John C. Goodman, PhD, is president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis. He is also the Kellye Wright Fellow in health care. His Health Policy Blog is considered among the top conservative health care blogs where health care problems are discussed by top health policy experts from all sides of the political spectrum.
Don’t take my word for it. John Goodman argues with Paul Krugman regarding this issue. Krugman tells us that thousands will die if PPACA is refuted. Krugman bases his opinion on Mitt Romney wanting to let people die. I don’t think Romney ever said anything like that.
The economic profession also disputes Krugman’s theory. But there is something that does cause people to die: socialism. More precisely, the suppression of free markets (the kinds of interventions Krugman routinely apologizes for) lowers life expectancy and does so substantially.
Economists associated with the Fraser Institute and the Cato Institute have found a way to measure “economic freedom” and they have investigated what difference it makes in141 countries around the world. This work has been in progress for several decades now and the evidence is stark. Economies that rely on private property, free markets and free trade, and avoid high taxes, regulation and inflation, grow more rapidly than those with less economic freedom. Higher growth leads to higher incomes. Among the nations in the top fifth of the economic freedom index in 2011, average income was almost 7 times as great as for those countries in the bottom 20 percent (per capita gross domestic product of $31,501versus $4,545).
What difference does this make for health? Virtually, every study of the subject finds that wealthier is healthier. People with higher incomes live longer. The Fraser/Cato economists arrive at the same conclusion. Comparing the bottom fifth to the top fifth, more economic freedom adds about 20 years to life expectancy and lowers infant mortality to just over one-tenth of its level in the least free countries.
None of these facts really matter because a pre-conceived idea of ‘free health care"’ or universal coverage will negate underlying experiences throughout the world.