I have been listening to the healthcare debate for some time, and it seems a bit ridiculous on all sides. Some not-so random thoughts on the subject . . . .
New Legislation will Cover All. The media has said there are 46 million uninsured Americans. One thing that the media fails to ask is, "Yeah, but do these 45 Million want to have insurance?" After college, there was a time where I did not have health insurance. I could have had it, but I chose not to have it. I was young, healthy and I had no assets to protect. Why exactly would I need health insurance? And I am sure many Americans are thinking the same thing. Sure, there are some people who don't have health insurance because they can't afford it, but most have looked about how they spend their money and have decided to do other things with their money. Health insurance was not that important to them.
Sure, society as a whole pays for this. And sure, if healthcare was truly free, this would be great. But we are just shifting costs.
New Legislation will Reduce Healthcare Costs. I don't think it is the government's job to reduce healthcare costs (and the Dems are talking about efficiencies and cost reductions). I mean, as long as the government is concerned with the costs of products for me, why not work on reducing costs of my iPod, computer, car, and so forth. And someone may say that the government already manipulates food prices (we pay farmers not to grow certain crops), gas and oil prices (the government's strategic oil reserve impacts prices; so do our foreign relations), and now prices for automobiles (cash for clunkers will pull automobiles out of the market, and also increase demand which should make prices go up).
New Legislation will Make Healthcare More Efficient. See above. I am not sure it is the government's business to make any industry more efficient. The government did not enact child labor laws because the twelve-year-old factory workers were inefficient; they did so to protect children. And I am not sure I want some government bureaucrat tell hospitals how to be efficient. Think about it: the government is telling us that they can make something more efficient. When you think of government, is the word "efficiently" the first thing you think? Probably not.
New Legislation contains Death Panels. This is one of the coolest aspect of the new legislature. The phrase "Death Camps" sounds efficient, spooky and something that would lend itself to reality television. I can see this now: in order to underwrite the new healthcare legislation, the government will allow one station to televise these death panel reviews. The only problem is that these words aren't even in the legislation. I mean, we don't think these words are in the legislation – most legislators have not read it, and neither has anyone else. Someone can read Harry Potter in two days, no problem, but cannot real legislation that will have a trillion dollar difference to our government budget.
Even if I think we should reform healthcare now and have the government involved, I am not at all confident that our elected officials are smart enough to do this rationally.
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