Friday, 18 November 2011

Silberman on the health reform law

Earlier this month a federal judge, Laurence Silberman, ruled in favour of the Obama health reform law. Notable here, though, was that one of the judges, in a 2-1 decision, was a Republican (Reagan) appointee and a fairly well known as a staunch conservative. He makes the point that health care is somewhat unique in terms of things bought and sold in the marketplace:
It suffices for this case to recognize, as noted earlier, that the health insurance market is a rather unique one, both because virtually everyone will enter or affect it, and because the uninsured inflict a disproportionate harm on the rest of the market as a result of their later consumption of health care services.
It's an important point, a point that's consistent with the evidence that the US spends far more on health care and receives far less. It's not in our interests to simply let the markets have their say when it comes to health care, because those decisions affect society quite profoundly. It's a lesson most of the world learned some time ago, it's just sensible to divorce health care from the rest of the market. That's why staunch conservatives in Canada or Europe have no problem also supporting universal health care.

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