Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Prescription for Failure: Sowell on an age-based, Medicare-administered prescription drug entitlement, coming soon to a congress near you:
Arithmetic cannot be evaded by political rhetoric. We do not have any more money collectively than the sum of what we have individually. Even if it were true that we could not afford the kind of medical care we would like individually, then collectively we certainly could not afford that kind of medical care plus the cost of a government bureaucracy to administer it ... Some politicians say that the government can "bring down the costs" of prescription drugs or of health care in general. But they won't bring down the costs by one cent. What they can do is impose price controls -- and price controls have a centuries-long track record of creating worse problems than they solve ... When politicians talk about bringing down the cost of prescription drugs they are exploiting a widespread confusion between prices and costs. Prices are not costs. Prices are what pay for costs -- and if you don't pay those costs, you are not going to keep on getting what you want ... Why would Americans, with the highest quality medical care in the world, and a pharmaceutical industry creating more new major prescriptions drugs than anywhere else in the world, want to jeopardize all that for the lure and the promise of political miracles?
Read it all.

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