Tied to the mast
…but orange now and black

Single-payer healthcare

Good post at 538 by Robert Frank. I’ve made something like the following argument a few times:

If the public plan is really more efficient, as many policy experts claim, its prices would be lower, which would lead more and more people to switch to it over time.  Additional volume might then allow it to achieve greater economies of scale, increasing its cost advantage still further.  The eventual result, then, might be virtually equivalent to a single-payer system.

Which can be framed two ways: (1) It’s being snuck through the back door; or (2) if it’s going to be adopted, it needs to be adopted at least in part on its own merits in the market. I tend to lean towards the latter, though I’ve detected suspicious hints of Sunstein-style “nudge” psy-ops (suggesting the former) in a lot of Obama’s grand strategy.  If that is indeed a factor, the remedy is public scrutiny. No one in America has the power to stifle debate if the public is motivated enough to engage in it.

Frank, concludes the article by discussing what he sees as the most imposing barriers. Worth reading.

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3 Responses to “Single-payer healthcare”

  1. I’ve read Nudge; I thought the idea was quite benevolent and helpful–so why the “suspicious” characterization?
    😀

  2. oh… I didn’t know it was going to turn my signature smiley D into a little face…

    • Hi Deirdre! Thanks for checking this out.
      Re: your initial question…
      It may be true that many of the people that make up the American voting public are in a regressed “baby elephant” state vis-a-vis their own interests. It may also be true that Sunstein’s intended readers, presumably benevolent and wise “mother elephant” types, have nothing but the most benevolent intentions (the road to hell… amirite?). But I find deeply problematic the recommendation to strategize in such a way that affirms that relationship… I don’t think that’s the way to de-infantilize people, and I think it reveals a profound elitism.


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