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Required Reading for the Healthcare Debate March 27, 2007

Posted by federalist in Healthcare.
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I just stumbled across Phillip Longman’s essay, “The Health of Nations,” from 4 years ago.

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1. federalist - August 27, 2007

An excellent argument against the morality of government healthcare by Megan McArdle.

How do we decide which class is more “deserving”? Our intuitions offer dozens of ways, but I think these are the major metrics:
1. They are needy. The class we propose to benefit has greater need for the money than the class from whom we propose to take.
2. It’s not fair. The class we propose to benefit has been unluckier than the class from whom we propose to take.
3. They are responsible. The class from whom we propose to take has in some way contributed to the problems we are trying to rectify.

As a class, are the old and sick needier than the young and healthy? No they are not. They have more assets and less poverty than any other group.

As a class, are the old and sick unluckier than the young and healthy? Considering people as beings with duration in both time and space, no they are not. The overwhelming majority of old and sick people were once young and healthy. They got to be young and healthy, and old and sick. …

Getting old is not, as many of my interlocutors seemed to believe, unlucky. It is, rather, inevitable–unless you’re really unlucky, unlucky enough to die. The elderly have no fairness claim on the young.

As a class, are the young and healthy more responsible for the bad health of the old and sick? … [T]he old and sick are somewhat responsible for their poor healthcare outcomes, although I will leave it up to the doctors to argue exactly how much responsibility they bear.


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