Is Mitt Romney’s Private Sector the Answer?

While debating Medicare during the first presidential debate, President Barak Obama pointed out that Medicare provides medical insurance at lower administrative costs than private insurance.  Mitt Romney, of course, disagreed.

Mitt said,  “But my experience — my experience the private sector typically is able to provide a better product at a lower cost.”

For once I might agree with Mitt Romney.  Let’s take a look.

First off, he says the private sector “typically is able a better product at a lower cost” and I might say that’s true.  (NB He didn’t say “always.”)

Consider the famous Kitchen Debate between Richard Nixon and Premier Khrushchev.  The free market produced what Khrushchev derided as luxuries and not real needs.  I’ll go with the so-called “luxuries” over the blandness of simply meeting basic needs.  Count me in with Mitt on this one.

Lyndon Johnson Signs the Medicare Bill on July 30, 1965.

So, ok, Mitt has a point…sort of.  The problem is it cannot be universally applied to everything.  You have to be smart about this.  The private sector and free markets is inherently about winners and losers, the private sector inherently is unequal.

Not everyone can live Mitt’s life of luxury, for example.  What the private sector provides to Mitt at a lower cost, probably is out of reach for most Americans.  It is a relative thing, right?  It is a matter of opportunity and wealth and poverty present different opportunities.

To argue that private sector provides more opportunities at lower costs is fine if you’re talking about cars or clothes or trips overseas.  But what about health care?

In a world where the discrepancy between haves and have nots becomes worse, can we really expect the private sector to provide equitable health care services at lower costs?

I don’t mind the idea that some people can afford Cadillacs while others rely on used Fords, but think of that kind of difference in health care.  That troubles me.

We live in a capitalist society.  We have first hand experience with capitalism.  Our lives are shaped by capitalism.  We should be smart enough to understand how it works, we should understand the outcomes.  Why do we seem unable to apply these facts to political discourse?

Our health care system for the most part is a private system and it is failing.  Our health care system is not the envy of the world nor does it provide the best care.  Other leading countries of the world do a better job than we do.  In the United  States do we live with the burden of thinking we cannot do what others do so well?  Is that what American exceptionalism is all about?

Private health care will set up an unequal system of winners and losers.  Romney has suggested that immigrants self-deport.  His spin on health care essentially asks that people self-ration care.  Want to see the proof? Look at what we have today.  It is that simple.  The private sector is not the answer.

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