Friday, December 07, 2007

Socialized Medicine

According to this article, Hillary Clinton's health care proposal uses many of the bad ideas Republicans have suggested.

Like Romney's and Schwarzenegger's proposals, HillaryCare 2.0 also pretends to be based on competition, choice, private insurance, and universal coverage.

What's wrong with such principles? Nothing, in and of themselves. But as we have seen time and again, these principles cannot be engineered by a government bureaucracy.

Case in point: In the 1990s, Tennessee dramatically expanded its Medicaid program, allowing individuals making as much as $100,000 a year to sign up. The results nearly busted the state's budget, despite strong economic growth at the time.

Government-run health care around the world has produced similar failures. In Britain, waiting times for treatment grow longer, while patients suffer from serious conditions, so much so that some Brits have taken to pulling their own teeth.

In Canada, health-care rationing has sent citizens fleeing south of the border for needed cures. Yet even as Canada exports its medical problems into America, some deluded American politicians want to bring Canada's price controls into the United States through a "forced sale" drug reimportation law. Ironically, these price controls are responsible for many of Canada's health-care problems to begin with.

Massachusetts and California will soon face similar problems. And so will Hillary's proposal, if it ever becomes law.

The reason is simple. Any program that codifies health care as a public good -- granting all residents a legal entitlement to consume as much as they want, whenever they want, all at low prices -- is soon overburdened by the inevitable cost overruns, shortages, and shoddy service that result when everyone gets a "free lunch."

The tragedy of the commons.


KauaiMark said...

As someone who has been trying to qualify for coverage, all I'm seeing is a continual litany of "coverage declined" letters.

At least "universal" would mean that we might get at least one "coverage accepted" letter.

Bob said...

The only thing worse than the tragedy of the commons is the tragedy of the comments, wherein clueless people can spout pointless opinions about your post. (I rest my case.)