Arnold Kling nicely summarizes the cultural roots of America’s health-care problems. Here’s my favorite passage:
Americans, and especially health care providers, do not want to think of health care as a commodity. The providers want to be paid, but they do not want to think of themselves as selling their services, so the payment comes from third parties and the price is hidden to consumers.
(Arnold here identifies a common tactic used by many people who oppose markets: these people declare with much self-righteousness that “X is not a commodity!” and thereby fancy that this incantation is sufficient to exempt X from the laws of demand and supply.)
According to an old saw, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Insofar as politics is concerned, I have great doubt. I’ve been following politics more or less closely and studying parts of it carefully since the 1960s. And insofar as we have in mind stated political intentions, I would judge that the statements are nearly all false, and known to be false and intended to mislead by those who make them. These charlatans know full well that, for example, the public interest they claim to serve is nothing but a rhetorical cloak for the benefits they seek to channel at public expense to their friends and supporters. In short, the road to hell is paved with political bullshit. Good intentions are so rare as to verge on nonexistent.