Universal Health Care

All people should have access to health care. All people should have access to whatever it is that they want or need. If they want food, they should be able to have it. If they want furniture, they should be able to have it. If they want a car, they should be able to have it. If they want a TV, they should be able to have it.

In America today we have people advocating socialized, universal health care. "Health care should be a right." Again, I believe that everyone should have access to health care, but socialized universal health care would be a complete disaster, and here's why.

A government bureaucracy is the least effective way to stimulate innovation. As a matter of fact, you could almost say that bureaucracy does only one thing well - stifle innovation. Innovation, and the resulting excellence and value that comes from innovation spring from one thing - the desire for profit. Profit is the magnet for human innovation. Where there is an opportunity to make money, people will come in droves trying to figure out a way to "harvest" that profit opportunity.

The recent housing boom is a good example of that. Over the last few years, housing prices were going up rapidly. In the major markets like the east and west coast, people couldn't think about a house for more than 10 minutes because someone else would snatch it up. Houses sold immediately because they were in such short supply. People started flipping houses, builders went on a building spree, and in a fairly short time we went from a housing shortage to a housing glut. The high prices encouraged lots of people to seek the profit that could be made there, increasing the innovation and supply within the housing market.

Government bureaucracy contains no profit opportunity (except for the politician) and therefore has no innovation. Bureaucracy creates mediocrity, free markets create excellence. When you buy a car, you can get car insurance with a "15 minute call to Gieko." Then turn around to register that car, and you spend several hours at the DMV. Is registering a car inherently more complex than insuring it? No, it should be much simpler - but car insurance is provided by private companies that have to compete for your business while the DMV is a state bureaucracy. The DMV can't lose your business - because the government gives you no other options! Fail to register your car and you'll pay the price! The bureaucracy has no incentive to improve. Consequently, you sit in line for hours, then approach the person behind the counter who is sour and wishes they didn't have to be there and points out all the things you filled out wrong on your paperwork and then tells you to come back another day with your passport (oh, new security procedures).

The free market has produced such entertainment wonders as the Ipod - an amazing collection of super sophisticated technologies giving each person total control over their personal entertainment. Download whatever song you want, nearly for free, and take it, along with thousands of other songs and videos in your pocket to be enjoyed whenever you choose. People want control over their entertainment, almost miraculously, the free market provided it!

The free market has provided Americans with access to a mind boggling array of products at amazingly low prices. You can have your two cars, a TV in every room, your ipod, a laptop computer, a cell phone, and still have enough money left over to pay $100 a month for cable and internet. That is amazing! Freedom, free markets, and free enterprise make nearly any human desire a reality. If you want it, the free market will provide it, and over time will provide it at continuously decreasing prices.

However, and this is a big however, whenever government gets involved, costs go up. Government gets in the way of free markets on so, so many levels. Like I said, bureaucracies exist to stifle innovation. The greater the government involvement, the less innovative the industry and the higher the cost of the product that industry provides.

So why can't health care give such an amazing array of options at such great prices? Because government involvement has permeated the industry so much that costs can longer be contained. Few of the normal market forces that usually exist to drive supply and ensure conservation exist within the health care industry. Moreover, political forces are seeking to drive the remaining free market forces out entirely - in the form of socialized medicine.

Take the government regulation off the health care industry and you'll see that every American does in fact have access to affordable health care, just like he has access to everything else he wants. Conversely, continue down the road we're on to socialized medicine and you'll find that it won't matter how "free" health care is, because you'll die while waiting the months it takes to get an appointment with a lousy doctor.

1 comment:

Scott Lee said...

Once again-you are exactly right! It is a cross you must bear! Well done!