Death panels, rationing and Medicare
A good post on the healthcare debate from Alex Harris of the OpenMarket blog:
Any arguments about providing more entitlements somehow reducing the total amount of entitlements just donâ€™t work. Insurance produces moral hazard. People overconsume goods they get for free on the margin. Thatâ€™s Econ 101. The Democrats may have realized this and so proposed various cost-cutting measures, likeÂ panels to determine who gets care and who doesnâ€™t.
A bunch of nutters on the right got all up in arms about the panels. Why?Â Because they would reduce benefits. OfÂ course if you want government-run health care, youâ€™ll have to ration. But, my god, isnâ€™t this better than government-run health care thatÂ doesnâ€™t ration?Â Â …Â Instead, we basically face the choice between government-run health care that rations and government-run health care that doesnâ€™t and so utterly destroys the nationâ€™s economy. Which would we rather have? This is the choice thatâ€™s lost in the â€śdeath panelsâ€ť rhetoric. …Â Â Which should libertarians prefer: a limited new government package that provides minimal care (e.g. with high deductibles) or a big luxury package that provides everything? I would think we should prefer the minimal package (so long, of course, as private health care isnâ€™tÂ outlawed and so people can still get additional care elsewhere).
Me: Â So that is the choice, I think. A minimalist government-run plan with high deductibles (and the option of getting extra care in the marketplace), or a private-insurance system that subsidizes the poor. Simple, yes?