The Uninsured and the Health Care Debate
By Arnold Kling
As a policy matter, we care not about the total number of uninsured, but about the subset of that group that we think “deserves” taxpayer-subsidized health insurance. That is a judgment call that involves some value choices.
I will make one value choice for you and boldly assert that, if you are already enrolled in or eligible for one free or heavily subsidized health insurance program, we can rule you out as needing a second. That simple statement reduces the 45.7 million number down to 35 million, by excluding the Medicaid undercount and Medicaid/SCHIP eligible from our potential target population.
Read the whole thing.
I might want to use this for my forthcoming debate on health care. But I’m inclined to go in a different direction. My current outline:
1. I am the radical in the debate. A free-market health care system is a much greater departure from our current system than a single-payer system.
2. From an individual point of view, the ideal health care system is one that gives you all the medical services you want without your having to pay for them. In the aggregate, however, that leads to runaway health care spending.
3. What we think of as health insurance is not really insurance. Instead, it is designed to provide you with medical services without your having to pay for them.
4. Americans make extravagant use of medical procedures with high costs and low benefits.
5. I would like for all Americans to have real health insurance. However, such insurance would not enable you to obtain whatever you want without paying for it. Instead, it would pay for unusually large and persistent medical expenses. Government involvement ought to be limited to vouchers that enable the very poor and the very sick to obtain such insurance.