Thursday, August 23, 2012
Coming from the left, Slate's Matthew Yglesias argues that there isn't much difference between the proposals of the two major
Presidential candidates to save Medicare.
Indeed, while at a superficial level there's a sharp philosophical contrast here between the GOP's faith in the private sector and Obama's faith in bureaucratic management in fact but in fact both approaches rely on effective central planning. To make the vouchers work, regulators need to adjust the value of each person's voucher for age and health status and need to define a minimum acceptable benefits package. ...Yglesias, almost amusingly, comes out in favor of Obama's plan -- which he even calls "rationing" -- based on international experience. Given the numerous horror stories I have heard about what it's like to be a patient under socialized medicine, as well as the economic health of Europe, I dare not imagine what Yglesias would regard as a bad precedent.
Be that as it may, I agree with Yglesias that the plans are remarkably similar. However, I see Romney's as slightly "less bad" in that it might be easier to sunset Medicare were it in the form of a voucher system, rather than its current form. This is no defense, however. At root, Medicare is wrong because, like all "entitlement" programs, it entails the government violating the individual rights of numerous people by taking their money, replacing their judgement about what coverage is "acceptable" with that of a bureaucrat who has never met them, and forcibly constraining the professional judgement of their physicians (whose care guidance will be dictated in part by government regulations). If Romney saw this problem, his plan would differ, at minimum, from its current form in at least being touted as a good first step towards a return to the free markets Yglesias pretends he has so much "faith" in.
Neither plan deserves support from anyone concerned about protecting individual rights or with his own health.