Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Breaking Down the Public Health Care Arguments

George Newman does a good job in the Wall Street Journal of breaking down a number of the arguments made in favor of the public option health care plan being put forwardby the Obama Administration. A couple that I really like
:"The American people overwhelmingly favor reform."

If you ask whether people would be happier if somebody else paid their medical bills, they generally say yes. But surveys on consumers' satisfaction with their quality of care show overwhelming support for the continuation of the present arrangement. The best proof of this is the belated recognition by the proponents of health-care reform that they need to promise people that they can keep what they have now.


- "We need a public plan to keep the private plans honest."

The 1,500 or so private plans don't produce enough competition? Making it 1,501 will do the trick? But then why stop there? Eating is even more important than health care, so shouldn't we have government-run supermarkets "to keep the private ones honest"? After all, supermarkets clearly put profits ahead of feeding people. And we can't run around naked, so we should have government-run clothing stores to keep the private ones honest. And shelter is just as important, so we should start public housing to keep private builders honest. Oops, we already have that. And that is exactly the point. Think of everything you know about public housing, the image the term conjures up in your mind. If you like public housing you will love public health care.
Government is designed to do those things that cannot or should not be done by private providers or individuals, things like law enforcement or protecting our nation. Government does just about everything else quite poorly and when it comes to services to people, the government has never proven that they are better at providing a service like health care, housing or anything else better than the private sector or private charity organizations. Do we really accept the idea that the government can somehow do so much better at providing health care?

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