Monday, February 3, 2020

Adam Wienstein - I used to be a libertarian. Then the US healthcare system taught me how wrong I was

I needed a CT scan on my neck — and I opened the door to a Kafka-esque nightmare

Most libertarians have come from middle-class backgrounds and have no idea how frail they could become, or how hard life could get. Life events can suddenly change and terrifying chaos can take over. When we're down we need the collective, and when we're strong we can help others. Some very wealthy people feel extremely secure, and so argue that others should not rely on the collective either. Sadly, too many people listen.

Despite my relative inexperience, I was a healthy young white man, free from most wants, and I assumed the system in which I grew up was the best of all possible systems. I spent those early years in college as an Ayn Rand-loving libertarian who believed in freedom over safety, individualism over collectivism, and false dichotomies over nuanced understandings. America was great not in spite of its worship of the almighty dollar, but because of it: Corporations, I imagined, didn’t need regulations and laws to be honest, transparent, and decent to their consumers. The desire to make a profit kept us honest.
Healthcare was no exception to this fiscal-based ideology of mine. You got what you paid for, and medical innovation didn’t come cheap. Rich people get better care? They earned it, I’d tell people. To rely on government to provide your healthcare or cover its costs, I believed, was to give up your agency and dignity.

The Independent 

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