Monday, October 5, 2009

National Post backs Obamacare

The National Post editorial board has come out in favor of Obama's public option. What is this, socialist Mondays for the NP?

The editorial is correct that more choice is most often better for consumers. But it overlooks a glaring exception - which is that the choice of a ‘public’ (government) option is, for many reasons, a very bad one. Government involvement inevitably politicizes the process. Government is in a position to legislate rules favorable to itself. Government is in a position to use taxes coerced from the private sector to compete against the private sector. In other words government competition with the private sector is inevitably riddled with conflicts of interest (or, less politely, "corruption").

Furthermore noting the strong statist tendencies of the Democratic Party and the Obama administration in particular it is highly likely that whatever steps it takes towards setting up a public option are merely first steps in an ever expanding role for government and eventually the end of many private choices. Legislating a public choice now will likely lead to less choice in the future. Eventually American healthcare could wind up looking much like Canada’s. And then where would we go for the treatment denied here?

These are some of the real reasons for the strong opposition to Obamacare.


Ted Betts said...

How many fewer private universities are there today in the US because the state thinks it is a positive good to provide affordable public post-secondary education through state universities?

If you were to compare the US or Canada to the French or many European (not British!) healthcare systems - which are public/private hybrids that are far better than what we have and far far better than what the US has and provides it way cheaper and has a much much higher doctor to patient ratio - you would see that having a public option not only doesn't weaken the private option, but can make it even better.

It's the "either/or" thinking that has gotten the US and Canada into their respective healthcare messes.

Anonymous said...

Obamacare is essentially about NA integration. (real conservative)

Xanthippa said...

You are correct: whenever the entity making the rules is in direct competition with those whom it rules, there is 'conflict of interest', to put it mildly.

What angers me is that in this whole debate, the US system (far from perfect) is described as heartless and uncaring - and the lie that millions of Americans have no healthcare whatsoever is repeated often and without challenge. Even though it is believed, it is still a lie!

Every US hospital must, by law, provide emergency care to every person who makes it in, regardless of 'ability to pay'.

No, it is not ideal. But, it means that there IS healthcare for EVERYONE. And, there IS choice! Here, in Canada, we have chosen to have no choice! We are not allowed to have private hospitals - if one is required 'overnight stay', it MUST be in a public institution, unionized and run by bureaucrats who decide if you are worthy of a procedure or not, based on how many resources they might have available to them at that time....

JR said...

Xanthippa, Excellent points. Thanks.

How many fewer private universities in the US? It’s hard to say but likely quite a lot fewer.

Regarding some of the European models you have a point. There are no doubt better systems than ours. It’s why virtually no country outside of a couple of totalitarian dictatorships emulates it.

As Xanthippa says, the American system is no where near as bad as our government monopoly zealots try to portray it. A large majority of people are relatively happy it. Even so, most also acknowledge that reforms are needed. But no matter how you cut it, government competition with private enterprise is a bad approach. There are better ways many of which the Republicans have proposed such as medical liability reform, allowing the buying of insurance across state lines, measures to ensure people have access to coverage regardless of preexisting medical conditions, enabling groups to get health insurance at lower prices as large businesses and labor unions now do, etc, etc.