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Why Conservatives Oppose “Universal Health Care”


In a recent cover story for National Review, Rich Lowry and I observed in passing that a Democratic sweep next year would “probably . . . mean a national health-insurance program that would irrevocably expand government involvement in the economy and American life, and itself make voters less likely to turn toward conservatism in the future.” A number of liberals (see here and here for example) seem to be taking us to be arguing that conservatives should fear liberal health-care policies because they will work, be popular, and thus make federal activism popular across the board.

That’s not our argument. Rather, our argument is that even worthless and counterproductive bureaucracies tend to generate supportive constituencies, and that people often mistakenly think that the way to fix the problems they cause is to throw more money at them rather than to reform or abolish them. It is not hard to imagine a scenario in which a national health care program was widely regarded as unsatisfactory but Democrats won elections by promising to give it more money.


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