The Spectacle Blog

RE: Rudy and Milton

By on 8.2.07 | 1:04PM

Jennifer: Sorry, but calling Giuliani's plan "Milton Friedman Health Care" is almost as bad as calling Bill Richardson's tax plans "Art Laffer Economics."

First, with regard to the state mandates, nothing in the Giuliani plan actually eliminates those mandates (and it is doubtful the federal government could do much about them anyway since they are state laws. It is also doubtful in could do much to reform liability laws eithers, since those are also largerly state matters, but that is another issue.) What Giulian's plan tries to do is get the states to compete by letting people purchase out of state. This would encourage states to reduce mandates and other regulations, since consumers would go for the lower cost plans which would be more likely to be found in the states with fewer mandates and other regulations. But Giuliani's plan will barely achieve any such competition. By allowing only residents in states that do not have "affordable" insurance to purchase across state lines, you will limit how much pressure states feel to deregulate. My guess is that "affordable" will be defined so that only residents in the worst-offender states like New Jersey and New York will be able to buy insurance in another state. That's an expansion of freedom only in the slightest sense.

It is also vital to note that Rudy's plan also goes in the opposite direction, that of more government. Other planks in Giuliani's plan are "Drive Quality and Price Transparency," "Invest In Health IT to Reduce Medical Errors, Improve Efficiency, and Detect Health Threats," and "Infuse Incentives in Insurance Markets That Promote Wellness and Better Outcomes for Chronic Diseases." I doubt Friedman would want government to get involved in many of those things. Government trying to "improve efficiency"?! Given how well it runs the Post Office, you'd think the Giuliani camp would have more sense than to put that in there.

A few planks that offer a bit more freedom coupled with others than expand governments role? I think it is a safe bet that Friedman wouldn't want his name associated with such a plan.

I am also interested to see what the other GOP candidates come up with on health care. And let me offer them this bit of advice: you can do way better than Giuliani.

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