Contrary to what I asserted in GOVERNMENT CAN’T FIX HEALTH CARE, it appears someone actually did answer the questions I asked in ADVERSARIES OR JUST DIFFERENT SOLUTIONS? Unfortunately, because she used a four-letter word, WordPress put Catherine‘s comment in my trash bucket. Since her comment did not get posted (and she apparently did not know why, got upset, and she let me know about it (see here)). Nevertheless, I am pleased to have her comment. So here it is.
What do I think of ‘s comment in general? Here are someone else’s words.
It is tempting to offer up a personal experience. Have one. When I was in my twenties, I had to go into the hospital to have a problem taken care of. No insurance. Even got harassed by bills six months later. But what does personalizing the argument accomplish? When we personalize the argument, it demonstrates we are prepared to be personally offended by those who disagree. No point in that.
Here we are considering the “right” to arbitrarily force others to pay for our healthcare. Where do such rights come from? Does the fact someone who speaks well and convincingly make such a “right” a right. Is a “right” just a matter of how we feel about a “right”? When does one person’s “right” become an imposition upon another person’s rights?
In the past, some Americans demanded the right to own slaves. These slave masters needed their slaves. It made their elegant and leisurely aristocratic lifestyle possible. Supposedly, only blacks could work in the hot southern sun. So their labor was an economic necessity. Moreover, blacks needed their masters. Nature had made blacks too dumb (Which is why laws were needed to prohibit educating them?) to rule themselves……
And so it went for centuries. The slave owners got so absurd they even called up the Bible to defend the tyrannical institution of slavery. The slave owners were so determined to have their slaves they refused to see the obvious evil in the practice.
Were the slave owners more evil than any other people? No. They just did what all of us do. They had grown up with the practice of slavery. Copying those who had taught them, they defended the practice. So I think I will stay away from personal examples and just focus what seems most logical.
Here are my responses to ‘s replies to the questions.
How would government price healthcare in a single payer system?
What is this question is about? The term “fair” is so much abused that we now say life is not “fair”, the point being that the term “fair” is much abused. So what is a “fair” market price? When we comparison shop, when we believe we have paid what anyone else would have paid in a competitive market place, we have paid a fair market price.
In a truly free market, no one agency sets the price. Instead, buyers hunt for the best price and sellers raise their prices to the point where buyers refuse to buy. In a single payer system, there is only one buyer. That is not a free market. It just guarantees that medical service and product providers and health insurers will strive to buy political influence, to our detriment, of course.
What about the complexity of the billing from healthcare providers? I think this is the way some feel about the tax code, which is why those who can afford it hire tax accountants. Similarly, it is good to have a health insurance company work through all the billing. So what do you do if you don’t have insurance? Well, if you are smart enough to work your way through the government’s alphabet’s soup, you probably already have insurance. If you can’t, you probably ought to go to a hospital and ask them for help. I expect they will direct you to a nonprofit or a state agency that provides free guidance. Why? Check out Benefits.gov. This is not something I want to wade through. It is easier to have a job.
Who gets care first?
reply gave us her perspective on how the current system works. In an emergency, when someone is having a heart attack, do emergency personnel really have time to ask for the victim’s insurance card? I suppose not. Hence, I believe the law requires hospitals to stabilize patients who need emergency care before they worry about being paid. Admittedly, I don’t have a better suggestion, but our glorious leaders have allowed illegal immigrants to abuse the practice (but that’s a different topic).
Because medical care is not free, medical personnel have the right to be paid. When we demand a “right” to “free” healthcare, we demand the “right” to enslave others to our needs. We then turn what can only rightfully be called charity into outright theft. Here is the Federal Budget for 2016. 29 percent of the spending of the Federal Government was on healthcare, largely Medicare and Medicaid. When we add 25 percent for pensions, mostly Social Security, we have covered about half of the Federal Budget. Defense spending was only 21 percent. Therefore, our health, education, and welfare programs are what drive our growing Federal Government’s deficit, not defense spending.
Unfortunately, what the Federal Government spent was not all our our government’s health care spending. Medicaid spending is shared between the States and the Federal Government (see here). So Medicaid spending in 2016 totaled over 550 billion dollars.
Appealing to our sympathy, politicians use health, education, and welfare programs to buy our votes. The demagogues love to tell us how their generosity with other people’s money is for the children or for the next generation. Unfortunately, when we force others to pay our bills using costly, poorly managed government programs, the next generation has to pay the bill.
What about other spending priorities? Where do healthcare priorities fit in compared to roads, schools, the military, law enforcement, and so forth?
tells us that question assumes taxes are too high. Then she talks only about herself? And she only talks about the Federal Income tax?????
We have a large variety of taxes: payroll (Social Security and Medicare), income taxes, property taxes, tariffs, capital gains, and so forth. In 2016, the Federal Government spent 4.0 trillion dollars and all State governments combined spent 1.7 trillion. The deficit was half a trillion. Government spending is over 35 percent of the Gross Domestic Product.
Imagine having a parasite on your back sucking your blood. The bigger the parasite gets the more blood it sucks. At some point, your health begins to deteriorate. Our government is that big. That’s why the recent tax cuts helped the economy. When people are allowed to keep some of their own money, they can invest it in things that produce wealth.
Our government does not produce wealth; it uses it up. Do we need government? Yes, but we need it to protect our rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, not to give us “free” things.
When have we spent enough on health care? Do we want politicians deciding that?
Should ‘s husband have been left on the side of the road to die? Who decides? We live in a finite world. Just because we give a problem over to government does not mean that we now have infinite resources that we can apply to that problem. The are lots of people who need healthcare and only so many hospital beds, doctors, nurses, and so forth. When we turn our healthcare over to government, politicians will appoint committees of bureaucrats to decide who gets care, when they get that care, and how much is spent. When we pay for our own healthcare, we get to make our own decisions.
What about those who cannot afford to pay? Since the majority of people can afford to buy health insurance, why do we need to put the government in charge of everyone’s healthcare? Why do we want to turn decisions that rightfully belong to each of us over to politicians and bureaucrats? Politicians and bureaucrats make good decisions? Does anyone believe that? Why are politicians more qualified to decide who needs charity than the person whose money they are spending?
Is it wrong just to expect those who can afford it to voluntarily provide old-fashioned charity for relative few who cannot afford healthcare? Why is it better for politicians, people none of us trust anyway, to run our entire healthcare system?
The private enterprise model (which includes non-profits) is not great, but would the single payer model actually be better?
Here points to the government-run healthcare system in the UK. Supposedly, government-run health in the UK is better. She worries about the soul crushing debt that tags along with not dying in the US. What happens when the government runs health, education, and welfare programs is that the entire nation assumes the burden of debt (see UK National Debt Charts)? What happens in the UK is that the government rations healthcare, deciding who gets it. That is we trade our right to make our own decisions for what is likely to be a more expensive system (when government runs anything, costs go up). Note also that even before Obamacare and coverage for preexisting conditions, Medicare was more like to deny a claim than commercial insurance companies (see Medicare more likely to deny claims than commercial health insurers)(healthcare-economist.com)).
How can we improve the current system without fundamentally transforming it?
Here did not answer my question. She demanded a fundamental transformation. Supposedly, we can just wave a magic wand and all will be well. If we just give our glorious leaders the power they crave, they will fix everything? Since when?
Look at our “freeways”. Some time back around the 1950’s our glorious leaders started building “freeways”, and we stopped paying tolls. Slowly, but surely, our highway infrastructure has deteriorated.
What exactly is a “freeway”? Is it free? No. We just give our leaders our money, and they spend it as they deem appropriate, and we can only guess what they will do with it.
Since the 1950’s, it seems our glorious leaders now deem it appropriate for us to spend hours sitting in traffic. When we give up control of our money to politicians, we give up the opportunity to use our own money to actually buy what we want. Hence, we need to think about reliability of a politician’s promise. Those “freeways” may have worked fairly well for the Greatest Generation, but they have proven to be more and more deficient for each succeeding generation.
It is an old truism. “You get what YOU pay for.” When somebody takes your money, they get what they pay for.
When we keep giving it more and more power, how do we keep the people who run our government from abusing the power we give them?
response here is ironic. She cites her experience in a government-run institution, a college, and she compares that to the way health insurance companies work. Hardly the same.
suggests prices are arbitrary. Not true. Whenever anyone does anything, provides a service or product, their cost has to be less than what they charge, or they go out of business. There is no free lunch. Someone pays. The issue is who decides what gets bought for whom. So healthcare providers and insurance companies dicker with each other, and healthcare consumers shop for the insurance companies that offer the best deals and demonstrate the capacity to provide the services they claim to offer.
In a free market reputation matters. It is part of what we each sell. We each want to get what we have paid for, and we each want to get paid for what we have done for others. Even consumers have to demonstrate the capacity to pay.
If we abuse the power of government, we can just take what we want. What kind of reputation do such government officials want? They want people to understand that they must be obeyed, or else.
So it is that I found most disappointing the way addressed the constitutional issues.
Personally, as a non-selfish American, if we’re going to have a system where some organization is going to arbitrarily decide how much something is worth, I’d rather it be a centralized government agency so that a Virginian gets treated the same way as a Texan. Equal Protection Under the Law is kind of a thing here.
What is unselfish about demanding that other people pay for our healthcare? Demanding something we have not paid for is not equal protection under the law. It is something altogether different.