Tuesday, June 5, 2012

@ FutureChallenges: The American Way and Healthcare

My newest article at Future Challenges, "The American Way and Healthcare," explores political economy in light of the health insurance debate in the United States. Arguing that an improper understanding of the proper role of government is at the root of the health insurance debate, the article briefly outlines the current, generally false, understanding of a government's role and what it should be instead. It then explores a number of pernicious effects that such misapplication of government has. While not offering a third solution (which I have done elsewhere), the article argues that by failing to explore the proper role of government, American society has been left with two poor choices: the status quo or a "big government" solution. A reevaluation of the true purpose of government will go a long way toward not only allowing government to flourish in its proper place but also freeing-up creative impulses to solve many real problems (such as the dismal American health system) in more appropriate forums.

The article states:
Healthcare, or more aptly the provision of health insurance, has been an increasingly contentious issue in American politics, particularly over the past three years. Since the passage of Obamacare in 2010 to its potential repudiation by the Supreme Court following the forthcoming judgment this summer, American politics have become infused with this intractable problem.

There is little doubt that the current American system—a bastardized semi-competitive private monstrosity that is enfeebled by regulations, restrictions, and complications—is a disaster. It is expensive, inefficient, and unable to provide reasonable access to many Americans.[1] This has lead many on the American left, and observers from across the Atlantic, to advocate for a government solution.

However, while some champion Obamacare—the current administration’s healthcare reform bill—as a step in the right direction, many across the political spectrum find it has failed to provide an ideal solution, albeit for different reasons. Many on the left feel it does not go far enough, pining for the type of public system that exists in numerous European countries. In contrast, the right has castigated it as a tremendous overreach of government authority and responsibility, but has, as a whole, offered few alternate solutions.

That a revamping of the system is needed seems to be beyond question; however, very little thought has been given to what is the proper forum for such change. The knee-jerk reaction, as is unfortunately all too common in American society, is to turn to the biggest and most powerful institution—the federal government—to solve such intricate problems. This has left Americans, at least in the popular media, with two choices: massive government involvement or the status quo.

The remainder of the article can be accessed at Future Challenges.

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