Many years ago, as a small child, I was told one of those old-fashioned fables for children. It was about a dog with a bone in his mouth, who was walking on a log across a stream.
The dog looked down into the water and saw his reflection. He thought it was another dog with a bone in his mouth — and it seemed the other dog’s bone was bigger than his. He decided he was going to take the other dog’s bone away and opened his mouth to attack. The result was that his own bone fell into the water and was lost.
At the time, I didn’t like that story. But the passing years and decades have made me realize how important that story was, because it was not really about dogs but about people.
Today we are living in a time when the president of the United States is telling us that he is going to help us take that other dog’s bone away — and the end result is likely to be very much like what it was in that children’s fable.
Whether we are supposed to take that bone away from the doctors, the hospitals, the pharmaceutical companies or the insurance companies, the net result is likely to be the same — most of us will end up with worse medical care than we have available today. We will have opened our mouth and dropped a very big bone into the water.
While I was told a story in my childhood to help me understand something about the real world, today adults are being told things to reduce them to childish thinking.
The most childish of all the things being said in the august setting of a joint session of Congress last week was that millions of people can be added to the government’s health-insurance plan without increasing the federal deficit.
If the president of the United States could do that, it is hard to imagine what he would do as an encore. Walking on water would be an anticlimax.
What is equally childish is the notion that the great majority of Americans who have medical insurance and who say they are satisfied with it should be panicked and stampeded into supporting vast increases in the arbitrary power of Washington bureaucrats to take medical decisions out of the hands of their doctors — all ostensibly because a minority of Americans do not have medical insurance.
There was a time, within living memory, when most Americans did not have health insurance — and it was not the end of the world, as so many in politics and the media seem to be depicting it today.
As someone who lived through that era, and who spent decades without medical insurance, I find it hard to be panicked and stampeded into bigger and worse problems because some people do not have medical insurance, including many who could afford it if they chose.
What did we do, back during the years when most Americans had no medical insurance? I did what most people did. I depended on a “single payer” — myself. When I didn’t have the money, I paid off my medical bills in installments.
The birth of my first child was not covered by medical insurance. I paid off the bill, month by month, until the time finally came when I could tell my wife that the baby was now ours, free and clear.
In a country where everything imaginable is bought and paid for on credit, why is it suddenly a national crisis if some people cannot pay cash up front for medical treatment?
That is not the best way to do things for all people and all medical treatments, which is why most Americans today choose to have medical insurance. But millions of other people choose not to — often young and healthy people, sometimes deadbeats who use emergency rooms and don’t pay at all.
Is this ideal? No. But if every deviation from the ideal is a reason to be panicked and stampeded into putting dangerous, arbitrary powers into the hands of government, then go directly to totalitarianism, do not pass “Go,” do not collect $200.
And go ahead and drop your bone in the water, in hopes that you can get somebody else’s bigger bone.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, Calif.
Currently 0 Responses
19 Mote's Party on the Pass
22 Nia with Gail on Anna Maria Island
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
23 Nia with Gail on Longboat Key
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
23 Wine Tasting for Mote at Harry's on Longboat Key
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
A Cinderella story
A 10-week-old miniature pinscher puppy found a “happily ever after ending” at the Celebration of Pets April 12, at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds.
Pharmacy brings dose of medicine to Publix
The in-store pharmacy of Longboat Key Publix opened Monday, approximately 16 months after the completion of the new store at 525 Bay Isles Parkway, in the Shoppes of Bay Isles.
Golfer scores victory with less than a stroke
The Longboat Key Masters Golf Tournament, which took place March 28 through March 31, at the Resort at Longboat Key Club’s Islandside and Harbourside golf courses came down to less than one stroke’s difference between first-place winner Kevin Preston and second-place winner Michael Russell, of Longboat Key.