Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Myth of Health Care Rationing

Of all the idiocy being spewed against any attempted reform of our health care system in an attempt to cover all Americans is the myth that any government provision of health insurance (not care, mind you, but just the payment for it) will lead to rationing.

Contrary to what some idiots on the right will tell you, all properly functioning free markets lead to rationing... by design!

If this were not true - if we could all easily afford anything we wanted without work, saving, or sacrifice - we'd all be driving Porche's to our weekend homes in Aspen before hopping on our private jets for dinner in Paris.

It's called supply and demand and for most products and services it functions well and gives us an incentive to work harder. Freely functioning, self-rationing markets, lead to innovation, competition, and economic growth. God bless America.

Then there are those few things we deem necessities and so we allow government tinkering to make sure rationing doesn't occur. Public education (that helps us all by providing a [minimally] literate workforce), housing subsidies (not just HUD, but development incentives, mortgage interest deductions, etc.), and food subsidies (from Food Stamps to agriculture supports, etc.) are a few items that spring to mind.

At this stage in US development, however, we've done more to ensure that everybody can afford a pint of milk and a loaf of bread than a visit to the doctor. I'm pleased that we consider hunger unacceptable (at least, for those with dependent children), but I'm horrified that we still consider a basic level of good health to be a perk of success.

Leaving the provision of health care coverage entirely to the private sector and market forces has - as it is designed to do - left us with a situation where health care is currently being rationed, with tens of millions of Americans - many with good jobs and families - left out, unable to pay for their own or their loved ones' medical needs.

Now, I'm not 100% thrilled with the current Obama plan or the way it's been handled politically, but I still say that overall, it's about damn time we step in to stop the rationing of health care that our free market has left us with.

(Oh, and thanks to Phil aka "Fantastic Babblings" for inspiring this post)


  1. I agree with you for the most part. I do depart from the idea that we currently have a free market in health care. I'm not sure a free market would work well in a global, high tech environment.

    You mentioned public education. If it were working better, this debate might be on a higher plane. The failures of education and the problems with health care in the U.S. stem from another issue that isn't being addressed much: Cultural irresponsibility. I don't know how much the government can fix that. We need to look to ourselves (and let me add a large dose of mea culpa here). We live in a culture that wallows in immediate gratification and eschews things that take time and effort. Thus we grow fatter and stupider (yes, I know...)

  2. I agree with you. Normally I'm very wordy but on this, or at least today, I'm not. Health care is a basic necessity. If tissue or bone is broken and corruption will deepen to cause further injury, I believe taxes should support fixing it. Taxes are high anyway. The class system won't go away but at least people won't need to fear that a broken leg will cost them their house or car at a time when it just might cost them their job.


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