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Reader Comments (2)
Nice. I like the way he describes systems that aren't relevant to the new US healthcare law, uses one-off anecdotes and contextually incomplete statistics, and describes the "nationalization" of our bodies as if the US government hasn't for centuries had the right to impress us into government service, levy taxes, or tell us what we can put into or take out of our bodies. This philosophical fight was ended by George Washington during the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794 (the last time an American President led troops to battle, BTW), and re-emphasized by Abraham Lincoln in the War Between the States.
The healthcare law, like every other federal law is part of our representative democracy. We are all subject to the law until ballot time when we have the opportunity to change it. Period; end of story. The National Review usually has far more lucid arguments against creeping socialism than this article.
I'll provide you with two thoughts I feel are relevant to healthcare- most others are either self explanatory or bluster:
First,-and this is what disappoints me most about the National Review Article- ask yourself which is more complementary to the notions of individualism and free-market systems, the previous system where you had to involve your employer in order to obtain insurance, or the new system where you can buy your own. I can’t think of any other segment of the economy where you need your employer’s permission and participation in order to enter into a commercial transaction. That system has ended, and now individuals have a choice of who they want to be insured with for healthcare instead of taking what their employers choose for them. Hopefully with individual choice created, employers will get completely out of healthcare over time, as none of them want to be part of it, but it’s generally a necessary part of running a corporation in order to retain qualified employees. I simply can’t understand why the National Review article doesn’t touch on this whatsoever.
It’s probably also worth noting how the current (until this week) US healthcare system came to be. The antecedents of BlueCross/ BlueShield were having trouble selling health insurance. Why? Because prior to the 1940’s development of science-based mass medicine, people didn’t pay a relevant portion of their income to receive treatments, and because those treatments rarely worked, we were all accustomed to a level of disease and pain that is unacceptable by today’s social norms. Those insurance companies increased their sales by selling to corporations instead of individuals. As the costs of medicine climbed in proportion to its effectiveness, the costs of healthcare treatments started to become relevant. This brings me to the second problem with the US employer based system. Because of their selling model, BlueCross/ BlueShield had to setup risk pools based on risk avoidance rather than risk sharing (which is how most insurance pools operate) because they were selling to small groups of people (companies) rather than to large groups of people (the public). The creation of these small pools essentially closed the healthcare system to individuals and created a socialist system of collective bargaining for healthcare where the groups of people inside a healthcare pool pay one price and individuals outside pay a higher price, and where each small pool pays a different price based on their risk profile. By opening up healthcare insurance, this practice will end, and a level playing field will be restored to the US healthcare system.
Second-and I feel this is far more important- by de-coupling health insurance from the employer, both entrepreneurship and artistry in the US will be served better than any single time since healthcare costs became a relevant household expense. Millions of entrepreneurs and artists will have the opportunity to work for themselves without sacrificing their personal and family health security. Vast millions more won’t be faced with bankruptcy if they lose their jobs or want/need to quit. Yet another vital free-market point absent from the article.
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