7.21.09: They don't know enough to plan for the rest of us.
July 21, 2009 — -- It's crazy for a group of mere mortals to try to design 15 percent of the U.S. economy. It's even crazier to do it by August.
Yet that is what some members of Congress presume to do. They intend, as the New York Times puts it, "to reinvent the nation's health care system".
Let that sink in. A handful of people who probably never even ran a small business actually think they can reinvent the health care system.
Politicians and bureaucrats clearly have no idea how complicated markets are. Every day people make countless tradeoffs, in all areas of life, based on subjective value judgments and personal information as they delicately balance their interests, needs and wants. Who is in a better position than they to tailor those choices to best serve their purposes? Yet the politicians believe they can plan the medical market the way you plan a birthday party.
Leave aside how much power the state would have to exercise over us to run the medical system. Suffice it say that if government attempts to control our total medical spending, sooner or later, it will have to control us.
Also leave aside the inevitable huge cost of any such program. The administration estimates $1.5 trillion over 10 years with no increase in the deficit. But no one should take that seriously. When it comes to projecting future costs, these guys may as well be reading chicken entrails. In 1965, hospitalization coverage under Medicare was projected to cost $9 billion by 1990. The actual price tag was $66 billion.
The sober Congressional Budget Office debunked the reformers' cost projections. Trust us, Obama says. "At the end of the day, we'll have significant cost controls," presidential adviser David Axelrod said. Give me a break.
Now focus on the spectacle of that handful of men and women daring to think they can design the medical marketplace. They would empower an even smaller group to determine -- for millions of diverse Americans -- which medical treatments are worthy and at what price.