Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Thing About Health Care

My friend Rusty and I were idling in front of a TV set a while ago, watching Howard Dean rattle on about health care, when it occurred to us both more or less at once: the thing about health care is that voters really don't see anything in it for them That is to say, nobody has sold the voters on the proposition that the system needs to be changed. We may not like what we
ve got but we muddle along one way or another and we doubt very much that anything the government can do will make it better. Tyler Cowen had a good run the other day with the guy who said "keep your government hands off my Medicare," but there is more truth in the remark than the mockers want to admit. Yes, I am aware that Medicare is provided by the government, and I suspect maybe that the speaker was too. What he meant, in his perhaps inartfully chosen phrase was: Medicare ain't broke, so don't fix it.

You will say that it is broke and you are, in some sense, right. But you havn't sold Tyler's speaker yet. Critics have long pointed out that a lot of the "uninsured" are such out of choice. Granted, there are many ojust can't afford good health care. But many of these don't vote, and as we all know, if you make your proposal a wealth transfer program, you lose.

It may be that a really enterprising and savvy salesman could close the deal. Barack ain't it, but no other politician (= Democrat) is it either. If voters really wanted health care reform, we would have had it 20 years ago.