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Health Care Must Be Bought, Not Rationed.

President Obama wants to reform the healthcare system. There are at least two ways to do it. One is direct monetary resources to the (mostly poor) people that don't have health care, so they can purchase their own health care. The other is to change the MIX of health care provided in order to accomodate more people. The first has merit. The second appears not to.

In economics, the two effects are called the income effect and the subsitution effect

Providing health care "income" to poor people is easy enough. It could be done through a voucher system, either like we now have for "food stamps," or even to expand the food stamp program. Such vouchers could be used for certain treatments, doctors, or drugs, but not outside the healthcare program, or even for luxury care such as cosmetic surgery or "bypass" operations. Supplementary legislation would deal with emergency cases. Some of the costs could be financed through savings; possibly the difference would come from a tax on the rich. It is, at least, the least of evils.

The problem with changing the mix is that it would lead to too much goverment interference. Government bureacrats would restrict some treatments and mandate others. The result would be a mishmash of regulations that make no sense. Changing the mix of health care would lead to rationing, and that's bad..