Here is how one humble economist sees some of the main arguments…
- “Health care represents a rising proportion of our income."
That's not only true but perfectly natural. Quality health care is a discretionary, income-elastic expense -- i.e. the richer a society, the larger the proportion of income that is spent on it.
- "A universal plan will reduce the cost of health care."
Think a moment. Suppose you are in an apple market with 100 buyers and 100 sellers every day and apples sell for $1 a pound. Suddenly one day 120 buyers show up. Will the price of the apples go up or down?
- "We need a public plan to keep the private plans honest."
The 1,500 or so private plans don't produce enough competition? Making it 1,501 will do the trick? But then why stop there? Eating is even more important than health care, so shouldn't we have government-run supermarkets "to keep the private ones honest"? After all, supermarkets clearly put profits ahead of feeding people. And we can't run around naked, so we should have government-run clothing stores to keep the private ones honest. And shelter is just as important, so we should start public housing to keep private builders honest. Oops, we already have that. And that is exactly the point. Think of everything you know about public housing, the image the term conjures up in your mind. If you like public housing you will love public health care.