Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hypothetical Fun

I was chatting with a friend of mine last night who said "But I want to alleviate suffering right now".
The context was "healthcare"... well one interesting article on that and similar subjects is "Socialism Vs Regulation" by James Leroy Wilson. So, making the other side of that argument, one way to alleviate suffering right now would be to deregulate health care and abolish medicare and medicaid.
It would be better for the government to basically give people money to spend on medical care, within a context of a free market, where people would still have an incentive not to use care they don't need (this is basic economics right here, economizing scarce resources). Right now we have not only a subsidized demand, but also a restricted supply. So of course "healthcare" is terribly expensive. Which forces more people into the pyramidal institutions to pay for their needs.
To paraphrase Robert Higgs, "There are no failed policies in the long run". This is no accident.

So would it be "better" to have socialized medicine? Well, as long as medicine was completely deregulated and unlicensed outside the system, yes, it would be better than what we have now.
But what all these goons in the government want for us is not that at all but an extension of the current system to absorb everyone, and with government in control. Which is Fascist Medicine, for lack of a better term.
Medical taxes will keep going up, especially now that all these Baby Boomers are retiring (and are spoiled people with a vast sense of entitlement - which may come from growing up in an age where government still "worked", before the seed capital of the past had been completely eaten away) which will put pressure on doctors to lower their hourly rates or find other ways to reduce cost, which will create a shortage of doctors and poor, but "free" care for everyone, once you get off the two year waiting list.
Most poor people I know don't need MRIs. They need better jobs and more opportunities for wealth creation.

This same pattern applies to most areas of American society where the government has corrupted it.


Adrien said...

Most poor people I know don't need MRIs. They need better jobs and more opportunities for wealth creation.

This seems slightly ironic, since argumentation like this is usually that assigned to straw socialists.

Also, do you think the government should get out of providing necessities such as water?

FSK said...

You're missing the primary reason health care is expensive. Via education and licensing requirements, the state restricts the supply of doctors.

As long as the supply of health care is artificially restricted by the state, it is ridiculous to talk about price or demand.

About 100 years ago, there were no extensive licensing requirements for doctors. There salaries were not that high. The free market worked. The doctors got together and lobbied the government to enact licensing requirements and restrict the supply of doctors. The result is the current system.

The idea that government licensing improves the quality of health care is FALSE. As usual, the free market could do a better job, if only given the opportunity.