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John Stossel and a primer on the "smuggled premise"
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A very good column today by John Stossel in which he takes quotes from an interview he did with Michael Moore and points out what commenter Robert Fulton would term, phrases from the "liberal narrative". Moore tells Stossel, "I watch your show and I know where you are coming from. ... ", acknowledging Stossel's libertarian roots. Moore then smuggles a few premises into the conversation. Here's a little pop quiz for you.

First Moore quote:
"I gotta believe that, even though I know you're very much for the individual determining his own destiny, you also have a heart."
Have you spotted it?

Stossel's reply:

Show/Hide

Quote number two and besides the obvious religious pandering, what's the implicit assumption from a man who believes health care and food should come from the government?
"What the nuns told me is true: We will be judged by how we treat the least among us. And that in order to be accepted into heaven, we're gonna be asked a series of questions. When I was hungry, did you feed me? When I was homeless, did you give me shelter? And when I was sick, did you take care of me?"
Stossel cuts through this line of argument quickly:

Show/Hide

Last quote from Moore:
"John, your way of thinking actually was great for this country. I mean it; it helped to found the country. It helped build us into one of the greatest nations, perhaps the greatest nation, that the earth has ever seen. Limited government, pull yourself up by your bootstraps, every man for himself, forward movement, pioneer spirit. That's why a lot of people in these other countries really admire us, because there's this American get up and go."
Smuggled premise?

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How'd you do?
 
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Comments
While I think Michael Moore is a propagandist for a line of thinking that I disagree with, I also think he is good at what he does. This is an example of the subtlety of his techniques. Kudos to John (and you McQ) for providing a great illustration of a propagandist at work.
 
Written By: vnjagvet
URL: http://www.yargb.blogspot.com
I’m not here to defend Michael Moore, who while right sometimes, is not the sharpest knife in the drawer and often focuses on the bad arguments.

That said, as long as I live I will never understand how libertarians can possibly believe that a fully private health care system would increase "individual freedom," as Stossel puts it. When it comes to this aspect of life, people in every other First World country are infinitely more "free" than Americans. They don’t have to worry about losing their health insurance when they change jobs (a fact of life that inhibits entrepeneurship here). They don’t have to worry that insurance companies will drop them or refuse to cover them. They don’t have worry that medical bills will bankrupt them. They don’t have spend hours they will never get back haggling with insurance companies over costs and copays. And they don’t have waste time filling out endless forms, dealing with free enrollment periods, and all sorts of assorted nonsense that we take for granted. They know that whether they work for a big company or decide to go into business for themselves, they and their families will be covered and their lives won’t be turned upside-down abruptly when some company decides to decline coverage. That’s an extraordinarily liberating feeling.

And there’s no reason that we can’t have a system where a minimum amount of coverage is provided to everyone and those who want to can buy additional private coverage or pay for extra special care if they want it. There are plenty of working examples of such systems in the world.

I bet if you polled people, they’d choose my conception of freedom over John Stossel’s by a significant margin.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
"We will be judged by how we treat the least among us."
I would be happy to be judged on that standard: instantly upon throwing that rotten dirt-bomb straight into the nearest river.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
AL, to provide your version of ’freedom’ who must give up some of theirs?
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://

And there’s no reason that we can’t have a system where a minimum amount of coverage is provided to everyone and those who want to can buy additional private coverage or pay for extra special care if they want it. There are plenty of working examples of such systems in the world.
Yes, and about ten years ago I’d have wholeheartedly agreed with you. I also do agree that the current system has severe problems, and a lot of people are denied care. Sure, they won’t turn you away with an emergency, but they will hound you to pay, and poor, uninsured also tend not to go get normal check ups, or see a doctor when a child has a fever. Moreover, the way it’s set up the uninsured pay more for the same services than the insured — something that hurts the poor and benefits insurance companies.

Yet I do not think a big government bureaucracy in a country of 300 million plus can efficiently and effectively run a plan. If you look just at the fraud, abuse, and inefficiencies in Medicare and one can see the problems. Most other states with health care systems are smaller. I would prefer the next President do one of two things:

1. Call a "Health Summit" where insureres, health care providers, and others would meet to discuss the idea of developing a voluntary plan whereby they would assure that the poor could get access to quality health care without getting collection agencies after them, and without preventing them from getting normal screening and check ups. It will be a challenge to the private sector: can we fix the system without risking the possible severe side effects caused by creating a government behemoth. It should be transparent and its efficacy should be assessed to make sure they are reaching goals;

2. If that fails a state-level program much like that of Switzerland should be preferred over any kind of federal system. Not only would smaller bureaucracies be more effective (and closer to the action, allowing more flexibility in response to local conditions), but this also would allow a variety of approaches to be followed, with states learning from each other. Funding issues would be difficult because many states are already hurting. There would likely need to be federal assistance, and while that assistance should be limited and controlled, the feds should allow the states a lot of leeway to explore.

However, I tend to think that the pharmaceutical industry is caught up in a spiral where high prices lead to more research which leads to new drugs at high prices, etc. I doubt most of these drugs are all that helpful, and I think there needs to be a limit on what kinds of services and drugs government funds should be used for. We need to avoid a pharmaceutical-bureaucratic complex. Most important: the country needs to follow President Bush’s advice and exercise more (and eat less). If we continue to be a country of fatties and coach potatoes (sorry Michael Moore) the costs will be prohibitive. But it seems like the problem is going to get worse, and as the baby boomers age, well...
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
And there’s no reason that we can’t have a system where a minimum amount of coverage is provided to everyone and those who want to can buy additional private coverage or pay for extra special care if they want it
That’s essentially what we have here in America. You go into an ER, and you get treated. If you want something better, you get private insurance, or pay for it out of your own pocket.

America actually produces the highest quality medical care, it just costs a lot. I don’t know that I’d be willing to trade down.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
And trade down you will.

Here in Canada, "Universal" health care often means Universal Access to a Waiting List.

I had to laugh when Moore stated in his movie that most Canadians wait less than 45 minutes in Emerg. Ha, most people I know will sow their own arm back on to NOT wait in Emerg. On a summer weekend when lots of injuries occur, you can wait 8 hrs or more.

Unless of course someone in your family works at the hospital, then they sneak you in.

But were not supposed to talk about that.

The phrase: "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" illustrates the point nicely.
 
Written By: JasperPants
URL: http://
"And there’s no reason that we can’t have a system where a minimum amount of coverage is provided to everyone."

Why don’t you set up a charity that does that? I never understood why progressives who claim to be a majority of the nation, living in wealthy blue states, can’t come up with a charity to assist those without medical insurance!

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"What the nuns told me is true: We will be judged by how we treat the least among us. "
"If Moore’s goal is to help the less fortunate, he should preach voluntary charity instead of government action."

Because Moore, if he believes in a heaven at all, doesn’t really give a horses patoot if you get there or not. He just wants to get credit for helping others, and if that means doing it with someone elses money, that is fine with him .


"America actually produces the highest quality medical care, it just costs a lot."

And the costs will continue to rise as long as new drugs and treatments are developed. As the old saw goes, "You get what you pay for".
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
That’s essentially what we have here in America. You go into an ER, and you get treated. If you want something better, you get private insurance, or pay for it out of your own pocket
I love it when people say this. It’s such complete rubbish. First, despite what the law says, many ERs actually won’t treat you (and Republicans have always opposed this law anyway). Second, it’s not as if that ER service is free. They still charge you. In fact they charge higher rates to the uninsured than to the insured. Half of all bankruptcies in this country are the result of medical bills. Third, treating people in the ER is an incredibly inefficient and expensive way of provide care. It would be far cheaper and more just to simply provided a minimal level of coverage to everyone.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
"Why don’t you set up a charity that does that?"

Like the Shriners, or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, etc.

http://www.shrinershq.org/
http://www.stjude.org/aboutus

Someday I would like to see a retired (aka defeated) politician support an existing charity that actually helps people rather than forming a new think tank that gets their name in the news and provides jobs for political hacks between elections.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I had to laugh when Moore stated in his movie that most Canadians wait less than 45 minutes in Emerg. Ha, most people I know will sow their own arm back on to NOT wait in Emerg. On a summer weekend when lots of injuries occur, you can wait 8 hrs or more.
But it’s like that here too. You have to wait forever in most ERs. And have you ever tried to see a dermatologist? The wait times in the U.S. are longer than most other countries. It’s like that with a lot of things here. See this business week article:
[A] 2005 survey by the Commonwealth Fund of sick adults in six nations found that only 47% of U.S. patients could get a same- or next-day appointment for a medical problem, worse than every other country except Canada.
Which brings me to my last point. Canada isn’t a very good example. Wait times in other countries with universal care are far less than in Canada.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
America actually produces the highest quality medical care, it just costs a lot.
No, it doesn’t. No one questions that if you have primo insurance in American, you get top-notch care. But that doesn’t mean that the average joe with his crappy HMO gets great care. And it certainly doesn’t extend to the poor bastards without insurance. Based on health outcomes, we have THE worst system in the First World.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Anonymous is right that the poor lack real access. Sure, usually in an emergency they can get treatment. But let’s say your child has a fever of 104? Me, I’d call the doctor right away. If I’m poor and uninsured, no way. Let’s say (as happened) my child falls and cuts himself near the eye. It’s 9:00 PM. We head to the ER to be sure. The poor uninsured, no way — they treat it as best they can and hope it isn’t serious. I’m over 45 now. That means physicals that screen for a variety of things to be caught early. But if I’m poor and uninsured, I probably would even ignore blood in my stools until things get really serious.

Collection agencies go after those who even get emergency needed care. Sure, hospitals do write off a lot of care given if someone absolutely can’t play, but not as a rule. We do have lower quality care for lower income, and the uninsured pay more and tend to seek care far less often.

Now, is a national health care system the best cure? As my post above notes, I think there are better ways to approach this — a big government bureaucracy might do more harm than good. But for conservatives and libertarians to simply say "we have the best care and the ER will treat them" alongside a "why don’t you start a charity" or "they can choose to pay," well, that’s a refusal to look reality in the face, it’s attempt to argue against a position based not at really making counter arguments but to disregard, deny, or dismiss the reality that AL is pointing out.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Anonymous Liberal and Scott Erb should pay attention to the facts on the ground. That would probably reduce their enthusiasm for national health care

462,000 DEATHS CAUSED BY NHS
POOR NHS treatment has led to almost half a million Scots dying in the last 30 years, a new study has revealed.

Doctors at Glasgow University found that between 1974 and 2003, a total of 462,000 people died in Scotland as a result of health service failings
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
"And there’s no reason that we can’t have a system where a minimum amount of coverage is provided to everyone..."
You mean like how social security started out?

People don’t have the willpower to keep any federal program which can be used to trade benefits for votes (and feeling good about oneself) to a minimum. As sure as the "pork busting" Senator Grassley supported $50 million unneeded dollars for a rainforest in Iowa, any such program will grow and grow and grow. There is scant evidence to suggest otherwise.

I’d like to see AL and others acknowledge that many of the problems with healthcare in America have been caused by government. Is there any chance that we can improve things simply by decreasing government’s involvement? Is there any chance that insurance is too expensive in some places because government has inacted benefit floors? Politicians should be required to take Econ 101 every single year they are in office.
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Additional information that shows just how wonderful nationalized health care really is. It appears Moore missed a few details in his movie.

What Michael Moore hasn’t done is lie in a corridor all night watching his severed toe disintegrate in a plastic cup
Helen Evans, a 20-year veteran of the country’s National Health Service and now the director of a London-based group called Nurses for Reform, said that nearly 1 million Britons are currently on waiting lists for medical care — and another 200,000 are waiting to get on waiting lists. Evans also says the NHS cancels about 100,000 operations each year because of shortages of various sorts.
James Christopher, the film critic of the Times of London, thinks he knows why. After marveling at Moore’s rosy view of the British health care system in "Sicko," Christopher wrote, "What he hasn’t done is lie in a corridor all night at the Royal Free [Hospital] watching his severed toe disintegrate in a plastic cup of melted ice. I have."
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
"Half of all bankruptcies in this country are the result of medical bills."
This is potentially a misleading statistic. People don’t always file for bankruptcy because they are broke. How many people filed because they wanted to escape paying most of their medical bill, even though over time they could have?
I don’t know the answer, but w/o out knowing more detail, this statistic is not particularly helpful.
 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
Based on health outcomes, we have THE worst system in the First World
Two favorite examples of universal healthcare proponents are infant mortality and life expectancy. And while technically true with respect to these two health outcome statistics, this sort of statement overlooks many data collection, cultural, and demographic differences between countries.

For example, from the CBO: Although the infant mortality rate is universally accepted as an indicator of health status, international comparisons are problematic. Many underdeveloped countries do not have functional vital registration systems and infant mortality rates have to be estimated indirectly or through samples. In developed countries, comparisons of infant mortality rates are complicated by differences in medical practices and reporting requirements. These problems have raised questions about the validity of ranking infant mortality rates on an international scale.

and with respect to life expectancies, the WHO cites various causes for why the United States ranks relatively low among wealthy nations. These reasons include:

* In the United States, some groups, such as Native Americans, rural African Americans and the inner city poor, have extremely poor health, more characteristic of a poor developing country rather than a rich industrialized one.
* The HIV epidemic causes a higher proportion of death and disability to U.S. young and middle-aged than in most other advanced countries. HIV-AIDS cut three months from the healthy life expectancy of male American babies born in 1999, and one month from female lives;
* The U.S. is one of the leading countries for cancers relating to tobacco, especially lung cancer Tobacco use also causes chronic lung disease.
* A high coronary heart disease rate, which has dropped in recent years but remains high;
* Fairly high levels of violence, especially of homicides, when compared to other industrial countries.
that’s a refusal to look reality in the face
Let’s look at reality in the form of data. Except for Medicare, there exists essentially no statistical difference between the populations of those without health insurance receiving recommended healthcare when compared to those with health insurance (and the differences aren’t that large even with statistical significance for those with Medicare).

For acute care, while there remains no statistical difference, those without health insurance are actually treated at a higher frequency than those with insurance.
 
Written By: m.jed
URL: http://
But at least under nationalized healthcare there would not be any rationing and people could get the treatment they needed, right??

Actually the facts on the ground (pesky things they are) wreck yet another pleasant fantasy national healthcare advocates have.

Doctors admit: NHS treatments must be rationed
British doctors will take the historic step of admitting for the first time that many health treatments will be rationed in the future because the NHS cannot cope with spiralling demand from patients.
James Johnson, the BMA chairman, will warn that patients face a bleak future because they will increasingly be denied treatments. He will urge the NHS to be much more explicit about what it can realistically afford to do and ask political leaders to engage in an open, honest debate about rationing.
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
Scott Erb says
Anonymous is right that the poor lack real access. Sure, usually in an emergency they can get treatment. But let’s say your child has a fever of 104? Me, I’d call the doctor right away. If I’m poor and uninsured, no way. Let’s say (as happened) my child falls and cuts himself near the eye. It’s 9:00 PM. We head to the ER to be sure.

The poor uninsured, no way — they treat it as best they can and hope it isn’t serious.
Mr. Erb meet Mr reality

conversation between an ER doc and his patient


Me (after reading triage sheet and rolling my eyes): Hi, I’m Dr.____. I’m the doctor in charge of the EMERGENCY Department tonight. I see that you came by AMBULANCE. What was so bad that you had to call 9-1-1 at 3 AM to be rushed to the EMERGENCY ROOM by AMBULANCE? What is your MEDICAL EMERGENCY? What is your LIFE OR LIMB THREATENING problem??

Patient (clueless to the sarcasm): Oh, I think I’m pregnant again.

Me (thinking that this clueless girl still don’t get it): You must be in a lot of pain or bleeding severely to come in by ambulance, huh?

Patient: .............No. I just didn’t have a ride.
Medicine is a complicated issue. I would take the advocates for nationalized healthcare more seriously if they showed any indication of having at least a glancing familiarity with some of the facts on the ground.
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://

That said, as long as I live I will never understand how libertarians can possibly believe that a fully private health care system would increase "individual freedom," as Stossel puts it. When it comes to this aspect of life, people in every other First World country are infinitely more "free" than Americans. They don’t have to worry about losing their health insurance when they change jobs (a fact of life that inhibits entrepeneurship here). They don’t have to worry that insurance companies will drop them or refuse to cover them....BLAH, BLAH, BLAH
As long as I live I will never understand how liberals can be so clueless.

In Canada, people are free from receiving the latest, most effective drugs . They are free to wait four months until they can get an MRI to determine whether they have a suspected tumor growing in their head and they can travel to the United States to get the brain surgery they would have gotten three and a half months later. In addition to rationing, Canada outsources its health care.

And no, these problems aren’t confined to Canada. Great Britain’s NHS is a joke as well. In March 2005, the Herald of Scotland reported on an 800% increase in patients forced to wait a full year before they could even see a doctor. The Scottish health ministry is on top of the problem however, and its health minister was quoted as saying "But now we have set six month maximum waits for both outpatient and inpatient treatment by the end of this year and we will deliver." I could walk about five blocks from my house down to the Venice Family Clinic and get seen today, for free or I could call my doctor up and get seen within the week with my health insurance.

Nationalized health care sucks everywhere it has been implemented. At least in the US you have the choice to bankrupt yourself in obtaining a cure for potentially fatal ailments. In England, they just shrug their shoulders, put your name on the end of a long waiting list (if they will even provide care to you given your age and ailment) and advise you to get your affairs in order. It is laughable how clueless liberals assail HMO’s as greedy and uncaring yet they are advocating the implementation of a monopoly HMO with sovereign immunity from bad faith lawsuits. They are unbelievable idiots.

Liberals like Moore exploit tragic cases where people have been forced to make horrible decisions between financial ruin and a cure for their malady in a blatant attempt to gain political power. In nationalized systems, those horrible choices are not eliminated, they are just removed from the patient, his/her physician and the patient’s family. Control over the decision is shifted to an unaccountable bureaucrat at the ministry of health who decides (as just one example) that people over the age of 55 will not be provided with kidney dialysis. At least in the US patients have the option to expend their resources on the cure. Instead of trying this transparent power grab, why doesn’t Moore get off his enormous keister and use some of that Farenheit 9/11 money to pay for the health care these people need.
 
Written By: Anonymous
URL: http://www.qando.net
Here is one thing I just can’t understand.

Why are the the liberals / progressives who provide the core support for nationalized healthcare so keen on the idea of putting george bush in charge of their healthcare????????

What is up with that?
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
"The wait times in the U.S. are longer than most other countries."

Then I must have been exceptionally lucky my entire life, in several different states, with several different specialties(including dermatologists), tests, and procedures.

"[A] 2005 survey by the Commonwealth Fund of sick adults in six nations found that only 47% of U.S. patients could get a same- or next-day appointment for a medical problem,"

If it isn’t an emergency, so what?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
My 14 year old daughter went to the local emergency room suffering from a severe headache. ER doctor thought it was probably a migraine attack but ordered a CAT scan just to be sure. 1 hour later we were on our way Johns Hopkins in Baltimore because it was a giant aneurysm.

10 days latter after the surgery the JH patient services person came into the room and asked if I had any concerns about paying the bill, to which I replied "No."

Was it because I am rich? NO.

Was it because I had insurance? No. I did have insurance but I had no clue what or how much my insurance would cover. Never asked.

I concluded there were going to be only two choices. Either the bill would be a figure I could pay (somehow) or so large a number that I would just laugh when I saw it.

If it was former I would do what was necessary to settle that debt. If it was the latter and it cost me everything I owned, so be it. They get everything I own and I get my daughter back, alive.

Fair trade.
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
In fact they charge higher rates to the uninsured than to the insured.
No, that’s not true. I went to the ER when I had no insurance. They gave me a 30% discount because I was paying cash. They even gave me the knee brace I needed for free on top of the discount.

Now, the cost to the insured might be lower, but the total billed (to the patient and the insurance company) is much higher for someone with insurance.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
10 days latter after the surgery the JH patient services person came into the room and asked if I had any concerns about paying the bill, to which I replied "No."

Was it because I am rich? NO.

Was it because I had insurance? No. I did have insurance but I had no clue what or how much my insurance would cover. Never asked.

I concluded there were going to be only two choices. Either the bill would be a figure I could pay (somehow) or so large a number that I would just laugh when I saw it.

If it was former I would do what was necessary to settle that debt. If it was the latter and it cost me everything I owned, so be it. They get everything I own and I get my daughter back, alive.
Thank you, Jay Evans, for perfectly illustrating why market forces don’t work very well to contain costs in the health care setting. When you or your loved one’s life is at stake, the last thing you are concerned about it shopping around. You just get treated. The Rudy Giuliani’s of the world insist that health care is liking TVs, market forces will inevitibaly make the product better and cheaper. It won’t. One is an elastic good, the other is inelastic. This is econ 101.

Moreover, though you were understandably concerned only with your daughters health at the moment, isn’t it better to live under a system where you and your daughter don’t have to worry that the treatment she’s receiving will cause finacial ruin to the family? The have ERs and they treat aneurysms in other countries too, you know, and they do an excellent job. Though everyone likes to point to the NHS, the health care systems in France and Germany and Japan are all top notch.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Now, the cost to the insured might be lower, but the total billed (to the patient and the insurance company) is much higher for someone with insurance.
Steverino, this just isn’t true. They’ve done all kinds of studies on this. I’m glad you were the exception to the rule, but it doesn’t change the rule.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
To TJIT, timactual, etc.:

Pointing to deficiencies in the NHS is not an argument. Opponents of universal health care always point to the NHS because it’s much harder to find flaws in other systems, like the ones in France, Germany, Japan, etc. Moreover, Britians pay only 40% of what we pay per patient. If they funded their system at anywhere near the level we fund ours, it would be much harder to find flaws.

And more importantly, no one is actually proposing that we nationalize health care, that the government own all the hospitals, etc. We’re talking about universal coverage. There’s a huge difference. People talk about "freedom" in our system, but it’s such a joke. Most people in America have far less choice when it comes to health care than they do in other countries. As a general matter, we’re stuck with whatever plan is on offer from our employer and that plan usually limits your choice of doctors pretty severely. If you have an HMO, you can’t even see a specialist without a referral. In a well-designed universal system, you could go to any hospital and choose any doctor you wanted. This would actually increase competition, and thereby the quality of care.

Finally, there’s a tendency here to bash Moore for focusing only the bad side of the American system, the horror stories of denied coverage, etc. But that’s exactly what you guys do with other systems. You harp endlessly on the supposed wait times and rationing without ever acknowledging that other countries actually cover all their citizens, get better health outcomes across the board, and have a generally satisified population (at least more so than we do). There’s a reason why every other First World country has universal care, and it’s not because they’re all idiots.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
TJIT,
First, I’m not advocating a naitonal health program, I’m pointing out the obvious that most people don’t get health care. You didn’t deny my point AT ALL! People don’t go for screenings, they don’t take care of common check ups, they don’t deal with children’s illnesses and symptoms unless it’s so serious they need emergency treatment. The reason is that this costs a lot, and if they go to an emergency room, they’ll have huge bills to pay and be hounded by collection agencies.

That’s real. To pretend you can disprove it by one case of someone misuing an ambulance (and if it’s not an emergency they have to pay for the ambulance) is ridiculous. It’s a sign that you want to avoid reality, you want to deny a problem exists.

Look, I’m not saying national health care is the answer, I have real doubts on that. But at least deal with the fact a problem exists. I see far too much of that by people who want to talk about important issues on the cheap, by pretending there is no problem. That’s weak and ineffective, and if that’s the only way you address this problem you WILL get a national health care system because you won’t have been involved in discussions of alternate ways to deal with the real problems out there.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"AL, to provide your version of ’freedom’ who must give up some of theirs?"
I’d like to know why "Anonymous Liberal" didn’t answer the question.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Anonymous Liberal,
The have ERs and they treat aneurysms in other countries too, you know, and they do an excellent job.
Maybe... The local hospital is rated one the top 100 in US. I watched as their Neurosurgeon shuffled his feet, head down, explaining that her condition was way beyond his abilities to operate.

The reason they sent her to JH was because of the size and location of the aneurysm. She required the services of the top neurovascular men in the world to do the surgery.

They were in America, at Johns Hopkins. Think the NHS would have sent her there in time to save her life?
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
Steverino, this just isn’t true. They’ve done all kinds of studies on this. I’m glad you were the exception to the rule, but it doesn’t change the rule.
I did a quick Google search on "uninsured pay more than insured in emergency room". Found one study, and its findings were disputed by hospitals because the data used was old. Hospitals offer discounts to self-paying patients. So do doctors in private practice. These are undeniable facts. Go ahead and call your local ER and see if they offer a discount for self-pay.

It is true that an uninsured patient will pay more out of pocket, but that doesn’t meant the total bill is higher.

But let’s get back to your original contention: that government paid health care is in line with libertarian principles. It’s hogwash. We have an example of government paid health care: Medicare. The results of this program:

1. Increasingly higher money spent on health care each year by the government
2. Increasing gaps between what the government pays and what the health care providers charge, forcing many recipients of this government largess to buy their own insurance to pay that gap.
3. An ever-increasing number of providers who will not accept Medicare payments.

So, every year under this plan, we as taxpayers must pay more, and as a society receive less.

Explain to me how this program adds to personal liberties.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://steverino.journalspace.com/
Anonymous Liberal is apparently happy to whistle pass the graveyard and ignore things like

nearly 1 million Britons are currently on waiting lists for medical care — and another 200,000 are waiting to get on waiting lists. Evans also says the NHS cancels about 100,000 operations each year because of shortages of various sorts.
James Johnson, the BMA chairman, will warn that patients face a bleak future because they will increasingly be denied treatments. He will urge the NHS to be much more explicit about what it can realistically afford to do and ask political leaders to engage in an open, honest debate about rationing.
and the excellent link filled comment by someone who said
In Canada, people are free from receiving the latest, most effective drugs . They are free to wait four months until they can get an MRI to determine whether they have a suspected tumor growing in their head and they can travel to the United States to get the brain surgery they would have gotten three and a half months later. In addition to rationing, Canada outsources its health care.
The earnest desire of Anonymous Liberal and other like minded people to put george bush in charge of the nations healthcare is causing them to ignore the fact that putting george bush in charge of the nations healthcare may be very damaging to the quality of medical care in the united states.
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
Britians pay only 40% of what we pay per patient
This is another favorite of universal healthcare proponents - costs vs. outcomes.

The problem with this is that Americans don’t ration end-of-life care the way other developed nations do, and much of the differential in what we pay comes at the end of life. IIRC, something like 25%-30% of Medicare payments are directed to people in their last year of life, and well over 80% of people over the age of 65 are covered by Medicare. I’m not opining on whether this is a proper use of resources or not nor whether it would be appropriate to ration end-of-life care to reduce Medicare expenditures, but the fact is that we don’t and other developed nations do.
I’m pointing out the obvious that most people don’t get health care. . . .People don’t go for screenings, they don’t take care of common check ups, they don’t deal with children’s illnesses and symptoms unless it’s so serious they need emergency treatment.
I gave you links to the study. There is no statistical difference for people receiving recommended care for those with insurance and those without. And the stats are something like 45MM of uninsured out of a population of over 300MM. That’s 15% - a far cry from "most people".
 
Written By: m.jed
URL: http://
Sorry, Steverino, but self-paying customers end up getting billed at a higher rate than what insurance companies pay for the same care. While hospitals and doctors may make individual deals sometimes, most hospitals bill and demand full payment. Look at the bill next time you receive care (look at the insurance company statement). Most of the time you’ll see an "amount paid" which is less than the amount billed. You won’t usually get billed for that difference, the hospital simply accepts what the insurance company (or Medicare/Medicaid) pays. If you are a self-payer, you are responsible for the full amount.

But the main problem is simply that most uninsured poor won’t seek care unless absolutely imperative, meaning that check ups, screening, child care and the like get neglected. This is a problem that leads to unequal opportunity for the poor. While I agree that a big government program is a cure that may be worse than the disease, that doesn’t mean that the status quo is acceptable. That’s why my first idea was a "Health Summit" where you try to get the private sector actors to develop a plan to address this problem without much government involvement. If that fails, and given the growing political demand that this issue be dealt with, it would be better to do it at the state level rather than the federal level. The Federal government could do a lot to create an environment where states are motivated and able to deal with these issue (and many already are).

But if the choice is between a big national health care system and the status quo, you’re vastly limiting the possibilities.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Erb,

You continue to reiterate various alternatives to this:
But the main problem is simply that most uninsured poor won’t seek care unless absolutely imperative, meaning that check ups, screening, child care and the like get neglected.
I’ve directed you to a study from a reputable source that says this isn’t true. If you have a source beyond "thin air" that you’d like to cite, I’d like to see it.

 
Written By: m.jed
URL: http://
TANSTAAFL everyone. Nothing in life is free. Free health care isn’t free, the cost is just hidden from you.
But the main problem is simply that most uninsured poor won’t seek care unless absolutely imperative, meaning that check ups, screening, child care and the like get neglected.
Even people with good health insurance don’t necessarily do these things. Preventative care is often ignored, otherwise heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc, wouldn’t be as prevalent as they are today. Those mostly have to do with life-style choices though, and many people want to have their cake, and eat it on the couch while watching 500 channels of cr@p on cable.

I didn’t have health coverage when I was a younger adult. I didn’t go for regular checkups. I knew when I was sick enough to go to the doctor, and only went then. And usually to an immediate care place, not the ER.

No doubt we need some reforms in the system, but in some cases, it is government regulation standing in the way of progress, and making things more expensive. Mandatory coverage for instance.

This certainly needs a vigorous, fact filled, free of emotion or prejudice debate.

But, I thought this thread was about uncovering a particularly bad form of debate, the smuggled premise. Which, if you hadn’t noticed, is about framing the question.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Sorry, Steverino, but self-paying customers end up getting billed at a higher rate than what insurance companies pay for the same care. While hospitals and doctors may make individual deals sometimes, most hospitals bill and demand full payment. Look at the bill next time you receive care (look at the insurance company statement). Most of the time you’ll see an "amount paid" which is less than the amount billed. You won’t usually get billed for that difference, the hospital simply accepts what the insurance company (or Medicare/Medicaid) pays. If you are a self-payer, you are responsible for the full amount.
This is in direct contradiction to my experiences, and those of others I have known who have paid on their own. I went without insurance for 3 years. When I went to the ER, my bill showed a huge discount for self-pay. My GP was the same. I didn’t even ask for terms, they just gave me a discount because I was paying cash. (Presumably because they didn’t have to go through the hassle of billing an insurance company and waiting several weeks for payment.)

Whether or not you have insurance, if a hospital bills you, you are responsible for the bill. If the insurance doesn’t pay part of the bill, you are responsible for that part. Now, a hospital may forgive part of a bill that isn’t paid by an insurance company, but that same hospital will likely forgive as much for a cash patient.


The problem with health care in this county is NOT that the government doesn’t pay enough for it. And a system where the consumer of health care (or any product) isn’t the primary payer isn’t sustainable.

Again, getting back to the original point: government-paid health "coverage" takes away some freedom from people in order to give a smaller freedom to others.
 
Written By: steverino
URL: http://
And a system where the consumer of health care (or any product) isn’t the primary payer isn’t sustainable.
I love it when opponents of universal health care say idiotic things like this, as if we don’t live on a planet that is filled with such systems. What evidence do you have that the German, French, Japanese, or any other system is unsustainable?
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
"AL, to provide your version of ’freedom’ who must give up some of theirs?"
I’d like to know why "Anonymous Liberal" didn’t answer the question.
Because it got lost in the clutter. The short answer is this. No one has to give up their freedom. I’m not suggesting we should recreate the NHS here in America. In the French system, for instance, government insurance co-exists with private insurance and most health care providers remain private. To have such a system here would require higher taxes most likely, but it might well be made up for by the higher wages (because employers wouldn’t have to provide health care). As things stand, we pay the most for health care of any country and we still don’t cover everyone or get as good results as other countries do.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
What evidence do you have that the German, French, Japanese, or any other system is unsustainable?
uhhhh, the French?
Jon Henley in Paris
Saturday January 24, 2004
The Guardian


A government commission has warned that without fundamental reforms France’s national health service, rated the best in the world by the World Health Organisation, will collapse within the next 15 years.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/france/story/0,11882,1130186,00.html
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
So, paying higher taxes doesn’t curtail ones freedom...

And we’ll all have higher wages, because American companies are notorious for taking their savings and giving it to the worker.

Right, and will the higher wages cover the higher taxes for health care??
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
I love it when opponents of universal health care say idiotic things like this, as if we don’t live on a planet that is filled with such systems. What evidence do you have that the German, French, Japanese, or any other system is unsustainable?
I love it when leftists make idiotic claims that medical care is somehow exempt from the laws of supply and demand. What evidence do you have that lowering the point of purchase price to nothing doesn’t increase demand and reduce supply?

And getting back to the topic of the post, what effect do you think it would have on your liberty if it was suddenly proclaimed that everyone had a right to the fruits of YOUR labor?

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
Steverino, I’m very close to person who runs the billing and collections department for the local hospital. She insists this (self-payers have to pay more) is at true generally (not just this hospital). I trust her.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
"The short answer is this. No one has to give up their freedom."
What transparent, flyblown, nonsense. Look: are you not aware of what will happen to a person who refuses to pay for others’ health care? Are you not aware that dissent is the test of "freedom"?

What the hell is wrong with you? Why don’t you stop acting like an idiot and face facts?
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
I’ll agree with Mr. Erb on that one. I been on both sides. Insurance companies negotiate (set actually) what they will pay for services. Suppliers can either accept those rates or not accept that insurance.

What most people don’t realize is that is also possible to negotiate a price without insurance (after the fact), if your willing to go through all the hassles.
 
Written By: Jay Evans
URL: http://
Now the debate comes down to what freedom means. And, of course, people have different answers and no one can prove their view right. Consider: we are all free to act within our circumstances; we are free to choose limited by our capabilities, and by the conditions we encounter (including limits imposed by government, other humans, etc.) That’s not saying much — someone in a concentration camp in Germany was free within those conditions. But the conditions were unjust and horrid. The question really is not about freedom, it’s about how far others can go to create conditions that impose limits on what others can do.

Some conditions are emergent from social and market interactions — some become wealthy and get access to better vacations, better health care, and the ability to do things to maintain that position. Others are born with severely limited possibilities due to conditions which exist. Some conditions are put in place by government.

AL focuses on what he or she considers unjust conditions limiting behavior created by the nature of the market and health care system in America today.

Billy focuses on what he considers unjust conditions limiting behavior created by government, laws and taxation. That seems to assume that emergent conditions are natural and thus acceptable, while governmental action is artificial and immoral. However, if one sees governments as emerging from normal human choice (just as corporations emerge and other forms of social organization) the picture is a bit more cloudy.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
test
 
Written By: Anonymous
URL: http://www.qando.net
Steverino, I’m very close to person who runs the billing and collections department for the local hospital. She insists this (self-payers have to pay more) is at true generally (not just this hospital). I trust her.
For once, Erb is partially correct but it is misleading. Insurance carriers negotiate the rate of payment for given procedures with health care providers. In most of the cases that I am aware of the negotiated rate is less than the rate they would give an uninsured patient for the same service. However, uninsured patients, even unsophisticated ones, typically pay less than the full amount they are billed. They either negotiate a lower amount with the health care provider at the time they receive the bill or they just can’t pay and it goes to a collection agency which collects much less than 100% of the bill. In either case, the actual amount paid by an uninsured patient, irrespective of the amount billed, much of the time is less than the negotiated rate paid by large insurance carriers for the same services.

I learned this from being a patient with and without insurance at various times over the last 20 years and I worked as a consultant in what is now Accenture’s health care division and saw first hand how many millions of dollars are written off by large service providers (I worked on a large hospital account in Philly). It was common place for the billing office to sit down with someone who could not afford to pay the full amount owed and agree to a reduced amount.
 
Written By: Anonymous
URL: http://www.qando.net
What transparent, flyblown, nonsense. Look: are you not aware of what will happen to a person who refuses to pay for others’ health care? Are you not aware that dissent is the test of "freedom"?

What the hell is wrong with you? Why don’t you stop acting like an idiot and face facts?
Good lord, get a grip. You are already paying for others health care. As many have pointed out here, ER’s have to treat people (in a needlessly expensive way) and the rest of us bear that cost. You are also paying more for your own health care than you need to be. Every other country spends less than we do and most get better results (and better patient satisfaction).

Moreover, as Scott Erb points (and I fully agree) there are many conceptions of freedom. A great many people would rather enjoy the freedom of not having to worry about being denied coverage (and being able to switch jobs freely, etc.) than the "freedom" of living under a system where the government plays no role in the provision of health insurance. The problem is that we can’t both be "free" because our perceptions of freedom differ. But we live in a democracy, so if enough people feel the way I do, my version of freedom is eventually going to win out. Vice versa if more people like your version. That’s why we debate these things. But you don’t have a monopoly on what freedom means. And I think you would find if you moved anywhere else in the world (I’ve lived overseas), it’s really not that bad. In fact, it’s very liberating.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
I love it when leftists make idiotic claims that medical care is somehow exempt from the laws of supply and demand. What evidence do you have that lowering the point of purchase price to nothing doesn’t increase demand and reduce supply?
Look, the health care business isn’t like the widget business you studied in junior-high economics class. It’s infinitely more complicated. People don’t consume health care the way they consume other products. If you make health care free, people don’t run to the hospital to consume services. Why? Because people don’t like going to the doctor. It’s inconvenient, uncomfortable, and often scary.

As it stands, most people have insurance, so they are free to consume as much care as they want. But we don’t see overconsumption, not here and not in countries with free universal care. If anything we see underconsumption, we see many people not getting the preventative care they need even when there’s no cost in doing so.

In other words, if people consumed more health care, costs would actually go down. Frequent routine medical visits reduce costs by preventing more expensive conditions from occurring.

What’s driving increased medical costs in this country and other countries is not overconsumption, it’s the development of new expensive techonology and treatments. That’s a real concern for all health care systems, not just universal ones. But it has nothing to do with supply and demand.

There will no doubt have to be reforms in other countries’ systems to deal with rising costs and aging populations. But we have that same problem here. And frankly, we should be much more concerned about the sustainability of our own system than other countries should be about theirs. They have functioning systems that need to be tweeked. We have a total mess that needs to be overhauled.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
A great many people would rather enjoy the freedom of not having to worry about being denied coverage (and being able to switch jobs freely, etc.) than the "freedom" of living under a system where the government plays no role in the provision of health insurance. The problem is that we can’t both be "free" because our perceptions of freedom differ.
Access to healthcare is not a natural right, like freedom of speech, freedom to defend one’s self, freedom of association. If you think it is, try this thought experiment - imagine yourself on a deserted island with no one else there. Now assert your "natural right" to access healthcare.

While I don’t disagree that a great many people would enjoy not being denied coverage and this would be liberating for those people - that is not a freedom granted to them by the Constitution (or as mentioned above naturally). It is a good/service, which means that the person providing that good/service has the right to demand compensation for such. In order to pay the provider, it can be done either by the provider receiving payment directly or through a third party, such as an insurer or government agent. If paid by government agent, that government is collecting money from its citizens through the threat of force, which means it is reducing the freedom of its citizens.

In a democracy, we collectively may accept this diminished freedom as we do for other things provided by government that aren’t used by all citizens, but know that freedom is being diminished. This is not "your freedom" versus "my freedom".
 
Written By: m.jed
URL: http://
If you make health care free, people don’t run to the hospital to consume services.

Really?


When uninsured adults with common chronic illnesses became eligible for Medicare, they saw doctors and were hospitalized more often and reported greater medical expenses than people who had had insurance. And their increased use of medical services continued at least until at least age 72, researchers are reporting today.
 
Written By: m.jed
URL: http://
Thank you, Jay Evans, for perfectly illustrating why market forces don’t work very well to contain costs in the health care setting. When you or your loved one’s life is at stake, the last thing you are concerned about it shopping around. You just get treated.
This example goes to the crux of the matter and liberals just don’t get it. In this country, with all the problems that need to be fixed, thank God that Jay had the choice to pay for an MRI for his daughter and the option to have her treated immediately by extremely expensive specialists.

In single payer systems he would not have had control over these choices. In Canada or Britain, a bureaucrat would have already made the decision that only x number of MRI machines would be in operation. Only x number of technicians would be hired to perform MRI’s and only x number of MRI’s would be provided by the health service in a given year. In addition, there would be fewer specialists available in any field and the number of hospital beds, nurses, anesthesiologists, post operative hospital beds etc. would be rationed. In every single payer system that exists today the demand for those services and facilities far exceeds the supply.

Watch these films. Single payer health care systems are Orwellian.
And more importantly, no one is actually proposing that we nationalize health care, that the government own all the hospitals, etc. We’re talking about universal coverage. There’s a huge difference.
Wrong again. This post was originally about Michael Moore’s mendacity in an interview about Sicko. Moore is definitely proposing government nationalized health care. Hillarycare was nationalized health care as well. As for your unsupported claim that it would somehow eliminate the problems with single payer systems if the government didn’t own the hospitals, go back to the Canadian example. In Canada, the provincial governments don’t own the hospitals nor do they employ the doctors. The government of each province, as a monopoly HMO, merely pays for the services rendered by health care providers in that given province. When they set a limit on how much they will pay for those services in a given year, the quantity of the services they will pay for and the types of medicine they will pay for they effectively set a limit on the amount of services provided in a given year. As has been shown over and over, the demand far exceeds supply in those systems.
 
Written By: Anonymous
URL: http://www.qando.net
Hmmm, sounds like what we need is facts vs anecdote’s.

Well, here’s one health care provider who’s implemented discounted pricing for both low-income and self-pay patients...

http://www.sutterhealth.org/about/ab_healthcarecosts.html
Addressing Health Care Costs

Keeping Patients Healthy at a Fair Price

Between the rising costs of health care and the growing number of uninsured, our nation’s health care financing system is on the critical list - it’s lowest point in 12 years in terms of meeting patients’ needs.

Being Proactive
In recent months, Sutter Health has:
# Implemented discounted pricing practices for low-income and self-pay patients

# Established a systemwide model to standardize pharmaceutical pricing

# Participated in the development of standards for quality and performance indicators that are meaningful to consumers
Of course, this does not prove or dis-prove either ScottE’s theorem or the various other theorem. As both are based on anecdotal evidence, I’ll take both with a grain of salt.

Now, this article would seem to suggest that the price controls of Medicare could be the problem. Medicare says you shall only receive X amount of dollars for Y service. Regardless of whether it costs more or less. The article also suggests that self-pay patients generally do get charged more, but that there are several ways of getting around this.
The ratio of charges to costs measures the relationship between actual hospital charges for services (what self-pay patients are generally asked to pay) and Medicare-allowable costs (what the CMS has determined to be the costs associated with care for all patients, not just Medicare patients).10 This ratio for all U.S. hospitals was 3.07 in 2004 (Exhibit 1Go).11 In other words, for every $100 in Medicare-allowable costs, the average hospital charged $307.
In any case, the whole system is complex, and isn’t going to be solved with generalized statements or anecdotal evidence.

"Free" health-care isn’t free.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Some more info...

http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/view_feature.cfm?content_id=86337
Uncompensated care continues to be a growing concern for U.S. hospitals. The American Hospital Association recently reported that uncompensated care costs rose 7.1 percent from 2004 to 2005, while Medicare and Medicaid shortfalls increased 14.5 percent in the same period.
But, how can this be, how can Medicare and Medicaid not pay all a procedure costs...

Of course, a solution, as ScottE has pointed out is preventative care. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and all that. Of course, that means tracking health data for those at risk, and requiring changes in their behavior. You would think the Democrats would bend over backwards for a program such as this, it’s the very definition of Nanny/Big Brother statism. Perhaps they know that they would loose the very support of the people they want to help the most, since nobody likes being told to eat right and exercise.
One strategy to be considered is the review of medical records and utilization statistics of emergency departments and hospital primary care networks to identify patients who would benefit from more aggressive preventive care as a strategy to control the expenses of treating unfunded patients. This strategy would apply to emergency department frequent flyers.

As the numbers of unfunded or under-funded patients increase, it is predictable that hospital financial performance will decrease. Perhaps it is time to divert more resources to primary care and prevention for unfunded patients, which will result in a short term additional resource requirement for hospitals, in return for a longer term reduction in the overall costs of treating the unfunded.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
For once, Erb is partially correct but it is misleading.
Oh well, at least for ONCE I finally am partially correct about SOMETHING! Yah!
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Access to healthcare is not a natural right, like freedom of speech, freedom to defend one’s self, freedom of association. If you think it is, try this thought experiment - imagine yourself on a deserted island with no one else there. Now assert your "natural right" to access healthcare
I think I’d find it very hard to assert my "natural right" for freedom of association as well. If it’s really deserted, I’d probably find it difficult to assert my right to defend myself too.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
I think I’d find it very hard to assert my "natural right" for freedom of association as well. If it’s really deserted, I’d probably find it difficult to assert my right to defend myself too. — Erb
Well obviously we have no natural right to have company materialize from thin island air. But what would stop you from associating yourself — or not —with whomever the sea brought to your shore? Or with Wilson?

And I’m just truly, really surprised to see anyone supposing that his right to self-defense diminishes in the absence of other people. You’d have to rely on yourself alone obviously, but the right to do so would be intact. And just as is the case anywhere in the world, your right to health care — or any commodity — would be limited to what you could provide and acquire for yourself. With no access to doctors and medicines your options would be grievously limited but, alas, you have no natural right — or way — to conjure them from the sand and sea. You’ll probably have to pull your own tooth.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
AL!
Look, the health care business isn’t like the widget business you studied in junior-high economics class. It’s infinitely more complicated. People don’t consume health care the way they consume other products. If you make health care free, people don’t run to the hospital to consume services. Why? Because people don’t like going to the doctor. It’s inconvenient, uncomfortable, and often scary.
This is not true. Yes, medicine is complex. Yes, demand is inelastic for many treatments (kidney dialysis being the famous example). But each and every one of us will eventually sicken and die, and virtually each and every one of us would like to delay this eventuality for as long as possible. That alone makes the potential demand for medicine infinite for all practical purposes. What exactly do you think it is that creates the waiting lists that exist in every country with universal care? Bureaucratic incompetence? No, it’s the shortages that result when prices no longer convey information amongst producers and consumers about supply and demand as they do in a normal market. "Over-consumption" and "under-consumption" are terms whose meanings are derived from their relative positions vis-a-vis production. It is information conveyed via free-floating market prices which enable producers to gauge demand and produce efficiently in the first place.

yours/
peter.
 
Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
"To TJIT, timactual, etc.:

Pointing to deficiencies in the NHS is not an argument."

I can’t speak for the others, but perhaps you should reread my comment—I said nothing about any deficiencies in the NHS, or the NHS. I was disputing the accuracy and/or relevance of your statements.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I’m Canadian.

It’s like this: there are two options available. In the American system you have a sitiation where sometimes you can’t get the care if you don’t have enough money.

We’ve replaced that with a system where sometimes you can’t get the care even if you have enough money.

It’s not the best trade in the world.

One other point: by suggesting socialaized medicine, you are essentially targeting the government’s spending budget on death prevention.

Given the present death rate of 100% world-wide, regardless of interventions (also noted by Mr Jackson, above), that seems like a classic majoritarian loser’s game to me.

Then, once everybody’s actions affect the budgets of everyone else around them (because that situation is simply forced by socialized medicine, the busybodies and bureacrats get into a free-for-all orgy of attempting to ban this, tax that and monitor this, right down to your cereal for crying out loud—with methodology democratically tuned to all the latest fads—in a futile effort to pay even lip-service to mitigating the damage that has been forced on everyone.

It’s not the best trade in the world.
 
Written By: Ron Good
URL: http://northensubverbia.blogspot.com
Two quotes:
Anonymous Liberal
What’s driving increased medical costs in this country and other countries is not overconsumption, it’s the development of new expensive techonology and treatments. That’s a real concern for all health care systems, not just universal ones. But it has nothing to do with supply and demand.
(emphasis mine)

Thomas Sowell
Asking liberals where wages and prices come from is like asking six-year-olds where babies come from.
Not that anything else in that word/concept salad of yours was correct, but you think there’s no demand for those new techs and treatments, as in "nothing to do with supply and demand"?

How cute.
 
Written By: Ron Good
URL: http://northensubverbia.blogspot.com
Linda, you miss my point: he seems to suggest that natural rights are those you have when stranded on a deserted island (those you can assert). My examples were meant to show that using this as a thought experiment was not sufficient to show what rights are natural or not. Sorry for not being clear.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Anonymous Liberal said,
Pointing to deficiencies in the NHS is not an argument. Opponents of universal health care always point to the NHS because it’s much harder to find flaws in other systems, like the ones in France, Germany, Japan, etc.
That is a pretty rich comment from someone who has provided little if any third party data on this thread and who’s entire activity on this thread has consisted of.

1. When possible ignore data / information presented by someone else.

2. When not possible to ignore data showing how broken a foreign nationalized healthcare program is simply assert that the example country does not have real national healthcare.

3. Launder, rinse, repeat.

More government intervention has a very real possibility of damaging the US healthcare system. The failures of other countries national healthcare programs and state programs in the US (TennCare) clearly show this.

In the US we have too many people who:

1. Don’t understand or choose to ignore the flaws foreign health care programs
2. Have no idea how the US healthcare system actually functions on the ground
3. Have no appreciation for the damage nationalizing the system will do to patient care and new technology development

These same, uninformed people are very vocal proponents of nationalizing the healthcare system.

One other point Anonymous Liberal, you might want to scratch France off your list of countries with real national healthcare programs that are a good system for the US to emulate. It was not hard to find a minor little flaw in the French system, just the teeny tiny little issue that IT IS IN DANGER OF COLLAPSING.

Please explain to me why you think it is a good idea for the US to emulate the collapsing French healthcare system?

French health service on verge of collapse, says commission
A government commission has warned that without fundamental reforms France’s national health service, rated the best in the world by the World Health Organisation, will collapse within the next 15 years.
Following the French example would be like buying a ticket to get on the Titanic after it has smacked the iceberg.

For some reason folks like Anonymous Liberal think that would be a smart thing to do.
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
Linda, you miss my point — Erb
Yeah right. And you miss mine.
Sorry for not being clear.
I bet.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Why so cynical Linda? I thought you had missed my point, and figured I’d not been clear enough. I’m not sure what your point was. Mine was that if you were alone on a deserted island natural rights are irrelevent — you do whatever you want and can do, it doesn’t matter if you have a right to do it. Rights matter when you interact with other — when can you legitimately stop another person from doing what he or she freely choses to do (e.g., self-defense). So I thought his support for his position with a deserted island analogy was misguided.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm

 
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