What people have a hard time accepting is that health care is no different from any other type of economic activity. It’s an amalgam of goods and services that must compete with other sectors of the economy for a share of total available resources. To view health care in isolation, as if it somehow constitutes an exception to the rule, and to treat health care is if it is a right, is the cardinal error of most so-called reform proposals.
RCAR’s story is a sad one. But the fact remains that somehow, in some way, health care costs have got to be contained. Nobody likes to think about it, but that’s the reality. To give people all the health care they demand is plainly impossible. There is no conceivable health care system that could guarantee that such abuses would not occur. In Britain, for instance, widespread shortages of specialists, equipment and hospital beds lead to numerous preventable deaths.
We see how the unfunded obligations embodied in Medicare threaten to devour the whole federal budget. Obama’s “reform” proposal (what we know of it) would inevitably make a bad situation even worse. Probably the fairest and most efficient health care system would be one that is market-based and largely free of government regulation. Would it eliminate all abuses? No. But without doubt, it would allocate resources most efficiently, and produce the greatest good for the greatest number—which is all we can reasonably expect.