Jul 29, 2009

Give 'Em Hell

On Obamacare.

Via Instapundit.

I believe we should take care of the sick and the infirm. I think we do that fairly well. We would probably do it even better without Medicare, without insurance tied to employment, and with a better national market vs. state regulation. That being said, this bill is going to be a disaster and it's line in the sand time. I say this as someone married to a healthcare provider too.

Update: Meagan McArdle on why any central health care solution is likely bad.


Paul said...

How do we help Americans who have no health care? Please tell me because I do not know .

Holmes said...

Most people have health care- just not health insurance (which really isn't insurance- it's sort of a hybrid of prepackaged care and actual insurance). If I go to the emergency room, they have to accept me. Therefore, I have health care. If I declare bankruptcy because I owe too much money on health care, I had health care, I'm just legally bankrupt.

We can provide it in the same way we provide any other service- provide it directly. Free up the regular health care market by ridding ourselves of medicaid and medicare. Here is an article in Reason about how the market would lower costs: http://www.reason.com/news/show/135081.html

After that took place, we could provide a direct subsidy for the real market-based insurance program, direct health care costs or both. That would raise the costs overall, but I still think it would be less expensive than our current system.

And there's always charities- if we had donated all $500 million it took to get Obama elected into a health care charity pot- I think we would take care of a lot of the people inbetween insurance programs (private and public) right now.

We also need to stop free-for-all immigration. We're already paying for their emergency room care (a loophole many have taken advantage of already and begun bankrupting hospitals). I'm not sure how this isn't an enormous part of this debate- that's 20 million people, most uninsured, who will now be on the rolls directly.

Anyway, those are a few disjointed thoughts. Sorry, Paul :)

Holmes said...

I think the debate has been framed as "What can government do for you?" and once we accept that premise, it just becomes a conversation about how much it will cost. But really the question should be "What can government stop doing that would make the system better?"

Paul said...

Holmes what about bringing Insurance prices into line ?

Holmes said...

The Reason article shows the only way to do that. The "public option" would only bring the prices "into line" at some other cost- quality, quantity, time, talent, etc. Prices are prices. But probably the largest wedge is the distortion caused by the existing public programs, which underfund procedures, and which costs are then shifted to the privately insured. Because of the sheer size of medicare/medicaid, I imagine these costs are far greater than those imposed by the uninsured population.

And what price do we put on the loss of choice we'll have when the public option becomes the only option and when the only option is governed by bureaucrats who decide what is "comparatively effective"?