The “Single-Payer ‘Solution'”

I’ll give him credit, John R. Hall, writing in today’s Albuquerque Journal, knows how to push people’s buttons in support of universal health care. His argument goes something like this: Obama supports it, doctors support it, the American people support it. The only ones who don’t support “universal” health care are the big, nasty insurance and drug companies, not to mention the media. Oh, and by the way, our current health care system is killing us and our babies and free market capitalism is a failure.
Hall has his polling data correct as far as I can tell. Of course, if enough people sell a given product (even socialized health care!) as a cure for all our problems, large numbers of people will begin to believe. Especially when they never see the drawbacks to the system they are being sold. But, Hall is flat out wrong when he says “America’s statistics on life expectancy and infant mortality are approaching Third World standards.” According to this table, we are on par with Ireland, Denmark, Finland, and several other decidedly 1st world nations when it comes to life expectancy and our infant mortality is rate is far better than third world nations, especially when you account for the fact that there are significant differences in the way the nations collect this data which make the US look worse than it really is.
But these two data sets are largely irrelevant when it comes to socialized medicine and the system proposed by Mr. Hall. Can capitalism work in health care? Hall argues that it cannot, but he does not provide a single shred of data as to how socialized medicine will improve our current system. We at the Rio Grande Foundation always provide real, specific, market-based solutions to our problems.
Socialized medicine’s advocates seem to think that the government has magical powers to allocate resources in an ideal manner that will make everyone happy and will do this all in a more efficient manner than exists now — or could possibly exist were we to pursue market-based reforms. Fortunately, even Obama realizes that reality is in conflict with that fantasy. Hopefully political reality finishes the job in killing a drastic move towards further socialization of our health care.