Ryan’s proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher provides an easy political target. But it’s hard to make a principled liberal case for the program in its current form. To do so, you have to argue that government-paid health care should be a right only for people over the age of 65, and for no one else. Medicare covers doctor and hospital bills at 100 percent, regardless of income. This gives doctors and patients an incentive to maximize their use of the system and waste public resources.
This would all make sense…if private insurance functioned effectively in this country. But it doesn’t. We pay nearly twice as much as countries with single payer models and receive worse care by almost any measure. Why does some wankerly rhapsodizing about the hypothetical inefficiencies of single payer systems enter into the discussion?
One possible answer is that Weisberg enjoys playing the contrarian. Why work at trying to understand a proposal when you can just put a catchy, thought-experimentesque contrarian spin on the whole issue and call it a day? The composure class members who read Slate don’t want to get into the weeds either. They’re titillated by “is genocide good for your 401k” type edginess, and the fact that Weisberg spent Michaelmas term as All Souls with Niall Ferguson proves that he is credible on this and all other issues.
I promised myself I wouldn’t let this devolve into another discussion of how we’re facing another example of the shock doctrine here, so I’ll close on a happier note with what reader E sent me about this:
thank god the american people don’t give a fuck what jacob weisberg thinks and would rather not see grandma die because she can’t afford a dialysis treatment in paul ryan’s galtian paradise