by Henry Oliner

The right to health care is meaningless virtue signaling; empty empathy. Health care requires doctors, nurses, hospital beds, ambulances, medications, and research. All of this requires money. Health care is not a single market but thousands of markets.  The operative question (pun intended) is how these resources are best developed and allocated. There is a myth that the market can not allocate health care in a socially effective manner, yet most of the health care market failures can be traced to obstacles to market dynamics.

There is a myth than consumers acting individually can not make properly informed medical decisions, and that even if they did, it would exclude others from coverage. There is a myth that we can deliver better health care by reforming the insurance market, while ignoring the underlying costs we are insuring.

Near universal auto insurance does not make better cars or increase access to transportation.

The health care problem, like so many others, is the result of making an economic problem a political problem. Our elected officials make promises in exchange for votes and power without paying for them. They hide the cost in cross subsidies, mandates, regulation, demonization, and wishful thinking.

If the government wishes to provide health care for the poor, then be honest and pay for it. Clarify what will be covered and what will not. But trying to nudge and micro manage the health care markets will be ultimately expensive, restrictive and counterproductive.