On Sunday, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), who has been cribbing Bernie Sanders’ cheat sheet in order to position herself for a 2020 Democratic presidential run, tweeted out her feelings on the possible restructuring of Medicaid under the Senate health reform bill:
Needless to say, this is imbecilic.
Kamala Harris is right: nobody will be “losing” their health care. They didn’t “leave it on the bus,” because it’s not a physical commodity. And it was never “their stuff.”
Those on Medicaid had a grant from the government, taken from redistributed money, to help pay for their health care, which they obtained by pressuring doctors to provide it at low reimbursement rates. It wasn’t “theirs” any more than unemployment benefits are “yours” or welfare is “yours” or any other redistributionist outcome is “yours.”
Health care is a series of goods and services that belong to someone else until you pay for them in an exchange mutually agreed by the two sides. My wife is a doctor. Her labor is not “your stuff.” That would make her an indentured servant. She has sunk some nine years of her life into becoming a doctor — four years of college, four years of medical school, and now she’s just completed her first year of residency. That means we’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on her education, and she’s spent countless hours working, away from home, studying, and the like.
That work is not “yours.” It isn’t Kamala Harris’.
The sense of entitlement behind Democratic policy is simply mind-boggling. More importantly, it’s counterproductive. Declaring someone else’s labor “yours” doesn’t make it magically appear. Harris seems deeply concerned about cuts to Medicaid. Apparently she’s unaware that Medicaid outcomes are generally no better than uninsured outcomes, and that doctors are dropping out of Medicaid coverage day in and day out thanks to the government’s failures. The moment you declare someone else’s services “yours,” they stop providing them.
But by invoking that sense of entitlement, Harris merely ensures that she’ll increase her popularity. Unfortunately, it’s political catnip to tell people that things that don’t belong to them actually do. That’s how Democrats gain power, even as they destroy the services they supposedly seek to provide.