Sheldon Richman has a good FEE piece on why Obama’s rhetoric about “competition” and “choice” and “options” in health care is just a lot of smoke up your ass. It’s important to note that this is not a debate over a new “socialist” reform of what is a currently “market” system. He writes,
what Obama proposes is more of what we already labor under: corporate-state bureaucratic decision-making. The status quo is not the free market. It is a system of government-business collusion that, among other things, welds workers to their employers. Obama’s scheme would simply be more of the same. The reason Big Pharma and Big Insurance favor the scheme is that everyone would be forced to buy their products or coverage for their products, with the taxpayers picking up most of the tab.
The statement that our system “welds workers to their employers” jumped out at me, since it is yet another sounding of the Procrustean Theme.
It’s also a good time to revisit an article about why big business loves big government, written from a non-libertarian perspective.
And over at EconTalk, David Brady had an interesting perspective on why we can’t have a European-style system and why any “reform” in America is bound to displease everybody. The countries that have nationalized health care mostly got into the game just after World War II, ironically when prices were low and competition was high compared to now. But their systems worked by excluding a great deal of options to consumers of health services and, in a Crisis and Leviathan sort of “ratchet effect”, people got used to that. They did not clamor for choice, unlike Americans, who felt- and need to feel- like they had lots of options even as our bastard half-cartelized medical economy saw prices going up and up. Hence Obama’s appeal to market virtues like competition, acting as if the government were just another firm on the market (and in the corporatist context, they sort of are).
And finally, Roderick T. Long on a previous health care “crisis” that was “solved” by the government.
P.S.- If you’ve happened to stumble upon this post and are annoyed or offended by its stubborn attempt to derail the humanitarian efforts of the White House to bring about Universal Coverage, they have made it easy for you to drop the dime on me and my little blog. From Whitehouse.gov:
There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to email@example.com.
Don’t you worry about ratting me out. A Terrible Blogger thinks that no publicity is bad publicity, and would love to have someone from the Washington power elite follow his ramblings and ravings. In the crowd I hang with, my status can only go up!