The Party with No Ideas

John C. Goodman says it — the Democrats have feelings and no ideas:

At first glance you might think that the Democratic presidential campaign is boiling over with one new idea after another. Free health care. Free education. No more carbon emissions. There have been so many pronouncements, it’s hard to keep track of them.

But that’s just at first glance. If you delve deeper, you will discover these are not ideas at all. They are feelings. Strongly held feelings, mind you. But feelings, nonetheless.

Take health care. There is only one interesting public policy question there: If we paid for care in a different way (for example, through taxes instead of fees for services rendered) would health care become cheaper, better and more accessible?

Would you believe that Democratic presidential candidates have no interest in even discussing this question?

They assiduously avoid telling us how national health insurance would be paid for or how it would work – except to assure us that there would be no lengthy waits for care or lack of access to modern medical technology, as there is in Canada. But how do they know nothing bad would happen, if they refuse to think about the details?

As it turns out, there have been only two new ideas in health care in the last several decades. They both are considered right-of-center ideas, because of their reliance on choice and competition.

Health Savings Accounts – allowing people to manage some of their own health care dollars – were introduced with great success in Singapore in 1984 and in the United States and in South Africa in the 1990s. Roughly 40 million people in this country now have an HSA or a similar Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) and these accounts are quite popular.

Read more: Townhall