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POLITICS/POLICY: Shock-Horror–I almost agree with Arnold Kling

Arnold Kling responds to Moulitas’ (DailyKos) overture to the Libertarians in a piece called Dear Libertarian Democrats… The only slight flaw in all this is that there aren’t very many libertarians, but then again we don’t need too many Republican voters to change sides!

Kling proposes running school choice in a few states and single payer health care in a few states. The only flaw here is in thinking that they’re much different. After all single payer health care in the usual American sense means putting all the money in one social insurance pool and allowing people to choose which doctors and hospitals they go to. As far as I can see school choice in Kling’s version is the same: creating one pool of all K-12 education dollars and letting kids/parents choose the schools they want to go to. In both cases everyone needs to be in the same pool, and the money follows the choice of the individual. I don’t understand how the libertarians can decry one as evil socialism while being OK with the other, unless they really favor repealing universal compulsory education. But maybe they do!

As for the health experiment, it probably depends where they run single payer. But the likelihood is that a really effective single payer plan run across state lines would be a wash. It would attract old school industry (autos) who would get rid of their “obligations” on the state, but it would also attract entrepreneurs suffering from job lock. It might lose jobs from employers with younger than average workforce, but theoretically it’ll be a wash. While single payer may not be the best option for financing health care delivery, and while a universal voucher scheme like educational choice may work too, a compulsory universal single insurance pool is by far the best option.

 

 

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Jack LohmanMatthew HoltBarry CarolPeter Recent comment authors
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Jack Lohman
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Instructively, the political money from the teacher’s union to block school choice, doesn’t even come close to the $100 million spent by the special interests to keep our health care system in its current, inefficient and highly profitable state. So school vouchers have a chance (which I support) and universal health care has an uphill battle. Not because it isn’t right, but because of our corrupt political system driven by those interests that know how to game it. Get the political money out of our electoral system and we’ll have universal health care virtually overnight, because it is the right… Read more »

Barry Carol
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Barry Carol

Matthew, Thanks for the clarification. Personally, I have always supported vouchers but think they should be limited to the inner cities and districts where schools are perceived to be failing and leave the majority of districts alone where the public is basically satisfied with the product. In my NJ example, that would mean limiting vouchers to the 31 special needs districts (known here as Abbott districts after a landmark court case). If the advocates for minorities who support choice in the cities with failing schools really want this, their challenge is to convince politicians that their votes cannot be taken… Read more »

Matthew Holt
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Matthew Holt

Barry. OK you’re asking me to explain something I don’t really understand and dont necessarily support but I think that the answer is that (theoretically & leaving out the special needs kids for now) lots of better schools will flood the inner cities to get the $12000 a year voucher, such that the next year, the voucher will go down in value (assuming the current system delivers worse education at a higher cost). The state will set the voucher level at average cost for the district which should see better schools in the urban areas where the potential returns are… Read more »

Barry Carol
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Barry Carol

Matthew — I’m sorry, but I still need a little help here. Suppose, for example, that the average annual cost of educating a student in NJ is $12,000. The range varies from as little as $5,000 for an elementary school kid in one of the rural counties in the southern part of the state to over $100,000 for a child with severe disabilities in the more urban northern counties. How does the parent of the high cost kid get his child the services he or she needs with a $12,000 voucher, and what happens to the extra money left over… Read more »

Matthew Holt
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Matthew Holt

Hmmm. Wouldn’t school choice mean that the government gives each kid a per head voucher to be spent in the private system? Isn’t that just an invidivdual share of a global budget? I still don’t see the difference. There is only one payer (in my and I think Kling’s school choice system) and they set one “price/cost”. I think they’re more similar than you think. The problem in US health care is the lack of one social “insurance pool” or budget. How you organize the spending of the money is the secondary (and more interesting) problem. And your NJ taxes… Read more »

Barry Carol
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Barry Carol

Matthew, I think there are, in fact, quite significant differences between school choice and single payer healthcare. School choice is intended to improve results at the same or lower cost by injecting competition against the public school monopoly. Single payer healthcare is intended to reduce and/or stabilize costs by having a government monopoly dictate and control prices. With respect to school choice, there are a number of interesting issues worth considering using my home state of New Jersey as an example. 1. With over 600 school districts in our relatively small (in land area) state, quality and costs vary widely.… Read more »

Peter
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Peter

Looks like Germany already has many of the “reforms” that those who want a two tier system here would like to see.
http://www.globalaging.org/health/world/2006/sickcomp.htm