Another Example of "Reduced Rationing on the Basis of Price and Ability to Pay"

Previously, I used 1970s gas price lines as an example of a situation where the government, as Uwe Reinhardt puts it, "reduce[d] rationing on the basis of price and ability to pay."

Here is another example:  The Pruitt Igoe housing project in St. Louis, which was abused so badly by its occupants it had to be torn down less than 20 years after it was built.


I will remind you of my earlier comparison of universal health care to public housing:

Lyndon Johnson wants to embark on a futile attempt to try to provide public housing to the poor?  Our taxes go up, a lot of really bad housing is built, but at least my housing did not get any worse.  Ditto food programs "” the poor might get some moldy cheese from a warehouse, but my food did not get worse.  Ditto welfare.  Ditto social security, unemployment insurance,and work programs.

But health care is different.  The author above is probably correct that some crappy level of terribly run state health care will probably be an improvement for some of the poor.  But what is different about many of the health care proposals on the table is that everyone, not just the poor, will get this same crappy level of treatment.  It would be like a public housing program where everyone's house is torn down and every single person must move into public housing. That is universal state-run health care. Ten percent of America gets pulled up, 90% of America gets pulled down, possibly way down.


  1. Max:

    You forgot one option: Everyone gets nifty and fast health-care, but the costs rise as fast as European Health-Care costs =) I mean, France is a good example. You get perfect health-care and fast response even good care by your local doctor, but it is all state funded and thus it is deficit-thingy with the package getting more costly every minute..

  2. ilovebenefits:

    One of the many issues is that there is nothing contained in the 1,018 pages of the house bill that will ensure that costs are limited to a sustainable increase equal to general inflation, that there is nothing that requires the taxes increased as a result of the bill is actually spent on healthcare, and finally the bill prohibits people from moving into a private health insurance plan. Follow these and many other issues at

  3. Punsons Flora:

    Nice and informative site….good work!

  4. sabril:

    Anyone who favors these health care plans should take a couple hours on a warm saturday night and visit the emergency room at their local urban charity hospital.

  5. Bob Sykes:

    We're not going to get the French system. We're going to get VA "hospitals" and "doctors." Considering the shabby treatment our wounded soldiers get, what do you think we're going to get.

  6. Mesa Econoguy:

    Here's what we were told about healthcare "reform" before we saw the legislation:

    “Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to keep and freely change private insurance carriers.”

    “Government presence in the private insurance market won’t lead to a takeover.”

    “You’ll still be able to keep your private insurance if you change jobs.” Etc.


    Everything that was considered "bad" about proposed reforms has made its way into the 1018 page disaster.

    There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to believe anything that comes out of the mouth of these scumbag liars, and the chief scumbag liar in the White House.

    It is time to remove these people from office, violently if necessary.

  7. tomw:

    Lest ye forget: The orneries in Washington have voted down an amendment to pledge that THEY will have the same health care that they are prescribing for the rest of us.
    That is a fact they will not bother to report to their constituents.

    If you want a more amateur political body, make politics less rewarding. No retirement perks, no medical benefits, no allowance for staff and expenses, and no automatic cost of living raises.
    If the seniority rules were thrown out, there would be no usurpation of power by the likes of Henry Waxman and Robert Byrd. The self-written rules of the House and Senate confer power by seniority. That is not written in stone, nor part of the Constitution.
    We don't need term limits, we need power limits that place each congress person on an equal plane.


  8. John Cheek:

    I was going to add what Tomw said above about congressional health care.Let's hear their reasons why they don't/won't join.Here's an example.When Senator Johnson(brain aneurysm) was feeling ill,did he go to the doctor? Nooo...the doctor went to see him in his office!! I would still argue for hard and fast term limits.JaC

  9. Mesa Econoguy:

    WSJ today:

    Their Own Medicine
    Senators prefer the insurance they have

    In other words, Sherrod Brown and Sheldon Whitehouse won't themselves join a plan that "will offer benefits that are as good as those available through private insurance plans -- or better," as the Ohio and Rhode Island liberals put it in a recent op-ed. And even a self-described socialist like Vermont's Bernie Sanders, who supports a government-only system, wouldn't sign himself up.


  10. Mesa Econoguy:

    WordPress &/or new Firefox update isn't working, so apologies for the dup.

    WSJ today:

    Their Own Medicine
    Senators prefer the insurance they have

  11. hanmeng:

    You describe a public housing program where everyone’s house is torn down and every single person must move into public housing.

    That sounds like a housing program that Obama's probably already working on. Think of the jobs created for removing current housing and building public housing. What could possibly go wrong?

  12. Daily Jobs:

    This is so true. They have not done anything right at the moment with the stimulus package so how can they solve something as complicated as health care properly?