Arnold Kling  

A Quibble with Tyler

Losing to Dani Rodrik... Kahneman...

Tyler Cowen writes,

Two strong points that can be scored against conservatism or market-oriented ideas, as opposed to the Bush Administration. First, state-level tax and spending limits haven't worked out. Second, "the right" doesn't (yet?) have a coherent health care plan. But the biggest problems faced by conservatism or libertarianism are along the lines of "won't ever be tried," not "we just tried it and it failed."

I believe that there is a conservative/libertarian health plan--it just falls into the "won't ever be tried" category. In Crisis of Abundance, I sketch such a plan.

For example, I propose gradually raising the age of eligibility for Medicare. As far as I can tell, this is the only plan that produces a credible outlook for Medicare solvency. But this idea probably "won't ever be tried." What will be tried? My guess is we are headed toward government rationing of health care. But we'll see.

Other conservative policies include eliminating tax subsidies for employer-provided health insurance, de-regulating health insurance, and de-regulating the supply of medicine. I don't delve into the supply side in my book, in order to keep it focused and avoid touching too many third rails at once. But there's a lot of potential there.

I should point out that among politicians, nobody is proposing a bold plan. The leading Democrats are not pushing single-payer. The leading Republicans are not pushing my ideas. Health care is one of those issues where, in spite of all the talk about "crisis" and "urgent need for reform," anything that rocks the boat, from the left or the right, "won't ever be tried."

Comments and Sharing

COMMENTS (5 to date)
Buzzcut writes:

Not entirely true, Arnold. High deductible MSA type plans have been introduced by employers over the last couple of years.

I don't think many employees have enrolled in these plans, but they are available. I wish they had been available when I started working at 23. I'll probably enroll in such a plan when my kids are a little older.

spencer writes:

Buzzcut -- if it is such a good program why wait?

why not enroll now?

Buzzcut writes:

I think that my HMO is better for my pregnant wife and 3 kids under 7. They go to the doctor alot. The fact that we only need to pay a $20 copay saves a lot of money with the HMO.

But once we get to the point where we don't need to go to the doctor so much, I'm going to be all over that high deductible plan.

MT57 writes:

Don't give up!

Lord writes:

Do conservatives actually exist or are they as mythical as homo economicus?

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