Universal Healthcare vs. Freedom?

There is a widespread notion that providing universal healthcare, or something closer to it, comes at great cost to economic and political freedom. However, empirical evidence suggests otherwise: most of the countries that are ranked high in both economic and political freedom – many of them above even the US – offer universal healthcare systems, among other “big government” policies.

The conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, bear this out in its Index of Economic Freedom, as does the libertarian Fraser Institute. And Freedom House consistently ranks “socialistic” countries at the top of political and press freedom in its reports.

There are certainly problems with this healthcare act, but state-sanctioned oppression is not one of them. Expanding healthcare, in and of itself, is not mutually exclusively with overall liberty and well-being. One could argue whether what works for other societies works for America, but that’s a different discussion compared to the idea that healthcare is, in principle, a detriment to liberty and well-being.

5 comments on “Universal Healthcare vs. Freedom?

  1. There are many non-socialist countries (UK, Canada, Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden etc) that have universal healthcare systems. The problem with many of these is that the systems are inefficient and inadequate (it’s pretty good in France, by the way). Universal healthcare is like universal education – it is an essential for the basic well-being of society. I can never understand why so many Americans feel the provision of health-care will fundamentally change their society – or perhaps they don’t and I misunderstand it – but that is what it does seem like.

  2. Expanding healthcare, in and of itself, is not mutually exclusively with overall liberty and well-being.

    Right, but I think what people are saying is that someone’s freedom is diminished depending on the means by which the resources to fund such a system are acquired. The means recently contested in the Supreme Court was the individual mandate.

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