Obamacare makes the same arrogant assumption about healthcare: Without government, people can’t afford health care and won’t make good decisions. But healthcare is bureaucratic and costly because of government.
For decades, government encouraged us to pay for health care — even routine procedures — with insurance. But insurance is designed for large, rare expenditures, like your house catching fire or a heart attack.
When everything from head colds to backaches is paid for through insurance, neither the customer nor service provider pays much attention to what anything costs. I’m on Medicare now. I’m amazed that when I go to a doctor, no one even mentions price.
If we paid for everything that way — clothing, groceries, computers — everything would cost much more. No one would know when to shop around, when they were getting a great deal, or when to say: enough.
The more we enshrine the idea that “everyone must have health insurance,” the more big insurance companies can raise prices without worrying about customers fleeing. Forced government insurance steers everyone into a few big plans instead of letting individuals make decisions that foster competition. Hospitals and insurance companies are the ones really being helped.
President Eisenhower addressed a similar problem when he complained about a “military-industrial complex.” Today we have a broader “government-industrial complex.”