How Slippery Is That Slope?

by Patrick Appel

Megan responds to her critics and argues against nationalized health care once more. Continuing the lost innovation thread:

If liberals can build an alternative to the profit model that's at least as productive, in dollars spent, as the private sector, and looks reasonably likely to scale, I'll probably cave.  (I reserve the right to worry about rationing, but I find that worry less pressing.)  At the very least, my worries about the issue will move it to the back burner for me.  But the thing is, you have to do it first.  Use prizes, non-profits, the research agency Dean Baker's proposed, or any combination of the above.  You just have to do it first.  Right now, it's just too much of a gamble.

She writes later in the comments:

[M]ost uninsured people either don't go that long without health care (the number of uninsured counts everyone who lacked insurance for even a day during the year; the chronic figure is somewhere north of half the headline figure), won't be insured (they're immigrants), or don't use health care that much (they're young). The drug consumption by the remaining core of sick and chronically uninsured people, some of whom are already getting treatment through various charity programs, is not anything close to enough to restore the profits lost by price controlling the other 90-95% of patients. You can look up all these figures on your own and do the math yourself--it's pretty simple. Even making very conservative assumptions about price controls yields lower profits.

I'll be curious to see what Megan thinks of the bill should the public option be cut or greatly circumscribed, an outcome which looks increasingly likely. I'm not sure how the government is going to price control 90-95 percent of patients unless we have a taxpayer subsidized public plan that monopolizes the health care exchanges and eventually covers almost everyone. Maybe I am missing something.