Tag Archives: public health insurance

AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR CHILDREN: YOU’RE ABOUT TO BE SHAFTED – AGAIN

Dear Kids:

If you’ve paid any attention to the raging health reform debate, you probably think the key issue is whether we will get a public health insurance option or a system of government-supported cooperatives. Wrong. The main event for you is that your under-40 generation is about to be shafted by my over-50 one—big time. We’re about to enact yet another one of those intergenerational transfers from you to us that we’ve become so good at, having gotten away with it on Social Security ($17.5 trillion in unfunded liabilities), Medicare ($74 trillion), and the national debt ($11.7 trillion). To put these numbers into perspective, the entire U.S. GDP is only about $14 trillion. Oh, well, in for a penny…

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WILL A PUBLIC HEALTH INSURANCE OPTION LEAD TO SINGLE PAYER?

Never underestimate Congressman Barney Frank. He’s a savvy, hard-fighting strategist who knows when to fight and when to accept seemingly half measures that can end up delivering 100%.  Here’s what he told the Single Payer Action Organization four days ago.

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WHY AMERICANS – NOT GOVERNMENT – MUST RATION THEIR OWN HEALTH CARE

In a 7/19/9 New York Times Magazine article “Why We Must Ration Health Care,” Princeton bioethicist Peter Singer argues that we need government to actively ration the amount of medical care Americans get, particularly as they near the ends of their lives.  Unfortunately for his readers, his argument is riddled with false hypotheses, untrue statements, and faulty logic. It is also unethical.

He mistakenly argues that health care is both a “scarce resource” (which it is) and a “public” good (which it is not). An economist could have told him that a public good must be both non-excludable and its consumption non-rivalrous. That’s economic geek-speak meaning that it’s not a public good if its use can be limited to paying customers or if nobody else gets to use it when you do—whether you paid for it or not. Accordingly, national defense is a public good, but health care is an “economic good” which Dictionary.com defines as “a commodity or service that can be utilized to satisfy human wants and that has exchange value.” Thus, economic goods include anything for which the supply is limited and that somebody has to be willing to pay for–like medical care.

Posted in Government vs Markets, Health Costs, Health Insurance, Myths and Bad Ideas | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment