It makes one think: If the lawyers are designing the health-care system, shouldn’t they be forced to operate under regulations similar to those they’re imposing? How, for example, do lawyers get paid? Today, they negotiate fees with clients. That hardly seems fair. In health care, doctors don’t negotiate fees with patients, they get paid according to an opaque schedule determined by health plans. Lawyers should do the same. The solution is “legal insurance.” After all, who amongst us knows when we’ll need a lawyer? It is often an unpredictable expense, and yet the “market” seems to have failed to provide such insurance. Government must intervene.The sad truth, of course, is that we do something very much like this in all fee-shifting cases in the legal field, and it works about as well there as is does in the healthcare field. It's a good point, though. Why don't we imagine that we can apply the lessons of healthcare to every critical need in life? Why do we trust people to supply themselves with their own food and shelter, for instance? It's true that healthcare often demands more foresight than our other daily needs. There aren't many people who are so disorganized that they can't be trusted to plan for satisfying their daily hunger, but many people will fail to plan now for a statistically likely medical bill in ten or twenty years. Similarly, some people make a concerted effort to save up for their children's college tuition well ahead of time, while others look around one day in shock and realize their eldest is 18 and needs to do something about it next month. Now where is that student loan application? And by the way, I'm 55 and would like to retire soon. Who's been saving up for me?
Nevertheless, it puzzles me why people imagine the government can substitute for their own role in virtually all long-term planning. As Glenn Reynolds said recently, liberalism includes the belief that the voters aren't capable of planning for their own retirement, but they're capable of planning for mine.