Skip to content

Laissez-faire, Monsieur le Président

July 20, 2009

Read Deroy Murdock on what a reform worthy of the name of the current health care system would aim for. Murdock lays out several important arguments: firstly, why pull in the entire population when allegedly the goal is to help those who have no health insurance? Monsieur Murdock clarifies that the oft-quoted number of 45.7 million uninsured Americans can be true only in gross terms. Once you subtract the number of people who could afford insurance but decided against purchasing any, the number of people who are eligible for Medicare or Medicaid but have not applied for those programmes, as well as the number of illegal immigrants who are not supposed to be included in this statistic in the first place, you end up with roughly 8 million people. As Murdock asks, “[w]hy not help these 8 million rather than overturn medicine for all 300 million of us?”

Secondly, the French Cowboy perfectly agrees with Monsieur Murdock that the key components to an improvement of the current health system are a free market for insurances, ownership and control of the insurance by the individual,  and the decoupling of health coverage from a specific work contract.

A free market and, as Murdock points out, specifically a market that works beyond state lines, is enough to “keep the insurance companies honest” as Obama would put it. It is hard not to laugh out loud at the idea that an additional government option next to a row of private sector products “inject[s] competition” into the market. As Monsieur Murdock is wondering, “why not create a government option for grocery stores and clothing shops, lest famine and nudity erupt across the land?” Besides, it is generally easier to keep a private company honest that immediately receives financial punishment through customer reaction if it tries out a bad idea than to keep a government-run institution honest that is staffed with unelected bureaucrats and managed by good friends of a group of Senators.

That the individual stays in control of his or her health coverage, and not some statistics-generated rule-applying anonymous, is truly important. Precisely because health coverage is such an important product, government should refrain from imposing contracts onto people. Everyone would be outraged if the White House demanded a bill to regulate the colour of their t-shirts. Yet when government plans to take control of something that might well become a life-and-death issue many just shrug or even think that it’s a good idea that those decisions are taken for them by some unknown others, far away in Washington. Until they realise the negative consequences, that is. But then, of course, it will be too late.

In genuine need of reform is the practice of linking health insurance with a job contract. While it is easily understandable that the purchasing of health coverage is usually made possible through having a job and that combining the two isn’t necessarily without merits, the downsides to this system are obvious and you may have experienced them yourself. The French Cowboy would suggest that the solution here is not to force people who have their health coverage through their employer to separate the two, but to provide more options for individuals to buy health insurance independently of their work. John McCain’s proposal to offer a tax credit to make the purchasing of such health insurance easier was not a bad idea at all. So, instead of taking into consideration the part of McCain’s policy that planned to tax health insurance benefits (after having run a campaign ad bashing him on this), Obama should adopt the tax credit part which would give Americans more freedom of choice regarding their very own health coverage. Hélas, it appears that President Obama has a strong dislike against the unlearned masses being allowed to do as they choose. Il ne veut pas les laissez faire.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: