Code Red: Two Economists Examine the U.S. Healthcare System

August 4, 2010

The Insurance Mandate Revolt

Filed under: Health insurance,Health Reform,Uninsured — David Dranove and Craig Garthwaite (from Oct 11, 2013) @ 8:56 am

Missouri voters have passed a symbolic referendum renouncing the Obama insurance purchase mandate. This follows on the heels of a Virginia federal district court judge agreeing to hear arguments on the constitutionality of the requirement. I can’t comment on the latter but I can’t keep quiet about the former.

I wonder how Missourians would have voted on the following proposition: No one shall receive medical care that they cannot pay for. We don’t have laws like that in other markets for the simple reason that sellers won’t normally sell you something unless you can pay. Maybe our doctors are lousy business people (or maybe they are good humanitarians), but if you need medical care in the U.S. you will receive it, whether you can pay or not. Surgeons don’t ask for your bank statement before they sew you up! But if you don’t pay for your surgery, rest assured someone else will.

We require, through the tax system, that everyone contribute towards the cost of government sponsored education. If we had a nationalized health system, we would do the same — raise taxes and give everyone government sponsored health care. Is that what Missourians want? It seems a worthy goal to avoid socialized medicine and yet make everyone pay their fair share of medical costs. The current system has too many free riders. Say what you want about Obamacare, but if you believe in individual responsibility, you should support the purchase mandate. Unless you are willing to die on the operating table if you can’t afford the sutures.

1 Comment

  1. Local, i.e., town, county and state taxes pay for education here in New Jersey, and municipalities annually vote up or down on the local school district school budget.
    Whether or not you work, or have kids in the system, or opted out via private school, you can vote.
    Imagine that!
    This system requires school budget makers to be acutely responsive to the voters.
    Imagine that.
    Now, remove the process from the voters, and imagine that!!!
    More taxes, less accountability.
    Brotherly yours,


    Comment by Joel Dranove — August 4, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

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