A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

True Universal Healthcare

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One of the debates being waged in the United States revolves around universal healthcare. Unfortunately those who claim to advocate universal healthcare don’t. Instead they advocate universal coverage, which isn’t care:

There is this really stupid tendency among people to confuse “coverage” with “care.” They are not, nor will they ever be the same thing. Coverage means that it will be paid for. Care means you actually receive it. So all this focus on getting everyone insured is a waste of time and is in itself stupid.

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The important thing to understand about insurance is that it doesn’t CREATE medical resources. It’s sole purpose is to finance the treatment for problems that you develop later on. Giving everyone health insurance does NOTHING to fix a lack of healthcare. Reducing scarcity can only come one way: by increasing supply. This is the thing that no one wants to admit. You can’t fix the healthcare problem with more insurance and by forcing people to buy it.

So now that we know that “coverage” is a bullshit goal, what should we try to accomplish?

We need more “care.” And we can only address this problem by considering what is preventing more care from entering the marketplace.

Most people mistakenly believe that progressives support universal healthcare and libertarians oppose the concept. The opposite is true. What most progressives advocate is called single-payer health insurance. In such a system everybody pays their insurance premiums to the state and the state becomes the sole payer for health services. Such a system isn’t universal healthcare though because it doesn’t create more medical resources, it merely give a monopoly on paying for medical resources to the state.

Libertarians on the other hand want universal healthcare. The state has put numerous barriers between developers of medical resources and the market. These barriers prevent a great many medical innovations from ever reaching those in need. Eliminating these barriers is one step towards universal healthcare as it would lead to the creation of new medical resources and encourage competition, which tends to lead to more affordable goods. In fact one of the biggest flaws in single-payer insurance models is the lack of competition. The single-payer dictates what it’s will pay for various medical resources and medical resource providers must either offer their resources at those prices or not offer anything at all. There is no advantage to providing resources for less nor is there any reason to provide a resource that costs more than what the single-payer is offering.

Focusing on coverage instead of care is why state controlled health insurance has continued to fail. Just because everybody is covered doesn’t mean there are the medical resources available to meet everybody’s needs. In most cases ensuring everybody has coverage leads to more severe shortages as everybody is laying claim to the finite number of resources. This is why countries that have state controlled health insurance systems resort to rationing medical resources.

Once again the goals of progressives and libertarians aren’t mutually exclusive. Progressives want universal healthcare and try to provide it by giving health insurance to everybody. Libertarians want universal healthcare and try to provide it by allowing markets to provide more medical resources. The progressive method fails to address the root of the problem, which is the fact that there is only a finite amount of medical resources. Meanwhile the libertarian method focuses on addressing the finite amount of medical resources by making it easier for medical resource producers to provide more medical resources. If medical resources become more abundant they will also become cheaper and if medical resources become cheaper the need for insurance goes down dramatically.

Written by Christopher Burg

December 26th, 2012 at 10:30 am