Monday, May 18, 2009

What health care could cost when it's free

Increasing evidence that P. J. O'Roarke's warning ("If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free") was right on target:

To pay for an overhaul of the nation's health system, Senate leaders have formally laid out proposals for new taxes on everything from employer-sponsored health-care benefits and nonprofit hospitals to alcohol and sugary drinks.

A bipartisan outline released Monday by the Senate Finance Committee suggests peeling back a number of tax exemptions to pay for expanding health insurance to the nation's 46 million uninsured. They are just options at this point, but they signal where lawmakers are headed as they try to pass a health-care package by August.

Read more here.


Lee said...

Slouching ever so grotesquely towards serious fascism.

Art said...

Um, for many or most uninsured who cannot afford appropriate health care, it is already free. This is because society has decided that people should not die if they have not enough money.

How does society pay for its moral indulgence? Well, I pay for those who receive treatment but never pay. As do others who pay for health insurance. And we will continue to, forking over money to an industry that has no accountability to their customers, or to society.

So, what's the difference, giving my money to an industry that is the next financial meltdown waiting to happen, or to Mr. Taxman? I'll admit, I don't like the idea of giving my money to Uncle Sam rather than some insurance company. But at least I can vote politicians out of office. I have no recourse with people who take ever more of my money, who know they have society over a barrel, and will continue to rob us blind.

Lee said...

> And we will continue to, forking over money to an industry that has no accountability to their customers, or to society.

If you're referring to the government, you took the words right out of my mouth.

With liberals, somehow, the solution to bad government is always more government.

Art said...

Lee, you probably think Bernie M is a fine upstanding man, and you probably can't figure why so many people (including all manner of law enforcement) are so upset with him.

Lee said...

Bernie Madoff? Well, that's a leap, even for you, I think. Can you explain how being opposed to socialized medicine necessarily makes someone a supporter of Ponzi schemes? I might even be able to make the opposite case -- what are government entitlements but a rush to "get ours" before the entire barn collapses?

Art said...

Well, Lee, I guess if you are happy with having the private sector rip you off to the tune of a dollar while the government relieves you of a dime, then so be it. Myself, I resent being ripped off by corporations every bit as much as by the government. And in these days, corporations are stealing a whole lot more from me than the government. And health insurance companies are at the top of the list of thieves.

Lee said...

You might benefit from reading Jonah Goldberg's book, "Liberal Fascism". He points out that the most heavily regulated industries are also the ones with the most lobbyists. Which makes sense, doesn't it? Veterinarians are among the least regulated professionals, and they have close to zero lobbyists.

> And in these days, corporations are stealing a whole lot more from me than the government.

They couldn't do it without the government's help. GM can't force you to buy one of their crummy cars over the counter. If it were up to the consumer, GM would just evaporate in a cloud of bankruptcy and that would be that. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would have never existed, and mortgage lenders would never have been threatened into making subprime loans in the first place.

But once they labeled GM "too big to fail", GM has our wallets -- thanks to government. Once reluctance to give mortgages to people who can't afford it was labeled as racism, then enough bad loans were made to buckle the lending institutions -- thanks to government.

When an industry is "regulated", the regulators tend to become paws of the industries they're supposed to be regulating. Milton Friedman knew this fifty years ago. Liberals still don't see it.

And the biggest myth on the planet is that big business is pro-free enterprise. Far from it! They influence government regulation to protect them from competition from smaller companies, who can't afford the overhead of regulatory costs.

So the problems you are complaining about happen to exist because government is already in everyone's knickers. If you like the direction things are heading, by all means, let's jump from the frying pan into the fire.