Republican Healthcare Policy Culmination
May 3, 2008
The conservative mantra is less government is better, individualism is better, markets rule. But how does this philosophy apply in the realm of health care? First, phase out all government healthcare insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. The second principle is eliminate private insurance, shared risks undermines the need for the individual to be responsible for their own health. Soaring healthcare costs are due to government interference in the market and insurance companies paying healthcare costs for the irresponsible and passing the bill to those who try to shepherd their own health. Healthcare providers, knowing that the insurance companies now cover the inflation excesses, are free to practice malpractice avoidance. These corruptions of the market have lead to the “healthcare crisis”. People, who had to pay out of their own pockets, would be wise shoppers and demand a drastic lower price for services than currently exists. The portion of the GDP spent of healthcare would drop like a rock and would be available for more “productive” ventures. Of course, this ideological purity would cost the support of two of the mainstays of the GOP, the doctors and the insurance companies. The young and healthy could build their “Health Savings” accounts by investing in the speculative financial devices. But what would be the second order effects of these policies? Less money invested in healthcare would surely lower life expectancies for the poor (not a concern for the true believers) and increase the demands on emergency and charitable care. It would also reduce the incentive for some of the “best and brightest” to enter the field of medicine, reduce investment in medical research into curing diseases, and lead to society where the unfortunate (both monetarily and physically) are seen as disposable. Even the billizionaire CEOs would find in the long term that while they could afford a doctor’s visit, the quality of medical care would degrade in a population unable to obtain the necessary care. The rightwing think tanks , Cato, Heritage, AEI, etc. need to give up on this absurd concept and push for greater access to healthcare for all.