Liberal Rationalism II

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Move over, Jon Cohn. Ezra Klein points out the sublime rationality of socialism:

In 2006, adjusted for purchasing power, the United Kingdom spent $2,760 per person on health care. America spent $6,714. It's a difference of almost $4,000 per person, spread across the population. That's $4,000 that can go into wages, or schools, or defense, or luxury, or mortgage-backed securities.

And there's no evidence that Britain's aggregate outcomes are noticeable worse. But they do say "no" a lot more than we do. Their system refuses to pay high prices for medical technologies and pharmaceuticals that it judges insufficiently effective. They've forced themselves to make choice, because they have something we don't have: A global budget. They are willing to spend a certain number of dollars (well, pounds) on health care each year, and no more than that. If resources aren't unlimited, then choices need to be made. It's not quite correct to say that those choice will mean letting someone die, but they do mean putting limits on what we will spend to keep them alive.

One reason I'm a conservative is the British National Health Service. Until you have lived under socialism, it sounds like a great idea. It isn't misery - although watching my parents go through the system lately has been nerve-wracking - but there is a basic assumption. The government collective decides everything. You, the individual patient, and you, the individual doctor, are the least of their concerns. I prefer freedom and the market to rationalism and the collective. That's why I live here.

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