No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. So, governments’ programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth. — Ronald Reagan (click here for the audio clip)

I’d say with precious few exceptions, Reagan’s words express a truism for any government instituted by man. 

Given this, it simply doesn’t make sense to make huge changes to our health insurance system, putting so much under the purview of the government, all at once.  Once it’s there, no matter how poorly it work, those who benefit from the programs (or believe they do) will make up such a constituency that no politician will dare cross them.  It’ll become yet another 3rd rail that no one wants to touch.  The only option will be to throw good (borrowed) money after bad.

I can say this with confidence because that tracks with history.  It has happened time and time again, and there’s not one thing to indicate that if this doesn’t do what it claims to do, it’ll be scrapped.  Instead, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that government, regardless of which party’s in charge, will constantly try to "fix it", usually by giving the federal government more control and taking that control and freedom away from the individual. 

The better way to do this is incrementally, but the same problems can plague even these smaller items unless these items increase public freedoms.  For example, allowing health insurance to be purchased across state line is something that would give individuals more choices and hence drive down costs.  When you can only by apples from one  vendor, he can charge what he likes, and it doesn’t matter how good his apples are; where else are you going to go?  When there are 20 vendors, competition ensues and vendors compete on cost and quality.  Allowing this would have immediate results, and the results could be determined to be good or bad.  Actually, I see no real downside to this particular proposal from the Republicans, but if there were, it’s easier to repeal a small law than a huge, intertwined, governmental system. 

[One might ask, doesn’t the proposed public option increase competition?  Well yes, but by 1 rather than by hundreds.  But the general problem with getting the government into the market is that the government makes the market’s rules as well and can undercut competition because it doesn’t have to pay its costs from charging for the service; it can tax everyone on the side, hiding its true price on your 1040 form.]

A massive overhaul of any industry is not something government should be doing.  That’s another reason why I oppose the Democrat’s health care reform bill.

Filed under: GovernmentMedicine

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