ON APPROVAL RATINGS AND HEALTH CARE
August 13, 2009
Nationally, support for the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats has fallen to a new low. Just 42% favor the plan while 53% are opposed.
Obama's approval ratings have been tumbling lately, so I figured I'd jump in and say a few things. I haven't posted anything political or provocative for a while (I've been quite busy welding), but I have had a few things on my mind, particularly about this whole health care fiasco.
Long story short... I think it's quite terrible.
On the surface, this idea of universal health care seems great. I like the idea that nobody should have to worry about being able to afford health care, and that the government would cover health and medicine for the people; good health seems like a basic right, particularly when you consider that the relationship between poverty, health, and inequality. It seems that a government initiative to provide health care for everyone is to the benefit of the nation.
The problem, however, is that health care is expensive, and if you remove the potential competition-driven innovations in efficiency, health care will remain expensive. Furthermore, this sort of intrusion into the market tends to involve higher taxes on the only entities capable of reducing the prices (the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, etc.). When you simply increase the taxes on larger businesses, the natural tendancy of the businesses involved is to simply raise prices in order to stay afloat, which ends up raising costs for everyone that this plan is supposed to help. This is not a solution to the problem of the price of health care.
An actual solution likely requires some much needed (but politically dangerous) tort-reform and some more thought around medicare/medicaid handling (also politically dangerous), as these two issues appear to be the primary causes of ever increasing health care costs.