Quote Of The Day

“Universal health care will lead to one of two things. Either people will lose some of the incentive to stay healthy, because everybody else has to pay for the cost, or the government will become even more of a nanny state and will start monitoring our exercise and Twinkie intake. (Remember how the government monitored daily exercise in 1984?)” — Greg Krehbiel, who has more here.

13 Responses to “Quote Of The Day”


  • What’s the solution to poor people not having access to good health care now? Millions of people make too much money to qualify for MediCal in California and are left with no options other than to go to crappy low income clinics or pay out of pocket. No one has offered a solution to help them.

  • What’s the solution for people who are paying big premiums but still get crappy health care. Look up symptoms on Google and you’ll find hundreds of message boards with the same thing in common. People not getting diagnosed, the system is designed to keep you sick. There is no money to be made from a healthy person. The most common thread is “I went to get answers and was given pills and told to go home” next jerky and take a number. Those are just doctors visits, but once you got something that will require some serious expense, you’re most likely going to be hung out to dry. Any doctor that turns on the establishment and starts preaching prevention, is immediately discredited as a lunatic.

    Think of the word holistic, when you hear it because of so much propaganda to discredit the actual word, you think witch doctor, crack pot, democrat, fly by night, dental school drop out. Check out the definition in Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/holistic and scroll down to the bottom for the actual definition. It is so unorthodox for a doctor to intently listen to you, and get on the case, or practice preventative measures to keep you healthy.

    Bottom line the system is broken at all levels, and if you go to a right wing website, all you’ll hear is the same bigoted rhetoric, America has the best health care system in the world, bla, bla, bla. Can you hear the twang in that last sentence?

    This is a big problem and not easy, the question is how the hell do you create competition in this industry. No need to provide a universal system, spend less money on a grading system and auditing system for hospitals and doctors. You do crap work, you make less money, but you’re judged by the public, better hospital more expensive. Just like hotels, do you go out of your way to go to the one star roach motel on Expedia? To wake up in the morning hugging a teddy bear size roach? Most likely not. How about a one star out of five hospital. I’m sure hoards will be in line for that place.

    My wife had, what later turned out to be, an anxiety attack. I drove her to the nearest hospital in a rushed panic, when we got there in the midst of her agony said, “oh my god no not here, take me to the next one down the road.”

  • Gustavo,

    This is how one of my favorite economists answered that question:

    The smart response to market failure varies sharply depending on what the market failure is supposed to be. If the problem with free-market health care is just that poor people can’t afford health care, then the smart response is simply to give poor people more money (or possibly a cash voucher), and leave insurance companies alone. Think about how we usually handle hunger among the poor. We don’t set up byzantine regulations for grocery stores. We give the poor welfare checks and/or food stamps, and leave the grocery stores alone.

    For the record, I have no problem with government funded healthcare for the poor. High on anybodies list, including those of us on the right, is government funded healthcare for the poor. So if you think the debate between the right and the left is whether or not to support healthcare for the poor, you are grossly mistaken.

    The debate between the left and the right, fundamentally, is whether upper middle class and beyond should receive government funded healthcare. That is where the debate really is. Should Warren Buffett, for example, or anybody else who could afford healthcare, have it paid for them through general taxes? I say no…many Democrats say yes.

    In other words, Democrats really want a government program to replace much of the private sector healthcare. The problem us on the right have with that is that we expect that new system to have much of the same limitations all government programs have: highly inefficient, little to no innovation, and captured by political interests. When were dealing with healthcare and peoples lives, these are important shortcomings!

    Mario,

    I am curious, what do you think about this perspective? (click here)

  • If not now then when? How many more years have to pass until this situation is addressed. I don’t need health insurance because my employer provides it. The millions without is what worries me. As a society we cannot forgot about those that don’t have to means. I know so many farmworkers that are trying to make it and by surpassing a certain income they are no longer eligible for MediCal or other government sponsored insurance, even though they are barely making it. They’re left to pay out of pocket and doctors and pills are not cheap.

  • Again, I support the government paying for low income healthcare. My problem is with a program that covers all, regardless of income.

  • Thanks for the link, that actually brings me to the point I was trying to convey before, the left and right and most everyone I talk to is concentrating on who is going to pay the bill. Will it be the government, who’s included, who’s left out, who’s short changed, insurance, more insurance, cheaper insurance, the poor, the rich. We are all just thinking how to give these guys money and possibly more money at that. People who for the most part don’t have your health as part of their agenda.

    The industry is simply to far gone and corrupt, with pharmaceutical corporations running the game. It’s just about money and who could make more money, while the rest of us are out there arguing how to pay them for what they are pretending to be doing.

    Two examples, I know a family doctor who’s number one complaint was the lack of soap and basic materials at the clinic. Those running the show sure had nice things for themselves, would it had really bankrupt them to get a few basic materials?

    My parents who have/had excellent insurance, as they got older the premiums became ridiculously high, and after a certain age you can’t even insure yourself, at that point you need to switch to medicare. Their regular doctor did a real 360 in attitude and level of service. When my parents offered to pay out of pocket, she was really annoyed that she couldn’t bill her regular $200 for a 10 minute doctors visit,of which she had become accustomed to.

    Check out this article: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/07/16/health/cbsdoc/main5166421.shtml

    Perhaps another solution is to flood the market with doctors. But that’s too far fetched.

    Warren Buffet?, at that point I think you can purchase a doctor and get the second one free.

    I just pay my insurance, shut up, and be a good boy, I have it for piece of mind really like if a pipe bursts or something, other than that, there is no point on visiting the doctor. Even then I’m unsure if the bill will get covered after all, as long as they take me on the way in, I’ll figure it out later, so really it’s just my ticket in the door.

    Back to the suggested article, my take is that the long term studies and statistics show that results over time are comparable to that of a can of Vick’s Vapor Rub.

  • I can’t help but wonder how Cuba does it. Ha ha

  • “The smart response to market failure…”

    And which countries have a free market health care system?

  • Gustavo,

    Haha. Actually, there is a part of the Cuba argument that I find completely true: most of the benefits of healthcare are not in quality doctors, early check ups, or even advancements in technology, no, most of the benefits come from people living a healthy life.

    Simple things like walking or biking to work, avoiding large amounts of meat, and staying within your weight limits add several years to your lifespan. Whereas medical care, even the best medical care, adds at most a couple years to your lifespan.

    The article I linked to above stated it best:

    The tiny effect of medicine found in large studies is in striking contrast to the large apparent effects we find even in small studies of other influences. For example, a 1998 Lantz, et al. study in the Journal of the American Medical Association of 3,600 adults over 7.5 years found large and significant lifespan effects: a three year loss for smoking, a six year gain for rural living, a ten year loss for being underweight, and about fifteen year losses each for low income and low physical activity (in addition to the usual effects of age and gender).

    In other words, Cuba’s secret to decent healthcare is not in their doctors (how could it be, its economy is in shambles), no, its in the fact that Cuba is such a poor country. People have to ride their bike or walk to work. They are forced to keep their weight down (too poor to get fat), and overall they cant afford to do all of the things that make us unhealthy.

    But that doesn’t mean Cuba is the model we should follow.

    Jon,

    I dont think any economist, left or right, would argue that the United States has a true “free market” healthcare system. Not with the HUGE third party payments going on. But that doesn’t mean that under a true free market healthcare system we wouldnt have the market failure of the poor not being able to pay for health insurance.

  • My problem, HP, is that opponents of Obama Care when they argue like to contrast it with free market care. That’s not a fair comparison. We don’t have free market care. The comparison should be between our crony capitalist system with its unsustainable costing path that is leaving millions with limited access and a crappy socialist plan that will result in waits in some cases and reduced improvement in technology rates. Both suck, which is why I don’t get too fired up about Obama’s plans.

  • Obama’s stated healthcare plan has two mutually exclusive goals: greater coverage and reduced cost. Although that is his stated goal, his current policy push is just for more coverage – he fully admits, through the CBO, that his healthcare plan is going to increase costs.

    So from that perspective, Obama healthcare critics are correct in criticizing his plan in comparison to a psuedo status quo free market healthcare system. After all, Obama does plan to make our healthcare system more socialist, more expensive, and overall inefficient.

  • I say that the crony capitalist costing structure is the #1 problem with our system. We’re paying 4x what a lot of other countries pay and our care isn’t 4x better. Actually our care is worse according to WHO. If Obama isn’t addressing that then what the heck is the point?

    Perhaps he’s saying he expects short term cost increases due to the expanded coverage, but long term cost savings as the costs don’t go up 3x the rate of inflation as we have now. I mean, for crying out loud, we spend twice what France spends and they have the best care in the world. Seems any new plan would have to do better than what we currently have as far as costing.

  • But that is the point, Obama isn’t even claiming his currently proposed healthcare reform will reduce costs. In fact, he admits that his healthcare proposal will wind up costing more – in the short term and in the long term. He is currently focusing on coverage, not costs.

    In fact, because of the very large outcry from Republicans and the public at large at the costs of his healthcare proposal, he is now trying to make his healthcare proposal deficit neutral, meaning that it doesn’t add to the current cost but it also doesn’t reduce it in anyway.

    But the Democrats cant even get that. As of today, they are trying to pass a bill that “only” adds 1 trillion or so to already high healthcare costs.

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