Think about It?

Thomas Sowell (via Betsy’s Page) is doing some serious thinking about the health care debate debacle discussion:

A bigger question is whether medical care will be better or worse after the government takes it over. There are many available facts relevant to those crucial questions but remarkably little interest in those facts.

There are facts about the massive government-run medical programs already in existence in the United States– Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ hospitals– as well as government-run medical systems in other countries.

None of the people who are trying to rush government-run medical care through Congress before we have time to think about it are pointing to Medicare, Medicaid or veterans’ hospitals as shining examples of how wonderful we can expect government medical care to be when it becomes “universal.”

If government-run health care would be so . . . healthy for us, then why are we not looking at current implementations of the same to prove the point? Perhaps it is because we cannot do so without proving the negative–which is that the aforementioned institutions provide sub-par care for their patients.

An old advertising slogan said, “Progress is our most important product.” With politicians, confusion is their most important product. They confuse bringing down the price of medical care with bringing down the cost. And they confuse medical care with health care.

Nothing is easier than for governments to impose price controls. They have been doing this, off an on, for thousands of years– repeatedly resulting in (1) shortages, (2) quality deterioration and (3) black markets. Why would anyone want any of those things when it comes to medical care?

Mr. Sowell is pointing out that capitalism will still function, even though the government believes that it can overrule the market forces which are at work. Capitalism always exists (wherever people seek to exchange goods and services of value). The greater question is whether the government’s polices will take advantage of the markets (so as to encourage a more efficient exchange of goods and services) or will quash the markets (guaranteeing the creation of a parallel medical services system).