Thursday, April 30, 2009

Challenge Accepted

During "100 Days" PR blitz of his presidency, President Obama issued a challenge to free-marketeers of the world to provide alternatives to big government health care.

I find the challenge a bit disingenuous as I suspect anything said by Libertarians will be summarily dismissed. However, it is an issue of concern to me. Although the classical liberal foundations of the United States have been rejected by our intellectual and political class, I think it is a fun topic to discuss.

So I will take on the challenge.

Mr. Obama specifically asked people to talk about ways that the free market could cut the cost of health care.

I find that question to be loaded. The question approaches the issue of health care in the negative. While there is merit to examining negative space, approaching the issue from the negative will not provide a positive result.

The negative debate starts with the premise that the amount of health care is a fixed quantity. The negative question asks: What is the best way to ration this fixed resource?

A real debate on health care needs to cast aside any artificial frames created by the political class seeking to manipulate the debate. A real debate should begin with questions about the nature of health care and the role that it plays in the lives of individuals and our community.

Realizing that any and all arguments made by Libertarians will be automatically dismissed by the current regime, I will ignore the framed question and simply write about articles on the role of medicine in our lives and society, and put forward the argument that the free market provides the best mechanism for people to pursue the goal of living healthy lives in a vibrant and diverse community.

I hope that others who see value in the classical liberal tradition that formed the United States take up the challenge as well and discuss in an affirmative manner the reasons why The United States has produced so many improvements in health care through the years.

Here is the YouTube in which Obama threw down the gauntlet:


Jason The said...

The problem with the argument you are (predictably) about to make is that the same private industry you will defend has already made great efforts, on their own, to remove free market principles from the market they function in to ensure greater profits. How will we stop private enterprise from simply repeating the same (a reasonable person might ask)? Ironically, with regulation. And administrative costs. And overhead. And federal oversight.

All of which would probably still cost more than a public "single-payer" option offered as a choice to private policies.

y-intercept said...

Golly, in my post I had accurately predicted that progressives would simply drop dismissive comments to ward off any real debate about health care.

You are correct about corrupt insurance companies and George Bush style progressives brushing off demands for MSAs and free market reform.

However, we just suffered another in a long series of economic crisises which all seem to indicate that prevailing thoughts on financial issues (such as insurance) may be fundamentally flawed. In which case, people might find some value in real free market thinking such as the Austrian school, Adam Smith, etc.