As the health care debate moves to the floor of Congress, most of the serious proposals to fulfill President Barack Obama’s original vow to curb costs have fallen victim to organized interests and parochial politics.
But along the way, the White House and the Senate Finance Committee, which is set to vote on its health care measure, have cut deals for political support with lobbyists that may circumscribe the cost cuts, potentially including the recommendations of the commission. Although the bills contain other measures aimed at medical costs, most of the surviving ones do not antagonize any organized interest. They include voluntary efficiency measures like encouraging the coordination of medical records and disseminating information comparing the effectiveness of treatments.
This is exactly the problem with health care today. There is not only too much intervention, but intervention, period. All government intervention into the marketplace distorts prices and costs (yes, they’re entirely different, something this administration and congress are ignorant of) and necessarily picks winners…and losers.
I’ve written about this already, many times. We do not have a free market in health care, nor anything closely approximating one. And that is exactly the problem with health care today.
Any health care will be a rent-seekers’ smorgasborg, a buffet of special treatments and market exclusions. It will only make the situation worse.