In this excellent piece, John Stossel dusts off his Hayek to discredit the current health care “reform” efforts being foisted upon us.
The 1,990-page bill is breathtaking in its bone-headed audacity. The notion that a small group of politicians can know enough to design something so complex and so personal is astounding. That they were advised by “experts” means nothing since no one is expert enough to do that. There are too many tradeoffs faced by unique individuals with infinitely varying needs.
Competition is a “discovery procedure,” Nobel-prize-winning economist F. A. Hayek taught. Through the competitive market process, we producers and consumers constantly learn things that force us to adjust our behavior if we are to succeed. Central planners fail for two reasons:
First, knowledge about supply, demand, individual preferences and resource availability is scattered — much of it never articulated — throughout society. It is not concentrated in a database where a group of planners can access it.
Second, this “data” is dynamic: It changes without notice.
No matter how honorable the central planners’ intentions, they will fail because they cannot know the needs and wishes of 300 million different people. And if they somehow did know their needs, they wouldn’t know them tomorrow.
Stossel also asks some difficult questions that Obama, Pelosi and company continue to avoid, including this one:
How does government “create choice” by imposing uniformity on insurers? Uniformity limits choice. Under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill and the Senate versions, government would dictate to all insurers what their “minimum” coverage policy must include. Truly basic high-deductible, low-cost catastrophic policies tailored to individual needs would be forbidden.
But it seems the statists that favor the further politicization of the delivery of medical care are too busy smearing opponents as being uncaring corporate apologists in bed with “big insurance” to bother with such salient questions. The reason is that they have no answers.