr. Lueders had generous benefits from their employers and gave little thought to how medical care would be paid. But today, as owners of a consulting firm in Liberty, Mo., and a transmission franchise in North Kansas City, it is a constant struggle.

“When we worked for someone else, life was good,” she said. “We had plenty of money and health care. Now we live with the constant fear of something. You never know, you just hold your breath. We will probably have one of us go back and get a full-time job at some point.”

From the New York Times, via Ezra, who writes:

You know, it’s hard, but not impossible, to scrape by on a low income for a couple years. For most folks, such periods of (relative) poverty are transient and endurable. The prospect of a broken arm, a tumor, or a slipped disc changes that equation radically. And the fundamental insecurity of lacking defense against such mishaps is screamingly unsettling.

What’s fun about the universal health care argument is how many facets it has. A good plan would be more efficient, more just, more economical, and more effective. It would also, in a positive liberty sense, enhance freedom and choice.

My two favorite arguments in favor of universal health care:

Matt likes to use the example of Indy rock bands, arguing that the overrepresentation of British and English artists is a direct result of socialized health care, which makes the economics of starting a rock group much more plausible. I tend to go with the Garden State example: At the end the movie, it’s clear that Natalie Portman (Sam) and Zach Braff (Andrew) are screwed. As an actor, Andrew needs to live in Los Angeles. As an epileptic paralegal in a firm with an “amazing” health plan, Sam can’t afford to lose her insurance. So she can’t move to be with him and he’d have to give up his profession to be with her. And all because of the employer-based health care system. Not only is it an impediment to economic efficiency on both the worker and employer side, but it obstructs true love.

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