Access to health care would help ‘ensure domestic tranquility’

To the Editor:

Mr. Nash’s June 2 argument in defense of laissez faire capitalism in the realm of health care is a heartless piece of clinical reasoning which misses the whole point of free markets in the context of a framework of government designed to ‘promote the general welfare,’ and ‘ensure domestic tranquility.’

Fundamental to the discussion of how to enfranchise Americans with access to affordable health care is the question of what our system of laws is really supposed to foster that is so uniquely enviable. The author’s libertarian logic which leads him consistently to the conclusion that ‘to the winners, go the spoils,’ fails to address the threat to our society posed by a tilted playing field on which fewer and fewer can successfully compete.

Democracy itself is challenged to thrive where the middle class is increasingly under economic duress. Our rate of participation in national elections is lower than that in any of our G-7 partners, while rates of poverty, incarceration and death by preventable causes are significantly higher.

In ‘socialist’ Canada, a baby born into the lower middle class is now twice as likely to climb the ladder of prosperity as its counterpart in the United States. Liberties that leave the majority of the population in perpetual economic insecurity are deeply tarnished assets.

We have an absurdly inefficient system of health care distribution, where services are delivered at an average cost of twice that paid by our westernized, democratic partners. Meanwhile, since the early 90s, the percentage of national wealth held by the employed middle and lower middle classes has declined precipitously.

Piously principled utterances invoking God, the founding fathers and capitalist economics are of little comfort to those who work their butts off, only to see the fruits of a lifetime’s labors devoured by the costs of a single major illness encountered while uninsured, or under-insured. Our markets and laws must work for us – not we for them!

Paul Loefstedt