It’s time to unplug Medicare’s third rail

Is it proper for the government to force people into such a scheme? Is it right to make the medical expenses of some the unchosen obligation of others? Is Medicare compatible with the founding principle of America — that each individual has a right to live for the sake of his own happiness and not have the fruits of his productivity confiscated for others?

These are the kinds of fundamental questions we must be willing to ask. It really should not be surprising that when we divorce benefits from costs — a person’s consumption from his production — as Medicare does, bankruptcy looms.

Ultimately, we will need to discuss the possibility of ending Medicare as we know it — of no longer forcing some people to pay the medical bills of others.

Instead, Romney, under immense voter scrutiny, recoiled earlier this year from a provision in Ryan’s plan that cut a mere $716 billion from Medicare (Ryan also distanced himself from that provision). This kind of unprincipled backpedaling is the exact opposite of the leadership we need.

America is surely heading toward a financial reckoning. Let’s face this reality, unplug the third rail and have a real debate about the future of Medicare.

Rituparna Basu is a writer at the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, California.