Of the 50 top rated democratic countries on earth, each has universal health care (except for the countries with a population under three million). The United States is the lone exception. We are ranked 25th on the Democracy Index. Countries that have large populations and do not have universal health care are more prone to dictatorship.
Our health care costs are about twice as high as other countries with universal health care and our health outcomes are similar.
The United States Supreme Court has had consistent heartburn over the constitutionality of the mechanics of universal health care. It seems that because universal health care was not around in 1787, the mechanics of the system were not written into the Constitution and therefore can be easily called unconstitutional. Ultimately, anything that is not specifically spelled out in the Constitution or its amendments may be subject to arbitrary decisions of the judges.
Thomas Jefferson laid out the parameters of the problem:
“You seem to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps…. Their power [is] the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves.”
When we see all the other countries with less expensive health care we must question the partisan loyalty of our Supreme Court judges.
One political party has dominated the appointment of judges to the court. Are we subject to the ‘despotism of oligarchy’? The answer would not surprise Thomas Jefferson. Moving from our present capitalistic health care system to a universal health care system would threaten the profits of the powerful pharmaceutical industry and the powerful insurance industry. In an oligarchy, those powerful industries would be favored over the will of the people. It seems that the political party that has dominated the appointment of judges is also in favor of ‘despotism of an oligarchy’.
And the will of the people can be influenced by carefully orchestrated propaganda. The oligarchs and there favored political party have had decades to contrive carefully stated phrases to support their position. Most of their phrases have been an attempt to prevent universal health care from hurting their profits.
‘Administrative state’ has been given a very negative connotation while each country with cheaper health care has a well-developed administrative state. This scares the oligarchs.
‘Tax and spend’ references the fact that universal health care involves a much larger budget. What is not said is that this larger budget is more cost effective.
‘Reduce the size of government’. Factually, you cannot obtain cheaper health care without a larger government footprint.
The favored phrase is that ‘socialism is bad’. All of the other large democratic governments have a larger degree of socialism and all have lower health care costs. We already have a socialized mail delivery system and a socialized federal highway system and many other aspects of socialism. Every nation seeks a balance between capitalism and socialism. In the long run, this move toward socialism means little more than a reduction in health care cost and saving 45,000 lives of those unfortunate Americans who fall through the cracks each year because they don’t have health insurance.
We must ask; will corporate profits dictate the function of our government and our health care system? And if biased judges are the ultimate arbiters of constitutional questions, are we moving directly to the ‘despotism of an oligarchy’?