Sunday, January 27, 2008
Universal Health Care, California Edition
I like the idea (from Reuters) that a tax on cigarettes would help to fund this system. Smokers are more expensive from a health care perspective, and this is an easy way to ensure that they contribute their share.
I also like the idea of focusing on preventative care as a way to lower costs. Of course, I wonder about preventative care as something that could be abused, i.e. people taking doctor's visits more often than they need because it's "free."
"This component seems intended to give employers an incentive to offer health insurance, and to level the playing field between employers that do not offer insurance -- and are therefore essentially paying lower wages -- and those that do." This is from the Times article. It seems to be saying that this plan artificially raises some wages compared to others. Making workers more expensive without adding to their skill set leads to lower overall employment (some workers will get fired because these small businesses cannot afford as many workers at the higher wages), and what good is universal health care if you don't have a job or source of income?
Finally, I don't like the assertion (on Health Care For All) that planning will lead to lower costs and bureaucratic cost controls will be beneficial. Bureaucracies by nature are cost-maximizing, because any money that is unspent is lost after the next reallocation of funds, while companies that operate by profit practice cost minimization and pocket the difference. To suggest that a bureaucracy can truly keep costs at a minimum just doesn't sit well with me at all.
Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that which the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant. ~Fredrich Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty