Putting Lipstick on the Health-Reform Pig

Diane Auer Jones, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, Mar 04, 2010
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The Chronicle of Higher Education for some reason published this argument against health care reform. Well, it does fit today's theme of "natural economies" versus "government intervention". As in this bit: "simple economic theory tells us that if all we do is give more people insurance, then more people will get more medical care, which will cost more money." That's very similar to the Adam Smith argument (see below). But it is empirically false. providing health care insurance means that people get care earlier, which reduces overall costs, as we have discovered in Canada. And does Diane Auer Jones really expect us to believe this? "Just because people have access to medical care doesn't mean that they are healthier or that they require less costly medical care in the future." That's like saying we shouldn't provide poor people with access to education because they might not be able to take advantage of it. The same argument applies to both education and health care, and across the board, societies that provide more equitable access to these services have few social problems, better health, better educational outcomes, and a higher standing on the overall human development index, and end up paying less for all of this in the long run.
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