Brandon T. Minister, Staff Writer

Some of my friendships make sense; my friends and I do or like the same things. Others, though, make less sense. Still, regardless of our differences, I value these friends. No matter how far apart we are on many issues, I think the world of them.

Yet these friends don’t always feel the same way. I lost one friend by questioning President Obama’s qualification for the Nobel Prize. I might have lost another with a Facebook status update. I innocently posted a link to an article in The Atlantic by Megan McArdle. The article points out that mortality statistics don’t seem to support the idea that there are Americans currently dying for want of health care coverage.

Immediately a friend of mine posted an emotional comment in response. This is my friend who, despite my overlooking her volunteering with ACORN, can’t overlook my listening to Rush Limbaugh.

I could backtrack, begging her forgiveness, but I decided instead to respond to the issue at hand: Should some people’s high health insurance costs require others to pay the bills?

I knew I stood to lose another friend, but I figured I was better off finding out how much of a true friend my friends really were.

What I wrote was that life is a terminal event, or, to get all Jim Morrison on you, no one here gets out alive. That fact imposes costs on all of us. We might not like this condition of mortality, but we have no way to escape it.

To dodge some of these costs, we sometimes incur other costs, which we call “health care.” To talk about whether health care should have costs is misguided, even somewhat juvenile. Costs are what are given to get something, and there’s nothing on earth that can be had without foregoing something else. The only question to ask is, “Who should bear those costs?”

There are two simple answers: the individual seeking health care, or someone else. If your answer is “someone else,” I would ask two additional questions: who and why?

Those who advocate for government involvement in health care would answer the first question with “Those who can afford it,” and answer the second question with “Because they can afford it.”

And now the debate is completely off the rails, because making statements about what others can and cannot afford is just guesswork fueled by envy.

How can you know what someone else can afford? And who’s to say that, when made to finance the health care of others, these people will continue to make the life decisions that will enable them to “afford” the bill in the first place?

We hear a lot of complaining about the current economy, but why — given these economic conditions — would we want to increase the tax on productivity right now?

As bad as this idea seems from the payer’s perspective, the biggest problem with this solution is what it does to the other side of the equation. How expensive will health care be when everyone is getting care paid for by “someone else”? If you’re unsure how to answer this question, just ask yourself how expensive your dinner entrée is when someone tells you “I’m buying”?

No one denies that health care costs are rising faster than we want, and faster than most other sectors of the economy. But the proposed solution, to further remove those placing the orders from those picking up the tab, is prescribing more of the cause in hopes that, eventually, it will become a cure. It is akin to someone trying to smoke the cancer out of his lungs.

If there is so much national outrage at the costs of health care, why is it limited only to the monetary costs? Surely most health care costs can’t be put in dollar terms.

When my newborn son had heart surgery, I got hopelessly behind in a college class and ended up failing. I repeated the class without the worry of an infant cardiac case and I earned an A, but the F was still on my transcript. No doubt it played a role in determining which graduate schools admitted me, which will impact my future salary for the rest of my life.

Is this a cost of health care? I would argue that, in the end, the biggest cost of my son’s heart surgery will be the lost wages I would have earned had he been healthy. Why is there no talk of spreading that cost around?

I can complain about it, but I know that a modern American complaining about anything is unbecoming.

For most of the world’s population, when they lie down at night and dream of being rich, what they imagine is not half as nice as your living conditions.

The health care debate is just basic avarice made civil with a patina of government sanction. While few among us would respond to our neighbor having more cars than we think he “should” by stealing one whenever we need a ride, many among us have no problem with the result if the government does the stealing for us.

When was the last time you responded to a large medical bill by breaking into your neighbor’s house and stealing his TV? If you would feel bad about that, why do you not feel bad about the government taking the cost of the TV out of your neighbor’s paycheck for you?

Government, as a representation of all citizens, has no right to perform any task that a single citizen in the absence of government has no right to perform on his own. If I never have a right to your property, I can’t charge my government to lay claim to your property.

Those who favor reform call their opponents greedy, while it is the reformers themselves who are after what they have no right to take.

Health care’s problem is that it is emotional. When the patient is our kin, we rankle at those who would dare raise issues like “cost-benefit analyses.” But your tragedy is your friend’s sad story, your friend’s friend’s gossip, and everyone else’s statistic.

This doesn’t mean we’re bad people; it means we’re human. We have tragedies of our own. Reformers aren’t fighting against special privilege or immoral capitalism.

They’re fighting against the line from The Princess Bride, “Life is pain.” We who oppose them are those who remember the rest of the line: “Anyone who says differently is selling something.”