Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Americans Incompetent, McArdle Announces

She's not even trying. And she's pissed at someone.

Shorter Megan McArdle: Just as the Republicans can't have tax cuts, Democrats can't have National Health. It would be too expensive.

Her proof that National Health wouldn't work for America when it seems to work fairly well for everyone else.

I'd say we have substantial empirical evidence that we are not going to control the health care cost inflation which is busting Medicare's budget, much less the new costs the administration is planning to add.

I'm glad she brought this up. I read an article that talked about high health care costs in McAllen, Texas. Investigations revealed that doctors who had an incentive to keep costs high tended to run up costs. Much like the bankers who had an incentive to sell mortgage securities found a way to get more mortgages. That's only one small example. There are other solutions, as well as other problems. But I still don't see a reason why the United States can't have National Health when everyone else can. McArdle's answer is utterly inadequate.


goodman.dl said...

I see a reason. The business model of the for-profit medical industry. Most everyone agrees the current hodgepodge is an inefficient mess, but there's simply not the level of will needed to impose any of the national systems (be it ones like UK, GER, or CAN - which are very different from each other) given the number of stakeholders who would oppose them.

Essentially, this problem isn't a 'technical' problem with the mechanisms of National Health Care - it's a political one.

Susan of Texas said...

Yes, nobody wants to make the change, but is it possible? Why would businesses not want to stop paying for healthcare? As the country gets poorer and older, fewer people will be able to pay for healthcare. I can easily forsee a time when businesses dump healthcare to save themselves, and the people are left with nothing.

goodman.dl said...

That could happen, and if it did, it'd happen in Texas or the South first. But I also think we'll muddle along without that sort of doomsday scenario occurring.

Susan of Texas said...

Yes, we probably will. I still don't know if the worse that's predicted will come to pass. From what I've seen it's never a doomsday scenario, people just get accustomed to having much less than they used to have, without really noticing how much things have changed.

Dillon said...

National health care is feasible - there is no particular reason it wouldn't work in the US when it functions in so many other countries.

It will be a rough transition, though. When our province moved to national health care in the 1960s, doctors went on strike - they were willing to risk the health (and in some circumstances the lives) of their patients in order to avoid socialized medicine. The US can expect the same level of callousness from doctors, insurance companies and idealogues like McArdle.

Julia Grey said...

The reason government plans can/will be cheaper than private insurance plans is simple, and comes down to one word:


The need to provide a good return for stockholders means that private insurance can never compete with government insurance, which does not need to provide dividends or sustain its stock market price.

A government plan cuts out the middleman, and there are natural cost-savings from that alone, much less from the ability to bargain with providers for better prices.

This why a government plan will be such a major threat to private insurance, and constitutes the real underlying reasons private insurance interests will work ceaselessly, fiercely, and dishonestly against it.

Harry and Louise? Pshaw. We ain't seen nothing yet.

Susan of Texas said...

It's kind of ironic how American exceptionalism won't let us accept the fact that other nations have a better system. In our supposedly entrepreneurial system, people are afraid to work for themselves because they need employer-paid health care.