Free Markets, Free People

What part of “health care is a finite resource” does the left not understand?

Regardless of all the promises made by ObamaCare, there are still only 24 hours in a day and there are a finiteobamacarethumb number of doctors available to fulfill the starry-eyed promises the law makes.

That’s reality, something the left routinely attempts to pretend doesn’t exist.

Some examples of the point – ObamaCare will put 30 million more people on insurance rolls  Yay, problem of health care solved, right?

No, of course not.  There will still be the same number of doctors and hours in a day.  As we’ve been saying repeatedly, getting insurance does not mean you’ll be able to see a doctor.

And then there are the new requirements placed on doctors by ObamaCare that further exacerbate the problem.

For instance:

Take preventive care. ObamaCare says that health insurance must cover the tests and procedures recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. What would that involve? In the American Journal of Public Health (2003), scholars at Duke University calculated that arranging for and counseling patients about all those screenings would require 1,773 hours of the average primary-care physician’s time each year, or 7.4 hours per working day.

So, a doctor either commits to 10 or 12 hours of work a day or she sees patients for other reasons for 2/3rds an hour a day.

Or try this:

Meanwhile, the administration never seems to tire of reminding seniors that they are entitled to a free annual checkup. Its new campaign is focused on women. Thanks to health reform, they are being told, they will have access to free breast and pelvic exams and even free contraceptives. Once ObamaCare fully takes effect, all of us will be entitled to a long list of preventive services—with no deductible or copayment.

Of course, none of that is “free”, but much of it will also tie up a doctor’s time.  Preventive care costs money – lots of money – and when you have someone else paying for it, even more people will try to take advantage of that.

The left thinks that’s a feature, not a bug.

Here’s the real-world problem, however:

If the screenings turn up a real problem, there will have to be more testing and more counseling. Bottom line: To meet the promise of free preventive care nationwide, every family doctor in America would have to work full-time delivering it, leaving no time for all the other things they need to do.

In effect, it is government mandating treatment that fills up the doctor’s time when much of that treatment may not be necessary.  But that call has been taken out of the doctor’s hands with this law.  If a patient demands all their “free” stuff, then what?

I often harp on the fact that the left seems sublimely ignorant on how the laws of economics work.  Well, what ObamaCare has set up are exactly the same conditions that plague most government run healthcare systems:

When demand exceeds supply in a normal market, the price rises until it reaches a market-clearing level. But in this country, as in other developed nations, Americans do not primarily pay for care with their own money. They pay with time.

Prepare yourself for long waits for what you now consider to be routine problems.  If it is routine you will likely have less of a chance of seeing a doctor than you do now.  Best hope you can self- medicate or just wait out the problem.   If it is a serious problem, you’ll most likely still be in for a wait. 


As physicians increasingly have to allocate their time, patients in plans that pay below-market prices will likely wait longest. Those patients will be the elderly and the disabled on Medicare, low-income families on Medicaid, and (if the Massachusetts model is followed) people with subsidized insurance acquired in ObamaCare’s newly created health insurance exchanges.

Econ 101.  So what is likely to happen?

When people cannot find a primary-care physician who will see them in a reasonable length of time, all too often they go to hospital emergency rooms.

Uh, wasn’t that a big part of the impetus behind creating ObamaCare?  To “solve” that problem?  In fact, it is likely to exacerbate it.

Of course the solution to the government made problem will be what?  Most likely more government.  Those patients who are in those plans that pay below-market reimbursement will complain to whom?  Politicians.  And vote hungry politicians will try to do what? "Fix” the problem they created.  And who will they make the bad guys?  Well, certainly not them – greedy doctors or insurance companies most likely.

You can see this coming from a mile off – well if your eyes aren’t full of moon dust and you have even a passing acquaintance with how the real world works.

As P.J. O’Rourke so aptly said, “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.”

Unless this monstrosity of a law is repealed, we’re about to find out.


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62 Responses to What part of “health care is a finite resource” does the left not understand?

  • Madness.  Sheer madness.
    When you remove market forces, you IMPOSE rationing.  It is an immutable law of economics, and there are heaps of models.  In some cases, those heaps are made up of dead bodies.
    And rationing occurs in many guises, including driving people away from seeking whatever is rationed, and artificially kept in shortage.
    Only governments create shortages.

  • And expect foreign sourcing as we import medical professionals from exotic places to do the work we don’t have enough Americans to do.

    • “And expect foreign sourcing”

      I envy you your good health. You have obviously not sought health care in years. Your prediction is already history.

      • I’m talking about questionable foreign sourcing.   My GP is a Texas farm boy about my own age.  I don’t mind “foreigners” per say, I’m too close to the spot where my grandfather, the foreigner, stepped ashore to get all “merican” on immigrants.
        I mind the idea we’re may bring in ones of lesser competence out of perceived necessity.

  • If everybody thought like this, there would be not progress.  If the Congress would not continue to fight the process, there will be plans created to take care of this increased demand.
    The laws of economics are not “immutable”—that’s what the thought about physics too, before Einstein.

    • Right, so if we don’t have enough supply to meet demand, we can make it up out of thin air? Or are you for forcing people to become doctors?

      Thanks for proving my point about the left’s incoherence when it comes to economics.

      • Are you assuming the supply of doctors is fixed? Presumably depending on how the funding levels are determined, the ACA, Ryan’s premium support plan, and McCain’s premium support plan all have/had formulae to determine how much is paid out. If politics were to increase the amount of money paid out, presumably there would be increased incentive for additional providers to enter the market.

        • Increase the amount of money paid out – isn’t that PRECISELY what this is about?  The cost?  Meaning, ‘the amount of money paid out’.
          Where is this additional money to come from?

        • That all depends on what else goes along with the “increased incentive” which may provided an equal or larger disincentive, doesn’t it? Like mandates, dictating how care is to be provided, what care is to be provided, when, etc. For the most part, the largest incentive for doctors is letting them call the shots in consultation with their patients and being fairly compensated for it.

          • On the latter point, as a practical matter it seems that most people who receive care are insured by private insurers or one of the government programs, so the idea that doctors and patients call the shots in consultation doesn’t reflect what we already have, or as far as I can tell, what either Ryan/Romney or Obama have on offer. Also, all insurers decide what they are and are not going to cover, and doctors and other providers all seem to do cost shifting amongst the insured and uninsured. All of those make the demand side very murky. Nonetheless, there is still going to be a sort of market for those services which are reimbursable.
            I was wondering if you were also assuming that there are supply side constraints (e.g. limited residency spots etc) on Doctors as well.

          • At this point its a matter of degree, or a bridge too far. That doesn’t change the fact that the biggest incentive for doctors would be what I mentioned, whether it exists in its purest form now or not.

            I don’t believe there are supply side constraints of any significance at this point since it is medical schools have been advising us of the coming shortage for years due to enrollments being down (although there has now been an uptick in first year enrollments mostly due, believe it or not, to the down economy). Right now we’re on track to be 90,000 physicians short by 2020.

          • Also, all insurers decide what they are and are not going to cover.

            That sentence is too ambiguous to understand.  Were you suggesting that they decide WHAT coverage to offer?  Or were you suggesting they determine what coverage they will honor?
            If the latter, that is nuts.  Insurers issue contracts, and people like me sue them if they violate them.  What they cover is spelled out in exquisite detail (if you doubt that, read one of those contracts).

      • Bruce, I disagree with you on what the finite resource really is. I submit that the finite resource is money, roughly 3 trillion dollars, not doctors and hospitals. If for example, we (as a nation) decided overnight to spend $5 trillion dollars, and the market force of that increased spending would cause the creation of new doctors (though I suspect we would import the majority rather than grow them).

        i also disagree with the comment that only government involvement creates rationing. Look at the current state of people with and without health insurance today. By and large, there are four groups of people, people with employer provided health insurance, people with government provided health insurance (Medicare and Medicaid), personal with individual health insurance, and people without health insurance). The argument I am hearing is that if you add the people without health insurance to the mix, there are not enough resources in the healthcare system to provide care without taking it away (or making it more difficult, as with longer wait times). So about 80% of Americans get the benefit of the shorter wait times because the 20% are not flooding the system. THAT IS RATIONING.

        The argument appears to be that we don’t have the resources for everyone to be in the healthcare system without reducing quality, quantity, or timeliness of care, therefore in the interests of maintaining the current level, we MUST continue to ration these people out of the system. IMHO, because of the arbitrary nature of the rationing (who you work for, how you old you are, how much above the poverty level your income is), this is analagous to arguing that if food were a MORE finite resource, the best way to address the nutrional needs of the society would be withhold food from 20% of the population, so 80% could have more. And the people we are talking about are not the poor, nor are they the rich, and they shift constantly. One person might be employed by IBM one year, and a company with no health insurance the next, and whether this has adverse impact on an individual is really a matter of luck. They might have never had an insurance claim for 20 years when they had insurance, and contract cancer when the are no longer covered, What we have now is arbitary rationing. If it were truly market rationing, where the cost of insurance were just a straight cost (albeit competitive through offerings through numerous insurance companies), but without the subsidies, group underwriting, or government provided insurance, we would have simple market rationing, where the amount of money you were willing to spend (and able to spend) would determine how much healthcare you could get. That is the ideal of most libertarian types, you get what you pay for, you pay for what you get, and if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it.

        The problem is that this ignores the social reality of this country. As a nation, we absolutely refuse to embrace that attitude towards healthcare. Unfortunately, we also are schizophrenic on how to pay for what we adamantly insist on offering. Ronald Reagan signed the 1985 Cobra bill that MANDATED that private businesses treat people who could not pay, but created no funding mechanism to pay for the services he was forcing them to provide, by law, to provide without compensation. This law was in response to “patient dumping”, which had become prevalent at that time, whereby providers refused treatment, refused acceptance, or simply transferred patients to other providers if they did not believe they were going to be paid. Lest you think this was a bill forced upon Reagan, I would remind you that the bill was passed with 93 votes in the Senate which consisted of 53 Republicans at the time. At MOST,  6 Republicans voted against the bill.

        So what’s the cost of a bill that has no cost? Estimates are that EMTALA costs over $75B per year.

        What would that cost be if everyone had insurance? $0

        Of course the actual costs would be born by the insurance, and to a degree, the taxpayers, which is certainly far from $0, but the point is that there is an upside to everyone having insurance as it can mitigate shared, unseen costs, in other areas.

        • Well, idiot, you have to start from the DEFINITION of rationing.  What a boob.
          In a market, OF FLUCKING COURSE some people are NOT able to be consumers, and they self-select.  SOME people cannot afford a car.  DOES THE MARKET RATION CARS?  Uh, no.  In fact, empirically, we know that if everyone could afford a car, the market would respond with increased supply to meet the increased demand.
          Really, you need to read a basic economics text.  Until you do, you just look like the Collectivist moron you’ve shown yourself repeatedly here.

          • “SOME people cannot afford a car.  DOES THE MARKET RATION CARS?”

            The market absolutely rations cars in the exact manner you describe, some people can’t afford them.

            I am using rationing to describe what is essentially a function of supply and demand, whereas actual rationing is artificial, but the result is that different people get more and less based on some variable that is attributable to them.

            The difference is who gets rationed in and out of the market. As i said, in a straight free market, the ability to afford something would be the mechanism. In our current system, and long before Obamacare, there is REAL rationing, because it is artificial. The government creates winners and losers in the access to healthcare. If you make little enough, you can get Medicaid, if you are old enough, you can get Medicare, if you work for a large company, you can get insurance subsidized by tax deductions. But if you are none of those, you are likely among the 20% (actually 21.3% according to the National Health Interview Survey) who may well be working, and you may well earn a decent wage, but you are priced out of the market. Rationing.

            Actual health care (you know, people who are actually in the business of medical care) does not respond to any economic models because actual health care is not a part of any models. Actual health care providers are a liability within the economic model of the insurance business, whether public or private.

            from Gerhard Adam, “The purpose of the free market is to allow the participants to respond to the various pressures each brings to bear so that adjustments can be made without guarantees.  People are allowed to succeed or fail based solely on their ability to participate in the market.  However when artificial guarantees are put in place, then there is no market, nor can there be a market response.”

          • “Rationing”, you stupid phuc, has a MEANING.
            I thought when I suggested you look it up, you might be struck with a clue-bat…BUT NOOOOOO…
            It does not mean “allocation” by some means or other.  Moron.

            Government allocation of scarce resources and consumer goods, usually adopted during wars, famines, or other national emergencies. Rationing according to use prohibits the less important uses of a commodity (e.g., the use of gasoline for pleasure trips as opposed to work-related travel). Rationing by quantity limits the amounts of a commodity available to each claimant (e.g., a pound of butter per month). Rationing by value limits the amount of money consumers can spend on commodities that are difficult to standardize (e.g., clothing). Point rationing assigns a point value to each commodity and allocates a certain number of points to each consumer. These can be tracked through coupons, which are issued to consumers and must be exchanged for the approved amounts of rationed goods. Consumers in a rationed economy are usually encouraged to save their money or invest in government bonds so that unspent money will not be used for unrationed items or purchases on the black market.


          • Actual health care (you know, people who are actually in the business of medical care) does not respond to any economic models because actual health care is not a part of any models.

            And there, you fully qualify as too stupid to mess with any longer.  Amazing

          • “In our current system, and long before Obamacare, there is REAL rationing, because it is artificial.”
            but it’s not artificial based on any choice the market or the government MADE – it’s based solely on someone’s willingness to undertake bills they may not be able to, on paper, afford.  And the difference is, they don’t run to the doctor every time a bit of snot runs out of their left nostril.  They reserve their willingness to incur debt based on the seriousness of their situation medically.  Trust me, I have a son without coverage who is VERY aware of every single pill, bandaid, pain killer and tongue depressor they use when he goes to the emergency room (his shoulder dislocates).

          • ” “Rationing”,…, has a MEANING.”
            Yeah, but I wouldn’t be too strict on this one. Once again, it depends on what your definition is. Sometimes meanings kind of overlap.
            “Definition: allotment of limited supply
            Synonyms: allowance, apportionment, assignment, bit, consignment, cut, distribution, division, dole, drag, food, helping, measure, meed, part, piece of action, portion, provender, provision, quantum, quota, share, store, supply

            “Main Entry:

            allotment [uh-lot-muhnt] Show IPA

            Part of Speech:

            portion assigned or given

            allocation, allowance, apportionment, appropriation, bite, chunk, cut, cut of pie, end, grant, lot, measure, part, piece, piece of the action, quota, rake off, ration, share, slice, split, stint*”


    • The laws of economics are not “immutable”—that’s what the thought about physics too, before Einstein.

      The laws of any science are immutable…so long as they are properly stated to reflect what is REAL.
      And wishing them away is not…by any stretch…”progress”.  It is, more correctly, witchcraft.
      What a moron.

      • “Laws” in science are usually models, which are a simplified representation of how the world works. While the models can be validated mathematically by themselves, it’s still a question whether they properly describe the reality we actually live in.
        To take a particularly striking example, you live on the surface of the earth, and likely the first mathematical theorem you learned was the Pythagorean theorem. It *does not apply* on the surface of the earth, where, for example, you can have a triangle with three right angles.
        Economics is obviously much more difficult because in addition to making assumptions about how markets are structured, underneath it makes assumptions about how people act. If those assumptions are wrong, the model is not going to fit reality very well.
        That said, I think we have to do the best we can, and I think Bruce’s point that if you simply increase the demand for services and the supply of providers is constrained, it seems likely that the doctors aren’t going to do any more than they currently are, all other things being equal (including the amount of money they can make elsewhere).

        • Pity we can’t just send people through an intensive government sponsored 6 week training course in “doctorin and stitchin”, ain’t it?
          Why would a kid spend the time, and money, on schooling to be turned into a government owned temperature taker.

          • And then they form a union and become unaccountable. Everyone wins!

          • I’m likin this better and better all the time.   Well, at least the ambulance chasing will stop – go head and try and sue the government for malpractice.

        • It *does not apply* on the surface of the earth, where, for example, you can have a triangle with three right angles.

          You, I am a lawyer, so by definition somewhat math challenged, but…
          I’ve been trying to draw a triangle with three right angles, and it just don’t compute.  The ciphering I was taught says that defies the definition of a triangle, in fact.
          Not that that matters to the larger point I made in my first post…

          • Not being a mathematician myself, I assumed it was a real world curvature issue.

          • Than it was kinda dumb, because the Pythagorean Theorem is PLANE geometry.
            Which means that it DOES describe what it attempts to describe within its own limitations.

        • Except for spherical (i.e. non-Euclidean) geometry Pythagoras’ theorem can be recovered in some form. It is also true for infinitesimal elements even in Riemannian geometries. Citing a mathematical theorem when trying to talk about physical laws makes one look as dim as Taddles saying “Einstein” as if it meant anything, or Erb toking the herb and getting all quantum mystical. How about taking the laws on conservation of momentum, or the second law of thermodynamics and prove your contention with those?

          • You’re correct that math is not an empirical science, but I chose it because it was so familiar. You could view it as a predictive model if you measure two sides and the subtended angle and use some calculations that to predict the length of the hypotenuse.
            A example from physics is Newtonian laws of motion versus special relativity. Same thing – you can take some measurements, do some calculations whose results are a prediction of what some other measurements would be.
            In any case, as near as I can tell the main thrust of interventionists on health care is that health care markets do not satisfy the preconditions for competitive markets, so it isn’t a question of the left denying immutable laws – it seems to be more a question of which models apply, and whether the interventions actually help solve the market failure they are intended to while creating worse problems.

          • health care markets do not satisfy the preconditions for competitive markets

            Wow.  Ya think?
            WHY is that true?  I suggest that decades of markets being FLUCKED with by the Federal government COULD be the preponderant cause.
            You can find some rather interesting models of much more free-market results in veterinary medicine, plastic surgery, and lasic surgery.  What would happen if general health care were returned to a consumer-provider model, do you think?

          • An example from physics would be the law of conservation of angular momentum. Please cite any instance where this has been violated.
            Newton’s Laws apply in Special Relativity when correct account of Lorentz factors is made for in the momenta etc.
            Your examples of supposed failed laws (and not mathematical theorems applied outside their axiomatic bases) are actually applications of a greater law later found by generalization. The meaning of Newton’s Law remains, even when generalized to Special Relativity.

        • “If those assumptions are wrong, the model is not going to fit reality very well.”

          If the assumption that healthcare costs and who has access to healthcare is based even remotely on market mechanisms, the assumptions are inaccurate.

          The VAST majority of payments are made by or in conjunction with some kind of insurance, whether public or private, so the individual patient, or individual provider for that matter, is not terribly relevant to the pricing of services, pretty much killing any notion of market models affecting pricing. On the other hand, msot people incorrectly assume that it is the exclusive province of insurance companies or the government to set prices, that is inaccurate as well. Insurance companies and Medicare do ultimately set their prices, but they do on the basis of formulas which they apply to the prices set by the Relative Value Update Committee, an independent closed door committee of the American Medical Association.

          So for anyone that thinks that government involvement in the healthcare business is the ONLY cause of the failure for providers to follow any economic models is deluding themselves. If you want healthcare to follow a market model, you would have to eliminate the insurance industry, private and public. That is what ultimately makes this entire debate so silly, the only real difference between public and private with respect to healthcare as it exists today in America, is how they are funded and profits.

          Supply and demand plays a part in medical delivery at the very top and edges of the market, a person with enough resources can buy whatever they want, and medical providers with enough demand, can ask whatever they want of private payers. There are also some providers that are simply running cash only businesses, no insurance assignment at all, COD for services. Their customers pay more than co-pays, but likely pay no insurance premiums, or (if they’re smart) they have catastrophic policies with huge deductibles but low premiums.

          If you want to see what that looks like, read this…

          Ironically, most cash only dosctors accept Medicare, because even though it pays less, the process is simple and you don’t need a huge staff to manage assignment.

          If you all are right, that America will just hate Obamacare, then Obamacare is just the thing you want to push medical care towards this cash only model. But as I said, this is just the fringe of the market for now.

          • The problem we have is Democrats, who have messed up our health care system.

            The reason we have insurance paying for healthcare is because of FDR. He is responsible for tax free employeer health insurance.

            Eliminate tax free employeer health insurance, medicare and medicaid, and we go back to a proper market based health care system. All the problems are due to government policies created by Democrats.

    • Erb?  Is that you?

    • “there will be plans created to take care of this increased demand.”
      So the AMA will wave their wand and create more doctors from thin air?   These doctors will appear magically prepared to establish a practice, with the financing necessary for that to happen?  The facilities for these doctors will spring forth from the bosom of the earth?
      And all if ‘Congress would not continue to fight the process’.  What does that mean, Congress passed OBAMACARE, did that escape you?  How is Congress ‘fighting’ this?  Are they working to prevent more doctors?  More facilities?  Which laws did they pass to cause the market to STOP doing those things?
      You truly are clueless.

    • Progress don’t come from Congress boy.
      Never has, never will.

  • “If the Congress would not continue to fight the process, there will be plans created to take care of this increased demand.”
    What process? The law has already passed! it is now in the hands of the bureaucrats over at HHS to “make the rules” that fill in the detail the bill does not include. Plans are already being formulated by these very same bureaucrats! Any hint as to when they will be published? Do you have any clue whatsoever???

  • We also don’t know how many doctors are going to leave the field because they get fed up with how they are forced to work with patients and with Obamacare. But it could be a lot – 83% have considered it. (From a survey done just last month.) This could make the entire problem much, much worse.

    I also must note the irony of a leftist above claiming the market will adjust to the predations of government. Well, yeah, it will, in a fashion, as best as it can. One of the ways it will adjust is by people who are being turned into de facto servants of the government finding a different way of making a living.

    But that attitude on the part of Tad illustrates one of the biggest disconnects of the left. They really do think their job is to simply insist on the utopian reality they want, and then expect the rest of the world to adjust to their whims. Then, when it doesn’t adjust the way they thought, they blame people like us for not being public-spirited or some such instead of examining their own assumptions.

    For example, they never care to look at inner city school systems in cities that have been run by liberal Democrats for decades, and wonder why they are so miserably bad and mire so many minority citizens in poverty. Goodness forbid that they actually hold their Democrat buddies responsible for such failure. After all, they had the best of intentions, doncha know.

    • “For example, they never care to look at inner city school systems in cities that have been run by liberal Democrats for decades, and wonder why they are so miserably bad and mire so many minority citizens in poverty. Goodness forbid that they actually hold their Democrat buddies responsible for such failure.”
      Ahhhh, Detroit,
      a burned looted stinking rubble pile sinking into the swamp at the foot of the hill of prosperity, demonstrating in a way seldom observed the inadequacies of 40 years of solid Democratic control.

    • For example, they never care to look at inner city school systems in cities that have been run by liberal Democrats for decades, and wonder why they are so miserably bad and mire so many minority citizens in poverty.

      Billy, you need to “think” like a leftist/postmodernist.
      Certainly the reasons are because of:
      1) Racism
      2) Republicans cut Federal school funding
      3) Teachers are way underpaid.
      4) Racism
      5) The school infrastructure is decrepit.
      6) The two Republicans in the Michigan legislature (out of a legislature of 120) voted to cut school funding
      7) Racism
      (Ever wonder why a leftist can’t imagine/follow a dynamic model?)

  • “Then, when it doesn’t adjust the way they thought, they blame people like us for not being public-spirited or some such instead of examining their own assumptions.”
    You left out the part where they demand the government DO SOMETHING!!!!!!!

  • Then the Dems will have a new villain to demonize- docs! So the govt will have to take over the training and licensing of said docs. Everyone wins!

    • Greedy, rich, doctors, not doing their part for the country, OR paying their fair share of taxes.   Evil….bastards.

  • You’ve all missed the obvious … Obama will mandate more hours in a day
    (This fits in perfectly with a story I saw a while back about a proposal to make hours 48 minutes long so there could be 30 hours in days)

  • Actually Healthcare is not a finite resource in the sense that if the demand is high enough then enough people will be involved in Health care to fill the needs.  However, the government perverts the market and thus we will have less and less health care workers and worse and worse results.

    • By definition, ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL resources are BOTH finite and scarce (depending on the level of demand relative to supply).
      The number of doctors, nurses and paramedics does NOT comprise the SUPPLY of health care supply.  The supply could easily be subject to the “magic” of market responses to demand, and in ways few if any would predict.  See computers, personal.  But simply shifting WHO does WHAT would be one obvious means of providing greater supply to increased demand…IN A MARKET.  See Mini-Clinic.

    • Unless supply is infinite it is a finite resource by definition.

      • “Unless supply is infinite it is a finite resource by definition.”

        The question is supply of what?

        Money is the ultimate resource, and is ultimately the finite resource that makes medical care a finite resource. If you were to double the amount of money America spent, you know as well as I do that there would be market response to this spending in the form of more people going to med school, nurse school, and more foreign doctors coming to America. If you want to include the entire planet, then it is certainly a MORE finite resource.

        By saying something, especially in a macroeconomic sense is a finite resource because anything not infinite is finite by definition is a reduction to absurdity. Air is a finite resource, sunlight is a finite resource, the universe is a finite resource.

        More medical providers can exist, and enough more that service need not be permanently impacted. Do you think there is less than 20% waste, fraud, and abuse in the system because of the fragmented way the system works? Ask a doctor who needs a staff of 12 to deal with billing insurance companies, a staff he could easily replace with more medical practitioners if his administrative costs and pain were reduced.

        The money we are willing to spend is THE finite resource in medical care.

        • Who’s fault is it that the doctor has to have a buisness staff? It’s the fault of FDR and LBJ. Democrats. And the government policies they created.

          Also, money is not the ultimate resource. It isn’t even a resource, it is a tool.

        • No it’s not a question of “what”, it’s a question of whatever. You’re tying to split hairs and it isn’t working. Unless it is unlimited and freely available to everyone so they can take all they desire or need without impediment (see “air”), then by DEFINITION it is a finite resource. That’s just common sense.

        • I still don’t get why if I’m responsible for your health as part of being a civilized nation, I’m not also responsible for feeding you, clothing you, and sheltering you.   I don’t see how you can divorce health from those three basics for survival.  Think of it as ‘preventative’ health care, you know, feeding you, clothing you, sheltering you to keep you healthy to reduce your health care costs to society.

          • Well, and packing you in cotton wool and tucking you in at night, since freedom from injury and a psyche unburdened by negativity are necessary to good health, right?

          • We need to legislate warm milk for all, except for the lactose intolerant, and people with reflux of course…but….
            Would it be right to have warm milk for some but not all?
            I guess not, no warm milk then, if everyone can’t have it, no one should.

          • Or, one can pack him in warm milk at night.  His psyche would never be burdened by negativity again!

  • Repeal of prescription laws would accomplish more since many people would be able to take care of much of their health care needs without having to involve a doctor so often in their care.  This would free up considerable physician time to take care of patients who actually were in need of their services.  Additionally, considerable money could be saved because at the percentage of GNP used for health care, there is a considerable “opportunity cost” involved here.  Libertarians need to understand that allowing people to take responsibility for themselves is a necessary part of a free society, not the “statist” one in which we now live.

    • I think libertarians understand that. It’s getting the rest of society to accept what was once a pretty universal idea around here is the problem. Unfortunately we live in a “statist” society that has been slowly built over time. And that’s the reality libertarians have to deal with.