What About Health Insurance for the Poor?

Release Date
May 29, 2017


Government Healthcare Politics & Policy

Bryan Caplan says we could get rid of 95% of government health care intervention, and STILL have subsidized health insurance for the poorest. Watch the full interview  

  1. The Truth Behind the Affordable Care Act – Learn Liberty (video): Professor Antony Davies of Duquesne University explains why the outcomes of the Affordable Care Act fell short of its goals. 
  2. America’s Health Care System: How We Got Into This Mess and How We Can Get Out (on-demand program): John Ammon, MD, Jeffrey Singer, MD, and Prof. Bob Graboyes break down the problems with America’s health care system, look at what has caused these problems, and propose what we can do to solve them.
  3. Milton Friedman on Healthcare and the Poor (video): Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Friedman explains his view on whether government should provide healthcare for the poor. 

Bryan Caplan: I’m the kind of person who defends radical and extreme views, but I never want to alienate people who are a little bit less radical, a little bit less extreme. In all these cases, I would still say, “Look, if you’re very concerned about a small minority of very poor people who really couldn’t afford insurance during this time, fine have a government program that subsidizes or provides insurance for orphan children, for kids who have terrible diseases, for people who are very poor but happen to but struck by disaster.”
You could have a program that costs five percent as much as what we’re currently doing. We could get rid of 95 percent without really bumping into the complaints that normal people have. I’m saying, what about the poor, what about kids, what about people with irresponsible parents. And still you could go 95 percent of the way to the Libertarian policy. And so, I’m the type of person that says, “What about the last five percent?” But I don’t want to go and lose people who were willing to go with the first 95 percent.
So, it’s worth saying, “Look, with health insurance government could still subsidize it for kids, for poor parents, for people that were born with a terrible congenital disease.” I could make just a few exceptions and then stop making the exceptions. So this small area. This is where it’s so terrible, government is going to pay for it out of taxpayer money. Everyone else, though, sink or swim, are usually like you’re an adult, you should take care of yourself.