Friday, January 12, 2007

PS To My Schwarzenegger Comment About Nationalized Health Care

Michael D. Tanner has a followup to the article I cited in this post, wherein he states:

michael d. tanner
[Thanks to regulationmagazine.org for the photo.]

"After all, California has an auto insurance mandate, but more Californians drive without auto insurance (25 percent) than go without health insurance (20 percent). And many of the state's uninsured—the unemployed, mentally ill, transients, and illegal immigrants—are beyond the reach of any mandate."

Professor Tanner had told me before that the number of uninsured was smaller than I thought; but I still think 20% is enough to skew the figures. On the other hand, he makes a great point that the uninsured, whether it be automobile insurance or health insurance, are virtually uncontrollable, especially since an unknown portion of them might be illegals and others who slip through the system.

He also says this:

"[T]he cost between 3 and 5 percent [for] uncompensated care is a problem but hardly a crisis large enough to justify such a radical response."

This is also surprising. I have trouble believing that it is so low, especially in my and Schwarzenegger's state; but that's what the stats say, and it is an interesting point.

Tanner also says this:

"California already has a blizzard of insurance regulations covering everything from dental anesthesia to in vitro fertilization. These raise the costs of insurance, particularly for the young and healthy, who often choose to go without insurance rather than paying excessive premiums."

One of the questions that Tanner's article poses has to do with the mechanics of how the regulations increase premiums. You will find a great explanation of this in his original piece at Cato.

I can't emphasize enough how important it is for all of us to understand the dangers of nationalized medicine, and how these recent efforts in Massachusetts and California are simply the same rose by another name.

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