The Therapy Sessions
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Socialized medicine gets a test flight
HillaryCare in Tennessee: The disaster that might have been for the entire country.
We think it was Justice Brandeis who said the states should be laboratories for reform. Regarding health care, Tennessee tried a decade ago and the price is now coming due. Hillary Rodham Clinton should call her pollster if she plans on carrying the state in 2008.
In 1994, Tennessee passed what was then a very hot New Democrat idea--call it government managed care--a version of the reform the former first lady was also pitching nationwide. TennCare promised the impossible dream of politicians everywhere: Lower health-care costs while covering more of the "uninsured." They got the impossible, all right. After 10 years of mismanagement and lawsuits, TennCare now eats up one-third of the state's entire budget and is growing fast. Governor Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, is preparing to pull the plug and return the state to the less lunatic subsidies of Medicaid.
People like me oppose socialized medicine for a reason. And it's not because I'm an uncaring, ideological freak.
I oppose it because it doesn't work.
But don't they do it Europe?
Yes, but Europe is freeloading off the US: we pay the costs of their innovation and drug development. That is unfortuante, but we mustn't forget that we are a lot richer than they are (in part because most of the research and development occurrs in the US).
Health is a commodity, just like food or gasoline.
Politicians are eager to make promises about health care. Impossible promises:
1. Health care should universal.
2. Health care should be high quality.
3. Health costs should be kept low.
You can have any two of those those things, but not all three.
That is just a basic law, and it applies to ALL commodities.
Anyone who tells you different is selling something.