March 18, 2010


Nick Kristof argues that once we pass health care, we’re going to see a big spike in life expectancy. Why? Because, well, it worked in the 1940s! . . . But it’s a nice testable prediction. I assume health care reform will pass. And if Kristof is right, and I am wrong about the limited mortality benefits of expanded health insurance access, then we should see a dramatic increase in life expectancy. Maybe seven years is too much, so let’s make it easy–say three or four years by 2020. That would make American among the the longest-lived people in the world. And if this happens, then absent some miracle invention like a broad-spectrum cure for cancer, I will happily admit that I was wrong.

Of course, if this doesn’t happen–if American life expectancy improvements continue to grind along at roughly the same slow pace–then it seems to me that Nick Kristof et. al. should unhappily admit that they were wrong, and that they seem to have convinced us to spend a whole bunch of money without saving many lives. Will this happen? Or will we be told that the problem is that we just didn’t spend quite enough money, and must spend even more to actually realize the full glory of reform?

The problem with socialism is always not enough socialism. More control by elites will fix everything!

UPDATE: Reader Ryan Taylor writes: “For socialists that is not a bug, it is a feature. Any success can be attributed to legislation/control; any failure is because not enough money was spent. They always win…” Only if you play their game.

And speaking of playing their game, reader Dan Michalewicz cautions Megan on her bet: “One thing Megan doesn’t consider is who is keeping the statistics. While I know intellectually Megan is correct, I also know that if health care passes the government and MSM will never report a drop in quality of health care.” Yeah, like they’ve been cheerleading Cuban healthcare for decades . . . .

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