Ezra Klein points out that we ration healthcare in this country, namely by simply pricing millions out of the market:
The numbers are almost mirror images of each other. Twenty-seven percent of Canadians wait more than four months for treatment, versus only four percent of Americans. Twenty-four percent of Americans can’t afford medical care at all, versus only 6 percent of Canadians. And the American numbers are understated because if you can’t afford your first appointment, you never learn you couldn’t afford the medicine or test that the doctor would have prescribed.
We ration. And if the numbers and the surveys don’t convince you of the point, this is what it looks like when we ration.
Ronald Bailey at Reason replies:
Like most left-leaning folks, Klein clearly doesn’t know the definition of rationing. Take this one from Britannica:
Government allocation of scarce resources and consumer goods, usually adopted during wars, famines, or other national emergencies.
Klein evidently thinks that market outcomes that he dislikes mean that government should step in and impose outcomes that he does like. All right, let’s admit it; the health insurance market and the rest of health care are royally screwed up as a result of decades of government interventions and mandates. Consequently we don’t actually find the usual benefits of falling prices and improving products and services that we experience in normally operating markets where robust competition and choice reign.
It gets worse, but really, what is the point in reading anymore after that blurb?
So to be clear, if you get a box of chocolates for Christmas, and then tell your friend they can only have one because you are rationing them so they last longer, you are a BIG FAT LIAR because you are not the government.
If you work at a non-profit food bank, and you tell people only one five lb bag of flour because donations are down and you are rationing the flour, you are simply an idiot who does not understand what rationing is.
Likewise, when a health insurance company that you and your employer have paid premiums for two decades refuses to treat your ailment because it is an experimental treatment or they found something that might lend them to believe it was a pre-existing condition, they are not rationing, because they are not the government.
And for all the people who can’t afford health care and go without medicine because they can’t afford it, that really isn’t rationing, because it isn’t the government doing it. I’m sure that makes you feel tingly in your naughty places.
Are we due yet for another Reason piece about how libertarians want a serious discussion on health care?