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Only Who Is the Fox?

March 21, 2010

The French Cowboy just listened to Obama saying that he wants a health care system in which

health care is working not for the insurance companies but it’s working for the American people.

Pardon, Monsieur le Président, but if you don’t see that you cannot have health care “working” for the American people if it’s not working for insurance companies then I really wonder whether you ever had friends outside of the Ayers-Wright-Chávez category. The notion that you can separate the one from the other shows how you wish (and I believe ultimately aim for) a single payer system, one in which there are no insurance companies, just the government bureaucracy.

Now the reason why this is not going to be good for the American people is that the profits that insurance companies can make are the incentive for them to offer good services. A government bureaucracy has no such incentives. Their goal is to stay funded with taxpayer money. And if experience is any indication then a bureaucracy set up with taxpayer money will stay forever, no matter how much they mess up. If anything it will be expanded.

You may well ridicule the concept of market forces disciplining the insurance companies, Monsieur le Président, as you did in your speech to your party’s lawmakers, by calling it the “The fox guards the henhouse” approach and claiming that no serious economist would endorse it. The fact of the matter is that any serious economist will tell you that the prospect of making profits and the risk of making losses are an effective way for companies to make them do their best to be and stay attractive to customers. A government agency’s existence is detached from “customer” satisfaction, and it cannot adapt to market demands in a flexible way even if it wanted to.

If you, Monsieur le Président, think that the government would do so much better as an insurance company than actual insurance companies, then why stop with the health insurance market? Why not also take over the life insurance market, the car insurance market, the car market, the video games market and the laundry market? Don’t you want a laundry system that works not for the laundries but for the American people? Currently, laundries are allowed to just “run wild” as you put it talking about Republicans wish to increase market competition in the health insurance market.

If Republicans’ idea is the “Fox guards the henhouse” approach is yours the “Eliminate the private sector” approach, Monsieur le Président? If you don’t need insurance companies for the American people to have health insurance who needs any companies at all? Apparently you think that it’s immoral to make profits with selling insurances. You can argue about that. But the French Cowboy thinks that it’s immoral to collect taxes from people to pay for things that they don’t want to have. And this is what your health care scheme is going to do.

It is foolish to simply assume that, when it’s done by the government, it’s morally correct and that, when it’s done by a private company, it’s immoral. But this is exactly how you seem to think, Monsieur le Président. Let me tell you one reason why I’d rather have a private company run my health insurance than a government agency. A private company can never force me into a contract. A government agency can. You are taking away the American people’s economic liberties, Monsieur le Président.

And if you think that making profits by selling insurances is immoral, then explain to me how it is any less immoral to run up deficits that will burden future generations. Because your “solution” to the question of how to have every American have health care coverage is a millstone to the American economy. It makes tax increases inevitable because – believe it or not – even government expenditures need to be paid for eventually.

Now if the French Cowboy had ever seen a government agency run efficiently and to the satisfaction of the taxpayers then I’d be with you: let’s have the government take over health care! After all, by the nature of things, the larger the insurance pool the better for the insured. But for various reasons, some of them stated here, private companies simply do a better job in giving consumers what they actually want, provided there is (at least potential) competition that makes companies stay on their toes.

Economic liberty is a foundation stone of every free society, Monsieur le Président. Don’t shrink it. And don’t think that only because government agencies don’t make profits they’re necessarily more moral than private companies. And don’t be so foolish as to think that because government agencies make no profits they provide the same services for less money than private companies.

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