Dr Helen Evans, an ASI Fellow and Director of Nurses for Reform, has written an excellent new briefing paper for the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, titled Comparative Effectiveness in Health Care Reform: Lessons from Abroad. It assesses President Obama's proposals for the creation of an 'Institute for Comparative Effectiveness' (sounds sinister, doesn't it?) in the light of the British, Danish and German experience.
The key point that Helen makes is that the idea that government is intrinsically superior to a spontaneous and free market in healthcare is groundless – and that you only have to look at the UK's socialized system to see why. In particular, the government's reliance on coercion and 'cost effectiveness' has led to a system of rationing that most Americans would be appalled by.
It's an interesting paper, and well worth a read. It is clear to me that the US healthcare system is definitely in need of reform, but it's also clear that Obama's ideas are not the right ones. The real key to bringing down costs – and thereby widen coverage – is to stengthen market forces (allowing interstate competition, for instance, and introducing individual, rather than corporate, tax credits), not putting big government in charge.