March 2011

Unpublished Letter to the Editor, in response to this Editorial by Gregg Wagner

Response to “Healthy Americans Benefit the Country”


I was sorry to read that Gregg Wagner wasn’t sure how to interpret my March 17 editorial. My intention was not to merely protest but rather educate. If there were any points in that article that anyone has questions on please e-mail me at

Now, to Gregg’s questions (please pull out the March 31 issue to read along):

1)    Healthcare is not a right: this is a non-trivial concept that is addressed more fully in an editorial appearing contemporaneously this week. All objections disappear if costs are brought down, which can only occur if government interference ends.

2)    Drug companies:

a)     No, but those not on Medicare pay the added costs that the government will not pay, so they have no reason to leave (yet)

b)     “Hefty” markups are a result of the high risk involved in drug development as well as extensive government meddling (FDA, patent laws, etc)

c)     Drug companies do not compete with Universities… they collaborate all the time with them (I have a Ph.D. in chemistry from a major research university so this is based on first hand knowledge)

3) Disband all government agencies:

a) Yes b) Yes c) Yes (simply privatize these agencies and let them justify their existence by earning money rather than taking it)

d) Medicare and Medicaid would be phased out, when complete their existence would be moot

e) Yes, no COBRA, its existence would become moot with healthcare costs returned to normal

f) a big YES

g) Yes, OSHA is not needed; private companies could do the same job more effectively. Business requires insurance and an insurer would require oversight by a private agency like OSHA… the “good” OSHAs would stay around the poorly managed ones would go away

h) CDC – that is actually a good point. To the extent the CDC protects the public in the same way the military protects us from invasion, then its existence could be justified, but I do not know all that the CDC does, so I reserve judgment on this

3) Nothing sacred about healthcare:

a) yes, in terms of supply and demand and pricing, it is the same beast. Insurance is not now an “extended warranty” that only sometimes kicks in in rare cases – insurance now is simply prepaid consumption

b) yes, but low cost plans only make sense after healthcare costs are brought back to normal

4) Only government is able to properly oversee healthcare: well you could make that argument for any good in the market, so should everything in the market be run by the government?

5) The question of dental care costs in another response: according to my most recent billing from a local dentist the cost for a cleaning is $110. So I find it hard to believe an average $9/month is something so unaffordable that we need free universal dental care.



Gregory Morin