Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Free-market health care advice: Just die!

Matt Yglesias mocks The Corner (not his biggest challenge of the day, surely):
... Obama’s proposed reforms--unfortunately--wouldn’t actually make American health care much like French health care. That said, the moral of the story is that in France no matter how poor you are, or what pre-existing conditions you have, or what happened to your job amidst the latest recession, or whatever else if you get sick 75 percent of doctors will treat you and the government will pick up the tab. In the conservative free market utopia, as I understand it, what would happen to you is that you would just die.* [...]

*Now in the current American status quo you might be able to sign up for Medicaid (socialism!) or else go to the ER and get some unpaid-for health care once your condition deteriorates enough. But it is worth being clear that the free market solution to someone being poor and sick is for them to die. If you’re too poor for HBO, you go without watching True Blood. If you’re too poor for a MacBook Pro, you make do without one. And if you’re too poor for statins you get a heart attack. And if you’re too poor to get your heart attack treated you die. Whether or not anyone in the United States actually wants to implement such a system isn’t clear to me, but that would be what a free market health care system looked like--like free markets in other things.
Anyone who thinks this an unfair depiction of a certain conservative mindset, should've heard the nice-as-can-be neighbor of mine at the pool on Sunday, who was recounting her argument with some liberal acquaintances on health care. "Sometimes you just die. People die! I mean, I'm a Presbyterian, that's how we think."

She also complained that people without health insurance should just get jobs. TBA placed inter-neighbor amity over making the point that some people work full time without being able to afford health insurance.

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