15 August 2008

Health Care at the DMV

Is This the Future of Health Care?

The debate over having the government run health care is ramping over at Yglesias' blog. He argues that government agencies such as the military are well functional, therefore it is not inconceivable that a new bureaucracy of health care administrators employed by the federal government could be just as effective and respected institution.

1) Comparing the military to any other American agency is a bit of a fallacy, since being in the service requires a surrender of many rights (freedom of speech, freedom to quit your job, etc.) for the sake of forming a cohesive unit. It is also deeply rooted in tradition and already well-respected by American society, which is a selling point for "signing up". Does Mr. Yglesias really think that employees filing medical claims would be lined up out the door at the recruiting station for this new monstrosity of a government program?

2) Supposing Yglesias just mentioned the military to show that the government isn't necessarily incompetent, other respected government-run agencies (like law enforcement, the fire department) aren't at the whim of getting abused by the consumers. If all health care was free, what would be the motivation for people to stay healthy if the state were picking up the tab? This type of system would reward sloth and poor life decisions by American citizens.

3) Massive health insurance plans practically bankrupted the biggest automaker, logic would follow that a federally-administered health care program of unending benefits would bankrupt the entire country.

Reason has proposed solution of more competition between hospitals and better transparency on costs, which would better suit us.