But to think about it another way, there’s a theory that shows how higher taxes ought to stifle growth. There’s also an empirical finding that plenty of high-tax countries are rich. This bit about health insurance is, most likely, part of the reason. The US system reduces labor market flexibility and biases the economy toward incumbents and large firms.
Recently, I had the pleasure (not really) of arguing about health care policy with a Republican-minded fellow, who was, it turns out, not very smart about things. He suggested that all the people out there who wanted health insurance could simply just go and get a job at Starbucks or McDonald’s, since those places are always hiring.
Using myself as an example as an unemployed American who had to purchase catastrophe insurance when I got laid off from my full-time job, I wondered if this Republican-minded fellow thought that making triple caramel macchiatos would be the best use of my talent, being a person with a college degree. He didn’t have much of an answer.
I think it’s often underestimated, or misunderstood, what the potential positive effects a universal system would have on freeing up talented folks to do things they want, rather than have people stay in jobs they don’t particularly care for because they’re prescriptions are covered. And frankly, it would be beneficial to this debate for policymakers to establish more empirical data about the link between health care and economic and entrepenurial growth.