Published Aug 14, 2011

This is what bothers me about Obamacare’s individual mandate probably being struck down by SCOTUS in their next session:

Obamacare is a plan in which privately-practicing physicians treat patients who privately select them, in a privately-owned environment, for which they are privately paid, by insurance which these patients have privately bought.

I believe in the power of the government to do great things that we are incapable of doing individually. But I also believe that the market can inspire us to do creative, revolutionary things. I can also see the evidence that healthcare systems with large private components - France, Switzerland, Singapore - seem to return great results at moderate costs. While the idea of a mandate to purchase a product makes me philosophically uncomfortable, the result seems just what I’m looking for - and meaningfully about certain kinds of personal freedom and business competitiveness too.

But we’re not getting that system. And that means that we’ll continue with this current set-up that costs a ton, delivers only-okay results, reduces personal freedom, and imposes vast costs that bankrupt individuals and corporations, holding back our national competitiveness.

That, obviously, can’t stand. But get rid of a couple of those “privates” in my second para and the rest are untenable and irrelevant. And that means, with market-oriented solutions like Obamacare and Hillarycare off the table, we’re headed for the thing the right fears most: British-style state-owned and -operated healthcare.

Oh well, at least it delivers fairly good results at an extremely low cost.

But this is what bothers me about our conservatives: by offering no solution except what we have now, they’re limiting the paths future solutions can take, while opening no new directions. They’re like Russian boyars, resisting the end of the czar’s rule and theor own social privilege, dooming themselves to an end in front of a Red firing squad, unlike the landed gentry of Britain, giving up their traditional perquisites and power in return for Empire.