Sunday, February 22, 2009

Regulated Health Insurance is not a Deus Ex-machina


America's $90 billion cut of "stimulus" booty captured by Medicare, together with further plans (currently estimated at $65 billion a year) to expand regulated health insurance will only stimulate overgrown health bureaucracies and create more mandates (i.e. more pork) at the expense of taxpayers. Whether this will help a single patient is another matter.


Insurance is no more than a tool amongst others designed to parry unpredictable risks or unpleasant certainties that afflict the course of human existence. It does not make people healthier, it does not make doctors more efficient, it does not create hospital facilities and will not stop individuals from passing away when their time has come. By crediting regulated health insurance with magical powers that it does not have and at great expense, politicians shove out other market forces that address provision of health care more efficiently and humanely than big government and its bureaucracies.

Human progress stems from incremental trial and error learning processes that span over generations. Some lessons are learned the hard way. It took more than half a century of gulags before eastern Europe discarded totalitarian utopias spawned by hardcore socialism. Democratic societies may take longer to discover that keynesian wishful thinking applied to worn out social security recipes delivers neither health nor security but costs dearly: not only in terms of wasted resources but also in terms of liberties.

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