It would benefit those who believe that health care is incompatible with the free market to refine their arguments. A stronger liberal argument for socialized medicine would be: let’s let the free market reign in those areas of health care that are most like the rest of the market economy (i.e., non-catastrophic and elective care), and instead focus on socializing the aspects of the system that are most unlike the rest of the economy (i.e., catastrophic care).
Such an argument would begin to converge with conservative calls for consumer-driven health plans. CDHPs seek to achieve something quite similar to what I describe above: they put cash, in the form of tax-free health savings accounts, in the hands of individuals to pay for routine health expenses, while still insuring against catastrophic illness or injury. CDHPs continue to be refined, and are prevented from innovating further by unwise regulation, but they represent the best attempt thus far to segregate the most market-oriented aspects of health care from the least market-oriented. I would welcome liberal thoughts on how to achieve the same.
This is Avik Roy writing at NRO.
This is where we should have started the conversation on reforming healthcare. The potential of markets to improve the system makes greater individual freedom and responsibility in healthcare a good idea. At the same time, conservatism imposes on us a responsibility to the community at large. It begins in the home of course, but radiates out from there.
Unfortunately, our employer-based first-dollar-coverage system tilts too much in the direction of shared responsibility and greatly diminishes the power of markets to drive down costs, increase access, and improve quality. Obama's health reform reinforced this state of affairs.
For a presidency billed as transformational, Obamacare was anything but.