Saturday, September 24, 2011

Why healthcare is too important to be left to the state

Doug Stewart at shows wonder at all the marvelous machinery and devices that occupy the rooms and halls of the modern hospital -- especially considering the risks taken by those who developed them that they might not succeed in the marketplace.
He warns that those who favor state-managed health care might kill off the desire to build new solutions to medical problems:
Despite the marvels of the marketplace advancement in health industry, there are two morally attractive but wholly dubious arguments regarding health care that we ought to guard against. The first is that health care is too important to be left up to the free market. Seriously? Take a stroll down the hallways of a local hospital and try to convince yourself that all this stuff can be produced through central planning, even if only for a single industry. If universal health care were indeed possible, its advocates take for granted that the marketplace itself provided the myriad luxuries provided in the medical industry. Universal health care is a direct result of the wealth created by the entrepreneurial spirit in the medical industry. Nobody was crying for “universal health care” 500 years ago.

A second but related complaint is that some people shouldn’t get rich off of other people’s ailments. Never mind the obviousness that whatever wealth is acquired it is in the solving of those ailments! What troubles the anti-market health care enthusiast can be sufficiently blamed on the word “care” in “health care.” The additional word introduces concepts such as intentionality or purposefulness or planning. The patient (who is a type of consumer, by definition, regardless of our sentimental objections to the term) must be cared for by her doctors and nurses. Yet if we consider the economics of the doctor-patient relationship, we realize that the success of the doctor depends on the quality of care they provide, both medically and emotionally. It’s an enormous asset to have a genuinely caring physician. What’s more important is competence and honesty, something a market is equipped to facilitate?
Free markets in health care and health care insiurance (which would require the government to bug out -- including Medicare and Medicaid) will hold costs down and will facilitate a higher quality of care for everyone. I found it to be true years ago, and I have no doubt that it would be true now -- if we will just let the free market system work.

No comments: