Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wisconsin Takes a Stab at Socialist Health Care

You know the routine. Troubled teenagers traveling on the wrong road are ordered by parents or the court to visit a prison hoping the experience will "scare them straight." These "Scared Straight" programs have worked well on some would-be dregs to society.

The new twist is that Wisconsin is playing the part of the scarer while the rest of the states are the ones needing a good dose of reality and fear. According to John Stossel in Townhall, we need to pay pretty close attention to what transpires while we visit.

The Wall Street Journal editorial-page editors are upset that Wisconsin's state Senate passed "Healthy Wisconsin", which will give health insurance to every person in the state. Of course, the Journal editors are right in saying that the plan is "openly hostile to market incentives that contain costs" and that the "Cheesehead nation could expect to attract health-care free-riders while losing productive workers who leave for less-taxing climes."

In addition, as the Journal put it, "Wow, is 'free' health care expensive. The plan would cost an estimated $15.2 billion, or $3 billion more than the state currently collects in all income, sales and corporate income taxes."

And, of course, down the road it will cost much more than that. Even the $15 billion is based on the usual Pollyannaish assumptions such as millions in savings "from putting more emphasis on primary care."
Which is exactly why Stossel is singing the Wisconsin fight song.
That's why America needs "Healthy Wisconsin." The fall of the Soviet Union deprived us of the biggest example of how socialism works. We need laboratories of failure to demonstrate what socialism is like. All we have now is Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, the U.S. Post Office, and state motor-vehicle departments.

It's not enough. Wisconsin can show the other 49 states what "universal" coverage is like.

I feel bad for the people in Wisconsin. They already suffer from little job creation, and the Packers aren't winning, but it's better to experiment with one state than all of America.
This program will fail because socialism will always fail. It is going to make it more expensive for businesses to operate profitably in the state. Thus there will be the slow ebb of jobs to more business friendly areas. As the businesses leave, so will the jobs. As the jobs leave, so will many productive taxpayers following the jobs. Those that remain will have to shoulder an ever greater share of the burden. But, let us not forget that there will also be an influx of new residents to the state--those that are seeking lower costs in health care. It is a system that demands the productive leave at the same time that it invites those seeking to be pulled along for free. Its almost as if a maniacal Matt Millen designed the wretched beast from the ground up and slapped a Honolulu-blue Lion's jersey on its back--gosh, it sure looks good until it gets its teeth kicked in.

We can predict how the costs of the program will affect the pocketbooks of the average person and how this will affect the economy of Wisconsin. But, how will such a move affect the quality of health care?

Paul Belien, writing at the Brussels Journal, speaks of how socialized medicine affected his grandfather.
My grandfather's deafness was the side effect of an antibiotic that was given to him because of budgetary constraints in a system providing "free" health care. More expensive drugs and treatments with fewer side effects are set aside for younger patients. Political authorities, claiming to be the guardians of solidarity in society, deem it less desirable for a young person to be deaf than for an old one. Hence my grandfather, after having paid heavy wage-related contributions as a young man to fulfill his solidarity with the sick and elderly, had to pay the price of deafness to fulfill his solidarity with the young.
My good friend Stonehands moved to liberal Wisconsin several years ago. I hope he moves back to Michigan before he is ever forced to use that very same bad system he will be soon be forced to pay good money for.


stonehands said...

Thanks for thinking of me.
Please keep the porch light on.
(I may need to come home sooner then I anticipated.)

The Rougman said...

You're welcome back any time Stoner. Just make sure you scrape that socialism off your shoes before come inside.