Sunday, March 9, 2008

Schwartz and Shnelvar on Medicaid

The March 8, 2008 Boulder Daily Camera "virtual editorial board" has published the following comments from Brian Schwartz and Ralph Shnelvar on Medicaid in Colorado.

From Brian Schwartz:
Who's responsible?

As documented in the Cato Institute study, "Medicaid's Unseen Costs," (available on-line) Medicaid delivers sub-par medical care and unfairly competes with private insurance companies and voluntarily charities.

Medicaid also erodes personal responsibility. Many recipients avoid higher-paying jobs and saving money because such admirable behavior disqualifies them from benefits. Hence, Medicaid keeps those it "aids" helpless, on their backs, and dependent on government.

Medicaid's defenders want government in the insurance business and assert that their reforms can fix the above problems. If so, then why not let individual taxpayers decide for themselves? For every dollar expropriated from taxpayers to fund Medicaid, private charities lose a potential donation. That's unfair to private charities and condescending to taxpayers -- as if they were too callous or stupid to recognize if Medicaid were worthwhile.

A tax credit for donations to health care charities would partially level the playing field. The threat of lost revenue would motivate Medicaid administrators to be effective, and taxpayers would have more freedom to fund charities they deem most worthy.

Brian Schwartz
From Ralph Shnelvar:
Bankruptcy looms

Medicaid is/was the fastest growing component of the state budget.

If left unchecked, it will bankrupt the state of Colorado.

The idea that, somehow, the government can magically create additional medical services out of thin air is an example of the kind of Santa Clause thinking that the government wants people to believe in.

I assert without proof (because no one believes the proof or the truth) that the economy, the delivery of health services to the indigent, and the health of the budget of the government of Colorado would be far better off it the state jettisoned Medicaid and went back to private insurance.

But, of course, actually delivering better services to everyone by privatizing the system is something that those who believe in government-as-Santa-Clause will never accept.

Ralph Shnelvar
(For the record, I strongly disagree with Ralph Shnelvar's parenthetical point -- I believe that the truth is important for most people and people can be persuaded by reason.)