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I am HIV+: Capitalism is a better alternative for medicine

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Being on the right side of the political spectrum can often present unexpected challenges. Unlike those on the left, we are not particularly interested in manufacturing the perfect society. The left is utterly obsessed with manipulating every possible contingency in order to protect an idealized outcome. As a result, society ends up with overwhelming and stifling regulation under the guise of security and fairness.

A good example of this is my personal situation of being HIV+. This particular disease is characterized by both positive longevity and a sense of control, and a fairly exhausting daily regimen and awareness of limitation. You are also keenly aware that your disease is different than say, someone with cancer. I refer to this as a ‘PC disease,’ because it carries a great deal of political and social consequence behind it. I do not simply have a chronic illness I must manage; I represent a concept and a reflection of how our society treats its most vulnerable.

In my opinion, HIV introduces two main obstacles to the conceptual nature of conservatism versus liberal intervention.

The left has created a paradox in which society must create and distribute astoundingly complex and highly skilled labor while maintaining a system in which all individuals can access said labor for little to no cost. As a result, our healthcare system is ridiculously complex, bloated, expensive, wasteful and unpredictable. To make matters worse, the left has insisted on presenting the very concept of ‘healthcare’ as an absolute right owed to every human being. The right reasonably understands that healthcare is a network of specialty businesses requiring a great deal of personal investment in education and development of new technologies. We do not expect brilliant work to be done for pennies.

HIV care is remarkably expensive. My personal medications cost nearly $5,500 per month. The shifting political winds, along with the unstable economy, recently placed me in a position where my monthly copay could have been $50.00 total, or $1,600.00. Had my state passed a different budget I simply would not have been able to afford my medications on my own. The Ryan White CARE Act provides federal funding for HIV/AIDS care, which I would have been forced to rely on.

Since there is no market influence on my prescriptions due to patents and the middleman of insurance companies, there is no way for me, as a consumer, to challenge the market in my favor. I have limited choices, and I simply don’t have the option to shop around to make the best choice.

This reality makes opposing federal intervention complicated at best and hypocritical at worst for me, considering I am essentially at their mercy if I want to continue living.

For me, as a conservative, I find this question challenging. I often benefit from the intervention of the government and liberal demands for specialized protections. I also oppose them intellectually. The problem is none of it works out well on paper, let alone in the real world. I believe this is a vital exercise for all people on the right side of the spectrum to consider and appreciate. How do our ideals impact the real world, and how do we penetrate an already fully liberalized and government-dependent society? How do you talk to someone like me in everyday life, when your reasonable and logical solutions to large problems have the potential of greatly and negatively impacting my sense of security?

Consider that while we know why conservative ideas, liberty, and freedom work, the challenge is convincing others that their ideas of security may not.

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