We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“It is rare that governments successfully cut costs by first spending more money.”

Tyler Cowen. He was talking about Mr Obama’s plans to socialise US medicine. I am sure that when the NHS was set up here in the UK, the advocates of said argued that it would “save” money in the long run. Meanwhile, here is some useful commentary from Arnold Kling.

8 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • I am sure that when the NHS was set up here in the UK, the advocates of said argued that it would “save” money in the long run.

    Absolutely, that is exactly what was said. The expectation was that as people ‘became healthier’ demand for services would decline. I understand that this claim is in the Beveridge Report.

  • John K

    Much as the state would wither away under communism. Never quite happens does it?

  • Richard Garner

    It always strikes me as amusing how defenders of socialised healthcare compare spending in the US with that in the UK, showing, correctly, that many times the amount spent in the UK is spent in the US, with little to show for better health… but ignore the example of Singapore, where healthcare costs far, far less than bot the UK and the US systems, and the proportion of the spending that is private is much larger than in either the US or the UK.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    As an American, I can predict with some confidence that the net effect of healthcare reform here will be a federally regulated healthcare industry with the regulators captured by the healthcare insurers. Result; mandatory public participation in a closed and noncompetitive national program, high costs and ‘excellent’ services, where ‘excellent’ is defined by the providers.

  • RRS

    Under what powers vested in the legislative branch by thye U S Constitution can the Congess “mandate” (require under coer4cion) that a citizen purchase insurance other than to indemnify damage caused to others by the citizen’s acts?

    Can one be required to buy life insurance?

    Can one be required to buy property insurance?

    What are they talking about?

  • veryretired

    The claim of greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness has been part of the progressive/collectivist mythology since the 19th century. It was used to usurp private initiatives in public transport, provision of utilities such as water, gas, electricity, and telephone service. Later, the allocation of radio and TV spectra was taken over by the state to protect the “public interest”.

    In more recent history, politically inspired zoning has restricted economic activity to “approved” areas and types of business. When cable television and wireless services became popular, all the old excuses were trotted out to justify various political agancies assuming control, and issuing monopolies to selected companies.

    All of these actions were justified as ways to prevent waste, chaotic duplication of services or facilities, hold down costs, and protect the interests of consumers. Regulatory boards and commissions were set up to hear the petitions of the providing companies for rate increases or the construction of new facilities.

    These agencies became political spoils for the winners of elections, and were regularly staffed by out of work pols, or their relatives and friends who were between jobs.

    Do I even have to mention the repeated scandals and regular indictments that accompanied all this high minded caretaking of the public’s interests?

    One can barely imagine the potential for graft, corruption, and influence peddling that will blossom like the lilies of the field when medicine is nationalized, as always, for the good of the “public interest”.

    I propose the two following amendments be inserted into any bill to take over health care by those opposed to this developing catastrophe:

    1) Within 12 months of the signing of this bill, the legal profession will be nationalized in exactly the same way, and subject to the same type of cost and other controls, to be overseen by a board consisting of anyone but attorneys;

    2) If, after an 8 year trial, actual costs exceed estimates by more than 50%, the entire program must be dismantled, and any subsequent replacement must be approved by a 2/3 vote of the people in a special referendum unattached to any other election.

    I have few hopes that any campaign could derail this monstrosity successfully, given the political control that the major collectivist party has over the executive and legislative branches, and its effective control over the media which will present the developing situation to most of the electorate.

    Someday, I regret to say, the scenes we see from Iran today may very well be repeated on the streets of my country, when the conflict over the increasing statist control of our lives reaches a critical stage in which public resistance, actively or passively, or both, is the only recourse.

    I can only pray that my sons and daughters, and their children, raised to believe that their lives and liberties are as real and necessary to their existence as the air they breathe, will have the courage to face the tank.

  • Drew

    The quote could have been truncated after the first eight words.

  • Paul Marks

    Sadly the word “reform” is almost never used by the “education system” people (teachers and academics) or the mainstream media or politicians to mean getting rid of existing subsidies and regulations – the word “reform” is used to mean adding even more subsidies and regulations.

    Want to reduce the cost of health care?

    It is easy – first end the subsidies (Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP and so on) that have pushed up cost in much the same way that subsidies for higher eduation has pushed up tuition costs. Almost half of all medical spending is now government (Federal State and local) and the poor are a lot WORSE of than they were under the old mutual aid fraternities and so on.

    Also the regulations should go – such as the ones backing up the AMA licensing union (if a “correctly qualified person” is better then advertise and so so – do not de facto close down any teaching institution that does not go along with white collar restrictive practices – see Milton Friedman study of the AMA 60 years ago).

    But even without this one could get rid of the regulations (State and Federal) that have destroyed any real insurance market – regulations that forbid real competition between companies whether over State lines or even (in many cases) within States.

    Also one could restore tort law to dealing with negligence – rather than the doctrine of “someone must pay whether they were to blame or not”.

    Any of the above would radically reduce the price of health care.

    As would Senator McCain’s suggestion from last year of switching the tax deduction from employers to employees (so that individuals would directly control their own health care).

    But none of the above is going to be done – instead the half of medical care that is not totally under government control (it is already dominated by regulations) is going to be taken under government control.

    President Barack Obama denounces people who use the “scare tactic” of saying the present (vague) plans are a Trojan horse for total government “single payer” control over the next few years.

    This would be “scare tactic” people like Barack Obama himself – who is on tape (in 2003) saying that “single payer” is the goal.

    Glenn Beck and others have actually played the tape of Comrade Barack boasting of his deception plan.

    And the mainstream media have, of course, ignored the story (even ABC is off to broadcast a propaganda show on health care from the Whitehouse).

    And the insurance companies, drug companies and so on?

    According to an old friend of mine they are falling over each other to surrender – like the cowardly corporate trash they are.

    I will not give my friends name as he is looking for work – but he knows what he is talking about.