David Brooks Wouldn't Mind a Single-Payer System
by Charles Lemos, Sun Dec 27, 2009 at 10:22:20 PM EST
Maybe he has said this in the past but if so, I've missed it. His comments come around the two minute mark right after Paul Krugman notes all the flaws in the bill.
It's somewhat exasperating for me because I think I've made the argument that spending 17 percent of our GDP on healthcare is unsustainable and that most other advanced industrial nations that make up the OECD are spending on average around 10 percent of their GDP achieving universal coverage and obtaining better results in terms of socio-economic metrics such as life expectancy, infant mortality etc. So while it is refreshing to hear David Brooks admit that our current system is untenable, why didn't he write on the merits of a single payer system considering he has a national podium at the New York Times? And he's right, a single payer system would control costs and I am not convinced that this bill will accomplish that.
Paul Krugman has some thoughts on polling at the end that are also illuminating.
Update [2009-12-28 3:40:1 by Charles Lemos]: After a little research, I found this exchange between Gail Collins and David Brooks in the New York Times back on July 29, 2009 discussing the question "What's Wrong with the Single-Payer?"
Im not crazy about the public plan. I dislike the idea of the government competing in a marketplace it regulates. I think the temptation to subsidize the public entity will be overwhelming. But Im not vociferously against it either. Thats because:
A.) Im not that thrilled with the insurance companies.
B.) I think it will save money, but not that much (the C.B.O. agrees).
C.) (!) I think it will produce small administrative efficiencies.
Democratic politicians throw around statistics claiming that Medicare has much, much lower administrative costs than private insurers. Ive been told by various economists that this claim is three-quarters trickery. Its a lot cheaper to administer a targeted population that uses a lot of care than it is to administer a large population that uses little care per capita. Plus you can save a lot of administrative costs if you dont actually regulate treatments that much.