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U.K. National Health Service

A new phenomenon is taking place in England: obesity shaming. In the United Kingdom, there is socialized health care, meaning that everybody pays for everybody’s medical expenses. Because of this situation, if some folks need expensive medical care they harm everyone else because everyone else must pay for them. Most medical expenses are necessary, so the British people have no animosity against those who need them, but some medical expenses are caused by voluntary unhealthy behavior. One voluntary unhealthy behavior is overeating. Obese people, on average, require more health care than others. The British government recently reported that obesity is causing over three billion pounds of medical expenses annually, and that is a heavy burden on the National Health Service budget. Either taxes will be increased, or services for other folks will be reduced. Non-obese people do not want to pay more taxes, nor do they want their health services reduced, so they are angry, and some of them have acted aggressively against obese individuals whom they encounter in public, such as on the subway.

First, the report of the British government was deceptive, because it told the gross health costs of obese people, not the net health cost. In other words, they correctly reported that the N.H.S. spends over three billion pounds annually on obese people, but it does not say that it would spend between one and two billion pounds on those individuals even if they were not obese. Even thin people in good shape have medical expenses, especially when they are old. The extra cost of obesity is closer to one billion pounds than to three billion pounds.

Second, if each person paid for his or her own health care, then nobody would have reason to hate those whose expenses are very high. If someone chooses to overeat, or smoke cigarettes, or play some dangerous sport, it would be his or her decision and he or she alone would face the consequences. I believe that love is good and hatred is bad. Therefore, since socialized medicine gives people reason to hate each other, it is bad. Sometimes, people hate others for no good reason. This is a sad reality that we should all try to overcome. Racism, for example, is hatred for no good reason. Hating others because they harm us, on the other hand, is reasonable. Everybody who is not insane loves himself/herself. Love of self is natural and good. When someone harms us, we react. Christians should love our enemies, as Jesus commands, but that requires supernatural grace. At the natural human level, people hate their enemies, because enemies are harmful. Socialized health care makes everyone with an expensive medical problem become an enemy of everybody else.

Third, in Britain today only obese people are victims of shaming, because it is believed that their health costs are caused by their own voluntary behaviors. The animosity that people now feel towards them, however, might expand to all people with high medical costs, and to all disabled people who appear to need expensive medical care. This has happened in other countries. Germany has socialized medicine. German citizens received quality health care and the government paid for it. Then, when Germany went to war in 1939, the government needed all their resources to make war, so they murdered about 200,000 patients in their hospitals who had been receiving expensive care. In the Netherlands, for the past two decades, there has been euthanasia of the disabled and elderly. In some cases, for example children whose parents do not want them, the euthanasia is against the will of the patient, which is murder. In France, euthanasia is illegal, but it does happen. Those who claim that a socialized health care system is good for the weak, the disabled, and children are very short-sighted. In the short-run, some people might receive better health care than they do now under our free market health care system, but in the long-run a national socialized health care system would lead to hatred and murder, and it will harm weak disabled children most.

How does this relate to the Middle Ages? Not very much, because during the Middle Ages medical science was primitive and most people who needed much medical care simply died because it did not exist. In some cases, however, individuals received health care in hospitals paid for by the Church with nuns working as nurses. Some would say that a government health care system is essentially the same as the charitable health care system of the Middle Ages, only the government health care system is better because more efficient and capable of caring for more people. The truth, however, is that there is an important essential difference between a charitable health care system and a government health care system. That difference is freedom. People are free to give to charity, or not. Nobody is forced to make donations. Nobody, therefore, would have a good reason to hate those who have high medical expenses. If someone for whatever reason does not want to pay for the medical expenses of others, s/he does not have to.

True love is good, and hatred is bad. True love is not warm fuzzy feelings. Warm fuzzy feelings might lead some to advocate for a socialized health care system because then some people will receive better health care, but a person who truly loves others will not support a system that would cause hate and murder.

Since I mentioned both racism and the murder of over 200,000 patients in German hospitals, I want to explain the thoughts of Adolf Hitler on this subject. In his book Mein Kempf, Hitler wrote that genetically defective individuals, whom we would today label as disabled, should choose voluntarily to not have children. He highly valued the German race, or the Aryan race, and he did not want it to be weakened by the multiplication of defective individuals. In Mein Kempf, he wrote that it would be heroic for a person to love the German nation so much that s/he would voluntarily choose not to reproduce. Reproduction is a very important part of most people's lives, and people with children are happier (after those children are grown), then people without children. During the years when children are young, parents are often less happy than others, because raising children is so difficult, but when they are old, parents are happier, on average, than others. So, an individual who chooses not to have children makes a great sacrifice, and that is admirable. Such individuals, according to what Hitler wrote, should be praised. To me, this seems fine. It is unfortunate that after Hitler became dictator of Germany he did not practice what he had written; instead of praising disabled individuals who chose not to reproduce, he killed them.

The example of Nazi Germany shows that, when the government takes control of a situation, and individuals lose control over their own lives, the good intentions of the government leaders are often not carried out, or are carried out in a way that harms the people that the government leaders had claimed they wanted to help.

Now I ask for comments. If any of y'all have experiences or thoughts that you want to share, then please leave a comment.