Jane Galt asks the right question

What do we want to spend our money on that’s better than health care?

I’m not sure what I think of Jane Galt’s health-care proposal (which, as Brad DeLong notes, is more or less John Kerry’s health-care proposal). But I am sure that she makes the most important point: improving care is more important than controlling cost.

We’re rich. We’re really, really rich. We’re the richest country in the entire history of the world. We’re so rich that we have stores full of nothing but beautifully sculpted plumbing.

What do we want to spend our money on that’s better than health care?

Update Jane Galt writes:

No, it was not John Kerry’s plan, which kept Medicare, Medicaid, and SChip in place, preserving the government price controls which are my primary objection to national health care plans. My plan would not be financed by repealing tax cuts . . . any tax increases should be devoted to close the budget deficit. My plan will be financed by:

a) Ceasing the massive subsidy to people who can afford to pay for their health care. (And making affluent old people in Florida pay the cost if they want to use doctors visits as tedium-breakers)

b) Recouping the current tax subsidy to health care

c) Increased economic efficiency by removing the employer/healthcare link

John Kerry’s plan did none of those things. I do not know if my plan would be self-financing, but I suspect it would.

My objection to nationalized health care is not cost; it is the destruction of innovation that I see as inevitable once the government starts muscling pharmas and medical equipment manufacturers to price at cost-plus. I was vehemently opposed to John Kerry’s plan, which was kludgy incrementalism that kept all the bad features of the current system, while costing a great deal of money and encouraging the government to extend its price controls further into the market . . . exactly the opposite of what I want.

See also Steve Teles’s comment (directly above) and my response (two posts up).

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com