[NOTE: I had written this on or about January 25, and for some reason it had been posted as "Private," meaning that nobody could read it. Anyways, here I am about a week late.]
In economics, there rarely exists anything even approaching a control group for an experiment. Every so
often, however, we’re graced with examples like East and West Germany, or North and South Korea (insert).
At the Liberty Papers, Doug Mataconis explains the problem with socialized health care, using Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan as an example. Massachusetts’ dalliance in socialized health care is a wonderful control group – side by side with the existing (albeit) imperfect system. And although I’ll be the first to argue that the current market for health care, medical care, medicine, and general wellness is anything but free, it is still more free than any system of socialized care, which by necessity (i.e., lacking the coordinative nature of the price mechanism) rely on longer wait times or arbitrary limiting of service — essentially, shortages in one or several areas — to perform the rationing function.
Doug asks, rhetorically:
Why should employers provide health insurance to their employees when they know that those employees will be able to take advantage of a taxpayer subsidized alternative ? Why should individuals make the effort to find cost-effective health insurance when they know the state will provide it for them ? When you subsidize something, in this case uninsured citizens, you get more of it, and that’s exactly what’s going on here.
An article Doug cites notes that “State and Federal taxpayers are expected to bear nearly all of the additional cost.”
Taking this to its logical conclusion, it is abundantly clear that such a system cannot conceivably work on a grander scale. At some point, the costs incurred by the volume of dependents exceeds what can be extracted (by whatever means) from the remainder of society.
Repeating the lie doesn’t make it true: socialism doesn’t work. It never has, and it never will. And promising otherwise will cause a great deal of suffering, both to those who believe it (and later find out it’s a sham) and to others, like myself, who reject it, and are forced to suffer it, anyways. In Massachusetts, as in the U.K., we can see the consequences with blinding clarity. Clearly, theirs is not the way.