The trouble with making government the solution for our medical systemâ€™s failures is that government is without a doubt the chief cause of those failures.
Greg Blankenship, founder and president of the Illinois Policy Institute, recently made this very clear in a fascinating column. Blankenship looks at the regulations that beset planning for medical care in his state, Illinois, and gives it a name: Protectionism.
As he makes clear, protectionism isnâ€™t just for busybody politicians in nation-states. State governments, when they heavily regulate an industry, get in on the act, too.
And, like nationwide protectionism, special interest influences come to play, with one or two businesses reaping most of the rewards. Blankenship likened the practice to fast food restaurant regulatory boards getting captured by McDonaldâ€™s. Suddenly, Burger King outlets canâ€™t get permission to expand.
Economists have been writing on this for 50 years or more. Regulatory capture. And in Illinois it means that a hospital in Joliet hasnâ€™t been allowed to add beds to its mental health and OB-GYN clinics for years now. Nearby hospitals in Aurora, Joliet, Bolingbrook and Morris oppose the project.
So people in Joliet suffer.
And no doubt blame insufficiencies on doctors, or nursesâ€™ unions, or markets in general.
Yet the real blame rests solely on the state of Illinois and its Health Facilities Planning Board. A sad case, yes. And a sick system.
This is Common Sense. Iâ€™m Paul Jacob.