We need help — some of the time

Some praise the idea of increased rules. Others tout the benefits of self-regulation.

I argue for somewhere in the middle.

I am old enough to remember cities before the era of car emissions laws… a brown layer of thick haze covered the skyline on most days.

Today, new passenger vehicles are 98–99% cleaner in what comes out of tailpipes compared to vehicles from the 1960s (source). That change would not have happened without government regulation.

At the other end of the spectrum lies the ridiculous state of health care in the USA. Because of government regulations (and also private litigation), it takes months to pay a single doctor’s bill. And it’s nearly impossible to find out the real cost of a simple procedure because of added complications from the insurance industry.

Why does government involvement in one area yield good results in one area and bad results in another? I’m not sure.

One end of the spectrum says groups have no wisdom. The other end says the individual has no wisdom.

Both are incorrect. Groups and individuals have wisdom — some of the time. And some individuals have no wisdom, just as some groups have no wisdom.

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5 Replies to “We need help — some of the time”

  1. Well put sir. True statesmanship that helps government overcome our individual self-interest in favor of so disciplined long term thinking for the greater good is not so common these days but still worth striving for. The balance between individual and group will usually be in tension. Thanks for bringing a thoughtful viewpoint.

    1. Thanks, John! he long-term approach to policy that you mentioned is so vital — but as you said, so rare these days.

  2. Speaking of health care, I went on Medicare on Dec 1, and my first 4 months have been enlightening. I had decided to make an appointment for a complete physical in early January, and came away from the appointment with a fistful of referrals to other doctors for a whole variety of tests. I’m still working my way through them.
    Once a month, my Medicare Advantage Plan sends me a summary of what they’ve paid, and sometimes I just shake my head in wonder. My PCP lists a whole series of things — taking my systolic blood pressure ($.01), taking my diastolic blood pressure ($.01), taking my weight ($.01), and a few more I don’t even understand.
    Then there’s a whole list of “pre-negotiated rates” for other doctor visits. And it all adds up to zero for me! If doctors can see me for these pre-negotiated rates now that I’m 65, why couldn’t they see me for those same rates when I was younger (and healthier)?
    The whole health system is a mystery to me. And one governmental group tries to fix it one way, then another body comes into power and tries to fix it another way. Wisdom? or politics? It would be nice if they could work together, but that seldom seems to happen.

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