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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Of Course It's Unprincipled When You Rig The Fight

There's audio being passed around the radio shows and the blogs of Rep. Jan Schakowsky proclaiming
“I know many of you here today are single payer advocates and so am I … and those of us who are pushing for a public health insurance don’t disagree with this goal. This is not a principled fight. This is a fight about strategy for getting there and I believe we will.”
SIRIUS radio host Andrew Wilkow has done excellent analysis on why single payer socialized health care will become bloated and corrupt; his main point: when you make a commercial product a right, it becomes someone else's responsibility to provide it, and that is economic slavery.

Those on the left who are big advocates of single payer nationalization now have the arguement that the right, those smarmy free-market advocates, don't like competition. The new parroted theory is that the free-marketers are now becoming monopolists because they don't want the government getting in the health care business. Of course, this makes sense to them, but it falls flat on its face when you actually take time to think about it (as usual).

A couple of things to ponder when you debate a single payer advocate...

First. The government is already in the health care business with Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP. Nearly 50% of all health care costs in the US are paid for by the US government. This creeping monopoly began with low-income, high-risk individuals who actually needed help, but like any other government program since the New Deal, government assistance has become government dependency. Programs like SCHIP, designed to help low-income children, has ballooned to cover middle class kiddos who get scrapped playing in their cul-du-sacs. There is no way the left can talk about a lack of competition from the government.

Second. A government option in the market is not akin to the private sector. Unlike the private companies, a federal government health insurance option would be backed by the full force of the federal government, the most powerful player in the United States. No single private insurer could ever compete with the federal government because, unlike the insurer who has to lobby the federal government to favor it, the federal government can do whatever it pleases (as it has shown with decades of corrupt and unconstitutional wealth redistribution) with no input by the insurers it will affect. When the government becomes a player, it will want to win the game. Pure and simple.

I lived in Canada for over half my life and I've had a few bad experiences with the single payer system there, but this fight won't be won on anecdotes alone. The loss of a competitive and entrepreneurial health care market to an overbearing and singularly self-interested government will bring down the innovation infrastructure our private health firms have spent trillions on.

The very idea that there is no US government option in health care today is so ludicrous as to be a admissible evidence in a case of loss of metal faculties against the advocate in question. The very idea that a government run health care system, insurance included, would be more efficient and effective than private means begs the question: why even have private business at all? If the government can run things better, let's just nationalize the entire economy and get it over with.

The single payer advocate would then call you a loony conservative or a paranoid right-wing nut. Not for your objections, though, but believing that they'd go that far, even though itls the logical end to their beliefs.

UPDATE: Yup. Government is totally a fair competitor in the health care market.
President Barack Obama's plan to provide medical insurance for all Americans took a big step toward becoming reality Sunday after leaders of the health care industry offered $2 trillion in spending reductions over 10 years to help pay for the program.
This, my friends, is what you call a bribe. This basically says, "Please don't nationalize us. Please, we'll do anything." It goes by the official term of corporatism. When the government, under the auspices of the common good, manipulate the free market into cartels so it may better redistribute goods without having to nationalize outright.

3 comments:

DocAmazing said...

No, Jordan, this physician and single-payer advocate would merely call you ignorant and enslaved to your "free-market"ideology. Come on down to your favorite doctor's office and help out the people working there who are employed solely to generate the paperwork for the insurers--those would be the private ones, not the government ones, Jordan--and who are not involved in patient care in any direct form, but are nonetheless required to be there by the ever-so-efficient free market. Ask your doctor about having to take courses in coding, billing, and the proper use of ICD-9 codes--all necessary for getting paid by insurers (again, private ones), but not very necessary for patient care.

US health care costs much, much more per capita than that of any other industrialized country. It's also much more penetrated by corporate insurers. Outcomes are also not as good, and the gap between the quality of care between rich and poor is greater. But hey, can't have taxes paying for it, because that would be a violation of freedom...somehow...

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yukio ngaby said...

DocAmazing:

Great name. Is that like Dr. Strange or something? "I command you, go to SLEEP!!"

"Come on down to your favorite doctor's office and help out the people working there who are employed solely to generate the paperwork for the insurers--those would be the private ones, not the government ones, Jordan--and who are not involved in patient care in any direct form, but are nonetheless required to be there by the ever-so-efficient free market. Ask your doctor about having to take courses in coding, billing, and the proper use of ICD-9 codes--all necessary for getting paid by insurers (again, private ones), but not very necessary for patient care."

Do you seriously, in your wildest fantasies, think for one second that the government will reduce the bureaucratic red tape that comes with medical insurance? I mean granted that the federal govt. has such a sterling past record for reducing paperwork and waste...

And why do you think that paperwork exists in the first place? Where do you think it came from and for what purpose? Some shadowy executives in pinstripes decreed it be as such? It exists because it has to. Revamping and simplifying the medical insurance system would mean simplifying medical treats, i.e. reducing treatments to the lowest common denominator.

Doc: "US health care costs much, much more per capita than that of any other industrialized country."

Source please. And Michael Moore's farcically inaccurate distortions don't count.

Many times the costs of medical and pharmaceutical research are factored into these "costs" numbers-- I mean hey, it doesn't directly benefit anybody, right? But, don't worry. Those costs coming from medical reseach will disappear instantly once there's no profit to be made anymore. Of course so will all the medical innovations... but hey let's stick it to those "free markets."

DocA: "Outcomes are also not as good..."

Good as what? Other industrialized countries? Have you heard about the quality of Britain's health care providers?

DocA: "But hey, can't have taxes paying for it, because that would be a violation of freedom...somehow..."

Yeah... Why should I want a doctor of my choice, who has examined me, choose the course of treatment when a DC government bureaucrat with a costs/benefits analysis can do it instead? I mean, I really want someone completely concerned with the fiscal bottom line to make those decisions regarding my health. And if I don't agree with the prescribed procedure then I can do what? Change doctors like I can now? No. I have to change governements. Or do like they do in Britain and fork out huge amounts of money for private insurance.