Health Care Clubs

I congratulate Michael Cannon on his efforts to form an anti-universal club aiming to take universal health care proponents on directly rather than much around pretending that everyone agrees on the goals and we only disagree on the methods. I’m fairly certain that, politically, “we don’t care if you can’t afford health insurance” is a losing slogan. Even better, though, is Arnold Kling’s club:

I once wrote that “The original sin of America’s health care system is employer-provided health insurance.” The best outcome might be for America to abolish employer-provided health insurance, try single-payer, have it fail, and then experiment with the sorts of policies that I talk about in my book.

I’ll take that bet in a heartbeat. We all remember Europe, right, where national health care systems were build in the postwar period only to be abandonned in the late 1970s still in place across the board. Indeed, I’ll even be fairminded and note that Kling is putting his own side at an unfair disadvantage. Anything as giant as a universal health care system would be nearly impossible to dismantle almost irrespective of its merits. The same features of US political institutions that make it almost impossible to start significant new programs make it even harder to get rid of them.