The Magazine

Healthy Trend

First, do no harm­—and then repeal Obamacare.

Sep 3, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 47 • By WILLIAM ANDERSON
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The usual pandering to entitlement and envy will persist. Yet Goodman argues persuasively that a private-sector approach is the only solution for the long term. He is cautiously supportive of the budget perspective of vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, recognizing its superiority to President Obama’s plans, while pointing out that a fully effective program will take years to be realized. The last chapters aim to help us understand the details of the new health care act and the priorities for repealing and replacing it. This is no easy task, given the arcane and opaque language of the law, but Goodman is a master of clarity.

Simply put, our country and the world are coming up against the natural limits of borrowing. In this situation, demography is destiny: We are reaching the end of an era of economic solutions through bigger government. Our deficits and accumulating debt, largely driven by health care costs, cannot continue. 

There are only two paths available. We can maintain a government entitlement approach and face rationing and price control by law, with inevitable delays and shortages, quality decline, and continued cost pressure. Or we can adopt rationing by price, controlled by the competition of providers and the choices of consumers, some of them subsidized by government, which allows for equilibrium of quality, availability, and cost. 

Once again, policy choices are driven by divergent worldviews. The vigorous pursuit of equality alone ultimately produces poverty, misery, and oppressive government. On the other hand, the vigorous pursuit of individual liberty produces a self-correcting system in which increasing equality can occur. John C. Goodman has charted the path.

William Anderson is a retired physician.