Tyrone on single-payer health insurance

"Any dummkopf can see we should value human life at replacement cost, not willingness to pay in a market setting.  (If P > MC, due to monopoly, MC is the correct measure of value, especially if we can produce more of the stuff.)  And what is the replacement cost required to get another baby into the world?  A pittance.  We should spend half as much on health care as we are doing now, perhaps less. 

Let’s institute rationing, and yes nationalization of either insurance or service provision are possible means to that end.  Let’s give everyone access to basic preventive care but limit or perhaps even ban all expensive life-prolonging procedures.  At the same time, our other policies should be pro-natalist, and that includes a favorable environment for religion and restricted vacation time, not just dollar bonuses for kids and free public education.  No good utilitarian can resist that conclusion.

Yes, that treats human lives as interchangeable, but if you don’t buy that, you have no business defending the economic approach to human life in the first place.  (The Devil in Goethe’s Faust: "Warum machst Du gemeinschaft mit uns, wenn Du sie nicht durchfuehren kannst?")

By the way, let’s drive down pharmaceutical prices.  Subsidizing babies is a cheaper way of producing more years of life.

Yup, it’s all about churning out those Quality-Adjusted Life Years.  Current unborns may feel hypothetical or contingent to you, but I tell you, they are just as real as I am.  And when those people come into existence — if they come into existence — they will be more real than I am.

At best, even assuming away the usual market failure issues, market-driven health care allows people to invest too many real resources keeping themselves alive.  You can kick and scream all you want, but at the end of the day you cannot escape this obvious overinvestment.  The problem is that the market works, in the sense of getting people what they want.  And if government involvement can save on insurance company overhead at the same time, or alleviate adverse selection, so much the better."

Tyrone is so depressed, and so unhappy with who he is, that he comes up with drivel like this.  Why did I even pass on the request?  After jotting down these notes, Tyrone told me that if push ever came to shove, I should not spend more than $8000 keeping him alive.  Of course I refused to agree; what would I do without him?  What would my wife do without him?  And what kind of person would you think I am, to sell him for mere dollars and cents?

Addendum: Here is Will Wilkinson’s health care plan.


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