Wednesday, January 09, 2008

How to make the Michigan economy worse

There is a petition drive going on in Michigan to place a ballot proposal on the November ballot which would force the state government to come up with a plan for universal health care in Michigan. If passed, the bill would amend the state constitution to require that the government "make sure that every Michigan resident has affordable and comprehensive health care coverage through a fair and cost-effective financing system". Not content with policies which have put Michigan's economy in the dumpster, our governor, Jennifer Granholm, threw her support behind the bill because she says that it would help Michigan businesses become more competitive. Of course this won't really happen, but what it will do is saddle Michigan with the prospect of higher taxes and more misery long after Granholm has left office. Thanks, but no thanks.

While it is certainly true that some of Michigan's largest employers (read Big 3 auto makers) might benefit from reduced health care costs, she completely ignores the fact that the costs have to go somewhere. If the Big 3 isn't paying it, then it will either fall to other employees or more likely individual citizens. A constitutional amendment which contains nebulous terms like 'affordable' and 'fair' and 'cost-effective' is like opening a Pandora's box of unfunded entitlements. Every lawyer in the state will be suing on behalf of some client to claim that the state isn't doing enough to provide 'comprehensive' coverage. Every medical practitioner of all stripes will be lobbying to have their service included in the package. This amendment will be an economic disaster for the state. If costs can't be controlled, you can bet that subtle rationing and new nanny state laws will be passed to ensure that people don't live a lifestyle which is too 'costly'. Unfortunately, economic realities never seem to get in the way of politicians who want to act like benevolent dictators, handing out 'goodies' to the populace. Both this ballot proposal, and our governor, just need to go away before they do any more damage.