Monday, September 28, 2009

Rational, schmational

My biggest problem with the free market is that humans are not rational creatures. We are influenced at least as much by emotion and impulse as we are by logic. The free market might work great on Vulcan, but here on Earth, people do irrational, self-damaging things like get addicted to drugs, pollute the air they breathe, and listen to Ashlee Simpson’s music.

Caligula’s Horse is right that our health care is rationed. Right now, the general way we ration is by providing more and better health care to wealthier individuals. I think it’s somewhat legitimate for conservatives to argue that opening up access to health care to the poor would put a strain on our already-limited medical resources. Doctors and hospitals would have to treat people who currently don’t get treatment. I disagree with the people who contend that the solution is to continue denying treatment to the poor.

A better solution would be to open more medical schools, nursing schools and hospitals. Law schools and lawyers are a dime a dozen (more law schools are opening every day and we need more lawyers like we need a hole in the head), and yet medical schools are still relatively few and far between. This is not because we don’t need more doctors. Rather, law and business schools tend to be cash cows for universities and are relatively low-cost institutions, whereas medical schools are very, very expensive.

Anyway, I digress. My point is that the free market has been tested as a means for supplying health care, and it has failed. Let's see if government can help.

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