20 2010

HealthCare Thought Exercises

I can’t remember where, but I’m fairly certain I saw compelling evidence that nations with universal access to healthcare, contraceptives, and abortions have the lowest rates of abortions. Let’s assume this is true.

Also assume that the U.S. military, as well as foreign militaries aided by the U.S., engage in a perhaps small but non-zero number of actions which cause more human suffering, in lives and in residual physical and emotional scars, than the actions prevent.

Now assume that, ten years from now, ObamaCare will have reduced abortions by millions/year and have produced a net fiscal drain on the federal government, forcing it to reduce some of the aforementioned military actions.

Would it be a “moral” law?

I think the biggest leap here is assuming the federal govt. would cut military spending. More likely we’d see cuts targeting the weakest interests (the poor), and/or tax increases most significantly affecting the middle class.

Assume now that ObamaCare ends up raising significantly the net per capita cost of healthcare (cost of drugs, premiums, copays, taxes, etc.), and this effectively reduces the standard of living, particularly at the lower classes.

Also assume that ObamaCare results in the stifling of drug & medical product innovation, resulting in millions of avoidable deaths and suffering in the future.

Would it be a “moral” law?

What if FDR had successfully lobbied to get a national healthcare system established; and that U.S. medical innovation had progressed at a reduced rate since 1940 or so?

What if Republicans enacted a “free market” healthcare system which turned out to significantly reduce costs, but in doing so also reduced quality and the margin of profit available to go towards innovation? I.e. is a “cheap” healthcare system (which we certainly had before WWI) “better” than a costly one if the margins go towards preventing future suffering?

Is it fair to assume that in our costly system those margins do go towards “societally beneficial” innovation rather than, say, executive pockets and the development of expensive new drugs which are only slightly more effective than existing ones?

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