The Instigator
heatherlrainbows
Pro (for)
The Contender
Surgeon
Con (against)

should medicine and medical treatment be free dependant on income?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/9/2018 Category: Health
Updated: 1 week ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 96 times Debate No: 107802
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

Surgeon

Con

Thank you to Pro for starting this discussion.

For clarity I take Pros opening literally, in that he/she believes medical treatment should be free dependent on income (meaning that below a certain income medical treatment should be free, ie it is a right, and above a level it is not free, ie it is not a right). If Pro meant independent of income (ie free at any level of income), they should have been clearer, but the arguments I make will still be applicable and will take the form of: 1) ethical objections; and 2) economic objections.

Ethical objections

I have 3 fundamental moral objections to such a proposal. The whole presupposition of this proposal is that healthcare is a right. But it cannot be shown to be so. Rights are generally not those things which are provided by others through goods and services that can be obtained through Market mechanisms. Whilst healthcare is required for sustaining life, you only have the right to seek to obtain it, not to the actual service itself. Failure to make this distinction is flawed thinking:

1) Theft of Labour. In order to make medical treatment free, medical professionals will be ordered to work at certain pay rates and be crowded out of the private healthcare system by an overbearing and all consuming state sector. Their Labour will be sold at state agreed rates instead of through voluntaristic free market transactions. They will effectively be enslaved to the state and forced to treat the patients the state determines are suitable.

2) Forced confiscation

In order to pay for free healthcare additional taxation will be extracted from the population, with the fit paying for the unfit the abled paying for the disabled. This non voluntaristic arrangement is an abuse of power inverting the proper relationship between state and people as well as between individuals. Taxation of this kind is forced socialisation. Nobody has a right to someone elses wealth just because the want it or even need it, because this denies property rights.

3) Planning fallacy

In order to make this work you must force most individuals to follow a state plan, displacing and eliminating private and individual plans for your own healthcare. Elimination of freedom in this way represents an infringement of personal liberty.

Economic objections

Again 3 fundamental objections:

1) Nothing is for free. Everyone ends up paying for an overly beaurocratic and inefficient state sector with demotivated staff and an overburdened system. The taxes of poor but fit people go to support wealthier but unfit people. Under Directors law the main beneficiary is the middle class, not the least well off in society. Even if it can be argued that some state systems operate at a lower cost than some private systems, the customer pays in other ways often in waiting times, limited access to effective (but expensive) treatments or both.

2) Like any other commodity, the market is the best way to balance the fundamentals of providing these services. In order to maximize availability, at the lowest price for the highest quality, the best proven way is to allow the competition and innovation present in free market mechanisms. One can see exactly this playing out in the private and largely unregulated laser eye surgery market. Here a service costing tens of thousands when first introduced now costs low thousands with better service and results. Converting services like this to state services destroys the inherent innovation and competition and disincentives the suppliers to strive to be better.

3) Free markets and private enterprise lead to better healthcare systems. Singapore, Swiss and HK models are ostensibly free markets and have amongst the finest healthcare systems in the world. The universal free access models in some European countries are very poor by comparison, with escalating costs, growing waiting lists and at best highly variable quality of care, and at worst denial of effective treatments because they do not fit the centrally planned model. This central planning tends to lead to beaurocracy, chaos and collapse. This is well known problem with central planning and discussed at length by F.A. Hayek and others as the "information problem".
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Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by frankfurter50 2 weeks ago
frankfurter50
You mean Independent of income?
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