That is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column, here is one excerpt:
At a further margin, government’s contribution to the health care, retirement and education sectors will also seem inadequate, because at such high prices a government really cannot pay for everything. A heated political debate will ensue. Progressives will argue that significant human needs are being neglected, and they will be able to point to numerous supportive anecdotes. Conservatives will argue that the fiscal path behind such policies is unsustainable, and they will be right, too. Because it will feel to voters that government isn’t doing a good job in these high-cost areas, the conservative view will get further traction. Libertarians may promote radical spending cuts, hoping for much higher productivity growth, but the government interventions are built in so thickly that that strategy could take a long time to pay off, and in the meantime it won’t look like a political winner.
All of the various sides may be correct in their major claims, but none will have a workable solution. This actually isn’t so far from where the health-care debate stands now, and where the retirement and nursing home debate is headed as America ages.
Do read the whole thing.
As a simple rule, reject any argument that asserts “my opponent X is leaving a health care need unfilled” because indeed that is always the case. Within Obamacare, for instance, do you favor expanding the scope of the mandate at every margin? Probably not. The trick is to have a good argument for why yours is the Goldilocks position, not to note that those who subsidize health care less are…doing less. There is always someone who wants to subsidize more than you do, so fight Parfit’s “war on two fronts.”