Dr. James J. Mongan writes,

After 30 years of waging the battle for broader health insurance, I am convinced the debate over universal coverage is more about values than it is about specific plans. If the resources were made available, we could easily develop a plan. We should focus on the question of what happened to social justice in an era of moral values. We should all look in the mirror.

His point is that our moral values are off kilter because we will not raise taxes to pay for universal health care coverage.

It is true that there are many people who do not health care coverage, including a large number of families with incomes over $50,000 who do not choose to buy health insurance. It strikes me, however, that we do not necessarily need to raise taxes in order to re-orient the public’s values.

We could make catastrophic health insurance mandatory, which would be sort of like taxing them to pay for their own health insurance. Redistributing income to poor people by raising taxes on the affluent could be treated as a separate issue.

It does not strike me as a matter of social justice that everyone, regardless of their level of affluence, must have taxpayer-financed health care. I can understand why a physician might be in favor of that. As an economics teacher, I might like to see taxes raised to pay for everyone to learn economics. But I see this as more a matter of narrow self-interest than “social justice.”

Thanks to Don Boudreaux for the pointer.

For Discussion. Why do people prefer that “social justice” be carried out with other people’s money via taxes than with their own money via charitable contributions?