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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/7023/people-dont-kill-people-the-lack-of-socialized-medicine-does/

People don’t kill people, the lack of socialized medicine does!

August 22, 2007 by

If I see another citation of this story as proof that we need national health care, I’m going to vomit. Supposedly, this man killed his wife because he couldn’t afford her medical bills. People on discussion boards like this one are sure that it’s because we don’t have one of those magical government systems that gives everyone all the health care they need. See, it’s because we’re too selfish and backward to have socialized medicine that a man in America deserves sympathy for throwing his sick wife off of a balcony to her death (of course it’s not possible that he was tired of caring for her or anything. After all, people always tell the truth about why they kill other people). This is the level we’ve fallen to- we actually believe that people deserve sympathy for committing cold-blooded murder because the government didn’t do enough to take care of them.


Anthony August 22, 2007 at 10:08 am

I spoke in another thread on the blog of poverty being used to excuse crime – this is a primary example of it. Sure, there are problems with the US healthcare system, and a lot of State-caused poverty exists (blamed on the market usually), but this is all tangential to whether the criminal is actually a murderer.

Brad August 22, 2007 at 10:18 am

Mirroring Anthony’s comment, who is collecting the data on murders that result from money diverted by force into Health Care? Every dollar taken is one less in the hands of someone else, and if they are compressed even further thereby they may act violently then. Much domestic violence is spurred over financial issues. It can only be assumed when incrementally more dollars are drafted into Health Care by force, that there will be an increase in day to day misery at some level. It would be interesting to see if there has been an increase in domestic issues in those states that have passed mandatory buy-in into employer health plans.

Nat August 22, 2007 at 10:46 am

The perp has a point. If we only had socialized medicine, she would have survived the fall. Indeed, if we only had socialized medicine, we all would achieve immortality!

In case anyone hasn’t figured it out, I am just illustrating absurdity by being absurd.

Theresa Nielsen August 22, 2007 at 11:07 am

Did we fall of a truck or something?
The proof that something does not work is in the pudding. The evidence is already visible and evenrecorded in history. All other Nations that had socialized medicine had detrimental consequences to the people. In Russia even today the effects that the prior system had on their “psyche” is still in the general population giving shorter lifespans compared to other countries. Many there even suffered from despondency for when we allow government to control everything it takes away from an individuals psycholigical feeling of SELF-EMPOWERMENT. Those who have their freedom, actions and decisions in their own hands and control of their social and physical self have better health. The general sense of well-being produced by such a lifestyle will cut the need from medical care in the first place. There you have it,healthier happier empowered people need less medical care. So, Why can’t we be like doctors and just get rid of the nonsense that is making our society sick and despondent in the first place. If we had a TRUE healthy banking system everyone would have naturally enough true money not the debt we circulate today to care for their basic needs. Solution, lets get back on that truck controllers think we fell off from and take this Nation back into prosperity, freedom and just live better than the family in the cartoon the “Jetsons”.

Tony August 22, 2007 at 11:15 am

I’m growing weary of the “x million Americans have no health insurance.” Every American has the opportunity to purchase health insurance if it’s not provided by their employer. Those without financial means are covered by their state’s Medicaid program and/or Public Assistance. Furthermore, there are very few physicians who turn away patients because of an inability to pay. Medicine is already more heavily socialized in America than we realize – and it’s not working. Remember the libertarian mantra: “Personal freedom and individual responsibility.

Ardalon August 22, 2007 at 11:49 am

At the very outset let me say that I am totally against socialized medicine. But realizing that healthcare is dominated by lobbyists, special interests, pressure groups and corporate healthcare evil and that the average American is powerless to deal with their socialist government, we should implement the best darn ‘socialized’ healthcare system this country has ever seen. And we should do it in such a way that it severely hurts the pockets of the very same interest groups who are preventing free market healthcare.

The way it can be done is to apply the socialist credo, i.e. “for the greater good” and authorize the deduction of 1% of gross income from individuals, corporations and every other legal entity in the market. This should include Oil Cartels, Healthcare Corporations, Pharmaceutical Corporations and Capitol Hill. Every ‘Senator’ should have to cough up 1% of their total gross ‘take’.

Healthcare benefits should then be provided at extremely low costs, i.e. $5 for a doctor’s visit, subsidized medicine, which the government should force Pharmaceutical companies to part with at subsidized selling prices. There is a good chance that a Democrat will be President and what better way to win the election than to propose this scheme!

Charles D Quarles August 22, 2007 at 12:55 pm


What makes you think that this will work? To me, your “prescription” is very much a socialized medical care system.

J. W. August 22, 2007 at 1:20 pm

How would the people on this blog react to COMPLETELY socialized medicine, provided it applied only to licensed doctors and permitted practicing medicine without a license? ;)

jim campbell August 22, 2007 at 1:25 pm

This is a great site, and I like the think of all the posters on the Socialized Medicine theme.
I was a cancer research liaison for the drug industry for thirty year. I’ve got a site just up and running check it out, love your comments.

Devin Snead August 22, 2007 at 2:10 pm


It would still be immoral because you still have to fund socialized medicine by violence.

N. Joseph Potts August 22, 2007 at 2:21 pm

“The motive for the act emerged after several hours of questioning.” from the article on the linked-to forum.

OK – the killer is interacting with one questioner or more (probably serially).

First try: “She asked me to put her out of her misery.” Evaluation: not so good – you could end up in jail like Kevorkian. Mercy killing is illegal in California, particularly for non-doctors. And you can’t prove this motive anyway (she’s gone).

Second try: “I couldn’t take care of her anymore.” Evaluation: better – at least this evokes some sympathy for you. But others may neglect the work you’ve put in, in favor of the work you now refuse to continue putting in, and call you lazy and hence murderous. Laziness doesn’t justify homicide, so let’s see if we could blame someone ELSE for this.

Third try: “I know – we couldn’t afford to continue paying the medical bills. The Health Care System cheaped out on us. IT is the murderer!” Evaluation: that’s the best one – now there’s a culprit other than you – the Health Care System. This not only exonerates you, it turns you into a poster boy for the socialized-medicine lobby. They’ll make so much racket about this, no one questioning your motives will even be able to be heard.

Talk about making lemonade out of lemons.

J. W. August 22, 2007 at 2:22 pm

In this case you might avoid funding it by violence. You simply need to enslave every licensed doctor and collect subsistence wages for them and their masters from the people that want to use the socialized system. I cannot say such would be unjust to the doctors as they have willingly profited by the protectionist measure of licensing. Furthermore, no one would be forced to pay for such a system, since unlicensed medicinal practicioners would be abundant! :)

Floccina August 22, 2007 at 2:41 pm

Look at the Rand Health Insurance experiment. It showed no difference in the health of those with free health care to those with a tiny co-pay. The marginal value of healthcare seems to be very low. Also look at this


“The Scotsman reveals the true extent of inequality across Scotland, in a devastating study showing the country’s wealthiest suburb has a life expectancy of 87.7 years, while a boy born in the poorest area of Glasgow can expect to die at 54.”

They have socialized medicine in Scotland.

DickF August 22, 2007 at 2:48 pm

Anyone who has personally paid for health care in the past 5 years other than a co-pay please let me know.

I doubt there will be anyone.

We should not kid ourselves. We already have socialized health care in America. This murder was commited under a socialized health care program.

Daniel Stafford August 22, 2007 at 3:19 pm

In a future Paulian society a number of scenarios will play out:

1) Food and drug companies will not be able to falsify evidence of their products benefits to human health. To do so would be fraudulent (already is) and likely put them out of business. This will result in a massive infusion of Liberty from covert manipulation and domination of the marketplace, and out collective psyche;

2) Americans will be eating nutritionally dense foods, leading to excellent health and well-being. Insurance and “health care” companies will be much smaller enterprises, restored to integrity. We will take back the “Life” our Constitution provides support for;

3) Out of necessity, trade in food will be local, and communities will thrive as trade grows to meet the (local) demand for grass-fed meats and fresh vegetable and fruit goods. We will be able to shake the hand of our food providers;

4) Given healthy bodies and minds, we will be better able to function as responsible members of society. Our intelligence will continue an evolution devoted to Life, Liberty, and Property (what’s left of it).

callistus August 22, 2007 at 3:28 pm

Sounds like you’ve got a nice Utopia there Daniel.

Mathieu Bédard August 22, 2007 at 5:15 pm

Somehow reminds me of that Southpark episode where the chicken rapist says he did it to foster children reading books…

Sooperdave August 22, 2007 at 5:30 pm

Anyone who has personally paid for health care in the past 5 years other than a co-pay please let me know.

I paid for an ER visit last year out of pocket. I’m self-employed and don’t have insurance. I elect not to carry coverage at this time. The ER bill was more than a co-pay. ;)

Anthony August 22, 2007 at 5:58 pm

Ardalon’s suggestion is not exactly immoral because it consists in forcing those who advocate the use of force to contribute to the very system they clamour for. It would be their just desert.

Callistus, if Paul’s reforms went fully through, that utopia might just realize (though I doubt Americans will become much healthier in terms of dietary habits and exercise, that much is indeed utopian.)

Jean Paul August 22, 2007 at 7:32 pm

Socialized medicine SUCKS. Relative to everything else around me, stepping into a Canadian medical facility feels like a trip decades back in time and into a developing nation.

You will be inconvenienced. In your time of urgent need, your time will be wasted and your patience tried. You will be misdiagnosed and/or mistreated. You will suffer more painful, more invasive procedures than necessary. You will be handled like a piece of paperwork.

These things are all part and parcel of medicine in Canada.

Bob Shoof August 22, 2007 at 7:48 pm

Jean Paul: Do they still use leeches over there?

Anthony August 22, 2007 at 7:52 pm

David Kelley provides an excellent critique of socialized medicine in A Life of One’s Own.

P.M.Lawrence August 22, 2007 at 8:19 pm

Bob Shoof, leeches are still state of the art for some things. For instance, they are attached to wounds after reattaching severed fingers so that blood doesn’t pool and prevent proper circulation during the healing process.

Bob Shoof August 22, 2007 at 10:08 pm

P.M.: My comment was what we like to call “a joke” around here. Nevertheless, very interesting stuff.

Daniel Stafford August 23, 2007 at 7:15 am

Anthony, I understand your doubt regarding a slide to healthy lifestyles. But, as state sponsored fraud is eliminated people will realize that their future doesn’t need to be about preparing for and accepting the inevitable decline of health. How much of our life energy is about preparing for scarcity – money because of inflation, health because of perceived inevitability, happiness because of sickness and imposed lifestyles that fracture relationships with family and community, etc. So, all aspects of health will be naturally expressed after the fear and suppression are eliminated.

Anthony August 23, 2007 at 7:27 am

Daniel, on second thought I agree you might have a good argument – dependence on State programmes and intervention has definitely distorted American lifestyles, to be sure. Their removal should inspire a movement towards healthier, more responsible lifestyles (out of economic necessity, if nothing else.)

8 August 23, 2007 at 12:07 pm

Yet if socialist medicince passes, all you suckers will pay for it. You’ve already conceded your rights.

Peter E Balsam, MD August 23, 2007 at 1:28 pm

For all it’s faults and pitfalls, the US system remains head and shoulders above most of the rest of the world. I put my money where my mouth is and sent an email to Michael Moore offering to pay his commercial air fare to Cuba when he has a medical problem that needs attention. I haven’t heard anything from him yet.

DickF August 23, 2007 at 2:39 pm


Thanks for the response. Since you have no insurance do you have regular check ups with a doctor or do you only use the emergency room?

I know there are many doctors who will not even take a customer who actually pays for care.

Notice that the people here tend to be more conservative than most and I would think more inclined to pay for service, yet you are the only one who has paid for health care. Socialized medicine is here.

Peter E Balsam, how long do you believe our health care will remain number one? Of course if the whole world goes to socialized medicine there is no alternative. We will all suffer poor care and long lines together.

Justin Bowen August 23, 2007 at 3:29 pm

“Healthcare benefits should then be provided at extremely low costs, i.e. $5 for a doctor’s visit,”

So, you’re also in favor of socialized wages? With a system like that, I can’t see any other way for it to work than to limit a doctor’s wages as well. Would the government also pay for their medical technology (much of which is unneeded as it is)? Would the government also pay for their education? What if less people chose the medical profession because of all of the regulations and lack of opportunity? Would the government then start to force certain people into the medical field? I’m wondering how far you would take this. If you fix the price of care, you affect other areas of the practice. How would you reconcile that?

Justin Bowen August 23, 2007 at 4:01 pm

“I know there are many doctors who will not even take a customer who actually pays for care.”

This is because of the Medicare/Medicaid rules. There are certain things that doctors and clinics can and cannot do. There are certain diagnoses that the doctors and clinics must make as a percentage of total diagnoses to maintain eligibility for reimbursement by Medicare/Medicaid.

For example, it is illegal for a doctor to give a Medicare patient charity care. Also, Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities have to prove that 75% of their patients have 1 of only 13 diagnoses to qualify for reimbursement from Medicare or Medicaid (rehabilitation for cancer treatment doesn’t qualify). This is some of the nonsense that goes on in the American system because of the drug companies, insurance companies, and their paid-for legislators.

Sooperdave August 23, 2007 at 10:58 pm

Thanks for the response. Since you have no insurance do you have regular check ups with a doctor or do you only use the emergency room?

I know there are many doctors who will not even take a customer who actually pays for care.

My emergency room visit wasn’t for a chronic condition and it was my first time there. My vitals are in excellent shape, I exercise regularly, and have no chronic disease in the family history.

When I was employed by a corporation and had a check-up all they did was take my vitals and ask if I had any problems. Since I didn’t have any problems that was the end of the check up. I had only one check-up where they took blood. I don’t remember how many check-ups I had, but it has not been many. I’m not that old and a male.

I do not have regular check-ups, but on the rare occasion that I have consulted a doctor, I have always been able to find one who accepts cash and some will even give a discount if it doesn’t go through insurance. I always phone first and I haven’t used the same doctor twice yet.

The manner which the current insurance industry is run is more like prepaid medical services. Since I’m in the infrequent user group, I’m subsidizing the frequent users.

I might be crazy as a statistical outlier could put me in the hospital for an extended stay, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take for now. If my perceived cost/benefit ratio changes, I will purchase high-deductible, catastrophe insurance.

I’m also thinking of a tattoo for my chest that says “DNR”. :-P

DickF August 24, 2007 at 2:23 pm


LOL! Thanks. Yes, you are unique and I believe you did a good job of confirming that essentially we are currently in a socialist system.

Justine, yes, you are spot on. One of the tactics that the central planners in congress have taken is to implement a socialist system by creating regulations rather than directly expressing it in the legialation. They know that the citizens would go crazy if they were confronted with socialism directly, but like the frog in boiling water, the central planners slowly pull the citizens into socialist programs.

It is interest that in doing this they institute an interventionist system that Mises says is even more destructive than direct socialism. The interventionist system is a huge destroyer of capital and resources, while empowering the brueaucracy in ways the central planner/socialists never intended.

Anthony August 24, 2007 at 3:46 pm

Regulation is much more subtle – if it fails, bureaucrats can always blame the market for it (and tend to do so.) As Hoppe said, regulation arises out of pure powerlust, and is always destructive of wealth. Many people cannot grasp the simple fact that Nazi Germany was socialist, usually because it had a “private” sector; indeed it did – in name and nothing else. It was heavily regulated and cartelized.

Kevin B August 24, 2007 at 4:16 pm

DickF: “It is interest that in doing this they institute an interventionist system that Mises says is even more destructive than direct socialism.”

Do you happen to remember where he explained this? I would like to zip to it.

Danielle August 25, 2007 at 9:27 am

“Anyone who has personally paid for health care in the past 5 years other than a co-pay please let me know.” -DaveF

I have Dave. I’ve paid two midwives for two births ($1500 in a state where midwifery is illegal & $2500 in a state where it is legal and regulated). My kids have seen doctors a few times and we’ve paid anywhere from $50-$125 for an office visit. I’ve seen a doctor a number of times and have paid for office visits and lab work. We’ve never had a problem getting a doctor to see us as “self pay” patients. Actually cash patients usually get a discount. We run a family business and have decided that paying directly for health care is actually cheaper than expensive insurance premiums for our family of six. We are shopping around for a catastrophic policy, though.

I don’t agree that we have socialized medicine, yet. We are certainly moving in that direction. We need to get rid of employer based health insurance and people need to look at health insurance more like their car insurance… pay for the day to day maintenance yourself and only use insurance for the big events.

Danielle August 25, 2007 at 9:31 am

Oops, sorry. That previous comment was to “DickF” not “DaveF”.

Mike August 26, 2007 at 12:03 pm

I also pay cash to see the doctor. I’ve been maybe twice in 3-4 years since I’ve been doing so. It was about 75 bucks for an office visit. I actually saw a sticker on the receptionist lady’s computer that said how much less they were to charge people without insurance. I think it was like $25. They also wanted to give me an MRI or CT scan that would have cost like 1500 until they found out I didn’t have insurance, then the doc pretty much said it was worthless and they just did it in cases like mine for the heck of it.

I think our system is more fascist than socialist now. Unfortunately since the current system is a disaster, and is popularly labeled as “free market”, we’ll likely now give socialism a whirl. What a mess that will be as well.

Mekhong Kurt March 31, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Ms. Nielsen, then the numerous surveys putting us well down the list on health matters mean nothing, at best, or are somehow contrived — no doubt by a consortium of socialists and communists? And what of the numerous that have working socialized or partially socialized medical systems, such as the Netherlands? You cited a single — and valid — example of a failed socialized medical system, in fact, an entire failed socialist state, the former Soviet Union. (As I understand it, Russia today doesn’t have that system.) China, where I lived several years, has (or had when I was there; don’t know about now) a pretty wretched socialized system, though I guess it beat the 100% lack of one in the old days, lack of one for almost everyone except the emperor and his underlings, that is. I live abroad in a country experimenting with a form of socialized medicine, and it’s immensely popular, especially among the poor, even as the government has had to reduce benefits, even before the global economic crisis struck. But tens of millions of people who couldn’t afford to go for even the simplest outpatient care can get something now. Even after the government has retreated some — not a lot, but some.

It simply is untrue that every country that has tried a form of a socialized program was or is a failure. Further, it’s true that not all following our model have been successful, though our model has arguably proven better, more often than not — but not invariably so.

In a sense, though not in the political theory sense, we have a system that mimics socialized medicine already, except the “socialist” functions have been performed by the private sector instead of the government. For instance, insurance adjusters decide what treatment will be paid and what will not be paid (hear an echo of a “death panel” here?). Insurance companies direct specific medicines, if they, the insurance companies, are going to pay for it, sometimes demanding a generic when a generic isn’t suitable — i.e, they demand a one-size-fits-all approach, one of the major criticisms opponents of the current law have of it.

Then there’s the individual mandate, which will be provided by *private* insurance companies — not like Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA, all three of which are directly provided by government. Those are, indeed, socialized — no private insurance companies are involved *at all* — so we need to do away with those first. Yet it was a darling of Republicans when (for example) Hillarycare was raging. Even that socialist Richard Nixon took a long look at it, granted as a way to stave off any move towards a single-payer — government-run, directly — system.

Then the Democrats decided *they* liked it — and it suddenly became anathema to the Republicans and the rest of the right-of-center. (Not that the Democrats are incapable of hypocrisy, mind you.)

There have been so many distortions, flat-out errors, and deliberate lies that one has to dig pretty deep to try to figure out just what this legislation has and what it doesn’t. Notably, it doesn’t have a single-payer system. Notably, the individual mandate is to be provided, as I already said, by the private sector.

There’s the question of constitutionality as well. According to everything I’ve read, even constitutional experts on the right are, by and large, saying the attorneys general filing suits don’t look to stand much of a chance, if any at all. Yet Keyboard Konstitutionalists apparently think they know more than two centuries worth of Congresses and Supreme Courts, not to mention slews of constitutional scholars, past and present. “I say it’s unconstitutional, and my saying it makes it so. To hell with two centuries-plus of jurisprudence.”

Beyond it all, what bothers me most of all is the venom, the bitterness, the vileness, the hatred.
And though in my upwards-of-four-decades of voting I’ve voted largely for Republicans or right-wing Democrats — I’m from Texas, and in my lifetime Texas was a conservative Democrat state — voting that way maybe 75-80% of the time. With shame, I have to admit that most of that venom, bitterness, vileness, and hatred are coming from the right. Representative Grayson (D-FL) being a notable, and disgusting, exception, with his crap about Republicans’ health care plan being for us to hurry up and die.

See — I’m an equal-opportunity critic! :-)

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