Opinion

OPINION: Shutdown Proves We Shouldn’t Put Health Care In Politicians’ Hands

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Kyle Varner Founder, DrVarner.com

Food inspections have come to a halt, TSA screeners have been furloughed and the national parks are understaffed. The people who usually work in those agencies simply aren’t getting paid while their bills are racking up.

The federal government has endured its longest period of “shutdown” in American history because Congress and the president can’t agree on funding for a wall in the middle of the desert.

For the moment, your doctor is still getting paid. Why? While the services cut during a government shutdown are calibrated to inflict maximum pain, politicians know that health care is too sensitive to threaten — for now.

They may not have threatened your health care yet, but nothing is too sacred for politicians to endanger when they think they could score political points. Right now, President Trump is looking at taking away Puerto Rico’s disaster relief money to pay for his border wall!

This might all be somewhat comical, except for one scary fact: The federal government controls more than half of health care spending via the Medicare program. Political dysfunction hasn’t threatened Medicare yet. Or has it?

Medicare is a fiscally insolvent program, with an unfunded liability of more than $37 trillion dollars. That means a crisis isn’t just likely, it’s inevitable. When Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez run out of money, will they shut down the hospitals like they shut down the national parks? Will they furlough the nurses taking care of you? What is it like in an ICU when staff is reduced to ‘essential employees only?’ Who makes that determination: doctors, or politicians?

Here’s the lesson to take away from this circus: the more that government controls our health care, the more we’re put at risk of insolvency or dysfunction, which means we could also lose our care and get hurt.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders are both liars when they claim that a government takeover will guarantee everyone’s access to health care. “Single-payer” or “Medicare for All” will not work the way the social democrats claim it will.

Why? Because it ignores economic reality and wrongly assumes politicians are capable of organizing a centrally planned healthcare system that will meet your needs. The government shutdown, complete with a McDonald’s buffet at the White House should tell you everything you need to know: Politicians are not just irresponsible — they are theatrical opportunists who don’t care if you suffer in order to score political points.

Under the wise direction of politicians, the federal government has accrued $87 trillion in unfunded liabilities and a track record of playing political games. Do you really think these clowns can guarantee your health care?

Only a fool would cheer on his own demise. And only sheep could let themselves become more dependent on bankrupt clowns for something as important as health care, the business of keeping people alive.

Meanwhile, the private sector keeps on ticking. We have universal clothing, universal mobile phones, and almost universal food. These things are so cheap and available, people don’t think a second thought about them.

The gas pumps still flow, food gets put on the shelves, and porn studios keep on churning out content — it’s business as usual. This is because free-market economies are decentralized and resilient to disruptions. If one canned foods factory in the Midwest gets taken out by a tornado, other factories will ramp up production and consumers will never even notice.

So how can we get universal health care? Not through government! Centralized systems like governments break down and people who depend on the government when everything doesn’t go according to plan are left behind to suffer.

The shutdown should remind us that government isn’t reliable. It’s a neon sign telling us we should prefer a decentralized free-market system where care is cheap and we can afford to pay for it ourselves.

If you don’t want your care kicked and thrown around like a football, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Donald Trump are not the people you should look towards as stewards of your healthcare resources. Politicians might be good at building roads, but if you let them meddle with your health care they’ll turn it into a road to hell.

Dr. Kyle Varner is a physician specialized in internal medicine and founder of DrVarner.com.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.