When it Comes to Health Care, Greed* is Good

Brilliant work from the people at Reason TV.

Every once in a while, I get asked why I decided to attend law school while balancing family and a full-time job. My answer is the same nearly every time: financial security for my family.

Apparently, there’s money in lawyerin’. And that money is the reason why I stay up until 3:00 a.m. more often than not, and why by next May I’ll have incurred a staggering $150,000 in debt and still be able to sleep for a few hours each night. I know that the path upon which I’ve been traveling will likely enable my child to go to a good school, will allow for my wife to be relatively free of worry, and facilitate any possible political career I might be pondering a few years down the line.

There’s also money in health care. As the absolutely phenomenal video showed, it’s that money which fosters the development of the best pharmaceuticals and best technology, and attracts the best doctors in the world.

Profits are evil, the left tells us. But they’re wrong. Heck, even if you look at it from a perspective grounded in the left’s priorities, profit should be celebrated rather than vilified. Profit is what allows us to drive vehicles which pollute less and less with each passing model year. Profit is what has facilitated the development of clean methods of oil extraction. Profit is what will eventually drive the so-called “green” economy. Profit gives us the latest Ani DiFranco album, and has allowed Phish to tour again.

The reality is, profit drives innovation, growth, prosperity and security. But our friends on the other side of the ideological spectrum don’t want to hear it. The drug companies are greedy. And the insurance companies are just plain evil.

Not that I want fact to stand in the way of typical liberal emotion, but it should be noted that the health insurance industry actually only posted a 2.2 percent profit margin last year, placing it a whopping 35th on the Fortune 500 list of profitable industries for 2008. Even the most profitable of insurers, HealthSpring, posted a smaller profit margin at 5.4 percent than the Tupperware industry. Think about that as you pack away your leftover stuffing this week.

While the long-awaited sequel to Wall Street may fall flat thanks to a modern Oliver Stone treatment, the takeaway motto from Michael Douglas’s Gordon Gekko in the first incarnation is as true now as it has ever been: Greed is good.

Greed, *at least in the nature of welcoming profit, will expand business. It will create jobs. It will facilitate the development of the latest cancer drug. Greed, profit, money — it’s all good, folks, and that’s why true health care reform can only occur when we harness, rather than stifle, the power of the natural force that is the free market.



  1. Gail B says:

    Before anyone reports that the Bible says "Money is the root of all evil," let me just point out the misquote.

    1 Timothy 6:10 — "For the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

    Our health care system is not broken. There are abuses that need reform, as in tort reform, so that doctors do not have exorbitant insurance premiums against malpractice lawsuits. Greed on the part of patients who file these lawsuits is the fault–as they have "erred from the faith."

    My fear is that these people will enable a liberal-heavy government to take control of the health care industry and "pierce themselves through with many sorrows"–right along with the conservatives who are fighting a government-run program!

    Profit is fine. Everybody has to support himself. "Greed" enables a business to expand, provide a product, and create jobs related to creation of the product, warehousing, delivery, and sales.

    Jeff, from what I have read of your work at AR, I KNOW you will be an excellent attorney. I hope that vocation is extremely profitable for you, but I also pray that you run for office as soon as it is financially feasible for you to do so! What a blessing you are to this world and to your friends and family!

  2. Ian Thorpe says:

    Hi Gail….(above)

    Tread carefully here. A lot of healthcare is an abolute con. If the healthcare sellers keep scaring enough people they keep making money but in reality in America's private health system and Britain's National Heath Service a lot of the medicines precscibed are unnecessary and of negligable benefit.

    It is human nature that we fear serious or chronic illness and will pay anything to avoid it but that makes us vulnerable to a type of sharp practice that is not quite scamming but is designed to part people from their hard earned without offering much in return.

    In Britain one pending scandal is overprescripion. Example, I had a brain haemorrhage because my blood had turned to ketchup. Now I have to take three drugs for the rest of my life. Once controls the condition that turned my blood to ketchup, the other two are not relevant to my case and among he known side effects of one is it raises the risk of stroke and heart failure (no I don't actually take that one but don't tell my doc.)Doctors get a lot of sweetners for prescrbing certain medicines, holidays, hospitality, invitations to seminars that welcome partners and do little official business. Everybody except the government knows that doctors organisations are too cosy with Big Pharma. The government are cosy with Big Pharma as well and are in no hurry to do anything.

    That is the kind of profit that is bad for any society and very bad for insurace buyers or taxpayers who fund it.

    In Europe we must all grit our teeth and pay the taxes knowing that healthcare is a bottomless pit into which gangs of well muscled men shovel money 24 hours a day. Over there you still have some control for the moment but from what I hear health costs are even more out of control than here.

    Doctors and medical researchers will keep telling us if they are given enough money they can abolih death, it is up to us whether we want to live forever or to have a life.

    On a lighter note I saw on a thread elsewhere yesterday an Obot accusing an opponent of the government opition of placing a higher value on a Lexus than a human life. I had to intervene. Somebody might value a Jaguar, Mercedes or Maserati more highly than a human life but a Lexus – never. They're good cars but notobjects of desire.

    I'll be honest now, if somebody told me I could save the life of a stanger by scrapping my 1974 Triumph TR6 I would not even have to think about my answer. I was once asked "is owning tht car a matter of life and death to you?" I said, "no, it's more important than that."

  3. Boston Blackie says:

    "Apparently, there's money in lawyerin'. There's also money in health care."
    No kidding, just ask John Edwards.

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