August 19, 2015
Healthcare and Entrepreneurship
Posted by Gordon Smith

My friend and law school classmate Henry Olsen has written a provocative article about two proposals by Republican presidential candidates (Walker and Rubio) to replace Obamacare. As Henry observes, "The key challenge ... has always been what to do once the monster is killed." And the answer to that question depends on why you dislike Obamacare in the first place. Here is Henry again:

The more libertarian branches of conservatism often emphasize the cost of covering tens of millions of people and the alleged dependence on government Obamacare would create. If cost and dependence are the problems, then the solution cannot be government subsidized universal coverage even if that coverage is provided by a competitive, private insurance market.

The Reagan wing of the conservative movement, however, is worried more about the way that Obamacare places the federal government in charge of virtually every aspect of the health care system than it is about providing financial assistance to people in need. This view places the human needs first and the cost and "dependence" questions second, just as Ronald Reagan did as both Governor and President.

I don't have deep thoughts about our health care system, though my concerns about Obamacare have mainly been of the latter variety. (Of course, placing the federal government in charge also elicits concerns about costs, so the two sets of concerns are not mutually exclusive.)

As a non-expert on health care, I wonder if we might someday have a private insurance market (presumably government subsidized) that is separate from employment? The current system seems (anecdotally) like a significant drag on employee mobility and entrepreneurship. I see people talking about how the healthcare system needs entrepreneurship, but it seems to me that entrepreneurship needs a new healthcare system. Is anyone talking about that possibility? 

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