Just Pursuits

ethics and economics.

Healthcare: The Problem is Not the Solution

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No one should die because they can’t afford healthcare, but nobody should be forced to work for free, either. I don’t see the government as compassionate; it’s not their money to be compassionate with.

The government should do its job of keeping insurance companies to their contracts (not dropping people when they get sick, denying claims), decrease barriers of entry into the market, open up competition across state lines, and stop giving tax incentives to employers who provide insurance plans instead of wages, which decouples consumers from medical providers and drives up costs. This decoupling effect would be even more pronounced under a government plan, with the costs hidden behind taxes, inflation, and a mound of borrowed funds from China.

It used to be that insurance was actually for insuring against major medical catastrophes, and everything else was affordable out of pocket. Then the government created tax incentives to tie insurance to employment. This created incentives for “insurance” to cover everyday expenses like doctors visits, which in turn drove up the prices of those things. When the government realized medical care was getting too expensive, they encouraged the development of HMOs to try to bring costs down. Now here we are, trying more government fixes to patch up the problems we created. Now your insurance pays for everything, makes your decisions for you, and if you lose your job, you lose your insurance. This has far reaching consequences. People are afraid to switch jobs and are in danger of being left without insurance at all if they have an existing condition and try to purchase a new plan.

Since government can’t handle the job they have now (they don’t need additional legislation to start enforcing contracts), I don’t see why we should expect them to do any better if we give more of the market over to them.

The argument for introducing a public plan to “compete” with private insurance and “level the playing field” is fallacious. If the plan is funded in part by taxpayer dollars, then it is not fair competition. The government plan will win in the market because private insurance companies don’t have the luxury of taking money from the general public non-voluntarily whenever they need it. If, on the other hand, the public plan does not use taxpayer money, then it should be a non-issue. The people who want a non-profit insurance company can go out and start one without the need for any legislation.

Unless of course the government has set the barriers of entry so high that that’s impossible, which I wouldn’t be surprised considering their apparent love affair with the established insurance companies.

We all need medical care, but we also all need food, clothing, and shelter. The world has seen the horrors of centrally planned food and housing provision. Why should the medical market be any different? Competition, individual rights, freedom of choice, and an understanding of the good ‘ol laws of supply & demand are the answer here.

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Written by mikeikon

October 2, 2009 at 7:26 am

Posted in healthcare

Tagged with , ,

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