Intellectual malpractice writ large

Intellectual malpractice writ large

Mt. Lebanon native and billionaire Mark Cuban says the Constitution of the United States should be amended to make “healthcare a right.”

Oh dear.

Said Cuban, the entrepreneur of some repute at a forum hosted by Axios, a new media company (as reported by PJMedia.com):

“I think healthcare should be a right. If there’s a legitimate way to modify the Constitution, I literally think there should be an amendment to the Constitution for health care for chronic illnesses and serious injury. We all play the genetic lottery.”

Cuban favors a single-payer system — government (i.e. taxpayers) pay — but “just for chronic illnesses and for life-threatening illnesses.”

As PJMedia.com tells it, “Cuban said the government-paid catastrophic coverage could lower health-care costs for insurance companies and help consumers.”

There’s a highly technical term for that assertion — “Daft.”

Cuban could see the same goal achieved — that is, coverage for catastrophic health events — by advocating for allowing health insurance to become insurance again. For insurance that pays for virtually everything is not insurance at all but a risk pool-destroying form of government welfare.

That said, real health insurance should cover only catastrophic events.

But, but, but, “How can patients ever dream of paying for their other health costs?,” critics ask.

Without insurance as “cover,” which has helped to fuel health-care inflation — think of what federal aid has done “for” higher education — competition would return to the medical marketplace and prices would drop, in many cases dramatically.

And with insurance premiums covering only those catastrophic events, premiums would drop as well. There would be no need for Cuban’s government–paid catastrophic coverage.

In seemingly the same breath, Cuban, a self-described libertarian, also says he would like to see the the size of government reduced — but use the savings to provide more government services to Americans.

Oh boy.

Here’s the full quote, in context:

“As a libertarian, I think we can reduce employment in government by at least a third, reduce the overhead and administration by that much or more so that we can offer more services for our citizens.”

So far, so good. But then Cuban said this:

“When it comes down to it, where I tend to disagree with everybody, and this is the libertarian in me, I’m happy to push down the size of government and make government more efficient because more money can pass through the government and help the people who need it.”

That’s hardly libertarianism (and it’s certainly not conservatism). Talk about intellectual malpractice writ large.

How about returning the money whence it came, Mr. Cuban, and allowing taxpayers to make their own decisions about how best to use their own money? Say perhaps for medical savings accounts?

As President Grover Cleveland once reminded, “The government is not an almoner of gifts among the people.”

Government, in all its forms, should promote and facilitate independence of the populace, not dependence.

If a government’s default position is to become the enterprise, so to speak, instead of facilitating private enterprise and personal industry by governing and regulating the least, we all are poorer.

Colin McNickle is a senior fellow and media specialist at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org