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    Wednesday, August 22, 2007

    The Morality of Healthcare Spending: Megan McCardle (once upon a time Jane Galt,), is blogging at The Atlantic Monthly, where she continues to deliver the best economics of healthcare blogging:

    There is indeed a very compelling moral argument to be made in favor of some sort of government sponsored health care finance, which is simply this: no one should die, or suffer unduly, because they don't have the money to pay for treatment. Some of my libertarian readers will say that this still doesn't give the government the right to take the fruits of our labor by force, but in fact, I find this argument fairly convincing.

    However, that doesn't mean that I should therefore be in favor of a single payer system. The fact that some people cannot afford some good, even a really important and valuable good like food or healthcare, is not a good reason to nationalise the production of that good. We do not collectivise the farms in order to ensure that everyone will have food; we give those who cannot afford food the money (or food stamps) with which to buy it. Section Eight vouchers are generally regarded as a much more successful system than housing projects (though arguably they could be better funded and structured.) If we are worried that some people cannot afford healthcare, there is a much simpler solution than constructing a giant government-run system; we could just give them the money to buy it.

    I have to say, though, she had a better class of commenters at her old blog:

    Saying we can "just give them the money" is an incredibly dull thing to say. Just give them the money? You think Section 8 amounts to the government simply cutting checks? That is a delusional vision of government, and, yes, as your critics have pointed out, it demonstrates either an inability to consider these issues with the necessary intellectual seriousness or a refusal to do so.

    What's worse, I'm not convinced that you honestly do understand the moral imperatives at work here. You made it very clear in a Bloggingheads episode that you weren't particularly sympathetic when you dismissed 47 million uninsured as some sort of insignificant minority. And, on a personal note, someone who traffics in assigning moral blame to sick individuals for their illness is beyond deviant. Ugly, ugly, ugly.

    And, by the way, your whole taxonomy of the old and the young and the sick and the healthy is just about the most confused, rhetorically bankrupt thing I've ever read, and I have to grad freshman papers. I mean really. That would get you flunked in a high school philosophy class. It's a tautological mess.

    Nothing of substance there. Just name calling with fancy words.

    posted by Sydney on 8/22/2007 08:26:00 AM 2 comments


    Uh, farms are subsidized by the federal government, in a big way.

    The second commenter did more than fancy name calling, there was substance and criticism of here critical thinking skills / ability to reason.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:16 AM  

    Yes, most of the comments continue to be very good and well argued, but I don't recall seeing so many at her old place that basically just say "you're stupid" and nothing more. Does that say something about The Atlantic's readership?

    By Blogger sydney, at 5:19 PM  

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