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Old January 15th, 2010, 08:40 AM   #1
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Good Article on Government Healthcare









The U.S. House of Presumptuous Meddlers





By: John Stossel, Syndicated Columnist - Nov 24th, 2009







As an American, I am embarrassed that the U.S. House of Representatives has 220 members who actually believe the government can successfully centrally plan the medical and insurance industries.

I’m embarrassed that my representatives think that government can subsidize the consumption of medical care without increasing the budget deficit or interfering with free choice.

It’s a triumph of mindless wishful thinking over logic and experience.

The 1,990-page bill is breathtaking in its bone-headed audacity. The notion that a small group of politicians can know enough to design something so complex and so personal is astounding. That they were advised by “experts” means nothing since no one is expert enough to do that. There are too many tradeoffs faced by unique individuals with infinitely varying needs.

Government cannot do simple things efficiently. The bureaucrats struggle to count votes correctly. They give subsidized loans to “homeowners” who turn out to be 4-year-olds (Congress Proposes More Fraud? John Stossel). Yet congressmen want government to manage our medicine and insurance.

Competition is a “discovery procedure,” Nobel-prize-winning economist F. A. Hayek taught. Through the competitive market process, we producers and consumers constantly learn things that force us to adjust our behavior if we are to succeed. Central planners fail for two reasons:

First, knowledge about supply, demand, individual preferences and resource availability is scattered — much of it never articulated — throughout society. It is not concentrated in a database where a group of planners can access it.

Second, this “data” is dynamic: It changes without notice.

No matter how honorable the central planners’ intentions, they will fail because they cannot know the needs and wishes of 300 million different people. And if they somehow did know their needs, they wouldn’t know them tomorrow.

Proponents of so-called reform — it’s not really reform unless it makes things better — have shamefully avoided criticism of their proposals. Often they just dismiss their opponents as greedy corporate apologists or paranoid right-wing loonies. That’s easier than answering questions like these:

1) How can the government subsidize the purchase of medical services without driving up prices? Econ 101 teaches — without controversy — that when demand goes up, if other things remain equal, price goes up. The politicians want to have their cake and eat it, too.

2) How can the government promise lower medical costs without restricting choices? Medicare already does that (Scott Gottlieb: How the U.S. Government Rations Health Care - WSJ.com). Once the planners’ mandatory insurance pushes prices to new heights, they must put even tougher limits on what we may buy — or their budget will be even deeper in the red than it already is. As economist Thomas Sowell points out, government cannot really reduce costs (Thomas Sowell : The "Costs" of Medical Care: Part II - Townhall.com). All it can do is disguise and shift costs (through taxation) and refuse to pay for some services (rationing).

3) How does government “create choice” by imposing uniformity on insurers? Uniformity limits choice. Under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill and the Senate versions, government would dictate to all insurers what their “minimum” coverage policy must include. Truly basic high-deductible, low-cost catastrophic policies tailored to individual needs would be forbidden.

4) How does it “create choice” by making insurance companies compete against a privileged government-sponsored program? The so-called government option, let’s call it Fannie Med, would have implicit government backing and therefore little market discipline. The resulting environment of conformity and government power is not what I mean by choice and competition. Rep. Barney Frank is at least honest enough to say that the public option will bring us a government monopoly (YouTube - Public option will lead to Single Payer Barney Frank).

Advocates of government control want you to believe that the serious shortcomings of our medical and insurance system are failures of the free market. But that’s impossible because our market is not free. Each state operates a cozy medical and insurance cartel that restricts competition through licensing and keeps prices higher than they would be in a genuine free market. But the planners won’t talk about that. After all, if government is the problem in the first place, how can they justify a government takeover?

Many people are priced out of the medical and insurance markets for one reason: the politicians’ refusal to give up power. Allowing them to seize another 16 percent of the economy won’t solve our problems.

Freedom will.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 09:00 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leighredf







The U.S. House of Presumptuous Meddlers





By: John Stossel, Syndicated Columnist - Nov 24th, 2009







As an American, I am embarrassed that the U.S. House of Representatives has 220 members who actually believe the government can successfully centrally plan the medical and insurance industries.


That's not what is under discussion so the rest of the article must be nonsense because it's based on a false premise.



Which cave has this idiot been living in?? Or is he a scriptwriter at FOX?
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Old January 15th, 2010, 09:04 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leighredf





The U.S. House of Presumptuous Meddlers

By: John Stossel, Syndicated Columnist - Nov 24th, 2009



1) How can the government subsidize the purchase of medical services without driving up prices? Econ 101 teaches — without controversy — that when demand goes up, if other things remain equal, price goes up. The politicians want to have their cake and eat it, too.


More bollocks.



Why assume other things would remain equal?



Why assume that supply won't increase to match or exceed demand? Doesn't he believe in the entrepreneurial spirit of the American people?



And imagine how many new jobs would be created with 40m new health care customers?



He must've been off sick the day his Econ 101 class discussed ECONOMIES OF SCALE.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 09:08 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leighredf



The U.S. House of Presumptuous Meddlers

By: John Stossel, Syndicated Columnist - Nov 24th, 2009







2) How can the government promise lower medical costs without restricting choices?


Choices are already restricted - that's why there are 47m UNinsured and millions more UNDER insured and millions going bankrupt or dying!



Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year — one every 12 minutes — in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday Sep 17th 2009.



"We're losing more Americans every day because of inaction ... than drunk driving and homicide combined," Dr. David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an interview with Reuters



That's equivalent to a 9/11 tragedy every three weeks - how much did we spend to address that problem?
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Old January 15th, 2010, 09:10 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leighredf



The U.S. House of Presumptuous Meddlers

By: John Stossel, Syndicated Columnist - Nov 24th, 2009







3) How does government “create choice” by imposing uniformity on insurers? Uniformity limits choice. Under House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill and the Senate versions, government would dictate to all insurers what their “minimum” coverage policy must include. Truly basic high-deductible, low-cost catastrophic policies tailored to individual needs would be forbidden.


Unrealistic.



That's like saying if I run into your car my insurance will only cover repairs if they are over $100,000
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Old January 15th, 2010, 09:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leighredf



The U.S. House of Presumptuous Meddlers

By: John Stossel, Syndicated Columnist - Nov 24th, 2009



4) How does it “create choice” by making insurance companies compete against a privileged government-sponsored program?


More bollocks.



The UK has had a National Health Service since 1947 but it still has a flourishing private insurance market for those who can afford it.



The US has had public education for decades but still has thousands of private schools.



This guy obviously spends more time at the hair salon than reading economic textbooks
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Old January 15th, 2010, 10:18 AM   #7
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Just curious why the first post warranted 5 separate replies. You trying to manipulate your stats or something?

Makes replying a chore. So I won't bother. Here's an interesting article....

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/02/bu...h.html?_r=1&em

and...

FOXNews.com - Why Doctors Are Abandoning Medicare

and...

USATODAY.com - Rejections rise for Medicare patients



etc.

So it may end up that here in the U.S., where we value freedom and rights, we are gonna have to curtail either a doctor's right to reject patients that can't pay for their services, or are gonna HAVE to end other insurance to make the government insurance the only way to go. Cause otherwise there are gonna be cries that it's not a "fair" system and only the dreaded "rich" can afford quality care. Everyone with basic care will be stuck with less choice or quality in one way or another.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 10:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fxashun
Just curious why the first post warranted 5 separate replies. You trying to manipulate your stats or something?

Makes replying a chore. So I won't bother. Here's an interesting article....

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/02/bu...h.html?_r=1&em

and...

FOXNews.com - Why Doctors Are Abandoning Medicare

and...

USATODAY.com - Rejections rise for Medicare patients



etc.

So it may end up that here in the U.S., where we value freedom and rights, we are gonna have to curtail either a doctor's right to reject patients that can't pay for their services, or are gonna HAVE to end other insurance to make the government insurance the only way to go. Cause otherwise there are gonna be cries that it's not a "fair" system and only the dreaded "rich" can afford quality care. Everyone with basic care will be stuck with less choice or quality in one way or another.




Market forces will balance everything out. Some enterprising doctors will always find a way to tap into that market.



Funny how the right wing, free market crowd have such little faith in American entrepreneurialism!



In the UK many highly qualified specialist doctors divide their time between the NHS and their private practice. They see it as a form of national service just like joining the Armed Forces.



Eventually America may catch on but it could take a few more decades!
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Old January 15th, 2010, 11:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by garysher
Market forces will balance everything out. Some enterprising doctors will always find a way to tap into that market.



Funny how the right wing, free market crowd have such little faith in American entrepreneurialism!



In the UK many highly qualified specialist doctors divide their time between the NHS and their private practice. They see it as a form of national service just like joining the Armed Forces.



Eventually America may catch on but it could take a few more decades!
That's not how that same "public education" system works. Even in this country, the public schools in the more affluent counties have beter equipment and resources. I know the school my son attends now is tons better than anything available to those in poorer counties. I don't see how that'll change for healthcare.



The UK nor Canadian system is hardly described in glowing terms when it come to quality of care, even if everyone that gets it has it paid for..
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Old January 15th, 2010, 11:33 AM   #10
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I don't think that you could change Canada's system to ours. They would revolt in the streets. They are very happy with their way of handling healthcare.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 11:34 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by fxashun



The UK nor Canadian system is hardly described in glowing terms when it come to quality of care, even if everyone that gets it has it paid for..


Actually it is if you talk to People in the UK or Canada!



But back to the point, why didn't the public school system in the US put private schools out of business?



The way the negative Republican whiners say will happen if there were a public option for health insurance?
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Old January 15th, 2010, 11:40 AM   #12
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I don't think that you could change Canada's system to ours. They would revolt in the streets. They are very happy with their way of handling healthcare.
I didn't say change it to anything. I said that they aren't necessarily described in glowing terms when it comes to quality. And in specifically as related to Canada, access. Their waiting lists are becoming infamous.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 11:42 AM   #13
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I didn't say change it to anything. I said that they aren't necessarily described in glowing terms when it comes to quality. And in specifically as related to Canada, access. Their waiting lists are becoming infamous.




Unlike the US Canada doesn't have 47m people on the waiting list and 1m in the queue for the bankruptcy courts.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 11:44 AM   #14
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Unlike the US Canada doesn't have 47m people on the waiting list and 1m in the queue for the bankruptcy courts.
People still aren't getting care there though. At least if they are poor, they still get care here. Damn good care.



Not having insurance is a lot different that sick and about to die.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 11:49 AM   #15
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People still aren't getting care there though. At least if they are poor, they still get care here. Damn good care.



Not having insurance is a lot different that sick and about to die.


Where is your evidence that Canadians are being denied emergency care?



Meanwhile in the US:



Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year — one every 12 minutes — in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday Sep 17th 2009.



"We're losing more Americans every day because of inaction ... than drunk driving and homicide combined," Dr. David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an interview with Reuters.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 12:00 PM   #16
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Where is your evidence that Canadians are being denied emergency care?



Meanwhile in the US:



Nearly 45,000 people die in the United States each year — one every 12 minutes — in large part because they lack health insurance and can not get good care, Harvard Medical School researchers found in an analysis released on Thursday Sep 17th 2009.



"We're losing more Americans every day because of inaction ... than drunk driving and homicide combined," Dr. David Himmelstein, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard, said in an interview with Reuters.
The same place that your "evidence" that those people died from mere lack of insurance.



Conjecture.



There's plenty of that on both sides of this issue.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 12:06 PM   #17
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The same place that your "evidence" that those people died from mere lack of insurance.



Conjecture.



There's plenty of that on both sides of this issue.


So how many Canadians die because of long lines for treatment?



And if 45,000 Americans die each year through lack of insurance - according not to conjecture but to a study by Harvard Medical School - where is your argument about the US having a superior system??
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Old January 15th, 2010, 12:14 PM   #18
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People still aren't getting care there though. At least if they are poor, they still get care here. Damn good care.



Not having insurance is a lot different that sick and about to die.


No one is denied emergency care in a single payer system, some of them are denied tests that are unnecessary or they have to wait for non-emergency procedures like colonoscopies. It is easily cleared up when the facts are observed. Go and look up how many people in those countries, with universal coverage, would rather have a system like ours.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 06:23 PM   #19
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So how many Canadians die because of long lines for treatment?



And if 45,000 Americans die each year through lack of insurance - according not to conjecture but to a study by Harvard Medical School - where is your argument about the US having a superior system??
There is conjecture when you read where they got that 45000 number...Some find issue with the methodology.

45,000 American deaths associated with lack of insurance - CNN.com

The researchers examined government health surveys from more than 9,000 people aged 17 to 64, taken from 1986-1994, and then followed up through 2000. They determined that the uninsured have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those with private health insurance as a result of being unable to obtain necessary medical care. The researchers then extrapolated the results to census data from 2005 and calculated there were 44,789 deaths associated with lack of health insurance.

Or another post on the methodology...

Lack of Insurance to Blame for Almost 45,000 Deaths: Study - US News and World Report

"The findings in this research are based on faulty methodology and the death risk is significantly overstated," NCPA President John C. Goodman said. "The subjects were interviewed only once and the study tries to link their insurance status at that time to mortality a decade later. Yet over the period, the authors have no idea whether subjects were insured or uninsured, what kind of medical care they received, or even cause of death."



Not to mention that 45000 number is extrapolated from the 350 people that actually died out of the 9000 sample.



Conjecture.
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Old January 15th, 2010, 06:36 PM   #20
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No one is denied emergency care in a single payer system, some of them are denied tests that are unnecessary or they have to wait for non-emergency procedures like colonoscopies. It is easily cleared up when the facts are observed. Go and look up how many people in those countries, with universal coverage, would rather have a system like ours.
Waiting too long for a prescribed colonoscopy can lead to death, and isn't much different than not having insurance at all.

Hoover Institution - Hoover Digest - Here’s a Second Opinion

Perhaps we should send those numbers to Harvard for some creative "extrapolation".
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