Monday, March 08, 2010

Open Letter to President Obama About Rationing

"CBS radio news this morning ran a clip of one of your recent speeches. In it, you criticize insurance companies because they “ration coverage … according to who can pay and who can’t.”

My first thought was “not exactly; coverage is rationed according to who pays and who doesn’t.” Ability to pay isn’t the same thing as actually paying, and what insurers care about is the latter. Many folks – especially young adults – have the ability to pay but choose not to do so. They get no coverage.

But further pondering of your point leads me to look beyond such nit-picking to see fascinating possibilities. Not only insurers, but all producers who greedily refuse to supply persons who don’t pay should be set aright. Now I’m sure that you don’t ration the supply of the books you write according to any criteria as sordid as requiring people actually to pay for them. But our society is full of people less enlightened than you.

For example, the typical worker rations his labor services according to who pays and who doesn’t. That must stop. Oh, and supermarkets! Every single one rations groceries according to who pays. Likewise with restaurants, clothing stores, home-builders, furniture makers, even lawyers! You name it, rationing is done according to who pays. Indeed, my own county government has been corrupted by this greedy attitude: if I don’t pay my taxes, the sheriff takes my house – effectively booting me out of the county merely because I didn’t pay for its services.

Preposterous!

I look forward to your changing this selfish and unfair system of rationing that for too long now has kept Americans impoverished.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux, Professor of Economics
George Mason University

13 Comments:

At 3/09/2010 12:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful.

 
At 3/09/2010 12:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's always irritated me that the health dept. sets the cost of child immunizations based on income. Why should I pay $22 for my child's shot while the person behind me pays $4? This is what we have to look forward to with govt. health care rationing.

Love CafeHayek.com. Don Boudreaux writes the best letters to the editors ever!

Best wishes from Kansas!

 
At 3/09/2010 6:51 AM, Blogger randian said...

Why should I pay $22 for my child's shot while the person behind me pays $4?

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

 
At 3/09/2010 7:32 AM, Blogger marry said...

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!
_____________________________

Doctoral Dissertation

 
At 3/09/2010 9:46 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Why should I pay $22 for my child's shot while the person behind me pays $4?"...

Probably from the same mindset that produced the progressive inanity of an FDR and the vailed marxism of a John Maynard Keynes...

 
At 3/09/2010 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

Has there ever been a more effective way of reducing one's abilities while increasing his needs?

 
At 3/09/2010 10:51 AM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

I take the opposite positon, with regard to immunizations, that Don Boudreaux might take. Public health issues such as infectious desease control are a bright line where the national government supercedes the market. The prevention and control of plagues prempts disasters that could lead to permanent martial law.

The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps was iniated by John Adams in 1798. This was done to stop the spread of infections brought home by sailors (and to treat seammen).

"
1878—The prevalence of major epidemic diseases such as smallpox, yellow fever, and cholera spurred Congress to enact the National Quarantine Act to prevent the introduction of contagious and infectious diseases into the United States. Congress later extended the Act to prevent the spread of disease among the States. The task of controlling epidemic diseases through quarantine and disinfection measures, as well as immunization programs, fell to the Marine Hospital Service."


The drift of the Corps into other oublic health concerns might be of some debate even for myself.

 
At 3/09/2010 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last week, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) collapsed in his apartment in Cliffside Park, N.J., a few miles south of the George Washington Bridge. When he called an ambulance and it arrived, he directed the driver to bring him to Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. That direction is today perfectly lawful. Under all three health care proposals (the Senate, House, and presidential versions), such a direction would be unlawful; as an ambulance would be forced to take a patient to the hospital closest to the patient; in Sen. Lautenberg’s case, a small community hospital a few blocks from his apartment. Sen. Lautenberg voted for the Senate proposal that would have denied him the free choice that probably saved his life.

Politico

Hope and Change.

 
At 3/09/2010 2:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

George Mason econ. professors have been radicalizing undergrads.

This has got to continue!

 
At 3/10/2010 9:42 PM, Blogger Janna said...

this is fantastic i love it! right on!

 
At 3/11/2010 8:39 AM, Blogger Davos said...

A super read and very well put! Thanks!

I do want to point out thought that Obama killed capitalism. Bush and Paulson actually started it in late 2008.

Capitalism is NOT giving GM's unions a bigger stake than the bond holders.

Capitalism is NOT changing the FASB (Fair Accounting Standards Board) to Fantasy Accounting Standards Board and letting banks use Mark to Fantasy accounting in place of Mark to Market.

Just about every bank is INSOLVENT now as a result.

Capitalism is NOT taking taxpayer money and bailing out banks (the elite). After all, banks blew up the economy by making a$$inine loans.

While your article is super I think you just have to realize that we haven't had capitalism for quite some time.

The banksters pay the lobbyist who pay these f*cking corrupt criminals who call themselves politicians. Say what you want about the mob - at least they are honest about their profession.

 
At 3/11/2010 9:15 AM, Blogger East of Eden said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. This hit a nerve with me. I lived in Bulgaria for a few years back in the 1990s right as they were emerging from the communist/command system. It's a ruinious sytem to say the least. I just scream in frustration that we're going that way!! Keep up the good fight!

 
At 3/13/2010 5:13 PM, Blogger Brennan Kingsland said...

gettingrational says "I take the opposite positon, with regard to immunizations, that Don Boudreaux might take. Public health issues such as infectious desease control are a bright line where the national government supercedes the market. The prevention and control of plagues prempts disasters that could lead to permanent martial law."

Ah, if only it were true!

As a health care worker I am required to report an infectious disease (say chicken pox), but forbidden to even ASK if a patient has AIDS.

I could be wrong, but I've been taught that HIV is contagious. Why all the secrecy and refusal to protect the public from an infectious and DEADLY virus? Hmmm?

I don't see this a a "bright line", rather a dangerous precedent.

The national government is NOT superceding the market. Instead, the public has NO protection against this plague - thanks to the national government.

 

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