In a Dog Bites Man story that caused me to shake my head and press rewind on the DVR, Judge Richard Posner last night on Charlie Rose said that the US should look to, wait for it, FRANCE, for a possible model for health care reform.
For those who do not know why this is so shocking, keep in mind Richard Posner is an architect of the theories that underlie the current financial crisis. He is a key founder of the right wing anti-government pro-market-at-all-costs ideology that has taken over most law schools known as “law and economics.” This worldview believes that unions are “cults” and that the US veered into near-totalitarianism with the New Deal.
Apparently Judge Posner is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder in the wake of the collapse of our financial system and is desperately scrambling for ways to save capitalism from the capitalists. He has rushed into print yet another book and like many of his writings it may reflect that haste but nonetheless he is now on the record supporting a revived role for government in the economy.
The French system he argues is far less expensive and yet results in better health for most French residents. The French system insures everyone and reimburses the cost almost entirely, with 70% from the government and most of the other 30% from other sources. The results are impressive: life expectancy is two years longer than the US and France ranks 5th in league health tables with the US 30th.
The history of the socialist movement, of course, is rife with all sorts of deathbed conversions from previous adherents of capitalism who run in fear when the system blows up, as it does periodically. But I do wonder what the seminar rooms in Hyde Park (Posner still teaches at University of Chicago) are like these days when he walks in. Cold withering stares from colleagues like Richard Epstein??
Up to now, the Chicago School has never let past performance get in the way of their social theories. This is weird.