The Morality of a Single Payer Health Care System


He is clearly saying that it is perfectly legitimate for a government to demand that taxes be paid. Jesus does not discuss redistribution at all. Indeed, taxes during the Roman occupation were likely to be highly redistributive, being redistributed back to Rome. Yet Jesus does not condemn this redistribution. Indeed, we have 2000 years of Church teaching and there has not been any Church teaching that condemns redistributive taxes.


He’s saying go ahead and pay them. So am I. But He is in no way saying the government is acting in a moral way. He is saying pay the tax, but He is not confiriit morality.


Confrating the issue. We are not in disagreement that we are obliged to pay the taxes. Just like if the SCOTUS says bakers and others must service gay marriages against their religion, they should obey the law. At the same time , they should post a sign stating their religious opposition to such an event.
I’m “posting that sign”. Pay your taxes. Render unto Caesar. But it is immoral to take someone’s property against their will and give it to another.


Is it immoral to accept property taken from someone else against their will? For example, are Medicare and Social Security recipients acting immorally by accepting those benefits? Clearly, they come from the confiscated property of others, so are they an accessory to theft?


=“LeafByNiggle, post:579, topic:447347, full:true”]
Yes, you have said this, but the reasoning you give is that taxing to to give to the poor is theft. But you misused the word “theft” because “theft” only applies when something is taken from you without legal authority.

While I am making no comparison of the severity, that argument could have been and was used by slave holders. Ignoring the chattel property aspect, slave owners took the labor of their slaves against their will. Indentured servitude was of a similar arrangement.

Here is were the legal and moral meet. The fact that the acting of taxing you is legal is the very fact that makes it not theft. And if it isn’t theft, your argument that it is immoral is gone.

Again, you are conflating the issue. Taxation is legal. Even federal usurpation of powers not enumerated is not the issue. The issue is is it moral to confiscate the property of one person to give it to another? It is immoral.

Your comparisons to charity are irrelevant because taxing you to give to the poor is not claimed to be charity.

That’s not true. People who oppose government wealth redistribution are often accused of lacking charity and compassion. If it isn’t charity, it isn’t uncharitable to oppose it.

So the fact that it is not voluntary is irrelevant. It doesn’t have to be voluntary to be both legal and moral.

From a standpoint of morality, the coercion involved is relevant. In fact, that is the only morality question involved. Is it moral to take property and the fruits of someone’s labor at the point of a gun and give it to another? It might be legal, but it isn’t moral or scriptural.


If someone pays no “contribution” in, yes, but if someone pays the "premiums " with the promise that they will receive compensation back is not. If government takes those contributions and spends it on other things, that is immoral, but it doesn’t impact the expectation of a return as generally promised.
Money is fungible, but if someone paid into Social Security for 45 years, they are being paid back the money paid in.


You are totally wrong. Social Security recipients are not getting their own money back. They are no different than Bernie Madeoff investors. It would be immoral to tax working people to give benefits to Bernie’s investors, just as it is immoral to tax working people to give money and insurance to seniors. Also, SS and medicare are redistributive, and so that aspect of the program makes them immoral according to your standards. I hope you never accept either benefit because you have no right to demand that others sacrifice for you.


This is a vicious misrepresentation of the facts, and a slanderous accusation against millions who had o choice but to pay in, promised they would receive a retirement benefit.

Also, SS and medicare are redistributive, and so that aspect of the program makes them immoral according to your standards. I hope you never accept either benefit because you have no right to demand that others sacrifice for you.

In fact, the cap on contributions represents an attempt to keep it non-redistributive. I will, when the time comes, demand my money back, the money I am owed, taken against my will.

I don’t defend the system, which is an excellent example of why we shouldn’t turn healthcare over to government, but I do demand my money back. To say it isn’t my money is a lie.


No facts were misrepresented. You have no right to demand that current workers sacrifice for you. Social security and Medicare are welfare programs. You have no property rights in either program.


Yes it is, and it is a vicious, malicious misrepresentation. I am demanding nothing of current workers. I am demanding my money. The Democrats who devised these programs said they were not welfare. Now, Democratic politicians are known best for lying and oppressing people, but that was the promise made. If you don’t like it, don’t blame the workers whose money is now held by government. You remember the trust fund, right? You know what a trust fund is, Right? Money held IN TRUST!!


It is a vicious lie to pretend that it is anything other than a welfare program. It is a welfare program that takes from those who work and gives to those who won’t work. Medicare part D is a pure welfare program. Nobody paid any taxes yet they received benefits. It is clearly immoral to accept Medicare part d under your standards.

Also. The government spent your money. It is your fault for electing bad politicians who lied to you.


My morality guide - The Catechism - handles this quite easily in paragraph 2242:

The citizen is obliged in conscience not to follow the directives of civil authorities when they are contrary to the demands of the moral order, to the fundamental rights of persons or the teachings of the Gospel. Refusing obedience to civil authorities, when their demands are contrary to those of an upright conscience, finds its justification in the distinction between serving God and serving the political community. “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” “We must obey God rather than men”

That makes slavery immoral even when it is legal. So my argument stands, unless you can show that taxing you to give to the poor is contrary to the demands of the moral order or the fundamental rights of persons, or the teachings of the Gospel. And you can’t fall back to calling such taxation “theft” because that is what you are trying to prove. You don’t want to be circular, do you?

Other than your using the word confiscate instead of collect, you are describing taxation, which as I have shown is moral. Just using loaded words to describe it does not make it immoral.



My argument has nothing to do with accusing anyone of lacking charity. That is a deflection.

I don’t care if it charitable or uncharitable to oppose it. I am only talking about whether it is moral for the government to do it. You are changing the subject.

Another loaded word - coercion. You can establish something is immoral just by picking words with immoral overtones. What you are calling coercion is just government using legitimate force to enforce the law. Government also coerces you to keep your speed below 25 MPH in a residential neighborhood. And they will confiscate your property if you continue to disobey, and in the extreme case you could even lose your liberty to walk around free. And it would all be both legal and moral. So just using the words coercion and confiscation does not prove your point.

I won’t venture in the “scriptural” question because anyone can devise an off-the-wall interpretation of something in scripture to support whatever they want. But as for moral, yes unless it falls under the exception of 2242, if it is legal it is also moral.


I addressed that question in this posting.

The short answer is that not everything that someone chooses to call socialism is condemned by the Church.


The moral question has more to do with the free will the individuals loses . The government wants to call the shots, they claim it’s for you and your well being. Even if it was for your well being and well intended. You didn’t have that choice and ultimately you become subordinate tot the state. Beyond that, how well has the government been able to balance a budget? How about control the national debt? Now we have to believe they can manage a huge healthcare system and control its costs? Really?

That’s the most problematic part about it. If there was a way for the Church or some organization that helped oversee matters especially the moral ones, that may be a better way to go about it, but that’s not the way this system would work. The poor, while believing they’ll benefit the most, doesn’t realize that they are at the mercy of the state, much like they are now, but with healthcare it can be a life and death matter, not just an economic one.


The thing that bothers a lot of us is no one has really proposed a system that would actually work in the people who need it the most, and wouldn’t have even worse side effects (e.g. fostering intentional poverty to stay eligible). I don’t think people who haven’t dealt with chronic health problems really get how bad things could be. Charities are vastly, vastly underfunded - think by a few factors of 10 - compared to the needs. Sure, you can’t get turned down for emergency care, but the legal definition of “emergency” is pretty far past where most people would consider it a need. High-risk pools were a nice idea, but they fell to the same issue. People didn’t want to spend tax money on them when most of them wouldn’t need the pools, so they didn’t have the funds to really help out much.


Listen, DarkLight, you can keep spinning your wheels on this all you like, but it won’t change anything. You’ve essentially been arguing that your situation is so hopeless and dire that only big government can solve it, as though if they’d just give you and everyone else in your situation something it would all work out.

It’s a historical fact that in America (where I assume you live) that as government regs and taxes go down, charity goes up. In fact, people used to help out each other with medical bills in their own communities. Some still do. And yes, it works much better than government because no matter what it looks like, feels like or what has been promised—government has ZERO incentive to care about you and give you the best health care possible. With the government taking over, you have NO choice. They decide, not you.


That’s not any different from where i am now - the only difference right now is that my parents and my employer decide for me rather than the government. I still don’t have any realistic choice, and I’m pretty sure my employer would fire me for the money I’m costing them if the government didn’t stop them from doing it. And I have questions about my parents sometimes (not that I think they don’t care). Heck, I wouldn’t even have been able to get far enough to get that job if it weren’t for the government stepping in and providing healthcare prior to that - I’d still be stuck lying around all day in a friend’s spare room relying on food stamps to eat.

Sure, you say charity goes up, but is it going to go up by a factor of 100 or so? Because I’m pretty sure that’s what would need to happen to effectively cover what’s needed. Keep in mind my 5k or so a year is considered pretty cheap for a chronic condition. Around here I’d be lucky to get 500 a year in charitable assistance. Do you really think it’s going to go up that much if the government just steps out?


That’s not a moral argument. That is a practicality argument, and not a very good one at that. Moral arguments refer to a common moral code, like the Catechism if you are Catholic.

More practicality. I could just as easily ask when has a totally voluntary charity system ever managed to provide modern health care to all who need it? Or perhaps you want to admit that you don’t think everyone should receive the health care they need?

We do have such a system. It is called the voters. If it doesn’t work very well it is because the voters do not take the trouble to take seriously the job of overseeing moral matters.

So how is care that is at the mercy of the state worse than no care at all?

There is ZERO evidence that individual charity alone can provide for all the medical needs in America. We have only the speculative promise from you that if taxes go down, charitable giving will go up enough to meet the need. Show the numbers if you think that wild assertion is true.


There are few people who really believe that charity can provide for all healthcare. The proof is when I suggest that we scrap medicare and let charity give poor seniors healthcare. Those so called defenders of small government start defending big government welfare state programs pretty quickly. Everyone one is for self reliance, when it comes to someone else. For themselves, they want the government dole.

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