I think Harvard Economist Greg Mankiw nailed it in Sunday’s New York Times. You should read the entire article. However, for your convenience, I’ve provided snippets after the jump.

In the debate over health care reform, one issue looms large: whether to have a public option. Should all Americans have the opportunity to sign up for government-run health insurance?

President Obama has made his own preferences clear. In a letter to Senators Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Max Baucus of Montana, the chairmen of two key Senate committees, he wrote: “I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans. This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest.”

Even if one accepts the president’s broader goals of wider access to health care and cost containment, his economic logic regarding the public option is hard to follow. Consumer choice and honest competition are indeed the foundation of a successful market system, but they are usually achieved without a public provider. We don’t need government-run grocery stores or government-run gas stations to ensure that Americans can buy food and fuel at reasonable prices.

An important question about any public provider of health insurance is whether it would have access to taxpayer funds. If not, the public plan would have to stand on its own financially, as private plans do, covering all expenses with premiums from those who signed up for it.

But if such a plan were desirable and feasible, nothing would stop someone from setting it up right now. In essence, a public plan without taxpayer support would be yet another nonprofit company offering health insurance. . . .

In practice, however, if a public option is available, it will probably enjoy taxpayer subsidies. . . .

Explicit or implicit subsidies would prevent a public plan from providing honest competition for private suppliers of health insurance. Instead, the public plan would likely undercut private firms and get an undue share of the market.

President Obama might not be disappointed if that turned out to be the case. During the presidential campaign, he said, “If I were designing a system from scratch, I would probably go ahead with a single-payer system.”

We all know where this is going. It’s time to rise up against Congress. Vote ‘em all out. Fire all 435 of them. All of them. Let’s hire/elect people who actually have some common sense, believe in what you believe in, and vote the way you would have them vote.


  • Brian H

    When we talk about kicking them all out please keep in mind that we are also referring to many in Congress who will stop this debacle from occuring. Politics does not come with 200 year “reset” key. We don’t get to tsrat allover without having dire consequences. There are many who know and work hard to stop this, we must support those who recognize this mess as much as oppose those who want to create it.

    • http://scottslant.blogspot.com/ Scott A. Robinson

      I’m good with kicking them all out. The longer someone is in Washington, the more corrupt they become. I favor term limits of exactly 1 term for all of Congress and the President. Let’s clean house during every election cycle.

      A career politician = A corrupt politician

      • Brian H

        I believe there is a place for having experienced people in govt. Experience is something I value in my doctors, teachers, airline pilots, mechanics, etc. etc.

        We have term limits, its called elections. I do not want to further remove myself from choosing the best and most unqualified individuals. We are seeing what happens when we put a person in a position of power when that person is a novice and inexperienced. I support your sentiments about many of those in congress.

  • Brian H

    Well said by both of you.

    • Brian H

      Meant for Mrs Rusty and Eden

  • kjco

    Thank you for putting the truth out there–again!

    I wonder if the first lady even noticed the homeless guy she was serving at the shelter taking the pic. of her w/his $500 blackberry? Or if she or potus heard the stink about it? I wonder if she made the connection or if the inconvenient truth of it being about citizen “priorities” would even change their minds?

    Call me jaded, but I just think their “policies”, enviro or obamacare, are nothing more tactics to gain power. The henchmen are the congress, cabinet, czars, & unions.

    The idea seems to be run the country into the ground & just call on the minions they paid off w/porkulous funds to march against the masses for them at election time–on a scale never seen before in history. Makes me wonder if potus will become DOTUS (dictator of the u.s.) w/the help of congress.

    KICK OUT ALL 468 UP FOR A VOTE!! What we need is an electoral hit lists of how to make the dominoes fall most effectively.

  • Mrs Rusty Shackleford

    Four years ago my husband’s company insurance plan (small business under 100 full time employees) doubled in price. We had 28 days to figure out how to go from paying 400+ a month to 898 a month. At the time our oldest was almost 4 and the youngest was 7 months. We had a moment of shock and then I got a part time job to cover the difference and we traded our $600 suburban note in for a more affordable $350 car note. Was it fun, no, but I can never be without insurance due to prior medical issues.

    I have neighbors that say they can’t afford health insurance but they bought a boat and an RV and a 50K Eddie Baurer Pick up truck. It’s about priorities. They have two kids that have no health insurance and in my opinion it is by choice. I see so many that are not insured by choice. My own brother was one. He went back to school and his wife did not go back to work and they went 4 yrs without insurance and they have 3 kids. Not smart in my opinion.

    Even Walmart gives benefits to part time employees. If you can get a job just for insurance then you should. It is possible. I don’t want Gov’t healthcare. I choose life, not slow death waiting for referral and approval.

    • East of Eden

      I was listening to an interesting discussion about this on the radio the other day. The host of the show was talking about the uninsured and how many are that way by choice. I know I was at one point….but he said, if they rearranged their priorites a bit and gave up some of their “must haves” they could afford it. I know I eventually came to that understanding. Having the money to pay for insurance is not hard when you are willing to put your needs in front of your wants.

  • Sartho

    I REALLY don’t want Canada-care or Euro-care. I don’t want change!!!!

  • http://nonangrypoliticalwoman.blogspot.com treen

    Fire only 435? You forgot the Senate. That brings the total to 535. Last election, I made it my personal policy to vote for the challenger across the board, no matter which party and at all levels, unless I had a REALLY good reason to vote for the incumbent. Guess how many incumbents I voted for …

    • http://scottslant.blogspot.com/ Scott A. Robinson

      Only 1/3 of the Senate is up for reelection. So in 2010 let’s fire 435 plus ~ 33.

  • East of Eden

    Thanks Scott and Brian for posting. I wish more people could have these stats.

    Ive been having quite a heated debate with some friends about this. They are convinced that single payer is the way to go and that somehow it will all be magically good and work and not cost a ton of money we don’t have.

    Under the Kennedy-Dodd bill my family qualifies for govt assistance health care. We don’t need any help. This is what troubles me most….why are the rest of us going to be forced to suffer so that X million can be covered.


    • http://scottslant.blogspot.com/ Scott A. Robinson

      Rarely is anything efficient without competition.

      • East of Eden

        Oh, I know and totally believe that. I sat thru many an econ course at college (BYU) and was converted fully to the gospel of free trade and competition in the market place.

  • Brian H

    God article, Scott.

    We always hear about the 40 million uninsuredbutnever hear about the 260 million who are.

    Here are some facts about the “uninsured”

    Health Care Lie: ’47 Million Uninsured Americans’…by
    By Julia A. Seymour
    Business & Media Institute

    “the Census Bureau report “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2005,” puts the initial number of uninsured people living in the country at 46.577 million.

    A closer look at that report reveals the Census data include 9.487 million people who are “not a citizen.” Subtracting the 10 million non-Americans, the number of uninsured Americans falls to roughly 37 million.”…

    “according to the same Census report, there are 8.3 million uninsured people who make between $50,000 and $74,999 per year and 8.74 million who make more than $75,000 a year. That’s roughly 17 million people who ought to be able to “afford” health insurance because they make substantially more than the median household income of $46,326.”……

    ” “45 percent of the uninsured are going to have insurance within four months [according to the Congressional Budget Office],” because many are transitioning between jobs and most people get health insurance through their employers.

    So what is the true extent of the uninsured “crisis?” The Kaiser Family Foundation, a liberal non-profit frequently quoted by the media, puts the number of uninsured Americans who do not qualify for current government programs and make less than $50,000 a year between 13.9 million and 8.2 million. That is a much smaller figure than the media report.

    Kaiser’s 8.2 million figure for the chronically uninsured only includes those uninsured for two years or more. It is also worth noting, that, 45 percent of uninsured people will be uninsured for less than four months according to the Congressional Budget Office.”

    This is nothing more than a government “risky scheme” to sieze power. The number of 40 millio unisured also includes people who already qualify for S-Chip or Medicaid but who have failed to sign up. We are going to destroy the greatest provider of health services in the world so that a political party can grip its hands of power tighter around the throat of the American voter.

    Scary stuff.

    • http://scottslant.blogspot.com/ Scott A. Robinson

      Good grief Brian.

    • Brian H

      Sorry bout the typos…my laptop keyboard seems to be sticking.

      • http://scottslant.blogspot.com/ Scott A. Robinson

        I was just shocked how long the first comment was.