Admittedly, many people do stupid things that aren’t good for them. And though I may not know exactly what I need, I probably know as much about what I need as Sally Kohn or Barack Obama – or even the 51.1 percent of electorate that voted for the president. The reason Kohn, and many of the others, believe Americans should be thankful for a paternalistic administration that en masse pushed us into (supposedly) top-shelf plans, is that they either don’t believe in markets or don’t understand how they work (in some cases, most likely, both).
Let me put it this way: There’s this Chinese restaurant near my house. It’s not the cleanest place, granted. And the folks who “work” there are, it seems, completely disinterested in my dining experience. The food is priced accordingly. But I love the dumplings. It’s really all that matters to me. There’s another Chinese place nearby. This one is newer. It has a friendly and attractive staff. It offers me clean silverware and I walk on expensive contemporary tiles. All that classy stuff is nice and it’s also embedded into the price of my dumplings — which are no better. I don’t want to pay for the tiles. I just want the dumplings.
In health care, and other things, we often pick plans that offers us something we value above others things. Americans don’t need all their plans to look the same. Maybe some of them like the customer service, maybe some like the stability of staying with one company for many years. This is why 600 toasters in an open market is preferable to a handful of choices in a fabricated “market” exchange.