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If the Government Can’t Manage Elections, It Sure Shouldn’t Manage Health Care

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

If government can’t accomplish the task of properly counting ballots in a timely manner, it is not capable of managing our health care system.

It has been more than 48 hours since the polls closed. Yet we are still unclear who won the presidential election, and several other races. If this year has taught us anything, it is that government inefficiency has been exposed, which is inspiring demand for more freedom and less government.


The greatest lifeline we have is our health. Putting that in the hands of government is a risk we should not take. Just look at a snapshot of government’s track record: infrastructure in many states is crumblinggovernment schools have failed to educate our children, and government safety nets, such as Social Security, are bankrupt.

Although government performs poorly in far too many areas, there is still a push to put the over-funded, underachieving bureaucracy in charge of ever more, including health care.

History shows that applying free market principles increases competition, lowers costs, produces better products, and results in unimagined innovations. This spontaneous order, known as American ingenuity, is something government has tried to replicate, yet can’t.

A great example of what socialized medicine would look like is the experience my dad went through when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. My dad experienced what it is like to not have control over his health care. Hospitals and surgery centers canceled all elective surgeries, per government edict.

On March 13, 2020 U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams strongly advised that all elective surgeries be postponed. This included a variety of cancer surgeries and transplants.


There was no timeline as to when the directive would end or why in places like Scott County, Iowa, where there were zero patients hospitalized for COVID-19, this directive was in place.

After crying from frustration, we sought help. We made calls to every hospital and politician I could think of, yet no luck. Fortunately, after writing into a local paper about my father’s situation, a physician reached out to recommend an alternative to surgery, which in my father’s case, was the best option for him at the time.

For others who were left with no options, this was a glimpse of what a nationalized health care system would look like. It showed us what could happen when bureaucrats determine health care policy. My father’s experience exposes the flaws at the heart of socialized medicine, as well as what happens when people are stripped of their precious freedom.

The idea that a small group of administrators have the ability, let alone knowledge, to make decisions that impact 330 million people is deeply flawed.

The smallest minority on earth is the individual. We are all incredibly different. The Founders understood this, which is why they took such pains to protect our liberty.


Living in the most diverse (and prosperous) country in the history of the world is a blessing, but also requires the government to realize its shortcomings.

A wise man once said, “that which governs least, governs best.” We should apply this maxim more than we currently do, by allowing individuals to make decisions for themselves, especially regarding their health care.

Christina Herrin ( is the government relations manager of Health Policy at The Heartland Institute, a non-partisan, free-market think tank headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

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