Volume 23, Issue 1, Spring 2009
Why Mainstream Conservatives Should Support Government-Mandated Universal Health Care
Menzel and Light have argued that the conservative principle of self-sufficiency gives good reasons to strive for universal health coverage. This paper gives further reasons for connecting universal health care with self-sufficiency and continues Menzel’s and Light’s project in four more ways. First, a more extended analysis of a conservative conception of government shows how a general opposition to welfare programs is consistent with guaranteeing universal basic health care. Second, common fears about the abuse of health care when universal access is guaranteed are unfounded. Third, worldwide experience shows that the most effective way to bring high quality health care to a population is through a government mandate, not the free market. Fourth, while socioeconomic status is an important determinant of health independent of the accessibility of health care itself, this does not undermine the case for universal health care based on a minimal, conservative conception of equality of opportunity.