The Means-Testing Club
By Bryan Caplan
This is oversimplifying of course, but you can think of the Singaporean system as “2/3 private money, 4/5 public provision,” with private hospitals on the side.
You can think of the UK system as “public money, public provision.” Again with some private supply on the side.
The US system is “lots of public money, lots of private money, mostly private provision.”
Many other systems are “public money, private provision.” In all cases there are various complexities piled on top.
Singapore now is making some changes, outlined in brief here. For the most part, Singapore is adding on some public money, but in targeted fashion (one of the changes is for people over 90 years old, another is for people over 60).
Here’s from The Straits Times (gated, I write from the paper copy) from Saturday:
The first [priority] is to keep government subsidies targeted at those who most need them, rather than commit to benefits for all. Universal benefits are “wasteful and inequitable”, and hard to take away once given, he [the Finance Minister] said.
That’s exactly the liberaltarian line and sometimes the conservative line as well. It is a principle I strongly agree with.
So what should the Means-Testing Club be called?