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The Freedom to Choose

Should the government force its citizens to pay for healthcare? Should the government play the parental role and say, “I know what’s best for you”, and ignore the wishes of the average citizen? If liberty is what is sought after, then the answer to these questions should be no.

A government’s only goal should be to protect its citizen’s liberty. Liberty is “the state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.” When the government forces individuals to buy insurance that, at a minimum, covers a list of government-chosen requisites, you are taking away an individual’s freedom.

One of the beautiful things about democracy and capitalism is that they encourage individualism. You have a say in the way that things work, and you need to determine for yourself what is good and bad. It should be the same way with health care.

If you’re young and fit, you will clearly need less coverage than an elderly or sickly person. However, when the government mandates that certain things are required to be covered, it takes away that sense of individualism. Yes, there may be choices inside those regulations, but a lot of your freedom to choose is also being taken away.

When consumers lose the freedom to choose, it usually results in them losing overall. We can see this in the costs to consumer when comparing different types of healthcare. Certain procedures, mostly cosmetic, are not covered under most insurance plans. One example of this is laser eye surgery, which usually involves out-of-pocket costs for the patient. Generally speaking, health care costs have increased over the past several decades quite significantly. Yet, when you look at the price of eye surgery over the past several decades, the price has actually decreased!

This is because of the consumer’s ability to choose. Since the surgery is not covered under the insurance plan, the patient is much more willing to “shop around” and compare prices, because it is his or her money at stake. That is what happens when you implement the free-market system. If the government took a step back from healthcare, it could cut its extravagant spending on healthcare, and costs would go down for the consumer since hospitals and surgeons would now have to compete to stay afloat. Sounds like a win-win to me. Whenever the government takes away the liberties of its people, everyone suffers.

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