McCain’s Health Care Plan: A Response

Rio Grande Foundation economists Brown and Gisser recently wrote an op-ed arguing that McCain’s health care plan is superior to Obama’s. That drew a swift response from a supporter of Obama who argued that McCain couldn’t get health care under his own plan.
To sum up the author’s arguments:

The real problem with the American health-care system is that it has become an industry designed primarily to profit the corporations who provide the “health-care” product. Some aspects of life are more important than profit — family, community and education, for example. Other aspects of life are actually necessities, health care being among them, and when it comes to necessities, profit has no place in the picture at all. Health care should be treated as a public service, not a for-profit business.

While it is certainly up for debate whether McCain has the plan we need to solve our health care problems, the idea that education and health care are “above profit” illustrates the basic ignorance of this argument. The fact is that in a world of scarce resources, the most efficient way to allocate them is through the profit motive. Under socialism, resources are simply allocated by the government, thus resulting in political allocation and greater scarcity (due to the lack of a profit motive).
Making a profit off of someone’s misfortune or illness may sound like a dishonorable way to make a living, but this is what doctors do. It is also the best way to make people well.