Category Archive 'Avik Roy'

09 May 2017

That “Right to Health Care”

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In 1949, Sir Samuel Fildes’ painting “The Doctor” (1891) was used by the American Medical Association in a campaign against a proposal for nationalized medical care put forth by President Harry S. Truman. The image was used in posters and brochures along with the slogan, “Keep Politics Out of this Picture.” 65,000 posters of The Doctor were distributed, which helped to raise public skepticism of the nationalized health care campaign. By 2008,
unfortunately, the AMA was controlled by the Left and fighting for doctors’ and patients’ rights to private health care was no longer part of its agenda.

Kevin Williamson debunks the “Health Care is a right!” rhetoric.

With the American Health Care Act dominating the week’s news, one conversation has been unavoidable: Someone — someone who pays attention to public policy — will suggest that we pursue policy x, y, or z, and someone else — someone who pays a little less careful attention, who probably watches a lot of cable-television entertainment masquerading as news — responds: “The first thing we have to do is acknowledge that health care is a human right!” What follows is a moment during which the second speaker visibly luxuriates in his display of empathy and virtue, which is, of course, the point of the exercise. …

Here is a thought experiment: You have four children and three apples. You would like for everyone to have his own apple. You go to Congress, and you successfully persuade the House and the Senate to endorse a joint resolution declaring that everyone has a right to an apple of his own. A ticker-tape parade is held in your honor, and you share your story with Oprah, after which you are invited to address the United Nations, which passes the International Convention on the Rights of These Four Kids in Particular to an Individual Apple Each. You are visited by the souls of Mohandas Gandhi and Mother Teresa, who beam down approvingly from a joint Hindu-Catholic cloud in Heaven. Question: How many apples do you have? You have three apples, dummy. Three. You have four children. Each of those children has a congressionally endorsed, U.N.-approved, saint-ratified right to an apple of his own. But here’s the thing: You have three apples and four children. Nothing has changed. Declaring a right in a scarce good is meaningless. It is a rhetorical gesture without any application to the events and conundrums of the real world. If the Dalai Lama were to lead 10,000 bodhisattvas in meditation, and the subject of that meditation was the human right to health care, it would do less good for the cause of actually providing people with health care than the lowliest temp at Merck does before his second cup of coffee on any given Tuesday morning. Health care is physical, not metaphysical. It consists of goods, such as penicillin and heart stents, and services, such as oncological attention and radiological expertise. Even if we entirely eliminated money from the equation, conscripting doctors into service and nationalizing the pharmaceutical factories, the basic economic question would remain. We tend to retreat into cheap moralizing when the economic realities become uncomfortable for us. No matter the health-care model you choose — British-style public monopoly, Swiss-style subsidized insurance, pure market capitalism — you end up with rationing: Markets ration through prices, bureaucracies ration through politics.

RTWT

Claiming that you have a “Right to Health Care” usually amounts to the assertion that you have a right to force somebody else to pay for goods and services for your benefit, in essence a claim that you have a right to enslave other people.

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Avik Roy puts it a different way. Avik argues that our right to health care consists of our right to obtain health services through voluntary interactions with health care providers, and Government is taking away that right.

For those enrolled in government-run health insurance, it is illegal to try to gain better access to doctors and dentists by offering to make up the difference between what health care costs, and what the government pays.

That basic right—the right of a woman and her doctor to freely exchange money for a needed medical service—is one that 90 million Americans have been denied by their government. …

You see, health care is a right, in the same way that liberty is a right. And that liberty—to freely seek the care we need, to pay for it in a way that is mutually convenient for us and our doctors, is one that our government is gradually taking out of our hands.

RTWT

17 Apr 2017

“The Failure With the Imagination of Conservatism”

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Avik Roy hits the nail squarely on the head during a discussion on repealing and replacing Obamacare with John Podhoretz and Peter Robinson.

[T]his is the problem with the failure of imagination of conservatism. It’s that we’ve conflated a policy outcome, more people having health insurance, with the process by which we achieve that outcome. And the point I’m trying to make is that we conservatives, we have always known that less government leads to more abundance, more wealth, more prosperity. We would never say we need more government so that every American can have a smartphone. We would never say we need government so that every American can have a job and yet we’ve accepted the left wing narrative that the only way to make sure that more people have the economic security of health insurance is through more statism. Why do we accept that narrative in healthcare when we accept it nowhere else in the economy? And this has been the failure of imagination of conservatism.

Why hasn’t Trump hired this guy?

RTWT

29 Mar 2017

Paul Ryan Should Have Listened to This Guy

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Avik Roy is a graduate of Yale Medical School who has published extensively on the problems of America’s current health system and Health Care Reform.

Republican and conservative leaders failed the cause of free-market health reform in three principal ways. First, they failed to make a moral case for replacing Obamacare, as opposed to purely repealing it. As a result, they then failed to unite the hard-line and pragmatic wings of the GOP around a coherent health-care-reform proposal. And due to the ambitions of the 100-day legislative agenda, and the peculiar legislative calendar associated with the Senate’s reconciliation process, they chose not to invest the time in getting health-care reform right.

Conservatives intuitively understand the moral case for repealing Obamacare. The law significantly expands the role and scope of the federal government in determining Americans’ personal health-care choices. Its individual mandate is a constitutional injury. And its Rube Goldberg-like maze of insurance regulations has made health insurance unaffordable for millions.

But when it came to replacing Obamacare, Republicans usually presented the case in exclusively political terms: Replacement was necessary because the alternative would be daily front-page stories of the millions thrown off of their health-care plans by the GOP Congress. Conservatives rarely attempted to make a moral case for replacing Obamacare. Indeed, if you believe that the federal government has no legitimate role in helping the uninsured afford health coverage, your intuition is that there isn’t a moral case for replacing Obamacare. …

That intuition is understandable, but mistaken, because it is in fact the federal government that has made health insurance so costly through seven decades of unwise policies. Those policies include the exclusion from taxation of employer-sponsored health insurance, an outgrowth of World War II-era wage controls. They include the enactment of the Great Society entitlements, Medicare and Medicaid, in 1965. They include the EMTALA law, signed by President Reagan, that guaranteed free emergency-room coverage to everyone, including the uninsured and illegal immigrants. And they include Obamacare.

This seven-decade pileup of federal intervention in the health-care system is directly — and exclusively — responsible for the astronomical costs of the present-day American health-care system. It is not right, when confronted with such a state of affairs, to shrug our shoulders and say “tough luck” to those who can’t afford insurance. Indeed, we have an affirmative duty to reform federal policies so as to make health insurance once again affordable for the working poor.

Read the whole thing.


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