Monday, May 11, 2009

What’s 17%, Wasteful, Inefficient, and Bound to Reshape America?

Government-run healthcare, that’s what. Obama and his apparatchiks in Congress are about to bog down America with another long-term entitlement program. As if social security and Medicare weren’t enough.

The end result of this will be to transfer about 17% of the American private sector to the government sector as healthcare companies are phased out. Of course, in the beginning, you can keep your current health insurance. It’s just that you will have the option to pay less for taxpayer subsidized government insurance. It’s expected that people will prefer to pay less, in the short term. In the long term, we all pay more because government funded anything is not manna from heaven. GOVERNMENT GOODIES COME FROM YOU THE TAXPAYER! IT IS NOT “FREE”. There is no free lunch. And in the end you will ultimately get what you pay for.

There are at least two reasons why healthcare is not an efficient market: (1) People who use most of the services, particularly the elderly on fixed incomes or those in dire straits, do not ultimately pay the full cost of those services; and (2) medical technology and discovery is expensive but it saves lives and is hard to deny to people in life and death situations just because they may not be able to pay.

Thus, there is probably a need to have some form of government intervention unless people are willing to pay the full cost themselves or they are willing to let family members die and forego potential new technologies and drugs because of the expense. Neither is realistic. The government intervention should be more to create incentives for the private market to fix these situations. They should be stop-gap measures. These inefficiencies do not call for a radical complete overhaul of everything. So we’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

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