Wednesday, May 23, 2007

TANSTAAFL: Health care episode 82

Another day, another load of nonsense regarding single-payer health care systems. Nicholas Kristof can be counted on to regurgitate leftist canards like a drunken frat boy at a keg party.

I sent this to the Raleigh News & Observer:
Nicholas Kristof, in arguing for a single-payer health care system, explains that the current U.S. system is inefficient because 31 percent of spending goes to administrative costs. He, like many socialized health care advocates, is fixated on monetary costs.

As economist Tyler Cowen explained in a recent New York Times piece, when patients don't directly pay for health care they will demand extra services. Private insurers will spend money to monitor these services to make sure they are not allocated indiscriminately. A single-payer system would have to deal with the same pressures, and, as evidence from other countries shows, the government will require patients to wait for care or not provide it at all. So the costs still exist; they are just non-monetary and are borne by individual patients.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The "Rube Goldberg" plan

To the Raleigh News & Observer
The John Edwards plan for America's health care system consists of a single-payer initiative run by the government, and an apparent market initiative with plans provided by private companies. According to Mr. Edwards, "the idea is to determine whether Americans actually want a private insurer or whether they would rather have a government-run...single-payer plan." The details of this plan, however, make me think that this "contest" is rigged.

His plan would force everyone in America to be covered, force employers to fund employee plans in one fashion or another, and force health insurance companies to cover certain services and provide a "fair" price for those services. Calling this a market-based approach stretches the language beyond any Orwellian measure. Both supply and demand would be coerced into a "play" market within which market signals would be prevented from properly allocating scarce resources.

This plan would be better termed the "Rube Goldberg" health care plan - a complex system with the simple purpose of getting Mr. Edwards elected.