Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Public Health Care Bubble?

When people talk about public health care, whether it is single payer, an optional government plan or just subsidized private insurance, at the simplest level all require some people to pay more than they normally would so that others don't have to pay as much as they normally would. Since the government has no money of its own it will have to pay for it via taxes or borrowing--which is simply a deferred tax. This is, of course, blindingly obvious.

What proponents avoid talking about is the violence at the core of this calculus.

The people who have to pay more have no option. If they do not pay they will get a stern letter from the government, followed by a court date, followed by policemen coming to their house if they do not appear and submit to the court’s judgment. If they use force to defend themselves against the policemen who are breaking into their home, they will very likely be shot down. Public health care, in other words, is funded at the point of a gun. The use of violence is the central issue, not what good might potentially happen as the result of violence.*

If you really want to reduce the cost of health care, not prop up the inflated, corporate and government subsidized insurance companies and student loan inflated doctors who think they are gods on earth, all medical practitioners should be allowed to advertise prices and successful outcome rates and licensing and certification should be handled by competing private agencies, not the AMA cartel. If you take those steps the cost of health care will plummet and going to a doctor would cost more along the lines of car repairs or hiring a plumber.

Instead, now that the government subsidized housing/financial bubble has popped we might very well be blowing up a heath care bubble by maintaining corporate medicine with its current insane pricing structure and business model rather than allowing competition, the free flow of information and reduced barriers to entry to drive down the cost of medicine the way every other high tech industry has been able to do.

Instead, politically motivated legislation and tax policy will continue to steer wealth out of the pockets of the middle class into the coffers of Wall Street all the while pretending to help the poor till it all falls apart again and everyone says nobody could have seen it coming.

What till they start selling derivatives on medical savings accounts and credit default swaps on group insurance funds.

*Kudos to Stefan Molyneux for framing that argument so well.

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