Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Health Care

A true conservative would say that we should let the free market drive the health care system and if we were to actually do that we would see health care cost decline dramatically. Left to the free market the health care system would become very efficient and very effective.

A liberal of course would say that it just isn't fair that rich people can get all of the health care they need and poor people might die because they can't afford the treatments necessary to save their lives. The problem is that a health care system like what Obama has put in place is doomed to failure. If health care is free to everyone then there is nothing to encourage the system to become efficient and it is ripe for abuse. If a person needs a very expensive treatment why would he shop around to find who has the less expensive treatment when it costs him nothing? He will just go where it is most convenient even though it may be thousands of dollars more expensive. Studies have shown that the less expensive option is often the better treatment.

On this issue I actually lean towards the liberals a bit for two reasons. First of all it doesn't seem right that some one who has been financially responsible his entire life should lose it all because he (or someone he loves) contracts cancer or some other very expensive ailment. The other reason is because it is to everyones advantage if poor people get proper preventative care such as vaccinations, regular physicals, proper treatments and prenatal care. Poor health can trap these people into a cycle of poverty and make it difficult for them to get a good education and job. It makes sense to minimize the risk and to share the burden on this one. The problem is, how can we offer this care and still maintain the free market system to keep it efficient, inexpensive and of a high quality. I believe the way to do it is with a government funded health savings account. I've talked in more detail on this topic in an earlier post which you can read about here if you're interested but in short, every month the government would deposit $100 - $200 into an account for every legal citizen in the US. This money could only be used for health care costs. The idea is that the majority of people would use very little of this money while they're young and then would have up to a million dollars in the account for when they're older. If you're spending money out of your own account then you're more likely to spend it wisely.

From 2000 to 2006, overall inflation has increased 3.5%, wages have increased 3.8%, and health care premiums have increased 87%.

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