Is comparing universal health care to having a military a fair assessment?

A common complaint I see getting batted around by the right against universal health care is that it’s this massive socialist program and socialist programs by their definition are horrible because they redistribute wealth, take money from those who earned it and give it to the lazy do-nothings, are inefficient wastes of money, give people something that is not a right but a privilege, etc. etc. etc.
They believe health care should remain a free market system where those who can work for it and can afford it can get it and the rest can, well, survival of the fittest and all that I guess.

So how big of a leap is it to compare the military to universal health care?
It’s a government run program that is unarguably massive, exists to supposedly protect the lives of Americans, you have to pay for it whether you feel you need protection or not, protects poor people in large US cities from terrorist attacks, WMDs, and hostile takeovers yet is paid for by hardworking taxpaying gun-carrying rural citizens of Montana who may feel they can protect themselves just fine than-you-vey-much.

Shouldn’t those so opposed to UHC be just as opposed to the military on the same grounds?
“It just costs way too much and our country just can’t afford it!”
“If you want protection buy some weapons or hire your own security force.”
“Those that can afford protection should be able to buy it from the free market.”
“Why should I have to pay to protect someone else?”
“It’s unconstitutional to force me to buy protection if I don’t want it!”

Fair assessment or completely off base?

I can easily imagine a free market for HCI. How would that work, for a country, with the military? A country, especially one like the US, would not exist without a military to defend itself. Not so for UHC.

But, there are plenty of Libertarians out there who would argue against taxes, period. That the military should be funded by voluntary contributions or fees.

I guess it depends on what the major role one thinks the military serves.
Does it exist mainly to protect it’s citizens lives, protect it’s own existence, protect it’s resources?

At it’s core, I think the military’s purpose is to defend the country from foreign invasion. Maybe a country like Andora can survive w/o a military (I don’t know if they have one or not), but certainly not a country like the US. We’d be speaking German, worshiping Allah or wearing Mao suites.

So. I would say all of the above. In the US, it’s purpose is to preserve the Republic against the threat of foreign attack. Such an attack could result in the loss of life, property, or other rights.

“It just costs way too much and our country just can’t afford it!”

I would happily reduce the size of our military. I would have no issue with closing most, if not all, of our foreign bases and bring our troops home. I consider our level of foreign entanglements to be contrary to how our nation should spend its resources.

“If you want protection buy some weapons or hire your own security force.”

I am firm believer in the 2nd Amendment. However, you are confusing military with police in this IMHO.

“Those that can afford protection should be able to buy it from the free market.”

See above.

“Why should I have to pay to protect someone else?”

With the military, you pay to protect your nation. With the cops, you pay to protect yourself.
*
“It’s unconstitutional to force me to buy protection if I don’t want it!”*

False. The Constitution covers the military and the militia specifically.

I think it’s a bad analogy to pick “the military” for this debate. The way I look at it, there is a spectrum of things from, on one end, those which it would be insane to not have the government in control of, and those things that it matters not (or might actually make things worse). “The military” resides on the far end of the first part of that spectrum. Health Care is further down towards the other side, but there are probably a lot of things in between. Public education would be one. Mail service would be another.

But I also think that, in the US, there is an additional argument that needs to be made: federal vs state level. Even if we decide that Health Care should be a government service, do we do that at the Federal level or at the State level?

I recently read (well - listened to on CD) Adams vs. Jefferson : the tumultuous election of 1800 by John E. Ferling. Apparently, back when the Spirit of '76 was the new thing, a majority of people believed that there should be no standing army, that the Noble Minutemen and Militias would keep us all safe. In fact, one of the reasons that Adams lost the election to Jefferson was that he had formed (or hadn’t disbanded) the Navy. That was held to smack of Royalism and Elitism rather that Equality.

I love the circular logic here. Why is it constitutional? Who made that decision? Why is it still relevant? What does the constitution say about a massive force projecting military designed to engage in three simultaneous wars on foreign soil?

Uhm - nothing circular about it. The United States Constitution, as passed back in 18th Century, specifically gave the power to the Federal Government to have an Army and a Navy. The President was named Commander in Chief.

It is Constitutional because it is a power specifically referenced to in the Constitution.

It does NOT specify how large it can be, or what it can be specifically used for (Though Posse Commitus comes into debate at times).

Suppose the U.S. completely disbanded its military. There might be some bad effects outside the U.S. – for example, the people in Taiwan and South Korea might sleep less well at night – but would the U.S. be invaded? I doubt it.

Why is it constitutional? Because it’s in the constitution. Ah, got it. Nothing circular about that.

So why is it in the constitution? Who put it there? Was it an accident? An oversight? Was it something they were supposed to fix after the civil war? Or in the 60s? Is there a page missing? Something lost in translation?

Why do you suppose they put it in there, and didn’t bother to elaborate?

You are mistaking an adjective (Constitutional) based on a proper noun (The Constitution of the United States of America) with circular.

There is almost no elaboration in the US Constitution. You can carry a copy of it on a few double sided sheets of paper. Why would this be elaborated, when nothing else is?

They wouldn’t have to invade. The military has the nuclear weapons. Without it, anyone, Russia, France, Monaco, could threaten us. “We’ll nuke Alabama unless you send your money, your women, and your iPADS. Then we’ll nuke someplace you care about.”

I think a more apt comparison would be the Fire Department. With the military you can seldom pinpoint which individual citizens are benefiting, instead it’s the public at large.

With Fire Fighting, you can actually point at Suzie across town who was helped by publicly funded fire fighters and complain that YOUR hard earned tax dollars went towards helping an irresponsible person who left the stove on. Why should she get a free ride at others expense? She should have been forced to call a private fire extinguishment service and get slapped with a $30,000 bill (let’s face it, the bill is going to be enormous because it costs a lot to pay trained people to sit around and wait for a fire).

I’ve never heard even the most hard right conservative actually make that type of complaint. Why? Because Fire Fighting has been publicly funded for about 150 years and it’s just an accepted fact of life. I predict that a generation from now (20 to 30 years) arguments against UHC will sound just as ridiculous as my example above.

So why is it in the Constitution?

You stated that we have an military, but not UHC, because the military is constitutional.

But why is it constitutional?

Because it’s in The Constitution.

So why is it there?

Who made the decision to put it there, and why is it STILL there.

Things don’t HAVE to be in The Constitution, and just because they aren’t there now doesn’t mean they can’t be added.

It is there because the Founders felt that having a military was necessary for the Nation. It is STILL there because nobody has felt that it was necessary to amend the Constitution to remove those particular sections. The decision was made by those fellows in Philadelphia back in the 1780s, and was ratified by more of them over the next few years.

Yes, things can be added to the Constitution. We call those Amendments. Got a few of them added immediately (the first 10), and others over time.

We don’t have UHC in the United States because it has not been seen as necessary by enough people prior to now to vote for. Many would argue that is the proper role of the State (like Massachusetts) to deal with regardless - and not the Federal government.

I think that you might want to do at least a tiny bit of reading on the US Constitution if you are going to debate what it can and can not cover. You might find it a bit interesting.

Even though the words “health care” aren’t mentioned in the Constitution like the terms “militia” and “war” are, the text of the document and even the evidence of history shows that Framers of the Constitution thought that health care was within the authority of Congress to regulate.

In 1798 John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers and the second President of the United States, signed a bill into law requiring privately employed sailors to purchase health insurance which was to be payed for with deductions out of their paychecks.

Funny you should mention it. If the we pulled out of Afghanistan, we would save enough money within five years to pay for the entire healthcare bill. (And that’s assuming the current rate of expenditures is constant, when it’s actually growing.)

The idea of being able to individualize benefits may be important in determining the best analogy, but I would just point out that the healthcare system does affect everyone. The creation of an underclass is also detrimental to society at large because it allows for the development of various diseases and epidemics. You might have great health insurance, but if you get sick with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis–a growing problem worldwide–your chances of survival are pretty low no matter how much healthcare you get.

Furthermore, an effective healthcare system absolutely *must * be centralized enough to permit the implementation of medical standards and guidelines. Without such control, a number of enormous problems will arise: the growth of antibiotic resistant pathogens will explode, the benefits of medical research will not be maximized, etc.

Yeah, this seems to be the latest soundbite in support of this legislation. Too bad no one gives any details about what this legislation actually involved, why only “seamen” were targeted, and why it was (apparently) abolished at some point. Was it ever challenged in court? Until it’s fleshed out more, I’m unimpressed.

Missed the edit window…

And of course, this is the same John Adams who signed the Alien and Sedition Act. So, Founding Father or no, what someone does while sitting in the office of President isn’t necessarily what the same person might be thinking, in the abstract, while constructing the constitution.

But let’s keep in mind that one Founder is just that-- one founder. There were dozens of ratifiers of the constitution, and we have no real way of knowing what they all thought. Not to mention the fact that if folks want to invoke “originalism” as the proper way to interpret the constitution, then we can start striking down all sorts of federal laws and SCOTUS decisions, including the incorporation of the First Amendment to apply to the states.