This proposal in the UK to tax “fatties” highlights once again how once government gets deeply involved in funding health care, the pressures to control people’s lifestyles become significant. This is the same argument we hear from supporters of sky-high cigarette taxes, smoking bans, seat-belt and helmet laws, ad nauseam. “We all pay for it.” If only we didn’t.
4 thoughts on “Less Economic Freedom, Less Personal Freedom”
An excellent example of how the establishment of a government provided benefit works to reduce individual freedom. I would argue it also demonstrates why socialism, and other lefty schemes, is inherently totalitarian.
There is really only an alternative solution to this and that is to price premiums based on risk and then deny Healthcare to those whom refuse to pay for their poor health.
Unfortunately, the politics of it would be next to imppossible, so this is really the only other solution. Better to do it this way then to raise taxes on healthy people. I have no issue with taxes like this, because they do fall on those whom create negative externalities. Plus, the argument that this takes away peoples freedom is flawed. They still have the freedom to choose using these products, but they now have to pay for their full cost. Cigarette taxes and a suspension of free speech are not the same thing.
Well, that’s the problem. There is no alternative to doing this kind of thing if you nationalize health care. But if health care were purely private and voluntary, then the market would price risks accordingly. What’s the difference between premiums and taxes? Well, the market will tend to establish actuarially sound premiums, rather than tax rates based on political pressures. Second and more important, a market can’t force anyone to buy its product.
If you really looked at the facts, you would see that socialism is not “inherently totalitarian.” There are many other factors to consider. And, actually, the idea that socialized medicine erodes personal freedom is a myth. There are many countries with national health care, such as Denmark and Canada that are actually rated having a high degree of political and economic freedom. In fact, those countries with “mixed-economies” and national health care rank the highest on the Economist’s Democracy Index. I’ve written more about this here: