Saturday, January 14, 2006

Health Care

Ezra Klein makes a good point about the politics of health care:
"And if HSA’s are to be the centerpiece of the Bush agenda, we already know who'll lose. HSA's are cost-shifting devices; they redistribute medical bills from employers to employees. And so here’s your lie: Bush is going to focus on health care in 2006 -- that much is true. But he’s only pretending to hear the concerns of voters. In fact, business is upset about health costs and Bush, true to form, is answering their call. The question, politically, is whether he can walk that tightrope. If the electorate ever understands that these programs are actually aimed at hastening exactly the trend they fear, the backlash will make Social Security privatization look like the very softest of setbacks. But if the media decides the policy issues are too complicated to explain, the storyline will be 'Bush addresses health care costs' and the electorate will simply assume he's addressing their expenses, not increasing them. We'll see."

Health care is actually one of my most liberal issues. Normally I admire free markets and the straight business model, but the effeciency of the private sector is something that tends to occur in the aggregate. During periods of transformation such as the current health insurance woes, dislocations can become severe. I believe that in the modern world, health care, like education, is something we should guarantee to everyone, and only an activist government can do that.


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