To Fix American Healthcare, Get the Government Out of It
By Alex Epstein (sent to the New York Times on September 22, 2007)
Re: "Health Care Hopes" (September 21, 2007)
Paul Krugman celebrates that "it has finally become politically possible to give Americans what citizens of every other advanced nation already have: guaranteed health insurance. The economics of universal health care are sound," he claims. "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
Wrong. The thing we have to fear in healthcare is the thing that has wrecked much of our system, and that has ravaged the world’s socialized systems with stagnation and shortages: government coercion.
The basic requirement of medical progress and falling prices is freedom for doctors, patients, and insurance companies. The problem with our current system is that government coercion has infected every facet of medicine, dictating everything from how many doctors are allowed to be licensed to which medical professionals may perform what procedures, to what procedures insurance companies must provide on their plans. And yet Krugman, Hillary Clinton, and other advocates of "universal health care" seek to solve our problems with more coercion. For example, Mrs. Clinton’s new "guarantee" that "your insurance company will be required to renew at a price you can afford" is a veiled call for price-controls--and a prescription for insurance companies to be exposed to a bankrupting combination of huge liabilities with comparatively low premiums.
If anyone is interested in fixing American healthcare, there is only one solution: get the government out of it.