Senator Clinton said today on the Fox News Sunday program that “It is a moral imperative that we provide health insurance for the 47 million uninsured Americans“, a view shared by virtually all political wannabes, both Conservative and Liberal.

Do we really want to provide health insurance to the uninsured or is there just the slightest possibility that what we really want is to provide health care to those that need it? Duh? If the latter, then go for it, give it your best shot, but leave insurance out of it. It has no place health care in general and it has no place in socialized health care in particular. See Health Insurance – Problem or Solution? for more information.

If health insurance is so indispensable, then how did we become the greatest society on earth without it (and a lot of other things we don’t need)? Just look at us now! We should be ashamed of ourselves!

The “moral imperatives” at hand are to 1) allow people to make their own decisions and 2) help those in need rather than allow the government to wrestle these freedoms away from us. These freedoms are what made us the great society that we once were.

Here’s an ugly statistic to digest. In 1929, (the earliest year for which the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA)) has records, a whopping 23% of our expenditures, by far the largest, was for food, and this during a period when we were still agrarian! “Ready to eat” food was a luxury. “Eating out” was rare. “Groceries” were flour, sugar and other staples. Our spending on health care at the same time was only 4%. This relationship held true through World War II. In 1970 spending on health care began surpassing other spending categories. By 1990 it captured the (growing) lead that it has held for 17 years! Between 1955 and 2005 our spending on health care quadrupled from 5% to over 20% of our expenditures while our spending on food decreased by half to a little over 10% from 22% and THIS at a time when “eating out” is taken for granted, “ready to eat” is normal, and “staples” are those little metal things that hold paper together.

Of the 10 spending categories that the BEA tracks, health care is the ONLY category that has grown. All others have remained stable or declined. Hmm. I wonder why?

Chuck Angier is self-employed in agri-business in Virginia. He can be contacted at chuckangier@gmail.com

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