Monday, June 15, 2009

The Healthcare Debate, Part One

President Barack Obama and many Democrats would like to implement is sweeping healthcare reform. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the Presidents health care reform at around $1.5 Trillion. They have discussed universal health care, single-payer health care, and government run healthcare. For the most part, these three terms are interchangeable. Republicans introduced their own healthcare reform prior to the Democrats and are waiting for the Democrat version to be introduced. Other ideas that have been batted about include taxing existing health care, health care credits, allowing individuals to use Social Security to pay for healthcare, and health insurance co-operatives.

Before any meaningful discussion of health care can begin it might be helpful to review a couple of facts that seem to get lost in this discussion. First, and maybe most importantly, you do not have a right to health insurance. Health insurance is not required by law, and is not listed in the Bill of Rights. Whenever anyone takes a new job, or is evaluating job benefits, you need to weigh the health benefits just as you would the starting salary. This seems like remedial politics, but I think most Americans have forgotten this. There was a time when people evaluated the benefits of the job, as well as the salary, when trying to decide where to work.

Secondly, Doctors, Hospitals, and Insurance Companies are generally in business to make a profit. Think about it this way, when you go to work, do you expect a pay check, or do you let your employer keep your pay check? Most of us work to pay our bills. Some of us even enjoy our job. At the end of the day, we work to pay bills, put a roof over our head, and take care of our family. Doctors and Insurance agents are the same way. Once again, this sounds like remedial civics, but I am not sure House Democrats, or the President, understand this. Profit is good. Getting paid is good.

If we keep these rules in mind, any sort of Universal health care, single payer system, or government run insurance agency, starts to look a little silly. Supporters of these options want to tax people who work in order to provide health care for all. Remember, you do not have a right to health care. Therefore, the President is really asking to tax the middle and upper class in order to provide a luxury item to everyone. Any government run healthcare will drive private firms out of business. Why? The government doesn't try to make a profit. They also get to steal money from the taxpayers whenever they wish. No private firm can compete against that.

The President and his staff insist that we must pass health care reform today. This isn't the case. While not everyone is happy with their health insurance, many are. We have been told that our health insurance spending is a crisis. If we don't fix it, it will be a ticking time bomb on our economy. But we have been here before. We were told that TARP, the Stimulus plan, and the Omnibus spending bills all had to be passed as well, or the results would destroy our economy. These were all passed in spite of their massive pork. What happened? The jury is still out. Most of the Stimulus money hasn't been spent. The day after TARP was passed, the Treasury started using it in ways they never informed Congress they were going to do. The White House projected unemployment would max out at 8%. Today, it has passed 9.4% and is still rising. We still don't know what is going to be the result of these massive spending programs, and the Democrats want us to take on more spending. In our economy, do we really need to raise taxes to provide a luxury item to people?


Andy D said...

A few of my friends have given me some comments away from the site. I thought they were good comments and decided to share them...

Andy D said...

The first comes from my friend Rebecca. She writes:

Andy, I'll stop commenting whenever you want. :)

1. Government dabbling in health insurance is not unprecedented. Case in point: Medicare. Insurance companies won't insure people who are too old or have pre-existing health conditions.

2. Those who pay for private health insurance ALREADY PAY premiums to compensate for the uninsured. The average family pays $1000 in health insurance premiums to compensate for the uninsured .

3. Ideally, every employer would be able to offer health insurance, but small businesses don't have much leverage to negotiate a plan. Where would the economy be if employees refused to work at small businesses? (No small businesses + less people working). Small businesses make up about 50% of the GDP.

4. Over half of DOCTORS support universal health care.

Andy's note: The last link may not be the right one. I think it is the one she asked for, but I may have gotten the link wrong. Any error is mine and mine alone.

Andy D said...

1. While not unprecedented, it is not necessarily right. Government taking over an auto company is now no longer unprecedented, but I hope it doesn't happen again. And Medicare isn't without it's own problems.

2. You are correct. And there needs to be a way to fix that. I don't think Government taking over the health industry is the way. There are other ways to solve this such as mandating that everyone have health insurance.

3. I have worked for a small business before. Some small businesses band together to negotiate better deals than they could on their own. Alternatively, there are a number of professional associations one can get insurance through. I would love to see more companies doing business directly with individuals.

4. That may be. However, I oppose it. Survey's like this can be misleading. However, even if all doctors thought government run health care was a good idea, I would still think it was a bad idea.

Andy D said...

LynneAnn writes:

My doctor visits as an uninsured person cost twice as much than when I was insured - and one of my prescriptions is $200 uninsured vs $10 with insurance. I know the insurance companies negotiate "volume discounts". So... in order for the doctors and pharmacies to be profitable, aren't the uninsured making up for the insured??? If not, why not charge everyone similar rates no matter what their insurance coverage?

Andy D said...

Rebecca writes:

The difference in $200 on a prescription and $10 is that when you pay $10, it is just a co-pay. The insurance company pays the rest. If insurance companies negotiate volume discounts, they are also guaranteeing a certain amount of business, which has a value. If the doctor gets more business so that there aren't chunks of the day with no ... Read Moreappointments, she makes more money. The problem is, not every uninsured person actually PAYS. See the Washington Times article: "[I]n 2008, uninsured people received $116 billion in health care from hospitals, doctors and other providers."

People are going to start thinking I have a multiple personality disorder

Andy D said...

LynneAnn responds:

Sure, the $10 was a co-pay, but the insurance company isn't paying $190. I don't remember the numbers exactly, but I do for my doctor visit. I was charged $180 uninsured. Insured, the doctor sends the $180 bill to the insurance company... the first thing the insurance company does is knock it down to the $90 "allowed" amount (of ... Read Morewhich I pay $20 and they pay $70). Same visit - overall cost of $180 vs. $90. Why? The doctor doesn't make enough off the insured visits and needs the uninsured to make up for it. I guess I'm just trying to say it's not only the insured paying for the uninsured... it goes the other way, too.

Andy D said...

I think if more health insurance companies dealt directly with individuals, these types of discrepancies might disappear. I think a system where the individuals were more responsible for their insurance than the company would be better. I didn't think I was for a national mandate requiring insurance, but maybe I am...

the anonymous guy said...

Watch Sicko.

Dare ya.

pack04 said...

Michael Moore!!!! is the person who you want to use as your disagreement with Andy post? You say Andy has bad and biased sources.

I watched columbine and i thought it was the worst "documentary" ever. A fourth grader could have made a school project home video documentary that was more fair and reporting of truth (what a documentary should be) then this "award winning" jackass ever could.

pack04 said...

I have been thinking about this for a while. Health care and health insurance are terms that are incorrectly used as one in the same.
You can get health care at hospital with out insurance. Yes it is expensive. But is your life not worth it? Is your life not worth the monthly payment. No? Then why when a loved one dies in an accident people try to collect millions of dollars for the loss of that person. So a person dies and they are worth millions but people don't want to pay money to keep them alive? Do I think there are problems with health care system? Of course. I don't think a hastily thrown together fix of tossing a huge amount of money that will be collected from tons of more taxes is the way to do it.

I like doctors making money. If they don't make money you are not going to get qualified people to go into that field. They will go in to law or business. Then what are we left with?

Andy D said...

No dares for me. I tried that once with the Al Gore movie. The person who dared me didn't hold up their end of the bargain. I have never seen a Michael Moore movie and would hate to break my streak.

Pack, I was surprised how many times I caught myself writing "health care" when what I really meant was "health insurance". A more conspiracy minded individual might believe we have been taught the two terms are interchangeable on purpose...

the anonymous guy said...

if socialized medicine is so bad, why do almost all other rich countries have it, and why is there health so much better than ours?

And why do we spend *more* on health care than almost all of them--for worse results?

And, yeah, I love the intellectual curiosity of the right wing.

You all keep enjoying the benefits of leftie innovations--like the clean air act, the weekend, safe workplaces, the clean water act, safety regulations on cars, etc--even while you verbally trash them. I hope some day you'll have a chance to trash-talk national health care in America--for free.

Keep talking... while the people who made your car safe to drive are at work on bigger projects.

Andy D said...

If you are talking about Canada and Britian, you can find all kinds of horror stories about their health care. ALso, they can afford the blow money on things that don't work because they don't have a military budget. They rely on ours.

We have better survival rates for a number of problems such as cancer.

You do realize there is no such thing as "free" health care right?

the anonymous guy said...


this has nothing to do with the military. (you don't even seem to understand that it isn't that they're paying so *much* for health care and then freeloading on our military: they pay *less* than we do for health care. Theirs is a less expensive system. It doesn't sound like you understand that.)

we pay *more* for health care than all those other countries, and get worse results. They live longer than we do. They're healthier. And, again, they do it for less money.

And I'm not just talking about Britain and Canada. I'm talking about just about every other 1st world country in the world.

Andy D said...

It isn't a less expensive system when you loose years of your life waiting for a sugery you can get in the United States in a matter of days or weeks.

It isn't less expensive when the government decides that expensive experimental drugs aren't worth purchasing for you because you aren't expected to live more than another five to ten years.

It isn't less expensive when the government sends you to a veterinarian in stead of a doctor because there aren't enough people entering medicine to meet the needs.

It isn't less expensive when the government flies in weekend doctors from Indonesia and the Philippines because more qualified doctors can't be found.

And it isn't less expensive when you take my money, my taxes, and my health insurance to give it to someone else.

Its robbery. And it comes at the price of your own freedom of choice.

the anonymous guy said...


Feel free to sling weird undocumented anecdotes around.

The bottom *factual* line is this: by any measure other first world countries:
-spend less on health care than the U.S.
-live longer
-are healthier

Unless you have *facts* that dispute that, I'm done with the conversation.

And the thing about taxes being robbery is absurd: the whole idea of taxes is to "give it to somebody else." If you were just going to keep your money it wouldn't be a tax. But maybe you were planning to pay your own personal food inspectors, construct your own water treatment plant, hire your own FBI agents, check in on your air traffic controllers, prosecute your local criminals, and safety-check your automobile plants. Until then, I guess you've been robbed.

Andy D said...

I notice that you don't have any factual evidence either. How about I start with the raw data on costs. Read this first. It should give you some hard data showing why government health care in the United States would be more expensive than private health insurance. Remember, you want to cover more people, not less. Why would you believe it would cost less?

When you're done with that, I will provide you some links of people who have their own horror stories of health care in Britain and Canada. Every claim I made in my last comment, I can back up. I just hope you read it with an open mind.

As far as taxes go, you are right. Some taxes must be given to the government in order for the government to provide the services it's charged with doing. The U.S. government isn't charged with providing health insurance to everyone. As I said earlier in this discussion, you don't have a right to health insurance.

Andy D said...

Anonymous Guy,

You have inspired me. I am going to start collecting links to different sources discussing health care, health insurance, and what a national or government plan (also known as single payer) might look like. In addition to the one I gave you in the last comment, a friend of mine sent me info about Doctors 4 Patient Care. This is a group of doctors that wish to "Protect the Sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship". Hope this helps too.

the anonymous guy said...

I notice that none of your links address the *facts* I cited. Again, other first world countries:
-spend less on health care than the U.S.
-live longer
-are healthier

Here are some more facts:
-Andy keeps ignorant company: most Republicans think the U.S. has the best health care system in the world. We actually rank 37th in the world, according to the World Health Organization. We are #1 in one category, though: we spend a higher percentage of our GDP on health care than any other country in the world.

Andy D said...

Anon, you don't site facts, you make bold statements. For example, you say that by any measure other first world countries live longer and are healthier than people in the United States. That simply isn't true. There are a number of different cancers that the survival rate in the United States is much higher for. As far as "healthier" how do you measure that when most people in government run health care plans are forced to endure health problems longer than in America because they can't schedule operations in a timely manner. How is it healthier to endure pain for knee or hip surgery for years when it can be scheduled for the following week here in the United States?

I can also tell by the tone of your last comment that you don't wish to participate in an honest debate on this issue. I am more than willing to. I don't have a "gold plated" health insurance program. However, if I get sick, I can go see the doctor and get medicine the same day I call for an appointment. If you have health insurance in the United States, this is typically true. If you don't, you can go to the emergency room and get treated as well.

Can our health industry use some reforms and changes? Sure. Is it the catastrophic scenario President Obama and others make it out to be? No.

the anonymous guy said...

If you lived in these (universal health care) countries, you'd be likely to live longer than if you lived in the U.S.:

Great Britain
South Korea
New Zealand

The United States: spending *more* money on health care. Living *shorter* lives.

Sounds like a good deal to Andy!

Andy D said...

A very impressive list. I did a few queries to examine your list in more detail and found to important facts:

1) The difference between the average lifespan for France and the United States seems to be about two years. The difference from roughly 82 to 80. I am personally willing to accept that when we are talking about an average.

2) Most of the sources that I saw last night that included your list also noted that average lifespan is not a correlation to quality of health care. Other things, such as crime rate, can affect that number. It seems to me that your list is a very poor point to use in any discussion regarding health insurance.

pack04 said...

anonymous guy you say one problem with our health care system is that we (not sure who we is) spend too much money for the results that we get. Your answer to that problem is to spend more money on health care. That does not make sense.

Has the public education system of our country gotten better by throwing federal funds at it? Have the wars in Iraq/Afghanastan/terror gotten better as we have thrown more money at it? Did GM or Chrysler get better? Did the banks? How about the housing market/foreclosures? How good is the welfare system working?
How good are the government run veterans hospitals?
These in my mind do not insure trust or confidence in my government to effeciently or correctly administer a country wide health care program.

The average life span in our country is 80 years. I do not see the emergency of we must do something right now as in by the end of the summer. Is our healthcare really that bad? Debate the bill, explore other solutions, show me were the money is going, where it is going to come from.

Every state government is scaling back spending because of the economy. Does this seem like the correct time to drop another trillion dollar price tag bill on the people?

I know health reform needs to take place but not like this.

Andy D said...

Pack, you bring up a couple of excellent points.

Under a government run health care option, you would probably see the development of health insurance along the path of education. There would be a public option the vast majority of people would be enrolled in, everyone would be taxed for, and few people would like. There would also be a private version that would be very expensive and the few who could afford it would do so. I really don't see how that would improve our health care or our quality of life in the United States.

I also agree with your reform point. I am for health insurance reform. I think our health care system is a good system that could use some changes. I think creating a new government run health care program would be a terrible idea. I am also against anything that takes the decision out of the patient - doctor relationship.

the anonymous guy said...

It's fascinating that you guys can't seem to understand this:

Countries with universal health coverage spend *less* money on health care than the U.S.

A universal health care system (modeled on those in Europe, etc.) would save us money, not cost us.

But it's clear you've already closed your mind on this.

Andy D said...

You keep saying this new health care will be cheaper than what we pay now. However, the CBO and others have estimated the cost on this at anywhere from $2 Million and up. Why do you think this is going to be cheaper? Have you seen anything saying government run health care will be cheaper for taxpayers? Have you seen anything arguing it will provide better health care?

I am open to health care reform. But government health care isn’t reform, it’s a remaking of our way of life. I am open to reading something you might have that would prove me wrong. I would encourage you to read the Heritage Foundation’s open letter on this.

the anonymous guy said...

Countries that have both 1) universal health coverage and 2) healthier outcomes than the U.S... pay less money for health care per capita than the U.S.

That's cheaper.

That's better, too.

You don't seem to recognize that.

Andy D said...

Can you site any evidence what so ever for this? I have asked for a link to some report that says government run health insurance would be cheaper for American Tax payers. I haven't found it. You keep repeating it, so please show me what you are reading.

Andy D said...

I thought of a few other points that need to be considered.

1) There can be no serious health insurance reform without some sort of tort reform on malpractice lawsuits.

2) One of the things driving up the cost of our health insurance is that we pay for drug companies to do the research and development needed to create the drugs we want. That is a benefit the whole world gets.

3) We truly have the best medicine in the United States. If a new version of Swine flu is discovered in Maine, where does a sample get sent for analysis? The CDC in Atlanta. If a new strain is found in South Africa, Australia, Mexico, or Indonesia,where does a sample of it get sent? The CDC in Atlanta. We provide medical knowledge for the entire world.

the anonymous guy said...

Andy, I'll give you this link to address your questions, but I think it's interesting that you're asking other people to prove information that's available to anybody with access to "the Google."

Oh. And I call B.S. on your everybody-sends-their-swine-flu-to-the-CDC baloney. You're just
making that up

Glad to hear you cheer-leading for the CDC. But, in fact, it was those socialized-medicine Canadians (*not the United States' CDC*) who first mapped the DNA of the swine flu virus. But even if it had been the CDC, that would simply underscore my point: the CDC is a $9 billion/yr "socialized" (i.e. government run) entity. You're *against* stuff like that, remember?

Andy D said...

From all of your links you posted, I saw two very interesting items:

1) None of the links argue that switching to government run health care in the United States would be cheaper. The first article talks about cheaper health care elsewhere, but also notes some unique items that cause Americans to spend more money on health care (which is not the same as our health care being more expensive). Which leads to..

2) I thought this quote from your first article was very interesting:

Jack Lewin, chief executive of the California Medical Assn., said malpractice costs were probably only a small reason for the healthcare spending gap. He believes that the difference in spending has more to do with a uniquely American expectation for a high level of care.

"We have a little twinge in our knee, we want an MRI," he said. "We want to see a specialist immediately. We want care now. Some of that is good in terms of getting an early diagnosis. But it's expensive."

He added: "All of us baby boomers [want] to play tennis til 90 -- [that means] new hips, new knees. We're going to have it all. So until all of us as a society get more realistic about healthcare, I don't know that we're going to change this dynamic."

The only way the government could control this is to ration health care. If they don't, there is no way the government version will be cheaper than what we have. If they do, then they need to be honest about it. Rationed health care is something I am very against, and I think most Americans would be too.

pack04 said...

here since we seem to be in the like of repeating the same agruements over and over:

Health care reform is needed.
$1.5 trillion estimated cost is too much especially when OUR country has a history of not effectivelly spending money to "solve" problems.
Other countries countries might has succeeded with nationalized health care but that does not guarantee that our country will. Our country succeeded in a civil war to over throw a tryanical government and sent up a new long lasting government. Others have tried the same and failed. Just because Sweeden does is not a good agruement that we should or can.

This is a major issue that could bring about a huge change to the way of life for ALL Americans. This is not an issue of we have the house, senate and president all of the same party so we are going to approve it as fast as we can. This has the same feel and the president is giving the same "we must act now" talking points that got us into the problem with the treasury department spending money as unintended because we went so fast. SLOW DOWN.

And for the last time because you, Anonymous Guy, can not seem to understand this. I DO AGREE WITH YOU THAT WE NEED A HEALTH CARE REFORM.

the anonymous guy said...

Andy and Pack seem to agree that we need health care reform. And that Europeans are better at it than we will ever be.

I don't surrender to the French that easily. I think we can do better than them.

And, BTW, there's already rationing in the United States. The difference is that we in the U.S. simply deny *more* care, and we deny it to *middle class, working class, and poor* people. But if you're rich... step right up. For many of us, that's the worst kind of rationing around.

Andy D said...

I agree that we need reform. I don't agree that there is any health care system out there better than what we have currently in the United States. I believe our health care is the best in the world.

I am totally lost to your last paragraph. Where do we deny more health care to the poor or middle class? If you have an emergency, you can go to any hospital and be taken care of. How is that denying medical care to anyone?

Andy D said...

BTW, you still haven't shown me how government run health care will be cheaper to American taxpayers.

the anonymous guy said...

Now Andy's just running in circles. And, again, I don't think he's really interested in the truth--just in keeping the argument going.

He's we *shouldn't* have universal health coverage in the U.S. because we *do* have it: it's the emergency room.

That's both a complete contradiction, and the latter part is a really bone-headed, super-expensive, deadly solution.

You can't argue *against* universal health coverage and then (to insulate yourself against the charge of denial of health care) assert that we already have it.

Emergency rooms are extremely expensive ways to deliver non-emergency care. That's one of the good reasons we have doctors' offices.

Emergency rooms are terrible at delivering preventive care, which is both cheaper (for all of us), and actually makes people healthier and happier.

What do you think is more expensive: treating a heart attack victim in the E.R. or preventing a heart attack in the first place? Which one makes people healthier and happier?

The "prove it" question is silly. Most other first world countries have all of the above compared to the U.S.: 1) less health care costs per capita 2) better health care outcomes 3) longer life-spans 4) healthier infant mortality rates and 5) universal health care coverage.

But, like the rest of your shrinking political party, you don't care about evidence. Your solution to our sad comparison to the rest of the world is just to shout louder "we're #1!"

Andy D said...

So, just to be clear, you have no evidence that goverment run health car will be cheaper than what we have.

I don't argue for visits to the emergency room for any preventative treatment, only for emergency visits. And I don't think people should use the emergency room for anything else. The sad fact is that they do. I would love to see that fixed as well.

You are responsible for your health care. Not me,and not your neighbor. Government healthcare isn't about saving tax payers money, as you have proven for me. It is about control and about taking from people who have taken care of themselves because it's "fair".

Of course if you can prove me wrong I would love to see it.

the anonymous guy said...

Andy: the proof is the record of other countries. They have better health care and pay less for it. Google it. It's public knowledge. It's been proven many times over.

And: health care is a right if we decide it is. (That's democracy, bro.) Almost every developed country in the world has decided that people have that right.

I guess it comes down to this: you see people sick and w/o enough money for health care and say "sorry, sucka." And many of the rest of us say: "everybody deserves health care. Let's take care of this, fairly, together."

One way or another, you either support health care for everybody, or you want people to be denied health care based on ability to pay for it. I am proudly on the former team. It sounds like you are (shamefully) on the latter team.

Glad we cleared that up.

Andy D said...

I also see people from Canada coming to the United States to get operations done because the waiting list for those operations is too long in Canada. Here, they can get the operation in a week, there, in three years. The same is true for almost every government run health care program in the world. The British have even come up with a term "medical tourism". This is where you go on vacation to another country, but the point of the trip is to see a doctor and get medical treatment.

You and I can provide anecdotal evidence all day long to support both of our points. What evidence can we point to outside of that? I can point to a number of studies that say government run health care will cost taxpayers much more money. You can not point to any studies that say it will be cheaper for us.

I have no problem with people getting catastrophic treatment at emergency rooms regardless of their insurance. I have a real problem with people getting treated for the common cold at emergency rooms. I have made choices and decisions in life to make sure I and my family are covered for health insurance. Everyone out there makes those choices. Why are you asking me to take money from my family to cover someone else's non-life threatening health care?

If the voters and our representatives decide health insurance should be a right, then we can in act those laws to call it a right. Congress and the President aren't talking about that. They are talking about increasing taxes to then force everyone (except members of Congress and the Senate) into one health care system. That isn't right, and it shouldn't even be legal.

I see people who are sick, and I say, "Take care of yourself". If they are in a life threatening emergency, I say "go to the emergency room". You see people who have a cold, or maybe a rash, or a hangnail and say, "You poor thing, I will take from someone else to make sure you don't suffer that cough."

Andy D said...

here is a list of other plans with a government run health insurance program.

the anonymous guy said...

Andy wrote: "Why are you asking me to take money from my family to cover someone else's non-life threatening health care?"

Thanks for the new thought, Andy: free or discounted socialized childhood immunizations are really *robbery* from tax-payers like you and me. Let's have a TEA Party!

pack04 said...

Bringing kids into it dirty.
I of course don't have a problem making sure that vaccines are available to everyone.

However, I do have a problem with the government taking MY money to pay for a quad bypass on a grossly obese 58 year old who eats a McDonald's everyday.

Yay, bring on the argument again that poor can only afford cheap calories. The government taxes the hell out of tobacco and alcohol but why not fast food? No you want to let dumbasses not take care of themselves and then demand my money to fix them. HELL NO.

Anonymous, any comment on the hurry up to pass this bill sounding a lot like the hurry up and pass the stimulus bill or the bank bailout bill? The hurry up and pass or the end is near did not work out like they hoped it would. Wonder if they will take the time to read this bill this time?

Also, is this really the correct time to spend more money, money that we don't have? I know you say that it will not cost more, but if the CBO says it will I trust them, although I do realize that down the road it could save money. However, to start this up and get the ball rolling cost trillions, trillions that we don't have.

pack04 said...

Do you know somebody that has been denied health care?

I know people that have had health insurance companies decline payment, but I don't know anybody that has not received care.

People own cars, houses, cell phones and get new ones all the time, digital HD cable with all the movie channels, plasma tv's, $200 dollar jeans etc but they CHOOSE not to have health insurance. People CHOOSE to not have healthy lifestyles but demand top of the line fix it now health care with out paying for it.

Now because I was responsible and chose to have health insurance instead of a plasma tv, only 50 analog cable channels and I run you want me to jump up and down all excited with my checkbook open to pay for the irresponsible ones that did not. I am already getting screwed on being a responsible home buyer, sorry that I am not getting on board for this health care thing.

Yes, I know you will mention the poor don't have plasma tv's but middle class people do and you brought them up for not getting health care.

As for the poor, I guess we should keep giving them free stuff because that has helped them so much in the past...

Andy D said...

Pack brings up some excellent points.

Let's take your example of socialized immunizations for all children. Where do you draw the line? Does every child get them? How often? What will you immunize against? MMR? Small pox? HPV? Hepatitis? If the government is paying for it, do parents get to decide if they want their children immunized? What about the optional ones we don't require in schools right now? Should I be forced to pay for someone else's kid to get immunized against something that isn't currently required just because the parents want their child immunized against it?

What about the not so clear cut issues. For example, should yoru government run health care pay for teenager's immunizations before they go to college? Is it fair to ask a working family that may have never be able to afford college to pay for someone's child to be immunized for college? What about elective surgeries? Nose jobs that correct a medical condition that aren't necessarily required, would you pay for those? Would you approve them for everyone, or how would you decided who gets them and who doesn't?

In your perfect world, the government would decide the answers to all of these questions. In reality, the government probably isn't qualified to answer these questions, and shouldn't be answering them anyways.

If a poor kid wants to go to school, he can go to a health clinic and get immunized. There are already solutions out there for people who can't afford insurance. There is no reason for the government to step in and tax everyone so they can turn around and ration health care to everyone.

the anonymous guy said...

I'd be in favor of taxing unhealthy fast food. And plasma teevees, for that matter. But, you know, I'm a socialist: I'd rather have universal health care than universal McDonald's and plasma teevee.

Andy, you bring up some interesting questions that do indeed touch on some blurry boundaries. Part of the good news is that many other countries already have some very good solutions to these questions. Sounds like you need a European research vacation.

And, Pack, btw, I live in a big city and see people *every day* denied care. So they end up costing *all* of us big bucks, by taking all of their needs--large and small--to the emergency room.

I also know a number of people who made smart decisions about employment and health insurance and then got laid off and were then deemed "uninsurable." Whose fault is that?

And we've all seen the pitiful coin-collection jars--even in wealthy neighborhoods--for the kid who needs the life-saving operation but whose insurance company has stopped paying. That sounds like a third-world country... something you'll *never* see in Britain, France, or Germany.