Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
A Small Thursday Morning Rant
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, December 11, 2008

As we head toward government health care, I continue to keep a wary eye on the systems presently funcitoning in other countries - like the UK's NHS.

You pick up little nuggets like this:
The NHS already restricts access to expensive new drugs that could benefit older age groups — such as sufferers of Alzheimer's and macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness — amid fears that the costs could cripple the health service.
Why is that important, besides the obvious fact that government is restricting treatment due to cost to 'it'?

The fact that the reason these "expensive new drugs" are available is because there is a system out there in which there is the incentive to develop them. Yes, it is that "horribly expensive" American system, where drug companies are known as Big Pharma and considered to be evil by a certain class.

But what happens if that particular engine of innovation is essentially shut down? What if, through government controls or restrictions, there's no longer any incentive to produce new drugs that may relieve the health problems of older groups, but any group?

Despite utopian dreams of "free" drugs, it takes billions of dollars to discover, create, test and jump through the required governmental hoops before a new drug hits the market. Drug companies have to recover those costs, at a minimum, to remain in business. But my guess is, that's not the understanding the new climate in Washington will bring:
Democrats are likely to declare war on pharmaceutical companies, the people whose research produces the drugs that save lives and help people avoid costly chronic care.

Almost certainly, Democrats will require the Medicare system to "negotiate" prices with drug companies — which means, set them — and some Democrats favor restricting seniors' access to drugs the way the Department of Veterans Affairs does.

The purpose is to hold down Medicare costs, make drugs cheaper for seniors and prevent "profiteering" by drug companies. But, in the process, research and discoveries will be stifled. And seniors are likely to balk at having their drug choices restricted.
They may balk, but what will they really be able to do - especially when they're hit with the "sacrifice" mantra which calls them out to "give" a little for the sake of the uninsured?

Look this is going to be ugly. Whatever estimates you've seen for the cost of the coming plan, think "Big Dig", or the Congressional Visitor's Center. Also understand that after January 20th, regardless of the real cost there isn't much at all standing in the way of passage.

One of our commenters here says since it is inevitable we should try to influence its implementation instead of fighting it. Reminds me a bit about some discredited advise concerning rape.

So here we are, entering the 21st century with the government essentially controlling the financial sector of our economy, getting ready to control the domestic auto industry and casting a hungry eye on the health care sector as well, all while planning a massive deficit spending spree on public works to 'stimulate the economy', while further considering economy crippling environmental programs like cap and trade.

Tell me again why I should be optimistic?
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
One of our commenters here says since it is inevitable we should try to influence its implementation instead of fighting it. Reminds me a bit about some discredited advise concerning rape.
Damn right!

This abomination may be inevitable, but at least let the Dems own it. And suffer the consequences.

The easiest way to stop it would be for a law to be passed giving our congress the exact same healthcare as we’ll get, as opposed to the gold-standard coverage they’ll continue to enjoy. As a matter of fact, that sounds like a great platform item for real GOP upstarts to campaign on.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
"This abomination may be inevitable, but at least let the Dems own it."

Well.. the nationalization of health care will be a Democratic action that Republicans will be complicit in. The nationalization of wall street was a Republican decision that Democrats were complicit in.

After the trillion dollar financial sector bailout, it becomes significantly harder for Republicans to argue against government expansion with any credibility.

Of course in the end McQ had it right
"Tell me again why I should be optimistic?"
 
Written By: Tito
URL: http://
The fact that the reason these "expensive new drugs" are available is because there is a system out there in which there is the incentive to develop them. Yes, it is that "horribly expensive" American system, where drug companies are known as Big Pharma and considered to be evil by a certain class.

But what happens if that particular engine of innovation is essentially shut down? What if, through government controls or restrictions, there’s no longer any incentive to produce new drugs that may relieve the health problems of older groups, but any group?
I’ve pondered that question before as well (riffing off of Brad Warbiany):
It is often suggested, without serious objection, that American military spending and prowess allows European governments to free-ride on our military budget, and thus to spend lavishly on social programs. But are those social programs also heavily subsidized by American spending and ingenuity?

[...]

To my mind, the most important implication of what Brad touches upon is that any move we make towards something like universal health care inexorably leads to less of those innovations upon which the whole world seems to depend. If you take away the rewards for accepting risks, then the risks won’t be taken.

Government run health centralizes the risks of exploring new technologies, medicines, techniques, etc. Centralized risk translates into (i) observing a very cautious approach to advances, and (ii) the politicization of research. (I’ve ruminated about the politicization aspect before.) From a purely capitalist point of view, opportunites that might have been pursued otherwise, are foregone since those who accept the risks of pursuing them do not get to maximize their reward, so instead those advances must come from the government. With government as the sole innovator, there are now two types of risk (1) the risk of failure (i.e. spending gobs of money on something that does not deliver as promised, or that costs significantly more than the benefit), and (2) the political risks (i.e. what politicians face for advocating spending on projects that either fail or that don’t disproportionately benefit favored voters). The result is that risk is increased overall, and fewer innovations are realized.

The likely end state of such "progress" is not promising.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://qando.net
"Tell me again why I should be optimistic? "

When we (collectively) hit the bottom we will see the errors of our ways. Recovery will begin shortly thereafter. Well, in theory at least...
 
Written By: CR
URL: http://
"As a matter of fact, that sounds like a great platform item for real GOP upstarts to campaign on."

Deja vu. That was part of Newt Gingrich’s ’Contract With America’ way back in ’94, long before the memory of the current GOP leadership. Inflicting the same rules on Congress that they inflicted on their subjects was greeted with shudders and predictions of disaster then, and they have successfully avoided anything similar since.

The Contract With America was successful in gaining control of the Congress for the Rep.s (something they claim to still want) and the fact that they have diligently refused to try something similar since just enhances my native doubts about the intelligence and good intentions of what someone called ’The Stupid Party’.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
"When we (collectively) hit the bottom we will see the errors of our ways."

As Lenin said, "The worse, the better".
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
After the trillion dollar financial sector bailout, it becomes significantly harder for Republicans to argue against government expansion with any credibility.
Apples and oranges. The two really aren’t the same. Here’s an economist who explains the difference:

The Socialism Debate

You’d do well to read his entire site.

The money quotes in that post are these:
The ultimate responsibility for the integrity of the money side of our economy rests with the government; but the ultimate responsibility for the real goods-and-services side in a capitalistic free-market system is almost always the market
and
So, if "socialism" means government intervention where government really does not belong in a properly-functioning free-market system, the case for using that word is far weaker when the subject is the money side of the economy.
 
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
When we (collectively) hit the bottom we will see the errors of our ways. Recovery will begin shortly thereafter. Well, in theory at least...
Nobody’s going to get elected on a platform of removing "free" healthcare from the masses, no matter how terrible the service. Once universal healthcare is enacted, we will be stuck with it for good.
 
Written By: InebriatedArsonist
URL: http://
Tell me again why I should be optimistic?

I don’t know about "optimistic", but I have my own solution. I just laugh at the Funniest End of Civilization Ever.

I also have a few things that are the pinnacle of Western Civilization (like my 06 Mustang GT convertible and some cool guns) and I suggest that you get a few yourself.

We’ve unlearned so many lessons from history that our ancestors learned at such great cost that we’re absolutely screwed.

For instance, the Founding Fathers, instead of being revered for creating the greatest nation this sorry world has ever seen, are reviled as dead white men who owned slaves while commie dictators like Castro are feted.

Cause and effect has been abolished, or so our self-proclaimed "intelligentsia" have decided. It’s funny how cause and effect always gets the last word though.

 
Written By: Veeshir
URL: http://
"Tell me again why I should be optimistic? "
You should, unfortunately, NOT be optimistic. We are heading ever so surely to some form of nationalized health-care. When that happens there will cease to be any incentive for private companies to spend billions trying to bring new drugs to market. This is a horrible tragedy. I believe we are on the cusp of some incredible advances in medical treatment for any number of diseases that have plagued humans forever.

With government in charge very little will be discovered or advanced.

We have examples all over the world of the failure of nationalized health-care. Yet, our annointed leaders head eye-wide-open into the abyss.
 
Written By: jjmurphy
URL: http://www.allthatisnecessary.com
After the trillion dollar financial sector bailout, it becomes significantly harder for Republicans to argue against government expansion with any credibility.
Apples and oranges. The two really aren’t the same. Here’s an economist who explains the difference:
For what it’s worth, he claims to be an economic hobbyist, not an economist.

As for apples and oranges, I’d argue they are the same or close enough to being the same as to not matter. Bailing out the financial sector by selectively choosing corporations to buy into or otherwise prop up is not a good example of government maintaining "the integrity of the money side of our economy." It is a excellent example of government trying to influence the economy by sticking its fingers directly into the market.
 
Written By: Arcs
URL: http://
Actually, I am a tad optimistic (I know: how to you measure "a tad"?) that Obama’s HillaryCare crappola will go crashing down in flames.

Why? Because next year, for FY 2009, the deficit will hit $1 trillion. Where is The Clown™ going to pay for a health care takeover? That will cost trillions on its own.

He won’t be able to move on this until 2010 at the earliest. What happened the last time the Democrats did this? In 1993-94, and, when that scheme crashed and burned, voters took it out on the party of Dinkum and threw them out of the majority in both houses.

Wanna see a repeat? Wait for The Clown™ to make the same mistake as Der Dicksucker did in 1994.
 
Written By: James Marsden
URL: http://
" Where is The Clown™ going to pay for a health care takeover? That will cost trillions on its own."

I refer you to your previous sentence. Think of that $1 trillion deficit as the baseline.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Where is The Clown™ going to pay for a health care takeover?
True, there is no money available, but that has never stopped them before. However, think about mandates on insurance companies. Rules about what has to be covered, by whom, for whom, etc. They can exert incredible control without spending a penny.
 
Written By: jjmurphy
URL: http://www.allthatisnecessary.com
Where is The Clown™ going to pay for a health care takeover?
Hey, I got an idea! We have the presses, we have the paper. Lets just print more money!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I think that while drug coverage and availability is a large weakness of the British healthcare system, the biggest travesty is the overall rationing of care. If our country implements a system similar to the British example, whoever is responsible is going to have some real questions to answer. Can you hear the AARP people start screaming when they find out that in England, they use the patient’s age to determine treatment strategy. Over 60 with a difficult to treat or late stage cancer diagnosis? Tough luck - here are some pain meds that you can take while you sit at home and wait to die. If you don’t like that policy, better plan on buying supplemental coverage on your own. Get on it quick before anything shows up that could be declared a "pre-existing" condition. In my many discussions with participants in countries with socialized medicine, I have yet to hear anyone say that it has improved the quality of the healthcare system beyond making it cheaper/free to the citizen. While I like to save money as much as the next guy, I would rather know that my loved ones will be able to get the best care in the world in the unfortunate event that it is needed. This old adage is probably very fitting for this discussion: "You get what you pay for."
 
Written By: Jeff Quiram
URL: http://
I understand there has to be incentive for some of the manufactures to produce and research new meds, but what the system has come to is rather ridiculous. Big Pharma could give up billions in profits, and it would still be making a grotesque amount of profit. If we would remove some, not all of the sanctions against importing safe meds from reliable sources in other nations, it would create a more competitive market and drive down prices.
 
Written By: drug ratings
URL: http://www.edrugsearch.com/drug-ratings-reviews/
Thanks for the shout out...
One of our commenters here says since it is inevitable we should try to influence its implementation instead of fighting it. Reminds me a bit about some discredited advise concerning rape.
But then there’s this, and you know it’s true...
Nobody’s going to get elected on a platform of removing "free" healthcare from the masses, no matter how terrible the service. Once universal healthcare is enacted, we will be stuck with it for good.


I DO understand that you believe that any kind of national healthcare is just wrong, if we had an actual private system today, I would be in 100% agreement with you, but, let’s continue with your rape analogy, shall we.

"Reminds me a bit about some discredited advise concerning rape", except, in this case, your going to be raped every day forever, and you have an opportunity at this moment in time to influence precisely how you are going to be raped.

What you’re doing now, considering that Democrats can do this without any input from Republicans, is lying down and taking it however they want to give it to you. But, considering they want you to love them, they are open to your input on how to do it (just not whether to do it).

So, how would you like to be raped today?
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
What you’re doing now, considering that Democrats can do this without any input from Republicans, is lying down and taking it however they want to give it to you. But, considering they want you to love them, they are open to your input on how to do it (just not whether to do it).

So, how would you like to be raped today?
When you give input, it becomes consensual.

If you’re going to rape me, I will fight to the best of my ability. Then I will do everything in my power to make sure you suffer all possible consequences of your actions.

I’ll still be raped, but you will be the one who raped me, you and you alone.

And maybe I’ll have made you pay for it. And maybe by some grace of luck, I’ll have fended you off.

Sorry Cap. What’s going to happen next is on you and your kind.

Alone.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I’ll still be raped, but you will be the one who raped me, you and you alone.
You’re getting raped today, as most healthcare dollars currently pass through the government at some level or another.

I have to get away from this analogy, because continuing the analogy just gets too disgusting (think broomsticks and baseball bats).

We have national healthcare today, any person can walk into any hospital and be treated, and never pay a bill, and you will be stuck with that bill.

I acknowledge your stand on principle, and I don’t discount that this should be the stand of some people.

But if no one looks deep into the actual proposals themselves and points out flaws that need to be addressed, they won’t be, and we’ll end up with something worse than we needed to.

But I have no doubt that there will people willing to do this.

Here’s the real deal, and this is Billy Beck territory. You can’t actually have a principled stand and participate in our political system at all. You have already abandoned your principles just by playing, so the only question is what you favor and oppose within your abandoned princples. We could follow the Constitution to the very letter and still massively violate natural rights, so if the Constitution is the source of your principles, it’s a bad source. If natural rights inform your principles, then you violate them when you vote, or even when you pay taxes. Some people would say that you are an accomplice to the violation of natural rights by not engaging in violent opposition to our government.

All your really doing is saying you don’t like this particular brand of rights violation, you favor other brands.

The difference between us is that I know we as a society have no little respect for natural rights, so I try to support what I think will work best within this construct. Picking and choosing between who’s rights you violate is not principle, it’s politics.

To go back to the original analogy, if you don’t want to rape anyone, you better stay out of the orgy that is politics, because when you vote, your choices are not whether to rape, just who and how.
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
I have had a similar experience with Taiwan’s national healthcare system. To keep costs down they only pay for certain medicines - the cheap ones (or most likely or whoever paid the most to get them on the list.)

If you need something a little different that is not on the list, you can pay for it yourself and still get it. But, I suspect sales of those medicines not on the list suffer because their price looks so much more to the consumer who does not see the subsidy of the listed meds.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"Democrats will require the Medicare system to "negotiate" prices with drug companies"

Doesn’t the much maligned Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 prevent that explicitly?
 
Written By: blackrockmarauder
URL: http://
Doesn’t the much maligned Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 prevent that explicitly?


Yes, and that is precisely the reason is it much maligned.

Walmart can negotiate for their customers, but a federal plan shouldn’t?


By the way, the federal emplyees health benefit plan negotiates, and has about the best cost model in the industry.
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Maybe I am selfish, maybe naive, maybe a bit of both, CaptinSarcastic, but the consumer-based model is best for me.

We should honestly discuss government provided healthcare, but if ever the words "free" in the sense of cost ever is posted by you, I would have little respect.

Maybe my tense is off (or grammar), but I am drunk.

I have more to say, but I just can’t say it right right now.
 
Written By: blackrockmarauder
URL: http://
Oh, by the way, why are "Health and Wellness" benefits taxed as income?
 
Written By: blackrockmarauder
URL: http://
Maybe I am selfish, maybe naive, maybe a bit of both, CaptinSarcastic, but the consumer-based model is best for me.
I agree 100%, and if we had a consumer based model, I would be fighting to keep it that way.

We don’t, we won’t.

Over 50% of healthcare dollars pass through the government at some level TODAY.

Far from consumer based.
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider