People need a lot of things. You’ll die without food long before you’ll die without health care, and yet few people say we need to “take the profit motive out of farming”. (There are some, to be sure, but this was never a widespread sentiment even when food was a lot scarcer and more expensive). Why is health care special?As someone who thinks that the chief functions of the state should be to provide education, health and the rule of law, I must admit that I had never thought of it this way. Should the government also provide food?
Well in a sense, it already does - through food stamps. So perhaps, health care is not so special.
In other senses, there are profound differences between health care and food. Food is (relatively) plentiful and easy to provide. On the other hand, health care is both difficult to provide and expensive. Surely, preparing a burrito is easier than operating someone.
So, here are good questions to ask.
If food were as scarce and expensive as healthcare currently is (consider a post-nuclear dystopian future), would we want the state to make sure everyone has equal access to food?
Alternatively, if healthcare were as cheap and plentiful as food, would we find government's meddling in healthcare excessive?You can also post a similar question about education.
I guess when construing what kind of state we want, we can't ignore facts about cost and scarcity.
But this whole discussion also makes you think that if somehow we could make healthcare as cheap and plentiful as food, we could also accept that the state has less of a duty to provide it to its citizens.