Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Jane Galt on Healthcare

Jane Galt has advanced an elegantly simple plan for universal health care.

Have the government pay for all health care expenditures above 15% of adjusted gross income, and cover 100% of health care expenditures by people living under 200% of the poverty line.

These few words do not begin to reveal the load of thinking that lies behind them. They are from Part IV of a series of posts that lead the reader through various arguments that went before. I never found Part I, but I did print out the other three posts in sequence so I could read them sequentially without distractions.

I learned a lot and thought a lot as I read. She has done her homework and makes her proposal with a goodly dose of pragmatism, but the part I like is that she has a heart as well. That component -- call it compassion, bleeding heart, whatever -- is conspicuously missing in most of what I read about health care. There is general agreement that the system is broken, but most of what I come across has either a let-them-eat-cake or they-deserve-what-they-get or welfare-makes-people-lazy attitude. I don't find any of that here.

It's past time that serious people start paying attention. Fortunately, this post has caught the notice of a couple of very smart people, and Tyler Cowen. If the reader has not done so, I recommend reading the whole dissertation by Jane Galt first. This will not be easy. If you make a document it will run to about eight pages if you don't print any of the comments. To appreciate fully what she is doing it is important to follow all the stuff she left out of her final proposal.

Tyler Cowen raises some imporant questions that have to be considered. By the time I found his post I had already read Kling's comments, but Dr. Cowen linked to them as well. When Arnold Kling advances the notion of "mandatory savings accounts, so that people save enough to have $100,000 when they reach 65 to cover the cost of remaining lifetime care" [see post] I think he is living in a fool's paradise, but at least he is reading some of the alternatives.

This morning I am tempted to get on a soapbox again, but nothing I add here will have any real impact. My blog is nothing more than a cog in the machinery of a great public discussion, and nothing I say will travel too far. But I can at least aim readers in the right direction who are serious about thinking and learning.

[My blog is a cog. I like that...Blogcoggery...Bloggety-Cog...throw a wrench in the cog...or a wrench in the Blog...or a wench...hey, this could get to be fun...'Scuse me. Keep movin']

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