Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gingrich: The Market Can Fix the Healthcare Problem

In the January 27, 2009 issue of US News & World Report, former Congressman Newt Gingrich explains why we need free market health care reforms:
...Yet oddly, there is sympathy for turning over our most private, personal decisions, not to mention one sixth of our economy, to the same unresponsive, anti-entrepreneurial culture that gave us the response to Hurricane Katrina. Our two largest government-run health programs--Medicare and Medicaid--are on fiscal crash courses that make Social Security seem like a model of solvency. Steep benefit cuts or much higher taxes will be required to sustain them anywhere near their current form.

The dwindling number of doctors who accept Medicare patients resent politicians and government bureaucrats threatening their fees and meddling with their judgment. This has aided the rapid expansion of private "concierge" medicine for seniors who can afford it and for physicians who demand more than what Medicare offers. In the mid-1990s, Tennessee's Medicaid's program went further than any other state toward the 1993 Hillary Clinton model of government-run healthcare. It proved so catastrophic that only the capable leadership of Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen--who profoundly scaled back the experiment--saved the state.

More government bureaucrats involved in your healthcare would be destructive. Other countries with similar systems face lengthy and often deadly waiting lists. That is the only way to ration unlimited demand in the face of static supply. Go to YouTube and view the short films of Stuart Browning for a flavor of the Canadian system.
He makes many good economic points. When combined with fundamental moral arguments (such as government-run health care infringes on basic human freedoms), these can be extremely effective.

(Via David Catron.)