I was poking around the web the other day, and came across this article, which features this remarkable statement in its close:
And [the failure of healthcare reform to advance along the author’s preferred lines] means that America’s industrial corporations will continue to suffer from a competitive disadvantage with manufacturers based in civilized countries where health care is considered a public trust and a right and the government pays the bill.
For me, this raised, as they say, all kinds of questions.
If we “re-form” the U.S. healthcare system:
- Is the new system supposed to provide more or less total healthcare to the United States than the old?
- If less, will not this likely be a change for the worse from the standpoint of the sick?
- If more (or even the same amount) of healthcare is provided, is it reasonable to assume that a ‘single-payer’ system (i.e. the government) will provide services at a lower cost than the current, more-or-less-free-market system? (Remember that this is the same gov’t that brought you the $200 DoD hammer.)
- Since the gov’t produces nothing (it merely collects and spends other people’s money) won’t any new healthcare regime that provides the same or a higher level of care than we enjoy today consume a larger portion of our economy, albeit in taxes rather than direct spending?
- If we’re spending, as a society, the same or more money on healthcare, doesn’t an assumption that businesses will pay less imply that the individual citizen pays more?
- Since when has the rallying cry of the left been: “Citizens should subsidize business expenses!”?
Of course, one could always suppose that a centrally-planned and administered healthcare system will be so much more efficient than our current distributed one that it will be able to provide the same (or a higher) level of care at a reduced price, and that this lower price will simultaneously reduce the apparent costs of healthcare to both businesses and individuals. Also: no rationing!
If one believes this, one has a lot more faith in the power of central planning than I do. I think centrally-planned systems tend more towards inefficiency at best, and cronyism and corruption in the typical case. I’d rather not deal with either when I’m feeling under the weather.