Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Thought For Conservatives as the US Senate Passes the Health Care Bill

"Nor is there any reason why the state should not assist the individuals in providing for those common hazards of life against which, because of their uncertainty, few individuals can make adequate provision. Where, as in the case of sickness and accident, neither the desire to avoid such calamities nor the efforts to overcome their consequences are as a rule weakened by the provision of assistance -- where, in short, we deal with genuinely insurable risks -- the case for the state's helping to organize a comprehensive system of social insurance is very strong. There are many points of detail where those wishing to preserve the competitive system and those wishing to supercede it by something different will disagree on the details of such schemes; and it is possible under the name of social insurance to introduce measures which tend to make competition more or less ineffective. But there is no incompatibility in principle between the state's providing greater security in this way and the preservation of individual freedom."

From Chapter IX of conservative intellectual Friedrich Hayek's book The Road to Serfdom.

What we need to remember is that the Senate's version does not include a public option, instead allowing 30 million currently uninsured American citizens to have access to affordable private insurance. These uninsured are currently subidized by the taxpayer anyway through reimbursements to hospitals and physicians for the much more expensive emergency room hospital care that the uninsured currently receive when they get sick.


andrew said...

Still doesn't cure stupid and it also lacks provisions to magically grant people a sense of personal responsibility. So people will still be using the ER as their primary care practitioner, just more often now.

eric said...

It looks to me like we are ending up with pretty much the same healthcare reform package that Mitt Romney was pushing in his Presidential primary camapaign. I opposed mandated care then, I oppose it now, and I find it promising that no Republicans voted for it in the Senate.

But I will say this, Huck. I think if Romney had won the Republican primary and then won the Presidency and then went on to get a law passed making it illegal for most Americans to not carry private health insurance, most liberals would be enraged, and many would be calling it an act of fascism.

I'm still not completely convinced the Supremem Court won't overturn federal health insurance mandates, but we'll see. I have to admit that I'd take a great deal of pleasure to see this thing get passed by the Democrats and then be overturned by the Supreme Court.

Huck said...

Well, Eric, I can't speak for most liberals -- only myself. And I would have celebrated Romney-care at the federal level. What I have found most palatable about Romney was precisely how he governed Massachussetts. What I have most disliked about Romney is how he changed stripes in his Presidential campaign to run away from his moderate record as Governor and even his own health care program. I also think that Romney-care is what makes Romney most unpalatable to conservatives.

So, I would applaud Romney-care at the federal level -- and I think most democrats would. And I'd even go so far as to say that if Romney were President and were promoting the same version of healthcare reform that just passed the Senate, he'd have plenty more Republicans on board than the zero number of Republicans currently supporting the measure now. I'd bet, contrary to what you're suggesting, that Romneycare would lose only the public option Democratic Senators who are willing to compromise for their own party, but not for the GOP, but that Romneycare would win a fair chunk of the reasonable and moderate Democrats, too. You wouldn't see unanimous opposition to Romneycare from the Democrats like you are seeing unanimous opposition to the Senate's version of Obamacare.