March 22, 2010


Nothing To Fear In Health Care Reform: The freest economies in the world all have universal health care systems of some sort. (Mark Rice, 03.22.10, Forbes)

The truth, however, is that there is nothing about health care reform that runs counter to the American values of economic freedom and personal liberty. Even if the health care bill was to lead to a government control of health care (which it won't), or a decrease in the quality of health care (which it won't), we wouldn't be any less free than we are today.

But don't take my word for it. Even the staunchly conservative Heritage Foundation recognizes that countries with universal health care systems can enjoy high levels of economic freedom. Take a look at the 2010 edition of the Index of Economic Freedom. The seven countries that are considered to have "fully free" economies all have universal health care systems of some sort.

The two countries that annually reside at the top of the Index--Hong Kong and Singapore--enjoy some of the best health indicators in the world, including low infant mortality rates and long life expectancies. Despite their high ranks of economic freedom, both have heavy government control of health care.

For Singapore this means mandatory savings accounts and government-imposed cost controls. For Hong Kong this means a system of government-run hospitals that provide most of the health care services there. Neither health care system relies on the free market forces extolled by American conservatives, yet both countries have high levels of economic freedom. [...]

The next five countries on the Index--Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland and Canada--are all strong democracies. In fact, all five of those countries have higher democracy rankings than the U.S., according to the Economist magazine's 2008 edition of its Democracy Index.

In addition to enjoying high levels of economic freedom and high levels of democracy, all five of these countries have systems of government-controlled health care.

The question isn't whether we should have unversal health care, but what kind.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 22, 2010 1:16 PM
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