diet coke for breakfast

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

Posted by Jake
Gephardt Takes Bold Step to Make US Resemble Norway (

"In one of the boldest strokes yet in the fledgling Democratic presidential nominating campaign, former House Democratic leader Rep. Richard Gephardt (Mo.) today called not only for a complete repeal of the Bush 2001 tax cut, but for a near-universal health care program.

I can give you a couple reasons why this is a bad idea...

1.) Do you know what universal health care is like? Have you been to England? Not that great, huh. Try Veteran's Hospitals. Not stellar. When healthcare is universal it also tends to be of rather poor quality.

2.) Universal health care is going to be expensive. Really expensive. Leading Gephardt to conclude that we should get rid of the tax cut. (Where all the worry about us not having enough money went -- and the Democrats being all fiscally conservative -- I will let you figure that out.) In fact, I suspect that getting rid of the tax cuts will not be enough. Tax hikes -- that is scary stuff.

And what does this logic -- universal health care, high taxation, etc. -- result in? The US economy will come closer to resembling that of many European countries. And we all know how well they are doing right now.

Health care is a good thing, and I absolutely agree that it is not working right now. But universal health care is not the answer.

If you want to fix it you need to do three things.

One, the poor and elderly have trouble paying. Make Medicare and Social Security better and more encompassing. I think everybody wants this, including Bush (hence the drug benefit).

Two, more competition makes it cheaper, but not competition among the clients, competition among the providers. Tax credits to small businesses that provide health care are great, but if you put them out of business in the process by making them pay everybody loses. Take credits should instead encourage insurance providers to take low income or high risk individuals.

Three, prevention is always cheaper than treatment. On this Gephardt and I can agree: "And the result of adding millions of Americans to the ranks of the insured means more preventive care, far fewer trips to the emergency room, lower health care costs for everyone, and more demand for the energy and talents of professionals like you." With the significant exception that he believes adding millions ot the rolls will cause an upsurge in this. I doubt it. Only changes in the policies of the insurance companies and in the culture of health care will help that.

My answer: aspirin in the water.


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