Saturday, October 17, 2009

Cardin's wishful thinking

Ben Cardin supports government intervention in health care because he wants government to do two things:

1. Increase competition
2. Lower costs

Are there any examples of when the federal government has done either of these two things, particularly lowering costs? It seems to me that current government intervention in health care (FDA, licensure of doctors, etc.) do exactly the opposite of these two things, so perhaps Cardin’s two objectives could be better accomplished by getting government out of the health care business, not allowing government to screw things up even more.

Robert Higgs nicely summarizes my feelings about government:

Until more people come to a more realistic, fact-based understanding of the government and the economy, little hope exists of tearing them away from their quasi-religious attachment to a government they view with misplaced reverence and unrealistic hopes. Lacking a true religious faith yet craving one, many Americans have turned to the state as a substitute god, endowed with the divine omnipotence required to shower the public with something for nothing in every department – free health care, free retirement security, free protection from hazardous consumer products and workplace accidents, free protection from the Islamic maniacs the U.S. government stirs up with its misadventures in the Muslim world, and so forth. If you take the government to be Santa Claus, you naturally want every day to be Christmas; and the bigger the Santa, the bigger his sack of goodies. This prevailing ideology constitutes probably the most critical obstacle to reductions in the government’s size, scope, and power. Getting rid of this ideology will be diabolically difficult, if possible at all.