by Ben Cohen
The Atlantic's Megan McArdle has written perhaps the most confusing piece of nonsense I've read on nationalized health care. In a lengthy article, McArdle denounces government run insurance because it would apparently lead to a situation where innovation would die, and "Government gets into the business of
deciding whose life matters, and how much."
Her reasoning? From what I can deduce from her garbled meanderings, a government monopoly would destroy innovation because there would be no incentive to create new technologies/cures etc. Citing the military industrial complex (where the government is the sole buyer) she writes:
not innovative, whether they are public or private "
While I agree that technology companies often produce completely unusable weapons and military equipment, it is by all accounts one of the most dynamic sectors of the economy, and the most inventive. After all, the U.S military created the internet, on which Megan makes her living.
The idea that private markets are the most innovative is a complete myth. Most of the profitable sectors of our economy have been developed, funded and protected by the state sector (infrastructure, aviation, the internet, technology for example), and the notion that the government couldn't run health care properly is simply laughable. The governments in virtually every other industrialized country do a better job than the privately run U.S system, something McArdle conveniently omits.
The second part of her argument essentially revolves around the idea that because fat people don't listen to the government when it runs initiatives to help them lose weight, it must be inherently redundant and oppressive (it's everyone's right to die of obesity because that's freedom 'American Style').
According to McArdle, a centrally run health care system would infringe on everyone's right to get sick and die from easily treatable diseases (she even writes: "The way I look at it, one hundred percent of the
population is going to die of something that we can't currently cure,
but might in the future.")
It's about the most paranoid, red baiting nonsense disguised as intellectualism I've read from her otherwise excellent blog, and she should really be ashamed.
The U.S health care system is basically the laughing stock of the industrialized world. It is the most expensive, most inefficient, most corrupt, and most inhuman system amongst the developed nations, all thanks to private markets and for profit corporations. The idea that the government would do a worse job is provably false. Just look at medicare, medicaid and veterans health insurance.
But then adherence to the doctrine of the Free Market trumps all for libertarians, regardless of the evidence, and regardless of the consequences.