Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Schwarzenegger's Cuba

California is about to embark on reckless trip down regulation lane. Schwarzenegger thinks that by choking the free market to death he will create a health care utopia. I can see why he thinks this since it has worked so well in Cuba. In honor of his apparent hero he should don military garb and grow a beard, to accentuate his cigar smoking.

Schwarzenegger’s plan is to raise taxes on providers substantially, force consumers to buy an overpriced product that they may not want, and force insurers to sell their products to people who don’t qualify.

Will his plan insure more Californian’s? Yes. But, is insuring people by force a worth goal? I may be confused here but I thought the goal was to make health care more affordable and available. Schwarzenegger’s plan accomplishes neither goal. Californians will now be able to proclaim to their fellow man “I am unemployed, but by god I have insurance”.

Insurance is a product. People sometimes forget that everyone does not desire this product. A young, healthy worker may forgo coverage and instead use his saved earnings for other endeavors. Their savings can be used to provide a better life, and in time possibly become a more productive member of society as an entrepreneur. The minority is loosing their ability to make such choices because they must conform to the life that the majority, through government, thinks that they should live.

Unfortunately I don’t think there is anything that we can do about this in the short term. The people of California do not seem to care that the government is further consolidating their control of the health care market. Conversely it seems to be welcomed by the common man. The only fight now will be with the Democrats over the details. Our fight will be in the long term. In the not too distant future the economy of California will be suffering from an extremely inefficient bloated bureaucracy, over burdensome taxes, and a stagnant economy.

The goal must be to document and identify how Schwarzenegger’s plan goes wrong and be there to pick up the pieces when the people require change.

We must keep offering alternatives. David Henderson's article in the Wall Street Journal recommends opening up the market. He suggests that California drop mandates for insurance to cover many expensive and unnecessary treatments and allow people to shop for coverage in other states so they can find the cheapest policy that fits their needs. These simple common-sense solutions are the kind of incremental changes we must advocate.

No comments: