Health Care Reform: Part 2

The other side of the coin: As stated in my previous post, I think what we have now needs some fixing. However, I’m not at all convinced that government-run health care is the answer. As a recipient of government-run health care for all my adult life, I appreciate the price, but it’s not the best service you can receive. Not to badmouth military health care at all, just acknowledging the limits of what they can do given their budgets, regulatory constraints, etc. And I believe the military does a much better job running their health care than any other government agency would–DoD is strongly incentivized to take good care of their most valuable resource (servicemembers), and the people in military treatment facilities take a great deal of pride in honoring our retirees’ service by treating them well. I don’t thing you’re going to get that same kind of service from the Federal Health Care Bureaucracy, whose charter would be to take care of Joe SixPack. I don’t think there’s too many good examples of socialized medicine providing better care than what we have in the US today for the majority of people.

I also don’t believe the government can be more efficent at running a business than the private sector. I’m not saying that the market should be allowed to resolve this itself. A pure market will achieve maximum efficiency, but it’s ruthless, and health care is not the place for ruthless. Also, what we have today is far from a pure market. There’s already a lot of government regulation, insurance expense, welfare programs, etc, that keep the market from resolving this issue itself. But I think this is not an instance where the government needs to take over the operation. That makes sense for certain services (national defense, interstate commerce, primary education, fire protection, etc). I think a strong argument can be made that medical care doesn’t fit that the criteria to justify government operation.

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2 thoughts on “Health Care Reform: Part 2

  1. Yes, but what is being proposed isn't gov't run health care, but gov't sponsored insurance. To project that into a nationwide, socialized program like the VA is a stretch.

  2. Chava, you're right. I jumped to the same conclusion many others have. Some of that I attribute to the lack of detail that's been published, as well as getting sucked in by the rhetoric and not having studied the details myself.I'm not convinced government insurance is a good option either. Medicare/Medicaid is a mixed bag at best, and the health insurance provided by the military (if you're out of range of a military treatment facility) is very difficult to work with. Many providers won't accept it. The economist in me thinks that a government entity trying to compete in a mixed market will either not be competitive, or will regulate the competitors out of existence.If the problem is health insurance, wouldn't it be smarter to fix the system we have than to have the government try to compete in that market?

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