Anti-Universal Coverage

Michael Canon has proposed for principles of an anti-universal health care coverage club:

  1. Health policy should focus on making health care of ever-increasing quality available to an ever-increasing number of people.
  2. To
    achieve "universal coverage" would require either having the government
    provide health insurance to everyone or forcing everyone to buy it.
      Government provision is undesirable, because government does a poor job of improving quality or efficiency.  Forcing
    people to get insurance would lead to a worse health-care system for
    everyone, because it would necessitate so much more government
  3. In a free country, people should have the right to refuse health insurance.
  4. If governments must subsidize those who cannot afford medical care,
    they should be free to experiment with different types of subsidies
    (cash, vouchers, insurance, public clinics & hospitals,
    uncompensated care payments, etc.) and tax exemptions, rather than be
    forced by a policy of "universal coverage" to subsidize people via

You know I'm in;  after all, I am the one that has said that "universal coverage is as if, in the Great Society public housing programs, everyone in the country, not just the poor, had been required to tear down their current houses and enter monolithic public housing structures."

However, I would have added a fifth principle:  Health care decision-making and tradeoffs amongst cost, quality, and
content of care should belong to the individual, except when an
individual delegates this decision in some way by his own choice (say
by joining a very structured HMO program).

I wrote about the joys of actually shopping for health care under a high-deductible policy here and here.  Michael Canon also has a new post on shopping and HSA's here.


  1. Jon N.:

    The only issue I have with the universality part of this statement is that inevitably, we _will_ treat uninsured patients. There's just no scenario where this wouldn't be the case. So, if we don't require people who can afford it to buy insurance, the government will end up paying for the coverage that they do get.

    So how do we deal with this? Obviously, the one solution is to require people to buy insurance. But, as you said, that sounds a lot like coercion. An alternative is to charge people after the fact... if you don't get insurance, yes, we won't turn you away, but the hospital has the ability to collect from you. Unfortunately, I suspect that would lead to all kinds of SICKO-like documentaries about all the people burdened with debt.

  2. Methinks:

    Of course there are tons of free market alternatives. They know that. Treating the poor and downtrodden is not the point of socialized medicine. The poor and middle class die on years long waiting lists in these highly egalitarian industrialized countries with socialized care. The politicians and the rich don't wait on long waiting lists because they pay out of pocket. Nothing really changes for them. The world is awash in data to support this.

    The real reason for socialized medicine is to strengthen and consolidate government power and to impose price controls. Leftists LOVE price controls, ANY price controls. Politicians can harness rent seekers to gain access to anything they want and the rich can just pay for it. It's the not so rich and the poor who will bear the cost of politicians sacrificing individuals' life and health (to say nothing of liberty) on the alter of their own power to central plan "on behalf" of the rest of us.

    Of course, the not so rich and the poor are the ones who are screeching for socialized medicine the loudest. The unfortunate thing is that they will give the pols the power to inflict it on the ones who don't want it and can't buy their way out of it. As usual, our job then becomes to educate the semi-literate morons demanding to be thrown of this particular cliff in time to stop the pols. Unfortunately, besides Hillary, Obama and Bill Gates, we're fighting for attention against famous Hollywood half-wits who are fawning over Michael Moore's latest propoganda ditty. For a moment, I thought "Sicko" was a film made ABOUT Michael Moore, not by him.

  3. M1EK:

    "The poor and middle class die on years long waiting lists in these highly egalitarian industrialized countries with socialized care."

    When you throw out obvious falsehoods like these, you lose any pretense to the high ground whatsoever. Consider that many many many people who have had experience with other countries' health care systems have come back and in fact said that, yes, they ARE doing it better (ref: Matt Welch, a writer with sufficient libertarian bona fides, I would hope).

  4. Methinks:

    Well, the many many people you refer to are then overcome by the many many many more that tell exactly the opposite story.

    Perhaps we can talk in real statistics. Maybe you have a good explanation for why five year survival rate for breast cancer caught early in the US stands at 98% while it's only 78% in The UK??? Why do 45% of dialysis centers deny dialysis to people aged 65 and older. Dialysis is rationed in Britain and somebody has to make who live or dies. Perhaps you can also explain why drugs available in America are banned in parts of Europe because the socialist body responsible for negotiating a price cap couldn't come to an agreement. LONG lists are well documented by the very healthcare systems that I criticize. Just take a look at their own websites.

    If you want to use anecdotes, I can give you an exhaustive list. One guy's anecdote is hardly a reason to think that things are a-okay. Many people's experience suggests a trend beyond anecdotal.