"The rapid rise in health care costs is primarily the consequence of government policies."

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One of the most common criticisms of plans to convert Medicare's unlimited commitment into a voucher or premium support system is that the value of the vouchers wouldn't rise fast enough to cover the cost of health inflation. In the long run, then, seniors would be stuck with a voucher that covered less and less of their health care costs. 

What's up, doc? (Besides health spending.)

To some extent, this criticism misses the point. The federal government is barreling toward a debt crisis, and increases in health spending are the biggest cause. So the primary objective is to restructure the system so that government spending on health care does not increase at the currently projected rate. Capping spending through vouchers or premium support payments is one way to do that.

The other thing this criticism misses is the role that government subsidies have played in making health care so expensive. Cato's Jagadeesh Gokhale does a nice job of explaining the basics

Government subsidies to health care consumption, in the form of such programs as Medicare and Medicaid as well as employer tax exclusions for health insurance benefits, contribute to the rapid growth in health care costs. That is, by flooding the health care market with government money, the market ends up with many dollars chasing few worthwhile health care products, which results in rising health care prices. Moreover, the subsidies siphon away health care resources from the private-payer health care market, causing cost in that sector to increase rapidly as well.

Subsidies aren't the only government policies contributing to rising health care costs. Government restrictions on the supply of health care services also play a role. Among those supply restrictions are the ban on drug importation, a very costly and difficult new-drug testing regime, and unnecessarily restrictive licensing of health care professionals.

The rapid rise in health care costs is primarily the consequence of government policies.

A voucher system combined with a more competitive health insurance market obviously wouldn't get rid of those subsidies. But it would put limits on those subsidies, and, as a result, help contain the market distortions they cause. 

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  1. WHY DO YOU HATE POOR PEOPLE AND THE ELDERLY!!!

    1. Can you imagine what the screaming would be like if a market-based system produced waiting lines like they have in Europe?

    2. C’mon….thepoor and elderly are just a couple of the many groups I hate.

    3. Is there anything more selfish than robbing from people who haven’t even been born yet?

      1. We better hope time travel really is impossible, otherwise we’re gonna end up with a rash of future-kids coming back to kill their grandparents/parents in order to prevent their own existence.

  2. Worst. Alt-Text. Ever.

  3. Well, you’re leaving out the most important way that Medicare drives health care costs, which might actually be fixed by switching to vouchers – third-party payment.

    The current system leaves the patient with little reason to shop around or care how much he is spending. Vouchers would not nable direct payment, but it would at least encourage the elderly to comparison shop for insurance policies. Which would help put some negative pressure on prices, and change the incentives for insurers.

    1. Re: Hazel Meade,

      The current system leaves the patient with little reason to shop around or care how much he is spending.

      But, Hazel, the current system helps people by not having them shop around because shopping around and getting estimates is so icky, so pedestrian, so bourgeois, so brake-lining and oil change.

    2. Re: Hazel Meade,
      Statist fucks and other post-realists would argue that one cannot simply “shop around” when having a gashing wound or a broken leg or a serious disease.

      This is very obvious bullshit, as anybody who has bought autoparts or went to a repair shop on an emergency can attest: The shopping around done by previous and countless OTHERS already create a competing environment between suppliers, which maintains prices low and affordable. So even if you find yourself facing an emergency, you would not have to be “gouged” by a totally free-market system the way you’re gouged TODAY by our 3rd payer system.

    3. Insurer competition will help a lot. But I doubt there’s any short or medium-term way to get away from lots of third-party payment for the elderly. Late in life, when health costs can spike dramatically and without warning, lots of folks are probably going to prefer to buy into a financing pool, at least for the foreseeable future.

      The trick, I think, is to allow them to buy plans that fit their needs and budgets rather than these bloated, mandate-driven plans that lots of folks end up with now. Competition should result in a lot of innovation in insurance plan design, and savings as a result.

      1. Plans that fit the need, can often break the budget.

        The 800 pound guerilla is what to do with people that can’t afford the health care they need.

        1. “The 800 pound guerilla is what to do with people that can’t afford the health care they need want.”

          FIFY

          1. Beat me to it.

            Even if you spent the entirety of society’s resources on health care, there would be “needs” that went unmet. Thing is, nobody wants to spend that much.

          2. That’s true to, but I’m talking actual need, not want.

        2. I don’t know, let them die? That is the natural order. We are born, grow old, and die. If we’re lucky. If not we skip that middle part. Suck it up. Life is hard, then you die!

        3. There’s a theoretically infinite amount of health care that everyone needs. We’re all mortal. We can fight an indefinite war of attrition against death, but, barring some dramatic scientific breakthrough, death is going to win.

          The real question is how do we make the decision when to STOP paying for health care in a losing battle.

          1. Well, I’d say, even if we give up, barbiturates or morphine should be available for those who don’t want to suffer through their final days.

            1. or suffer through any day.

          2. The real question is how do we make the decision when to STOP paying for health care in a losing battle.

            When someone else is paying the bill? Never.

            1. What’s a losing battle? We all die. Anything that prolongs life is temporary. That’s assuming the treatment works.

              I just don’t see fuckem if they are old and sick, or young and too sick, winning the day.

              1. That’s why the government should never take over paying for people’s healthcare. If it does, then ‘ fuckem if they are old and sick, or young and too sick’ will eventually become government policy.

                I don’t want the state getting entangled in end-of-life decisions. I prefer to leave them in private hands.

              2. If you want to do something about them, no one will stop you in a free culture.

          3. The real question is how do we make the decision when to STOP paying for health care in a losing battle.

            Something something deathpanels.

            1. Something something complete.

            2. Something something complete.

            3. “”Something something deathpanels.””

              Right, and look how the Rs have invoked fear with the word deathpanel.

        4. The 800 pound guerilla

          Nice.

      2. We need Death Panels – of oneself.
        I know a number of relatives who said, on their deathbeds, “I wish I had known several months ago how much a lingering death costs in money, pain and emotional trauma. I’d have put a plastic bag over my head or taken pills and gone out quietly.”

        1. This.

          There is no fair system whereby the gov’t can outsource the decision over your own mortality to a third party.

          Only you can make that decision. When the gov’t institutionalizes insurance companies, Medicare, death panels or whatever, they are taking away your right to decide for yourself. Your decision may be to let an insurer decide for you, or your doctor, or a family member, or make it yourself, but regardless, you get to make that decision, not the collective.

          1. Well, the thing is, most people, if given the option will choose to go on living. If someone else is paying for it, they will choose to go on living indefinitely, at state expense.

            THAT is why medicare is driving up health care costs.

            The answer isn’t to tell old people to go kill themselves. But the trouble is that if the state is in charge of paying for things, at some point we WILL have to pull the plug on people. We WILL be making decisions about who lives or dies. Leaving that decision in private hands avoids entangling the state in those choices.

            1. Carousel.

              1. “I’m getting better. I feel fine. I think I’ll go for a walk.”

            2. I believe, Hazel, the progressive argument is, let an enlightened, benevolent panel of government-appointed bioethicists decide when you’re going to die, instead of the cold, dead hand of the market.

              1. , let an enlightened, benevolent panel of government-appointed bioethicists decide when you’re going to die, instead of the cold, dead hand of the market.

                Yes, because that benevolent panel of bioethicists will never be politically influenced. Their composition will not depend on which demographics are swing voters. They will not be constrained by any congressional mandates. theyv will be completely free to make recommendations without regard to old people’s voting patterns and how they influence presidential electoral politics.

            3. But then you get into the ‘unfairness’ part of it. The ‘progressives’ whine that some people can make different decisions about when to die (or put off dying) because they have more money. Never mind that everything is based on unfairness.

              Really, a huge problem in these debates is that some folks treat all healthcare as just a blank ‘thing’. Never mind that some things cost a few bucks, and other things cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Never mind that two things that cost the same could prolong your life for another 20 years or 20 hours. It’s all just ‘care’. And trying to ‘deny’ that to people is apparently the world’s most heartless thing to do.

              1. Having enough money to prolong your life is a hell of a motivator for higher performance during your productive years.

                1. Right.

              2. The ‘progressives’ whine that some people can make different decisions about when to die (or put off dying) because they have more money.

                Of course it is unfair. It’s just not any less unfair to let electoral poltics determine who lives and dies. Democracy is not a panacea.

                At least with the free market, you have options. With single payer, if “the people” decide you should die, you’re SOL.

                1. At least with the free market, you have options. With single payer, if “the people” decide you should die, you’re SOL.

                  On this point I disagree. With single-payer, the politically connected will have options.

                  1. Yes, of course, I’m thinking of the idealized single payer. Even if the system works as intended and “democracy” results in “the people” deciding who should be allowed to die, and who gets the state funded health care, there’s no necessary reason why that outcome will be objectively fair. If such a thing as objective fairness even exists. Democracies produce unfair outcomes all the time – for minorities.

                    Of course in the real world, knowing the right person will get you access to treatment anyway.

        2. I want my death to be notable, worthy of a headline. I’m thinking 100 MPH+ car crash ending in a giant fireball ought to do the trick.

          Then there’s the issue of the funeral. Mine will be an open pyre of what’s left, complete with a kegger, live band and an auction to blow the explosives at the end.

          BTW, don’t fall for ProL, with his sleazy sales pitch for his funeral business. It’s just tacky.

          1. Tacky? It’s life-embracing and glorious. Especially if you select the package with the thrall women.

            We made nearly $100 million last year alone. Does that sound tacky to you?

            1. Yeah, but you only cleared 10 bucks after paying for the thrall insurance. Too many gorings and “accidental” beheadings will kill your rates.

              1. Don’t be silly. The thralls are all gyndroids we leased from the Japanese. Well, except for that one android–we had a gay client last month. They aren’t cheap, but we pass the cost to our clients.

                1. And that time when the Coast Guard shut you down? Hmmmmm?

                  1. Yes, well, they apparently weren’t consulted in advance about all of the burning Viking longboats. Those responsible have been sacked.

                    But we’re good now. Apparently, a few thrall gyndroids were all that were needed to smooth things over.

                    1. OK, you sold me, I want in.

                    2. We’ll send you some gyndroids along with a brochure.

          2. I’m thinking 100 MPH+ car crash ending in a giant fireball ought to do the trick.

            “Ah, The ‘Michael Bay’, very good choice sir. Would you like the car to be a replica of Bumblebee? Ok, calm down sir, it’s just a joke.”

          3. Aim for a cop car.

          4. JW, I for one will honor your wishes and walk away from your fireball in slo-motion and without looking back.

            1. And without regard to physics, I hope.

            2. **sniff** I love yous guys.

        3. “”We need Death Panels – of oneself.””

          That would make sense, if you’re terminally ill, and want to call it quits you should be allowed too.

          Then you have situations like this.
          http://www.thebostonchannel.co…..etail.html

      3. “Competition should result in a lot of innovation in insurance plan design, and savings as a result.”

        Exactly. Instead of purchasing life insurance policies that convert into retirement accounts, I’m sure we would see similar policies that convert to offset health care costs.

        We would also benefit by getting away from employer based health insurance. If the system were centered around individuals selecting their own plans, individuals could stay with the same health insurance plan, even if they change jobs, and their would be an incentive for health insurance companies to reward loyalty.

      4. I mean “third-party payment” in the sense of “some third party pays for your insurance premiums”.

        At least if you are paying for your own insurance there is SOME feedback. When you aren’t paying your own premiums, that’s when you get these idiotic comprehensive plans that cover stubbed toes and hangnails.

  4. Also, tax incentives for businesses that provide health care benefits.

    “…unnecessarily restrictive licensing of health care professionals.”

    Just as if every car had to meet BMW-esque standards. There’d be a lot of people who couldn’t afford transportation and they’d be saying how we need to nationalize the auto industry. Of course, once nationalized, they’d give everybody a Corolla and talk about how they cut costs.

    1. Corolla would be acceptable — you will get a Yugo instead.

      1. So, the Japanese will be making cheaper, better healthcare soon too?

        1. Robots. That is all.

  5. “The rapid rise in health care costs is primarily the consequence of government policies.”

    or

    The rapid rise in housing, insurance, military, drug war, business ownership, education,….costs is primarily the consequence of government policies.

    Who the hell is Jagadeesh Gokhale and how much did he spend on his education to figure out something so fucking obvious as “the rapid rise in health care costs is primarily the consequence of government policies.”?

    Good job Jagadeesh!

    1. That’s a deliberate strategy. Impose all your regulations on the businesses rather than individuals, so when all the meddling and interventions cause the shit to crash down you can blame the market.

    2. What works; works. What doesn’t; doesn’t.

  6. I’m sure that malpractice insurance and frivilous lawsuits have little to do with increasing health care costs.

    1. You bet it does, somewhat brought about by the lack of loser pays. Currently there is very little downside to filing a frivolous lawsuit. None for the plaintiff or the attorney representing.

      1. Yeah, I brought up ‘loser pays’ on FireDogLake once and just…agitated a hornet’s nest over there it was crazy!

        One stat I’ve never found: What’s the estimated cost for all those ‘out-of-court’ settlements? Hard numbers to get as its one of the few pieces of data out there not sucked up and aggregated, given its all under seal (of course). But the number must be astounding and Democrats never want to talk about it.

        1. “Yeah, I brought up ‘loser pays’ on FireDogLake once and just…agitated a hornet’s nest over there it was crazy!”

          Did you respond with “but that’s the way all the cool countries with socialized medicine do it”?

          1. I did. And got no takers even for a snide passing insult, except one about how since America was dominated by Big Evil Inc. we needed those lawyers. But that was it. Definite hands-on-the-ears timeout time for the lefties in that mental box. Wish I had a link. It was entertaining thread.

    2. Do away with malpractice insurance and make the docs pay for their mistakes out of pocket.

      1. What does pooling of risk – i.e. actual insurance – have to do with anything?

      2. I read on article recently about docs that go without malpractice insurance – if they have it they are much more likely to face litigation.

        So they put all their assets in their wives names and just run naked as judgement proof – if they lose a suit they move to another state (rare).

        1. “”So they put all their assets in their wives names””

          What could go wrong with that one? lol.

          The malpractice won’t clean them out but the soon to be ex-wife will.

  7. The other side of this is delivery of the service/product. The industry itself is so straight-jacketed by regs and rent-seekers it wouldn’t be ‘legal’ for the business to re-align and embrace a new payment scheme, no matter the scheme.

  8. “The federal government is barreling toward a debt crisis, and increases in health spending are the biggest cause.”
    _
    nope – 2 wars & an unregulated financial collapse are the biggest causes.

    1. nope – 2 wars & an unregulated financial collapse are the biggest causes.

      I would say TARP and the successive bail-outs make it a VERY regulated financial collapse.

      And the biggest thing Bush (who seems to be your target here) and his acolytes did to exacerbate financial predicaments was Medicare Part B.

      I’m sorry you’re a victim of public education but there are numerous online programs to help you with your ‘math problem.’ Good luck.

      1. Ah, my bad. ‘Part D’ is the Bushpig value-ad there.

        1. Part D comes with a mandate too. The difference is how you are penalized for non-compliance.

    2. TARP was a response to the crash, not a cause & has been largely paid back. and the 2 wars effectively removed 2 trillion or so from our economy. I never mentioned names, you did. >try ur tax-payer subsidized, private education again.

      1. “unregulated financial collapse” is a complete thought there. This would contravene a laissez-faire financial collapse (which didn’t happen).

        If you bemoan the seeming lack of regulation for said financial collapse, that’s a different bowl of English. But good effort.

        And $two trillion$ total for all these wars over going on ten and eight years respectively (and a new third one started by your hero now ramping up) is barely more than this year’s deficit alone. It is hardly the financial back-breaker here, all its other troubling qualities aside.

    3. No, entitlements are the primary cause. The wars are a short-term issue if we’d ever GET THE FUCK OUT.

      TARP is NOT repaid, but is, again, a one-time hit.

      Entitlements are driving us to the poor house. As Casey Stengel said, “you could look it up.” And should…

      1. More proof that 00 refers to his IQ….http://goo.gl/bXLCM

    4. Ugh.

      The wars cost about $150 billion/year. The Federal Reserve-induced recession resulted in about $400 billion/year in lost revenues. $550 billion total. Last time I checked, the deficit was $1.5 trillion.

      1. Fed “induced”? You’re crazy.

        It was free market induced (not that there is anything wrong with that).

        Like the Dutch tulip mania, millions bought with the full faith that home prices would only rise. The market met their demand and poor risk standards at banks snowballed it.

        We might be in a commodities bubble of sorts now – although I admit I am 0 for 2 shorting gold. Goldman just called a top on oil and the Saudis say there is a glut.

        1. Re: shrike,

          Fed “induced”? You’re crazy.

          It was free market induced (not that there is anything wrong with that).

          The Fed being an innocent bystander, to be sure. Statist fucks always like to shift the blame towards the victim…

          Like the Dutch tulip mania [????], millions bought with the full faith that home prices would only rise.

          Interest rates… time preference… how do they work, again? Again, the Fed was an innocent bystander, the fractional reserve banking system having nothing whatsoever to do with raising buyer expectations through interest rate manipulations – nah.

          Thus spoketh the resident Keynesian crackpot.

          1. Remember, remember.. the “preview” button…

            Re: shrike,

            Fed “induced”? You’re crazy.

            It was free market induced (not that there is anything wrong with that).

            The Fed being an innocent bystander, to be sure. Statist fucks always like to shift the blame towards the victim…

            Like the Dutch tulip mania [????], millions bought with the full faith that home prices would only rise.

            Interest rates… time preference… how do they work, again? Again, the Fed was an innocent bystander, the fractional reserve banking system having nothing whatsoever to do with raising buyer expectations through interest rate manipulations – nah.

            Thus spoketh the resident Keynesian crackpot.

        2. Like the Dutch tulip mania, millions bought with the full faith that home prices would only rise. The market met their demand and poor risk standards at banks snowballed it.

          First, there is no supply for the ‘market demand’ for iffy loans. There needs to be an underwriter – an insurer of last resort – to eat that risk before Evil Bank Inc. will cut that loan. I mean think about…can you really see a bunch of old men sitting around plotting their capitalist schemes: “Yes Mr. Rothschild, we will loan them money and they will never pay it back…MUHAHAHAHA!” That does not sound like a sound Evil Inc. scheme there.

          And that’s where tulip-stupid holds no weight in comparison. Tulipmania in modern context is more comparable to the Dot Bomb.

          But Tulipmania as comparison for this mess? Nope. There was no Dutch ‘Fannie Flower’ and ‘Freddie Bloom’ which bought all those toxic tulip contracts from the local Jewish banking cabal (‘Spinoza Sachs?’) fast as they could print them for the suckers. And then give’em cash late at night to cover (and perversely profit from) their own losses.

          No, those two events aren’t comparable at all.

        3. I’m not crazy, you have your cause and effect backward. The fact that millions thought housing would continue to rise only means they were the greater fools. The banks wouldn’t have expanded their lending in the first place without the fed pumping money into the system in ’01-’03, and Fannie & Freddie buying up all the fraudulent securities.

    5. Re: OO,

      nope – 2 wars & an unregulated financial collapse are the biggest causes.

      Thus sayeth the result of Amerikan Pulbic Edukashion and financial genius.

      “Unregulated” financial “collapse”? Sounds ominous, but not like a regulated financial collapse – those are “bwa ha ha ha!” ominous.

    6. President Obama: “Medicare and Medicaid are the single biggest drivers of the federal deficit and the federal debt by a huge margin.”

      http://www.politifact.com/trut…..est-defic/

  9. Nobody has ever thought or suggested what I’m about to say, so we can forgive the governments of the world for failing to implement this, right? –

    Annihilate the state’s involvement in health care. Annihilate. There, you see?

    Now, Barry and Joe and George and all the rest of you statists, you no longer have an excuse. 🙂

  10. “The rapid rise in education, housing, oil, used cars, food, health care costs is primarily the consequence of government policies.”

    1. So many examples, yet we still have to debate this obvious truth.

      1. It’s all just a massive, conspiratorial coincidence to make the govt look bad.

  11. That is, by flooding the health care market with government money, the market ends up with many dollars chasing few worthwhile health care products, which results in rising health care prices. Moreover, the subsidies siphon away health care resources from the private-payer health care market, causing cost in that sector to increase rapidly as well.

    Unfortunately, many people lack the basic economic reasoning skills to be able to comprehend this point. It’s much easier to just blame the collections department at the hospital and call them greedy.

    FWIW, college costs and home prices (until that market crashed) are/were rapidly rising for the exact same reasons.

    1. I’m saving for my kid’s college education now. I’m rooting for a burst bubble in those costs.

  12. That is, by flooding the health care market with government money, the market ends up with many dollars chasing few worthwhile health care products, which results in rising health care prices.

    Bullshit. If this were true we would observe the same effect on college tuition.

    1. Yeah, what he said. We’d also see it in the market for…well, everything.

      1. Assuming you’re not being ironic, have you heard of corn?

        1. I believe “smart ass” is a more appropriate term than “ironic,” for the record.

          1. And I’m speaking for myself, not Restoras, though I suspect he’d cop to it too.

            1. Or “she’d cop to it…” Don’t want to make any assumptions. And now I’ll stop replying to myself.

            2. Indeed I would!

        2. Oh, bullshit. We can just grow more corn to keep the price down.

          In the meantime, you can eat dirt if you think the price of bread is too high.

          1. ROOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDZZZ!! paved with corn cobs…

          2. When we ran out of crawdads, we ate sand.

            1. Son, you got a panty on your head.

              1. You want to find an outlaw, hire an outlaw. You want to find a Dunkin’ Donuts, call a cop.

            2. My favorite film by the Coens.

  13. Nothing wrong with third-party payors, risk pooling, all that, if we could

    (a) just get rid of the fucking insurance mandates that require all kinds of coverage that people may or may not want or need, and

    (b) allow catastrophic care policies that cover only major medical expenses, so people have to decide whether this test or that course of treatment or this pill is worth it.

    I, personally, would support vouchers for catastrophic care policies, with people allowed to buy up out of their own pocket if they want. Yeah, its not pure, but it has a remote chance of actually happening.

    Couple this with a repeal of EMTALA, and immunity for doctors and hospitals that refuse to treat people who can’t pay, and I think we would see the end of runaway health inflation. No need for an “individual mandate” when the lack of an insurance card means you just may not get treatment.

    In fact, I predict the elimination of thousands of pages of federal health care rules would result in costs actually going down.

    1. In fact, I predict the elimination of thousands of pages of federal health care rules would result in costs actually going down.

      If you did that, you would need tortured legalese in bill specifying it has to be same font, same spacing, same-size paper. Otherwise, those fucks would be running .0001 point Arial on posterboard for ‘pages.’

  14. Capping spending through vouchers or premium support payments is one way to do that

    I would argue that liberals have a point in their argument, even though it essentially argues to destroy itself:

    The point is that with Medicare and Medicaid now, you do get unlimited healthcare, which is the ultimate goal. If healthcare is a right, there should be no limits to it. Just please ignore the fact that we’re broke.

    1. If healthcare is a right, there should be no limits to it. Just please ignore the fact that we’re broke.

      Easily rectified: Unlimited healthcare for all; *nothing* else from the government.

  15. Government bad, Cato study finds

    1. Government good, Government study finds.

      1. Again, with the mountains of evidence–and bodies–from government actions throughout history, why is it strange that anyone would tend to find government activities a net negative?

        1. Re: Pro Libertate,

          why is it strange that anyone would tend to find government activities a net negative?

          262 million victims of the State (20th Century) can’t be all wrong.

          http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE5.HTM

  16. Libertarians want a free market system for healthcare, Democrats want a single payer Government system.
    At the link below is my compromise system that uses very high deductibles to get people to move the system in a more market oriented lower cost direction:

    http://un-thought.blogspot.com…..omise.html

  17. Everybody bitches about high cost of health care, but when somebody actually tries to do something about it, the government steps in to prevent it.

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com…..surrection

    1. But… but… our cruel free-market system.

      I mean, you can’t get much more Soviet than this:

      The Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, which reviews all medical facility applications, issued a preliminary denial to Dr. Garcia’s application March 21, after the plan failed to win the five votes required for approval. The vote was 4-1 for, with one member absent. Three board positions are vacant.

      Although Dr. Garcia’s proposal is a modest one ? he plans to invest just $15,000 ? the case demonstrates how much influence even a single member of the board can have at time when so many of its positions are unfilled. And while it’s the board’s job to prevent duplication of services, the case also hints at how its reviews can hinder price competition.

      When was it the government’s job to eliminate “Duplication of services” in the free market?

      By this logic, we should only have one car manufacturer, because two would be a “duplication of services”!

  18. I can see the logic in that subsidizing something makes it easier for the costs to go up. But can that go side by side with increased access? I’m thinking of college. A lot of people argue that government aid has made college costs increase quite a bit. On the other hand college seems to be accessible to a far larger number of people these days. Can you get the second without the former?

    1. Unfortunately, because we’re in the state we’re in, anything that counters the argument will be responded to a series of ‘but-for’ arguments.

      One thing you might say, is college shouldn’t be as accessible as it is. The notion in this country that every child must go to college largely drove us to make college essentially “universally accessible”.

      I think that if you could set up other non-college/university institutions that could give non-college kids a real trade based education for far cheaper than a full four-year university, we’d be better off.

    2. No. And what’s worse, higher access has driven down the worth of a degree. All access has given us is more people who paid more for degrees that are worth less.

      Getting a college degree used to mean something. At this point a liberal arts degree barely qualifies you for a job at Starbucks.

      1. Hey!

    3. But can that go side by side with increased access?

      Theoretically, I suppose. Pouring money into a given sector would, absent limiting factors, increase the supply in that sector.

      Of course, limiting factors are never entirely absent. So what you get is misallocation of capital (because that’s what subsidies do), inefficient supply, and thus, inevitably, not as much of an increase in supply as you thought you’d get.

      Plus, of course, subsidies given to purchasers drive up cost for everyone, thus pricing those who don’t quite qualify for your subsidy out of the market. Their access certainly isn’t enhanced.

    4. The number of people attending universities along with all the public funding has also resulted in a sort of regulatory capture by academics in many fields that smothers the environment for innovation. Look at them raise hell about any form of competition, such as for profit education or community colleges getting four year accreditation.

      1. For-profit education has already proven to be a huge disaster. It took no time at all for it to be exposed as the corrupt debt machine it is. Talk about paying out the ass for a piece of paper.

        Here’s why for-profit education can’t work. You’d like to think the market rewards innovation in products (such as education). But that’s not necessarily true. It rewards profitability, which, especially with respect to education, is not the same thing.

        1. But consumers, given a choice will tend to select education that is worthwhile. And thus make effective, worthwhile, educational programs more profitable.

          Unless, like in America, they are brainwashed into thinking that they can study any kind of ‘fun’ topic they feel like, and it will lead to a profitable career.

          What we need to do is disillusion young people a bit and break the news to them about what careers actually are in demand and provide good salaries. One down side of the ‘self-esteem’ movement is that we’ve developed a hands-off approach in which young people are supposed to use college to randomly explore their interests, and that all choices are good.

          By the time they figure out what they really want to study, many people are already commited to a major though.

        2. Tony, you’re a fucking idiot. I’m not going to argue with you anymore until you can get your IQ into triple digits, which in your case would be a 20 point jump.

    5. Your problem is you think education is an unmitigated good rather than a scarce resource. The greatest benefit from an undergrad degree is as a screening tool, so the fact that more people are getting them is not in any way a good thing, especially since the quality of education is diluted. Furthermore, they’re an outdated waste of society’s resources. Some form of dynamic, continuing education focused primarily on job training is no doubt what a free market would create if given the opportunity, and we’d all be better off for it.

  19. Health care is cheap; government regulations are expensive.

    Drugs that uneducated peasants with no access to health information can walk into a drugstore and buy without prescription are made illegal, or require a prescription for US citizens with complete access to wikipedia, pubmed, and the myriad online forums of people sharing information on particular conditions.

    When we’re lucky enough that our government masters allow us to have treatment, the price mark up is easily 1000% to 10000% what the peasant would pay, not counting the cost of your permission slip from the deputized medical gatekeepers.

  20. I’m surprised nobody has taken the initiative to completely destroy Zach Braff for Garden State. I’ve never seen it, but I’m pretty sure it would annoy the hell out of me. It looks like a pindick-weepy crying fest for emotionally stunted adults.

  21. How about moving Medicare patients to something like and HSA/high-deductible combo? Give them a voucher to shop for insurance and also give them a $5,000/year account they can spend on routine care. But build the HSAs into Medicare so any unspent money goes back to the program, and they’ll only buy a high deductible plan on the market.

  22. Nice post I like it…. I want to share it with my facebook friends… how I can do that?

  23. Nice post I want to share it with my friends … how I can do it?

  24. I’m often bewildered that so many people think medicare is a blank check. We are already in a crisis and need to take this time to fix it before it gets worse.

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