A hidden cost of moving to socialized healthcare

When I argue with Americans about socialized healthcare, I argue we shouldn't move towards it, when I argue with French people, I argue we should get out of it. On a moral level, the arguments are roughly the same and there is no need to go into details here : you shouldn't be forced to buy an insurance service, period.

When arguing for getting out of the system, there are legitimate practical problems that I need to deal with. Even if the moral case is rock solid, the practical issues, moving from here to there, are always relevant. There is one practical issue that I've never seen raised, and it's a tough one.

Imagine a socialized healthcare system where everyone is insured. Insurance is mandatory so there are no adverse selection problems. The state forecasts the costs and adapts the premium - it's actually not that hard to balance as long as it's fairly stable. Of course there are many other problems, moral hazards, the impossibility to decide what should or should not be covered, etc. 

Imagine now that, one day, a better government decides to get rid of the system. They say for example, from next year you'll have to find yourself a private insurer, or, from next year you may opt out of the current system and get a private insurer if you wish. You have an expensive chronic illness, next year comes, you have no risk to insure so you try to stay with the state insurance. So does everyone with an existing condition, adverse bankrupts the system, at best your premium increases dramatically.

I was actually never opposed that argument... but I could. So I've come up with some patchy solutions. One is to decide on a cutoff date, people born after next year will not be insured. That solves the problem, but it takes a century to get out of the system. Another solution involves the state's insurance making packs of 1000 insured persons drawn at random and sell the pack (without revealing its content) to insurers committing to offer insurance for life. Your risk has become insurable again since you're just a random person. From there, you can always arrange with your insurance to move to another insurer and you're free again. It's a bit cumbersome but I think it works.

The blog title was about moving towards it, and so far I've been talking about how to get out of it... what's my point ? I've heard many people argue for socialized health care on the US om the ground that "it hasn't been tried", that it deserves to be tried etc. When you try something, that generally implies a free option to get out of it. Well, that option is not free, it comes at a huge cost. Getting out of socialized health care is a terrible mess.

Once it has been argued thoroughly that socialized health care is simply criminal, it might be helpful to point out that, if it's implemented and it fails, it might be almost impossible to get out of it. It cannot just be "tried", it's a very pricey commitment.

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I remember in one of Harry

I remember in one of Harry Browne's books, he dealt with the similar issue of getting rid of Social Security. His plan was to sell off all federally owned land and use the proceeds to pay off existing plans.