Wednesday, July 15, 2009

An Annoying Meme I Won't Link To

Some leftists appear to be saying that all healthcare is rationed because if the government doesn't ration it, our ability to pay functions as rationing. Of course, they think the outcome of basing things on our ability to pay is wrong, but what they are trying to do with this meme is pretend that people who refuse to discuss healthcare in this manner are somehow dishonest.

The largest, most obvious reality that the rationing argument ignores is the effect of government control on the productive sector. Put simply, in a free market people are free to move when they see a need not met; in our already pretty socialist economy we have to spend billions just to get the FDA to sign off on something, and it will get worse as time goes on. Once the government takes healthcare over completely, the medical industry will simply not move at all unless the government okays and funds whatever move it is we are talking about. This inevitably means people will suffer and die now, and people will suffer and die in the future because of how long it takes for all this bureacracy to move. They will seek to solve last year's problems while today's problems get no notice until they blow up in our face.

The other issue ignored is the customer's decisions, based on ability to pay actually has an effect on how much stuff costs. In the free market, the agreement to buy or sell is a transaction, not a dictation. Sellers take notice when fewer and fewer people buy their products and they adjust accordingly. The government intervention in healthcare, which already exists, disconnects this process. Even right now, in many cases, both the doctor and the patients are incentivized to get more tests and in some cases procedures done than either would otherwise, simply because the third party payer will pay for most of it; meanwhile the doctor rather over-protect himself from malpractice lawsuits, and since the patient won't pay any more than his co-payment, why not get the extra test, just in case?

I think equating free market constraints with socialist rationing is pretty disgusting; no socialist government on Earth has even approached the 'fairness' of the free market. The socialist always redistribute based on their own preferences! At least among individuals, based on each individual's constraints, some balance can be acheived. Among government planners, massive resources are employed with no regard for people's preferences, and force is used to acheive whatever process decided upon. And, as the eugenicists recently have reminded us, they seldom actually acheive their intended purpose, much less the purposes of the people they have coerced.

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