Monday, August 17, 2009
The purpose of the “Public Option” in President Obama’s healthcare reform initiative is to keep the costs of medical care down.
One of two things is true: Either prices in the healthcare industry are currently determined by competitive market forces, in which case they are what they are and the government needs to stay out of it, or the prices we pay for medical services and pharmaceutical products are too high as a result of non-competitive forces ranging from benign market anomalies to outright monopoly.
Let’s assume it’s the latter. The solution then is NOT to have the government go into competition with the private sector, but to attack and regulate out the non-competitive influences which are keeping prices higher than a competitive market would dictate.
If, for example, the auto manufacturers were to collude to fix new car prices above competitive levels, would the Obama or any other Administration start a government owned and operated automaker to give the people a competitive, lower priced alternative? Of course not. Existing government institutions would use laws already on the books, and some new ones if necessary, to break up that monopoly. Don’t like my example? Make up one of your own, but the point will be the same.
What we have here is a President and a large segment of Democrats in Congress which President Obama’s election has emboldened who believe in the power of government through direct involvement in the economy to an extent which is neither supported by experience or consistent with the fundamentals of capitalism – and it’s making a lot of elected officials, businessmen and women in large and small companies, and a whole lot of us regular citizens justifiably uncomfortable.