Bought and paid for?

Kurt Bouwhuis, Mackinac Center Intern

Dustin Anderson, a friend of mine, just submitted an excellent letter to the Midland Daily News:

To the editor:

    In a recent letter Susan Gessford stated, “If you are not bought and paid for by the insurance companies, you will agree with this and fight with me” (The only way, Sept. 29) in referencing the apparent need for single payer health care.

    I do not support single payer health care, so therefore I am bought and paid for by insurance industry? This is news to me. But by this logic it would appear that I am bought and paid for by the agriculture industry as I do not support a single payer meals program. I am bought and paid for by the apparel companies because I do not support a single payer clothing program. I surely must be bought and paid for by the home builders association since I do not support a single payer home program.

    In this debate, let us please stop with the ad hominems. Like any other good or service health care reacts to supply and demand. How is the demand for health care insurance any different?

    Instead what politicians have done is institute policies that have altered the supply and demand structure of this industry and have put into place barriers of entry that disallow people to come in and give care for cheaper (across state lines for example). If we wish to make health care cheaper, further distortions of supply and demand and creating a monopoly (read, further barriers to entry) is not the way toward real reform and cheaper health care.



2 thoughts on “Bought and paid for?

  1. A single payer system is the only way to ensure care for all, keep costs down, and truly change the system for the better. Since Republicans chose to let the health insurance providers drive the dialogue, single payer failed. We will now see just how much damage they have done to the US, as the bill that passed was certainly not the most cost-effective one, nor will it cover everyone. So we will still be paying for people to use the ER as primary care, still be paying for the costs associated with children who are not properly immunized, thus creating outbreaks of chicken pox, measles, and in CA, even whooping cough.
    You cannot compare health care to say, a barber shop. People need health care when they get sick, but it is not like needing a haircut. Long hair will never kill you…not getting to the doctor for a strep throat can not only kill a child, but but others in danger. Also, when the Constitution guarantees that the government will “provide for the general welfare,” does not health care fall under that umbrella? A healthy populace works. An unhealthy one cannot be productive.

  2. Sure, you can compare health care to a barber shop. A barber shop provides a service for a fee, very much like a health care provider. If the government were to, say, come up with a plan to provide a single payer hair cuts, would it not then be conceivable that some form of inefficiency would occur? Demand would surpass supply and instead of waiting 10-15 minutes in a walk-in barber shop, you would instead wait a considerable amount of time longer. The government could entice more people to become barbers through further subsidization or paying for barber college, but how does this drive down costs?

    However, where you cannot compare a barber shop to health care is one important area in which you mentioned–long hair will never kill you. Which is why, in my letter, I mentioned food service, housing, and clothing. These are pretty important aspects of our lives, yet we don’t leave them to the whims of political imagination. Instead we generally let the market allocate these services.

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