Thursday, April 30, 2009

Where Will We Go With Health Care?

Soon, very soon now, the 545 will have to make some decisions about our health care system. We Baby Boomers are beginning to get older now. Soon, very soon, some of use will double and triple our demand for health care.

Not to worry. Our loving, ever caring government will take care of us, right? Government will take care of everything, won't it? Just ask Chrysler and AIG. We'll have a health care czar, no doubt (probably an official board to go along with the czar, too, just to make it look more seemly).

The czar and her official board will tell all the rest of how much the hundreds of thousands of medical procedures and medical products the system will allow us to use. We won't have to worry about the cost, though, since the government will pay. The czar and the board will also tell us how much providers of health care services and producers of health care products will be paid.

But how will the czar know the right answers? Check this article out to learn just how impossible that task will be and why it has absolutely no hope of working out even remotely well.

Hey, this could work, you say? How do I know that it won't? Two answers; economic thinking and empirical evidence from places on earth where it's already been tried. Remember the Soviet Union? But that won't stop the "change we can believe in," will it. Incredible as it seems, we just don't seem to learn much from our previous economic experiments.

The 545 are bobbing and weaving right now about the future of medicare. So far, they've dodged the bullet. But the bullet is actually a guided missile. Soon, very soon, the missile will find its mark and the 545 will be forced by reality to fess up and admit that health care is really like all other goods and services---not free.

Producing health care requires real resources---natural, human, and technological resources. Owners of those resources will want to be paid for their use, just as you demand to be paid for the labor services you sell to your employer. When the health care czar starts telling us how much will be paid for those resources, things will get interesting.

We have been down this road before. All we really need to do is pay attention to what happened. But we the people evidently don't want to look. I repeat, remember the former Soviet Union?

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