Letter to the Editor: Response to the Moral Argument

In this paper, and among other sources, I have read the claim that the most moral action would be the passage of universal healthcare; and while, from the perspective of some it would indeed seem to be a moral imperative to ensure that the less well off are cared for, it is difficult to claim that the most moral action is a government run program.

From a certain perspective, what is deemed moral is that which is seen as the “greatest good for the greatest number of people.” Though the act of passing universal healthcare is done with great moral intentions, it will ultimately impact the greatest number of individuals more negatively over time, and will serve to help the fewest at inception.

What negative impact would such a program have on a greater portion of society than that which it is designed to serve? Simply, its costs will become increasingly astronomical and undeniably unaffordable over time, and in such a way as to cause catastrophic collapse unless a change is made in expenditures or in tax collection.

And while we are, in sum total, the wealthiest nation on earth, a great deal of this wealth is built on debt, from the car or house many own to the ever increasing debt of the federal government built year after year on deficit spending for various social programs and military expeditions.

This is not to say that those less well off should be left to wallow in misery; it is simply the role of societal institutions, and not government, to ensure individuals are cared for, and seemingly the most moral way. And so from this interpretation of morality it is difficult to say whether the passage of a government program designed to assist such a small percentage of the population is truly the most moral path to take.

But, of course, the issue of morality is complicated. Our tradition of governance is not; it is about negative liberty, or rather what the government will not do in order to maintain an individual’s right to life, liberty, and private property.

Passage of universal health care, or the passage of a similar program, diminishes this tradition by creating a sense of entitlement in a population looking for positive liberty—or what the government will provide—at the expense of an individual’s right to property, by increasing taxes, and the liberty one enjoys when deciding how to provide their own health and wellness, by supplanting that with a system designed to mandate what qualifies as quality care rather than that which is based on an individual’s needs.

Mike Mattner
Benton Harbor, MI