Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Email to Eugene Robinson

I wrote this in five minutes so forgive any grammatical errors or lack of flow:
Mr Robinson,

In today's opinion piece you wrote "I feel strongly that there should be a public option to keep private insurers honest..." I agree that private insurers should be kept honest, just like I think that all businesses should be kept honest. Both theory and experience teach us that the best way of keeping business in check is through competition of the marketplace, which drives down prices and forces poor quality businesses to find another line of work. The easier way to increase competition would simply be to allow people to buy health insurance across state lines. Best of all, it would cost nothing to the government. More companies would compete, prices would go down and consumers would win. Who could be against this?

In sharp contrast a public option would bring new expenses at a time of historic deficits and would not compete on an even playing field given that government entities do not have to make a profit or even break even (Amtrak, USPS). Nor is there any reason to think that government would do a better job at providing health insurance than the private sector as it possesses no great apparent expertise in this area. In addition it is also interesting to note how many health care-related businesses are in favor of the Obama Administration's health care reform efforts and have agreed to advocate on its behalf. Plainly big business has little problem with big government. What it does fear, however, is the fierce competition of the marketplace, which current legislation would help further erode.

If you want to keep business honest, promote more market-driven competition. It costs nothing, saves money and has a proven record.



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