Contemplating Health Care Reform

Monday, August 17, 2009

When Health Care is a Zero-sum Game

Shannon Love, posting on the Chicago Boyz blog, eloquently explains why senior citizens have good reason to fear the proposed health care reform.

Right now, medical spending is like baking three separate pies for three siblings. Each sibling gets his or her own pie, so they don’t quarrel over who gets the biggest slice.

With Obamacare, that will change. The walls of the financial compartments will crumble. All medical spending for everyone will come out of one big financial pot. Suddenly, health-care spending will become zero-sum. Spending more on the elderly or the poor will automatically mean spending less on middle-class families and vice versa. Middle-class families won’t be able to accommodate increased spending on the elderly by trimming other parts of the family budget. Even if middle-class people pay more taxes into the entire system, politicians will always have to balance spending those increased taxes on the elderly and poor against the needs of middle-class families.

1 comment:

  1. It's worse than that. It's a negative sum game.

    Look beyond health financing and consider health care delivery. With finite delivery resources, at some point it will be forbidden to use your own money to buy better care.

    It will be declared "unfair" for individuals to bid for resources outside of the lottery-waiting-rationing schemes that emerge. Every socialized systems goes that way.