Expanding free health care for a population that, of its own volition, makes poor lifestyle choices, will not increase productivity.
When we lived in the USA ( I keep bringing this Country up because we saw it close up and it is probably the benchmark for the western world lifetyle
What I observed was an enormous representation in their population of what I loosely term "penguins". The majority of the population.
These are yer average folk living normal lives, following the crowd, listening to any popular opinion, following any trend, being led about by advertising and Gubbmint rhetoric/proaganda, consuming into oblivion. They are living the life of least resistence; less effort in all aspects of living.
Not that this or consuming is wrong; we all do it, but the majority doesn't have the balance, hence they are mostly broke - lots of credit cards, little savings/investments - mutual funds forced upon them out of their ignorance notwithstanding. These are not an investment; it's merely a savings fund for those who want to invest but can't be bothered doing the harder yards. Exercise is hard; dieting is hard; cooking takes time and so on - so they don't do it. Sorry; a leisurely stroll around the block with the dog is kidding yourself.
Their lifestyle decisions are also out of balance and mostly destructive over there (and here); the majority already have blindly succumbed to the habit of listening to fast-food giant's advertising, and live their lives eating only the takeaway diet, the soft drink. Smoking and drugs (despite all the readily available info warning of the dangers
Their lives are sedentry; computer games, Nintendo, XBox, WII. They drive 2 blocks to the milkbar for milk - you know the story. Again; this is not all, but most. Their kids will mostly follow the patterns of their parents.
To further qualify these statements, some of you might know that my wife is a theatre nurse of some 15 years, and I also worked as a nurse assistant in a public hospital ICU for 3 years. Between us, and all our health care industry friends, we see the really sick folk. The end result of a life of no balance. Except for the trauma victims, the majority were/are self inflicted bad health recipients - obesity related issues, smoking issues, heart attack - diet issues and so on. Amazingly, many of them and their relatives/friends are flabbergasted as to how they could end up with suck bad luck to be in the ICU. It's just not fair
Now, give these people free health care, and you let them off the hook of responsibility for their own actions even more. You now have a reason not to bother being healthy; the cycle continues and grows. And if you can further improve the situation by freely suing a doctor who makes a mistake....woohooo!
The biggest cause of bankruptcy in the USA is medical bills, and their health care costs are ridiculous (due to malpractice insurance premiums). And don't fool yourself to believe that it won't happen here. We already have many obstetricians closing their doors due to malpractice insurance costs. One guy we know here in Aus who is still practicing has a $1k per day premium. The ones left will simply pass on that cost to us. Our health insurance will adjust to cover it - at a higher premium and less cover. See a pattern?
After having said all this, I actually support free health care for the masses.
They have it in France, and this is a relatively healthy Country. But the difference there is attitude; most of their population have a pride in appearance, a pride in their culinary history. They eat better and look after themselves better.
For some reason Aussies and Yanks don't seem to care about their appearance, the cost of living on junk food, and ultimately their health. We now have 2/3 of our adult population overweight.
So, the answer is not in free healthcare; it's in our education and attitude - taight at the primary school level (and younger) by the parents and teachers. The Gubbmint could also help - instead of shelling out heaps for grants to lame lefty projects to study the mating habits of the common sparrow or whatever.
End of rant; off to Maccas for brekky