The Catholic University of America
Feb 26 2010

More on the Health Care Debate

Posted by Ernest Zampelli at 1:07 PM
2 comments
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The conclusion to be drawn from President Obama’s health care summit was unsurprising but still unfortunate.  It is clear that there will be no support—zero, zilch, nada-- for the Senate version of the health care bill from Republicans.  The plain truth is the Republicans are not willing to compromise on anything in the bill because the bill itself, they contend, simply calls for far too much government involvement in the health care market through mandates, regulation, and taxes.  What they consistently fail to recognize is that much of the government involvement is there to counteract what economists call market failures, which most notably for health care are adverse selection and moral hazard.  The individual mandates, the employer mandates, and even the Cadillac “tax” are all components that are aimed at mitigating the impacts of those market failures. 

They complain that the bill does not go far enough to control health care costs and yet were adamantly opposed to the now defunct public option that would have been fairly effective in moving toward the goal of “bending” the health care cost curve.    Instead, they continuously tout the virtues of malpractice reform and allowing consumers to purchase health insurance across state lines.  The latter is unlikely to have any impact on health care costs while generating administrative nightmares and the former, though desirable, would have only a small impact on overall health care costs. 

I’ll close this post with two final points.  First, as I discussed in my first post on this matter, to rely primarily on the market to provide a good or service that is deemed to be a fundamental human right is absolute folly.  Second, please take a look around the world at other industrialized countries whose citizens are as healthy or healthier than we are and who spend half as much of their GDPs on health care.  All of their health care sectors are characterized by extensive government involvement, either through the sole public provision of health care, through both public and private provision, or through private provision coupled with strict and extensive government regulation.  An efficient health care sector that provides adequate and affordable health care to all of its citizens is not possible without substantial government involvement.  And anyone or any party that says it is, is engaging in obfuscation or is just delusional.

Comments

Matthew Green

Matthew Green wrote on 03/09/10 12:18 PM

The goal of the GOP is electoral, not policy-related: they want to win seats in 2010. Rightly or wrongly, the Party thinks that unified opposition to health care reform is the way to achieve that goal. Unless Republicans decide that goal doesn't matter as much -- or that unified opposition is the wrong way to achieve it -- I don't forsee the GOP changing their strategy.
Scott Montgomery

Scott Montgomery wrote on 03/17/10 11:06 AM

This analysis of the Health Care Bill is not beneficial to those who realize that both Democrats and Republicans are using this Bill for political purposes only. First of all, if health care is a right then every human being on earth should have their own private doctor. if this is not possible, it must be because of choice that there are not more doctors, therefore, it is a free market issue. The way to solve this issue is to do two things; one take away the tax exempt benefit that allows employers to provide health benefits. That will cut the cost immediately. No one should have to have insurance for basic health care coverage, only for larger health issues should health care be required. the next thing that should be done is to require people to buy this insurance when they are young. Eliminate medicare and medicade for future generations and have people buy, with that money, their own coverage for their illnesses or older age care. If people start early enough, they can get good coverage with limited expenditures. Finally, tort reform has to be an issue and some sort of cpst control has top be implimented there. There have been no market failures in health care and people in other industrialized countries do not have better health care than we do, they have it worse, which is why most of my wifes relative have to come here if they need out of the ordinary medical procedures. I think if this reasonable health care proposal was on the table, it would be law by now, given that anything in politics is ever reasonable.

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