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A case against universal health care

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Wide White: A case against universal health care

Monday, July 13, 2009

A case against universal health care

This guy is kind of a twerp, but assuming his investigation is an accurate portrait of Canadian reality, it's a pretty compelling argument.


Blogger watchman declared,

This guy clearly has a particular political philosophy. The notion that government is always a failure pretty much poisons the well on any rational conversation. I would point to several things the government has done well:

Interstate system
Law enforcement
Emergency management

To be completely libertarian means that gov does not pay for anything. Therefore, you need to pave your own road and by your own jets and tanks. I can't afford such things. So, I pool my resources with millions of others and accomplish amazing things.

When health care used to be affordable, we could have a private system. Unless you are a millionaire, it is no longer affordable. Nowhere near it, in fact.

I don't think it is any secret that the Canadian system has serious problems. However, that does not mean that the idea of is flawed.

This type of argument is very strange. It is like watching a basketball game and a player refuses to shoot free throws. When questioned about his refusal he says, "I'm not very good at free throws."

Just because the execution is flawed does not mean the idea is flawed. Critics of government health care involvement have failed to come up with any ideas on how to deal with uninsured. Just to get major medical coverage for my family, I would have to pay almost a third of my income. So, paying a lot of taxes does not sound so bad. I t would be much better than having to deal with the knowledge that if I get hurt tomorrow, my family does not have any income and it also has to deal with massive hospital bills.

7/14/2009 10:33 AM  
Blogger Joey declared,

I knew this would illicit a response from you, which is a good thing. I always know when I post about universal health care that I need to double check my argument for holes you'll poke in it.

I would argue that governments have often been rather inept at war and emergency management and arguably in the other two areas, but I digress.

You're right, complete libertarianism isn't feasible or desired. But complete socialism isn't either.

My problem isn't just that Canada's execution of universal health care is flawed. My problem is that I don't see how it can ever work well. True, major medical would take up a third of your income. It takes up a good chunk of mine and will significantly increase when I have kids too. But here's the problem: if the government takes over, how will they provide that same major medical coverage without increasing my taxes to that same proportion of my income that major medical once took?

The only feasible option is to increase taxes on those who make more than I do and I don't want to see that happen any more than I want my taxes increased proportionately to pay for universal health care.

I don't believe that there's some magic formula whereby the government can provide health care cheaper than it's currently being provided.

Yes, the guy in the video is biased. But hey, he grew up in Canada, so I'd think he has a little experience with it that I don't. It's also interesting that in one town they used to have a doctor but don't anymore, presumably because of government cuts. And that's exactly the problem. Sure, universal health care is always great for the first 10-20 years. But what happens when funding changes?

7/14/2009 11:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Pillman declared,

Since my Mom is Canadian, we have many relatives and friends who still live in Canada. I had an aunt that had to have emergency kidney stone surgery, it took 40 minutes just to see a nurse in the ER, even though she was evidently in excruciating pain! Worse yet, a great-uncle had to wait 1 year for necessary hip replacement, during which period, he went from an active and avid hiker, to being wheelchair confined in extreme pain. The sad part was, during the year wait, his other hip deteriorated, and he had to wait a second year to get his other hip replaced. Since he was confined to a wheel chair for so long, he has never fully recovered.

Here in our small town in Wisconsin, hip replacements are routinely completed, even the same day, if necessary, and recovery is short and almost fully successful.

Universal healthcare is not the answer. Patients hate it, the medical field hates it, and the care is worse, less timely, and more bureaucratic.

What it comes down to, the government decides what care you need, where you will get it, and when you will get it. I'd rather make those decisions myself.

7/14/2009 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous declared,

"War, interstate system, law enforcement, emergency management, etc" Government does all those things so well, especially the "etc." Let's examine them:

War: two undeclared, unconstitutional debacles that are nothing but crimes. Does "Thou shalt not kill" count when a million plus civilians die as collateral damage?

Interstate system: built on theft of the land from its lawful owners, the Indians. Then the land was re-stolen from those to whom the government gave it. By the way, did you notice that the entire system is falling apart?

Law enforcement Did you ever hear of death by taser? Who polices the police? Cops are frequently merely gunmen for the political thieves.

Emergency management Where have you been? It was not just FEMA that failed in New Orleans. It was government at all levels.

Etc. Amtrack? Boondoggle, waste, joke. The Postal Service, protected by a Constitutional monopoly yet it still bleeds money. It sued its early competition, Lysander Spooner, out of business because it could not compete with his system's lower prices and better service. Education. Government run schools are stupid factories and sewers of the politically correct. Truancy laws are kidnapping, and property taxes are extortion. Even with all the money and the law on their side, the government run schools are failing at everything but teaching failure. The Department of Agriculture pays farmers not to grow crops. You don't want too much food! Did you like the way the FCC handled the forced transition to digital? Can't afford your own tanks and airplanes? The founder thought that standing armies were a major threat to liberty. Why do we need a navy the size of the one we have? Why do we need the Air Force as a separate branch? Once upon a time all roads were private.

Someone else take it from here. Here are a few items: fiat money and its inflation, everything is licensed, obtaining land via eminent domain and then giving it to private parties, building stadiums with tax money for privately owned teams, routine violations of its own laws, legislators that vote for 1,000+ pages bills that they have not read and could not understand if they did. Torture. The Duke University non-rape case and a corrupt DA and police department. Even if you are acquitted you are bankrupted by legal fees. The Public Defender ensures conviction. Government regulation as a cost increaser.

To be libertarian means that you are free. Government pays for nothing; taxpayers pay for everything. Government can only give to one what it takes from another less what it keeps for itself. Government has no reason to be efficient; it has no competition. It does not persuade; it uses force. The libertarian ideals were what we had when the country was founded.

7/14/2009 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous declared,

Here is a link that I should have included in the last comment. It is a compilation of news stories regarding socialized health care.

7/14/2009 10:43 PM  
Blogger Joey declared,

Well Anonymous, I have no idea who you are and am not a fan of anonymous commenters, but I can certainly say that I wouldn't go as far as you. I believe government is necessary and not inherently evil. I believe we are the government (in our country anyway, a democratic republic), so we only have ourselves to blame for our messes.

And in spite of government's problems and inefficiencies, I think it's fair to say it does some things pretty well.

7/14/2009 11:25 PM  
Blogger watchman declared,

Free market solutions only work in a free market. Public health care, by definition is not a free market. Ever leave an ER after checking their prices? It is a hospital, not a used car lot!

Here is the principle - individuals deserve as much freedom as possible (liberty). Government must act to enable that freedom and protect that freedom.

Here is the fact - My right to quality private health (e.g. heart condition) is not a viable option without utilizing public health (e.g. hospital). Public health is by definition a monopoly that easily preys about the consumer. If I am injured or sick, I have to get help. Once in the hospital, I have no right to haggle or negotiate with alternative health providers. I do not get up in the middle of surgery and shop for surgeons. The government has to be involved somewhere to insure both the quality of my care, the availability of my care, and the protection of my hostage economic interests.

When medical costs are the number one cause of bankruptcy, we really ought to re-examine how we do health care. It is not affordable, and consumers have no free market means of bringing the price down.

Once again, taking pot shots at exceptional failures in execution does not detract from the quality of the idea posited. If that were true, tenacity and persistence would be the marks of fools. America would be much different.

I would think that an outcome based examination of WW2 would have to be evaluated as a victory. Interstate System worked fine for me the last time I used it. Law enforcement is spectacular in the United States. Emergency management was not referring to FEMA (though I see how that could have been confusing). Brownie and Bush screwed up Katrina badly. I was referring to the ambulance that my millage funds.

The notion that gov should be completely uninvolved in health care is so extreme that it is baffling.

7/14/2009 11:26 PM  
Blogger watchman declared,

***My previous comment was painfully convoluted. So, forgive the double post as I briefly summarize:

Health is not affordable, and consumers have no free market means of bringing the price down. Therefore, government interference, in principle, at some level, is a necessity. To what level, I leave to others. But, to say, simply "government sucks" is not a good argument outside of AM Radio.

7/14/2009 11:30 PM  
Blogger Joey declared,

"The notion that gov should be completely uninvolved in health care is so extreme that it is baffling."

True, they are already so involved that to think they can be uninvolved is ridiculous.

It sounds like your primary concern is with emergency health care, right? For example, I can shop around for a hip replacement a whole lot easier than I can shop around for the cheapest or best doctor to set my broken arm.

7/14/2009 11:48 PM  
Blogger watchman declared,

Yes, major medical needs to be subsidized somehow. It seems for doctor visits, and the like, there are some free market alternatives.

We also need to consider how self-serving the industry is. Much of what is considered "necessary" may not be. Low cost/No cost clinics are well known for giving patients alternative prescriptions (like natural home remedies) that are affordable to their clientele. Which makes me wonder: why not do that for everyone.

Prescriptions are a huge issue in the Health system. Maybe the biggest.

Also, Bush was the one that pushed for Medicare Part D. This was essentially a multi-national pharmaceutical grab bag. Government has always been able to negotiate prices, not anymore. That was a huge mistake. It is sinking the entire entitlement program. It was the biggest push toward socialized medicine in history, yet I do not hear anyone calling for a reform of the program. Not even Republicans.

Republican senator Judd Gregg said this about the Bush years, "We spent a lot of money we didn't have. The Part D drug program alone added an $8 trillion unfunded liability to the federal books"

The same Republicans that brought in Part D, are the ones griping about Obama's health plan. I think we are listening the thief complain about larceny.

7/15/2009 8:18 AM  
Anonymous Mitch declared,

Interesting arguments all around. I think we like to blame the government for all our problems sometimes. The main problem with health care in America is that the doctors in America have to pay for 4 years of medical school out of pocket. This requires most to take out loans that cannot be retired in bankruptcy court. Once they are in the profession, they have to pay for malpractice insurance at increasing rates (and increasingly out of pocket), because if they screw up once they are likely to be sued for large sums of money. This requires doctors to ask for larger salaries, which in turn causes the hospitals and clinics that employ them to ask the consumer of health services to foot a larger bill. (Even if the doctors aren't paying for the malpractice and the hospitals are, you are still looking at a larger bill).

Now I don't know what the solution is, because I think that some of the laws passed on the health care system have been, at least in principal, good. It is good that we can't turn away anyone in the ER regardless of ability to pay. But let's maybe not let them abuse the ER, because really you don't need ER care for a cold. But then who decides what qualifies for ER care?

Maybe we can look at limiting awards on malpractice suits and limiting fees on malpractice insurance? Either or both of those in theory lowers the cost of health care.

7/15/2009 8:22 AM  
Blogger Mitch declared,

The reason prescription drugs cost so much money is that the drug companies sink millions of dollars into the research and development of the drugs, so the government has given the companies the right to a monopoly on the market for 10 years after they receive FDA and patent approval (I'm not sure on the length of time). In the 10 years, the companies try to make back all the R&D money that they spent on that and every other drug they tried to make that failed. As the ability to find new drugs decreases via the law of diminishing returns, the cost to find them increases and the cost of new drugs also increases. I'm not sure where to put the regulation there either.

7/15/2009 8:32 AM  
Blogger Joey declared,

I agree, Republicans aren't much less socialized on this issue than Democrats. I suppose they frame it differently but they still support significant government involvement.

Good observations Mitch, and I agree, I don't know what the solutions are. I just don't think having the government owning hospitals and clinics will help things.

7/15/2009 10:22 AM  

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