Best Line of the Week

I thought this was pretty apt:

The Left's approach to health-care cost containment is to give more
health coverage to more people with more ailments, all the while making
everyone pay less.

This kind of thinking should be familiar to the Arizona legislature, since they went into special session to close a $2 billion budget shortfall and ended up actually increasing spending!

  • Yoshidad

    Ah, more stirring comments from the right end of the political spectrum! Cue the martial music!

    Surprise! Government is always bad! And private enterprise, with a few exceptions (Enron, Worldcom, etc.), is always good! And anyone who says otherwise is just a commie! (That's bad, too.)

    This prompts a few questions, though:

    Don't private enterprises lobby government for public policy decisions that favor them? And are no such policies to detrimental to the public but very profitable for the companies? Hmmm... It seems suspiciously like the private guys may be using government as a kind of cat's paw to take the heat while they rake in the profits, and the private/public debate is just bullshit, really. (Are "Fannie Mae" and "Freddie Mac" private or public? How about the Federal Reserve?)

    BTW, This just in: Even though it's been known since the 1920's that lead in paint would harm the public, a ban on manufacturing such paint in the U.S. appeared only in 1978, after 58 profitable years for the paint manufacturers. A recent Rhode Island Supreme court decision reversed a lower court's 2006 ruling, saying Sherwin-Williams and others shouldn't be held liable for the damage done by their products, even though they knew it was poisonous when they produced it. (see http://lists.grist.org/dm?id=0C3EF0973DD46E5206AFC472A85C3BF7)

    The question: Was this Rhode Island decision from a liberal or conservative court? And are the damages just trivial, perhaps only experienced by the inferior kind of people?

    So should government just be small, you know, like bikini tops? Maybe small enough to drown in a bathtub?

    When some public policies are misguided, should we just have none? And when some mega-corporation dumps toxic chemicals into the ground water, should government be too small to stand up to them?

    Meanwhile, if government is always so bad, how does one explain the following uncontroversial facts?

    a) Europe's socialized medicine, or socialized medical insurance is about half as expensive as the more privatized U.S. system, and b) U.S. health outcomes are almost universally worse than those produced by such socialized care. The World Health Organization ranks the U.S. 37th in total health care outcomes (life expectancy, infant mortality, etc.)...?

    Put another way, the U.S. gets the kind of health care outcomes one might expect in Costa Rica, but pays six times more for the privilege.

    Does one have to be a socialist to acknowledge at least a few successes for that system? And does one have to be a chicken to smell a rotten egg? Is a stopped clock right only once a day?

    I know previous posters to this blog dispute the WHO's objectivity (what does the WHO get for cooking the books, a toaster? some other prize?) as though the health care industry in the U.S. hasn't resisted changes tooth an nail for real, monetary profits.

    But facts persist: Private health insurance drug companies are among the most profitable in the world... Hmmm. I wonder why that recent Medicare legislation forbade the government from bargaining for drugs in its formulary, and offered a new market for private insurance...?. Could there have been some lobbying at the public's expense here? Hmmmm... I wonder...

    BTW, also uncontroversial: Drug companies spend 55% of their gross profits on marketing, 15% on R&D. Most of the R&D is to slightly alter already-patented drugs so they can extend their profitable exclusive hold on that market. The idea that higher drug company profits lead to better drugs is really not true.

    And, thanks to posters here, I know the U.S. has its bright spots -- although France and Finland's government health care leads to fewer overall cancer deaths per capita, once you actually get cancer, the U.S. has a better cure rate.

    But really, what's in dispute here? Isn't doing even more of the same and expecting a different outcome the definition of insanity?

    And do people who want to criticize and correct mistake U.S. public policies just hate America? Should they, really and truly, love it or leave it?

    Finally: Is arguing with Cons (they ain't "conservative" by any conventional definition of the word) permissible, but only if one invokes the insanity defense?

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2008/06/23/freedom-to-travel-such-a-pre-911-concept/ Brad Warbiany

    Yosh,

    Don't interpret criticism of the left's health care plan as endorsement of the right's. Saying the proposed plan is bad doesn't mean that the current one is good. The American health care system is horrendously screwed up. But the fix we have in mind-- restoring an *ACTUAL* free market-- is not endorsing the status quo, because our current system is not a free market system.

  • Yoshidad

    Mr. Warbiany,

    First, let me compliment you on the tone of your post. Nicely put.

    Now, all you have to do to convince me that the right actually has *any* health care plan -- not just some more gigantic subsidies for the current HMOs and drug producers.... All you have to do is to show me a single place where such a really, really "free market" health care plan like what you're proposing is implemented and working well.

    BTW, does this "free market" mean that functions like the FDA certifying the efficacy of drugs would also go away? You know: "Caveat emptor, buddy, it may kill ya, or it may cure ya, but ya gotta pay up to find out."

    I'm also assuming the CDC and other public health functions currently in place would recede into oblivion too. "No more mosquito abatement for you... You'll have to buy the netting just like everyone else..."

    I'm willing to be convinced that such free markets do exist somewhere, but so far all this "free" market talk is just the B.S. that excuses all kinds of predatory attacks on lots of innocent people.

    Don't you think the free marketers' premise that you buy health care the same way you buy underwear is fundamentally flawed? The fact of socialized health care or health insurance is is real, tangible, and successfully implemented in the real world now. Don't you think if a free market would be successful it would have appeared somewhere else by now?

    On the other hand, if what you're proposing is some ideological utopia, then stand in line behind the Islamic, Mormon and Christian fundamentalists, Marxists, Anarchists, and other ideologues who are frustrated by the lack of purity in the implementation of their public policy designs. Another failed utopia [sigh]!

    I'm told not even the necon / libertarian paradise of Iraq tried for "free market" health care, and they did "free" all other markets to a shocking extent. See http://harpers.org/archive/2004/09/0080197 for an amazing look at just what "freedom" can do.

    Lowering all those trade barriers for that free market meant that Iraqis got to experience 60% unemployment as Chinese manufactured goods put all their factories out of business. Luckily they were consoled by the fact of their ideological purity.

    Anyway, I really do appreciate the civil tone, even if what you're proposing is pie-in-the-sky...

  • Mark

    "ut another way, the U.S. gets the kind of health care outcomes one might expect in Costa Rica, but pays six times more for the privilege."

    Again, these are the type of absolute lies that the advocates of socialized medicine spread. They never talk about actual health care outcomes, just overall measures that are meaningless, such as life expectency.

    When you are talking about health care effectiveness you must talk about outcomes. That is, what is going to happen to you when you get ill or injured. And, when you consider this aspect the health care system of the United States has absolutely no rival.

    As I have posted before, the surivival rate (measured as five year survival rate) of prostate cancer in the United States is 99.3%. Compare this to the survival rate of this type of cancer in Europe, which is 77%. The survival rate for breast cancer in the United States is over 90% (90.3) versus 75% in EUrope.

    The explanation of the differences in survival rate is very straightforward. In the United States individuals will get faster diagnosis utilizing superior technology. When they are diagnosed they will receive superior treatments by high end specialists, high end medications, and advanced technology.

    When the advocates of socialized medicine talk they never talk abotu these actual outcomes. Instead, they use bogus measures such as life expectency and infant mortality statistics. The fact that life expectency might have other factors other than health care outcomes does not seem to register with them. But they continue to use this as "evidence" that we should abandon our system.

    To get an even better understanding of this low-brained flimflam consider the utilization of infant mortality. The actual statistic is LIVE BIRTH INFANT MORTALITY and is defined as a one year survival rate of any child that is born alive. SO, to really compare these measures across countries there must be some control over differerent variables, such as birth weights.

    The fact is that in the United States the health care system has access to a higher level of technology, specialists, and WILL so that infants born at ever lower birth weights and gestations are surviving. In Europe and other countries, these infants simply are not born alive, either purposefully aborted or lost in delivery. These infants have a higher risk level and do not survive their first year to the same levels as infants born at full gestation and normal birth weight ranges.

    The proper conclusion, when viewed by any meaningful analysis, is that infant mortality rates in the United States are higher BECAUSE of the superior health care system of hte United States.

    But, the whacko left wingers continue to mislead people. WHen they are willing to make conclusions based on such obviously faulty evidence we should really become suspicious. I am.