Saturday, August 15, 2009

Caring About Health

Where would You Like to see Your Government wi...

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Where the ‘economic argument’ regarding health care reform fails.

Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe has a great article at Mises Daily: A Four-Step Healthcare Solution. Please give it a read. I am very much in agreement but there is a point I think needs to be addressed in the light of current events.

Points one and two, regarding government licensing and over-regulation of health care providers and the medical industry, are right on the money. Using licensing and regulation to “paper over” the cracks simply doesn’t work. Government intervention does nothing that academic accreditation and consumer watchdog organizations can’t do for themselves.

Point three paints a clear picture of how government interference rewards the irresponsible and breaks the feedback needed to provide quality service. Addressing consumer concerns creates quality service. Defending the irresponsible at the cost of the responsible creates… well you can clearly see what that policy has created.

All of these arguments provide useful talking points on health care reform. But point four has a problem. The unsentimental analysis of the economist simply opens the door to “Death panels will kill my baby” reactions.

Where the logic is true, subsidizing the irresponsible creates a market for irresponsibility, many of the causes for ill-health and infirmity lie far outside the sphere of personal responsibility. Age, for example, or the simple fact that the actions of a few irresponsible people can easily overwhelm the precautions of the responsible.

I personally think the argument for point four is simply the government is incapable of participating in the “care” portion of health care. Any given government policy, no matter how well-intentioned, devolves into a series of detached bureaucratic functionaries matching perfunctory profiles against arcane checklists and stamping “denied” or “approved” in the appropriate box. Those involved with the people themselves become dispensers of '”policy” instead of care.

Private charities can do so much more when people are free to give of their time and resources without interference. People, not “programs” provide real care. That’s what builds community and that’s what creates reform.

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