Economics

The U.S. House of Presumptuous Meddlers

The folly of health care "reform"

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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. 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. 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. 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.

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.

John Stossel will soon host Stossel on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of Give Me a Break and of Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity.

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  1. What, I’m the first guy on here?

    Well, I agree with you, John, but I have to admit you seem to be repeating yourself at this point. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when criticizing a government stuck on stupid.

  2. OF TOPIC!

    Seriosuly, they are titled DAILY BRICKBATS!!! Not weekly, not bi-annually, not sequecentennial. DAILY!!! I can not make it through my day without them. FLOG THE INTERN!!!! (last time I bitched about this the intern poilitly informed me that it is not his responsibility to handle the brickbats…I still hold him responsible.)

    GET ME SOME CHEESY POOFS!

  3. On TPOIC!

    I like JOhn Stossel…and I bet Ayn Rand would too (Complying with the rules of the year

    You got a drink named STEVE?!?

  4. John Stossel is so $$$$$.

  5. Cue inane comment from Warren. Blargh, Faux Noise, rawrg.

  6. I especially enjoyed the reference from Thomas Sowell.

    This week, Camille Paglia also has some very good arguments against the House bill. A good read if you skip the first few paragraphs about how great she thinks Nancy Pelosi is.

    1. Let me guess, she meant “great” in the sense of “influential” much as Hitler was “great” in the sense that he certainly had a profound influence on all the world. (That’s why he got that “man of the year” cover on Time; they never said that distinction was for the person with the most beneficial influence, just the most influence. I’ve had to explain this to a few outraged people who thought they were commending him with that cover.)

  7. Stossel continues to tow fox’s lion.

    1. I don’t wanna be towed! Gimme some red meat, ya pathetic vegitarians! Rawwwr!

  8. Caption: “And then I totally frogged Reid right in the arm. Pussy started crying. What a fag.”

    1. Reid drives a really loud Harley?

      1. You have no idea how hard it was for him to find a vocal twink named Harley.

  9. It’s absolutely pathetic that we can’t even discuss the obvious fact that a system harmed by massive government intervention and regulation (at the state and federal levels) is not going to be improved by even more government involvement.

    There is no rational justification for this bullshit. None. If we want to improve healthcare or make health insurance cheaper, we need more competition, not less. Open the door to increased competition in health insurance, deregulate at least the more bureaucratic aspects of healthcare regulation. Get government out of the insurance and medical services business.

    Dammit.

    1. Pro
      I’ve said before I can’t buy this argument. Yes, we have government intervention in our health care sector. But most other nations have MORE or total involvement, and yet seem to be doing better on many measures. So it’s strange to conclude that it’s the intervention doing it…

      1. most other nations have MORE or total involvement

        Nope. Ever heard of this place called “Asia”?

        and yet seem to be doing better on many measures

        The keyword there is “seem”. Of course, if you bother to look, you can find interesting chinks in the armor of that story.

        -jcr

        1. Yeah jcr, no government involvement in, say, China…

          1. Actually, there hasn’t been much government involvement in healthcare in China, historically. They’ve only started moving that way quite recently.

      2. And those many measures are heavily influenced by non-healthcare related factors.

        1. All of them are? I’ve seen patient surveys for example…

      3. Bullshit. How are they doing better? I see horror story after horror story out of the UK and Canada. Further, people come to the US for medical treatment. The US has fantastic pre-natal care. Children that are called dead at birth in Europe, live here. We have higher rates cancer survival rates. We have nearly as long of lifespans, despite our abysmal diatary habbits, large ethnic minorities with predispositions towards alchoholism and diabetes, and our penchent for shooting each other.

        They really don’t do better on many measures.

        1. “I see horror story after horror story out of the UK and Canada”

          Can I suggest the media you see this in may be a bit, er, biased?

          I mean really, if it were the horrorshow the right media makes it out to be why don’t the voters vote it out of existence?

          1. Because nothing really ever goes away when it comes to government. Maybe that’s the reason to actually read 1,000 page bills before signing them. Maybe that’s why politics fueled by emotion and panic aren’t a good idea. [cough]PATRIOT Act[cough]

            1. Hey, I oppose the Patriot Act, but it certainly hasn’t caused widespread misery among most people. According to people like John nations with much more governmental intervention in their health care are in a state of amazing suffering as a result. And yet these people, who live in democracies, continue to vote into people who vow to preserve these misery inducing programs.

              It’s amazing people believe such nonsense.

              1. Do you remember when joe used t harp about the superiority of the French system? Remember why he stopped? The success of French healthcare is because you aren’t a citizen if your grandfather wasn’t. Think about the strain on the French system if they had to treat every immigrant in their system.

                Small, homogeneous, relatively healthy and graying populations are always going to have better health stats than chaotic, non-homogeneous America. It’s apples and oranges to compare them.

              2. “Hey, I oppose the Patriot Act, but it certainly hasn’t caused widespread misery among most people.”

                That’s not the way it works.

                The loss of civil liberties causes narrowly-focused, intense misery on a small number of extremely unfortunate people.

          2. Because it is so easy to kill off a social program. Everyone knows Social Security is a loopy way to pay for retirement and threatens to bankrupt the country, why haven’t we just voted it out of existence.

            Further, the horror stories I see are out of the UK papers not “right wing American” ones. It is not just a few anicdotes. There are hundreds of horrific stories about filthy hospitals, people left to die, horrendus wait lists and so forth. Too many for them to be dismissed as anicdotal evidence.

            Moreover, socialism and central planning has failed miserably in every other sector of the economy. Would you want a socialized computer industry or steel industry? What reason is there to beleive that it won’t be a disaster in healthcare just like it has been a disaster in medicalcare?

            1. We haven’t voted SS out because most people rely on it faithfully…Try again.

              1. Yeah. But everyone knows it is a bad idea. You can’t say that something is good just because we haven’t voted it out of existence.

                And of course even if they like their socialized medicine, good for them. Maybe they would rather have long lines and lousy service in return for not having to directly pay for it. That is their choice. But it doesn’t mean it is the right choice for us. And it doesn’t mean that it is a choice that doesn’t come with some serious downsides.

              2. I think people like it because they haven’t known anything else. It’s not about the market and mutual funds (I’d be fine it is was just a literal lockbox,) but it’s a transfer payment from the working to all the retired, regardless of income or savings. If SS was viciously means tested and a program for seniors in poverty, I’d have much less problem with it than I do with this fantasy that’s it’s some bank account you pay into for retirement.

                Guess what. If you die at 63, your widow gets all the money in your bank account. SS? Poof. Maybe a payout for a housewife and a tiny amount of money for a funeral.

                1. I hate the new tiny text box. It exaggerates my already astounding ability to not type for shit.

                2. You nailed it. That is exactly what happened to my dad. Died at 63 before collecting a dime of SS. My mom got a $250 burial check and now gets a WHOLE $50 a month from his SS. YEP FIFTY FUCKING DOLLARS A MONTH for putting into HIS LOCK BOX for over 40 years! It is fucking THEFT plain and simple. If you came to my house and took that kind of money I would shoot you dead without hesistation.

                  So how are we supposed to pass on wealth if we are not allowed to save in our own accounts that can be inherited by our families in these events? Had this been invested money or savings my family would have inherited it. But now it is going to pay for people milking the system.

                  Makes one tempted to take the $250 and go buy a 12 gauge and a couple boxes of shells and head to the SS office. Then you just toss down the shotgun and the government will then spent $40000+ a year to take care of you. More than you ever would have got out of them in SS.

                  SS needs to go NOW! Ponzi scheme is a understatement for SS. And then I read Pelosi the witch says after passing the House Bill that today they make history with the likes of SS and Medicare. How do you compare your newest fucking disaster with two that have already proven to be disasters and need of fixing with a straight face? Congrats Nancy you just passed another fucking blackhole of money for government to hold over our heads. Bravo you worthless whore!

                  1. Dee, this is awesome.

                  2. Social security was never meant to be a savings plan, it’s social insurance.

                    1. Behold. The bad faith argument in action.

                    2. I guess your response to Dee would be “You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelette”? $50 per month doesn’t seem like a great insurance payout after you’ve paid in $50-$100K. Go ahead an let her know how glad she should be that her father’s money went to someone who probably barely/never paid into the system, but of course “needed” the money more than her family did. I guess she’s the immoral one because she’s concerned about her own family? I really would like to see what attempt at a reply to her post you could make. I for one would feel no moral qualms about telling someone they need to work for their living. Do you feel any qualms about telling someone that it’s fair that their hard work should benefit someone else?

                      Cheers!

              3. And that’s the problem, in a nutshell. Social programs create a class of dependents, who can be relied upon to never vote against their own personal interest.

                The reason SS hasn’t been voted out is because senior citizens (the recipients of that handout) vote in larger numbers than the young. Same thing goes for Medicare.

                1. “a class of dependents”

                  That’s what you call people too old to work?

                  1. That’s what I would call people who didn’t properly prepare for the time when they became too old to work, because the government would just take care of them. Fuck off, twat.

                    1. Yeah fuck ’em. They deserve to die because they didn’t have a savings plan.

                      Libertarianism is the most moral political philosophy possible!!!

                  2. Anybody who needs a handout is a member of the dependent class, yes. If you can provide for yourself, either through work or savings, then that label wouldn’t apply to you.

                  3. I know someone who was living off of a combination of social security and welfare for a couple of years collected because of a back injury (she is younger than me so early 20’s). Using that money she bought a house, a couple of dogs, a couple of cats, and never got a job because she was “too depressed.” She is now living off of a husband.

          3. Hawaii used to have universal child health care.

            Care to guess why that is no longer true?

          4. The data are clear. US health care has the best outcomes.

            I mean really, if it were the horrorshow the right media makes it out to be why don’t the voters vote it out of existence?

            How shall they do that?

            Hell most Americans are against this bill and they are going to pass it anyway.

            Most Americans were against the bailouts and they passed it anyway.

        2. “habbits”

          Are these sort of like Hobbits?

          1. No. It was bait for you. I figured you were too stupid to respond to the substance of the point. So, I felt sorry for you and gave you something, spelling, you could talk about.

            1. Hey John ease down solider. I figured since you’re misinformed and outmatched here I would just have a little light-hearted fun with your spelling. Don’t have a cow…

              1. MNG obviously has no relevant point to make…

                1. What is a “solider”?

                  1. Misspelling in a post criticizing misspelling is gold.

        3. Then look at some other country than the UK or Canada. There are a couple dozen more. Try Japan….all your standard gripes do not apply.

          And its not like you can’t find an infinite variety of horror stories from the US. The plural of “anecdotes” is not “data”.

          Btw, we have very high cancer MORTALITY rates compared to most countries. I don’t know about you, but I would rather learn about my cancer at 63 and die at 67 than learn about it at 60 and die at 65. Our lifespan is pathetic compared to most advanced nations, but somehow magically becomes as good as almost anybody’s if we manage to make it to 65…when Medicare kicks in. It’s gotta be a coincidence.

          1. Japan isn’t all that rosy a picture either. I spent a great deal of my adult life in Japan (13 years), and I still have a number of connections there. I would definitely give the edge to American health care, and I’ve been around both systems enough to have a fairly educated opinion on the matter. When you look below the surface, there are is a lot of fiscal crunching going on in their system. Doctors get paid a pittance (comparatively), most of the literature I’ve read from Japanese medical leadership has pointed to a severe brain drain being caused by this problem. Japanese patients are much more willing to follow doctors orders (almost OCD really) than their American counterparts. The Japanese are not very litigious, so there isn’t a huge push in costs due to malpractice premiums and frivolous lawsuits. They are fairly unburdened by military defense costs due to the US presence. Even with all of their benefits, benefits which the US does not enjoy BTW, their cost of care is rising and anecdotaly, there seems to be a growing dissatisfaction with the quality of care. Their system would be a catastrophe if enacted in the US. It’s getting close to a catastrophe there.

            It’s pretty amusing to me how many Americans go to Japan and immediately start on a “America should do it the Japanese way” rampage. I would warn anyone of this mindset that you don’t know them as well as you think you do.

            1. You are right. We overpay our doctors, and thereby brain-drain other countries. Doctors in Japan do not get paid “a pittance”. They make as much as other professionals, unlike ours, who make substantially more even after you factor in the loans. Our family doctors actually get paid reasonably fairly. It is the specialists who are making 2-3 times that who are overpaid. This can be confirmed by the fact that virtually all medical students are trying to become specialists nowadays.

              The Japanese have very strong centralized cost-control from top to bottom, and it works. If you are one of the vampire squids with your blood funnel stuck into the marrow of our health care system, then yes, adopting the Japanese system would be bad for you. On the other hand, this also implies that your opinion on the matter is hopelessly biased and should be largely ignored.

              Costs and dissisfaction are rising here, as well, so your anecdotes aren’t very useful. Also, the argument of “If we weren’t subsidizing their military, they wouldn’t be be free to spend less on health care” doesn’t make any sense at all.

              Japan isn’t perfect, but their health care system is better than ours by almost every measure you can come up with. Their transit system is infinitely more rational than ours, too. Sometimes Americans just have to admit that we ain’t number one in everything all the time, and therefore can learn from those who are beating us.

              1. Japanese people wait an average of 3 hours to see their doctors for an average of 3 minutes. So much for “standard gripes do not apply”. Not a sytem I’m eager to adopt.

                Also, pointing at the Japanese system as awesome while acknowledging the UK’s and Canada’s suckiness is silly. You think it will be so easy for us to do things the Japanese way? Why aren’t the UK and Canada doing things the Japanese way, if it is so easy to model? Which system do you think we would be likely to be more simliar to? Yet again the “if only we had the right people running it” argument.

                1. Actually, the House bill is closer to the Swiss or the Japanese than Canada or UK, so they make much better comparisons.

                  Of course, the House bill is still far to the right of anything any of these nations have.

                  1. Sounds like Chad should move to one of these countries and try it out for himself.

                    I know plenty of people From the UK, Canada, and Japan. They think we are stupid for trying to pass a single payer health care system in the US. Which is Obama’s goal. We need to reform health care-dont get me wrong-but the numbers dont lie. In the UK alone 60,000 came to the US for treament in 2006, by the end of this year the prediciton is 70,000 , and by 2010 experts predict 200,000 will travel abroad for procedures they are not allowed to receive. Even our current system is better than their single payer system. They are laughing at us!

          2. I don’t know about you, but I would rather learn about my cancer at 63 and die at 67 than learn about it at 60 and die at 65.

            Then you should leave alone. There is no place you are more likely to survive cancer than the US.

            Here’s some facts as opposed to your made up crap.

            Survival rates: Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States, and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom. Prostate cancer mortality is 604% higher in the U.K. and 457% higher in Norway. The mortality rate for colorectal cancer among British men and women is about 40 percent higher.

            In Canada, breast cancer mortality is 9 percent higher, prostate cancer is 184 percent higher and colon cancer mortality among men is about 10 percent higher than in the United States.

      4. I question the statistics. Given the known problems with doctor’s and nurses shortages in Canada, I find it unlikely that they are going to do better on measures of disease survival rates and possibly life expectancy. Perhaps the statistics take into account the fact that Canadians go to the US for private health care in extremities.

        Also, we’ve heard of the UK system that eases the elderly into a “natural” death, so how could their life expectancy be higher?

        Perhaps the statictical differences are due to things other than medical quality, such as immigration rates (we have a large immigrant population from poorer nations) or obesity (product of having lots of cheap food available).

        1. As I’ve said I’ve seen the US whooped even on patient survey measures, asking them what they thought about the quality of the care, how well they were treated at visits, etc.

          1. Maybe Europeans are just used to worse service. Maybe satisfaction to them is merely a nurse that doesn’t jerk a catheter out.

            Or maybe if you are stuck in even a bad system, you acclimatize to it. Find a new normal.

            1. That’s not a bad point. It’s better than “they are all lying.”

            2. I’ve heard that a common sentiment in countries with universal healthcare is that people don’t mind the alleged inconveniences (long lines, etc.) as long as it’s equally inconvenient for everyone regardless of wealth.

              1. As long as we are equally poor and screwed, things are fine. No thanks.

              2. If you think that’s a good thing, go fuck yourself Tony.

                1. I think it’s a good thing that people in other advanced countries feel that healthcare is a right everyone should enjoy. It will also be a good thing when people in this country join the rest of civilization.

                  1. I’m a Canadian, and I firmly opposed to our gov’t run universal care system.

                    I’ve had a mix of good and bad experiences with the system… but I know I’m not getting nearly my money’s worth for the taxes I’m paying.

                    As far as health-care goes, I’d be far better off moving to the US and paying for my own insurance. In fact I’d seriously consider making the move if your country wasn’t such an economic basket-case.

                    1. Well, you could come to the US, pay 50% more, and get similar care…if your insurer decides to pay, and if you don’t get laid off, and if your boss decides that its just too damned expensive and drops your coverage.

                      Sounds great, eh?

                  2. Healthcare is not a right as it requires the coercion of others (ie. doctors, nurses, ect…)

              3. The “lines” issue is a red herring. There are countries with socialized systems with shorter lines than we have. Japan blows us away, in fact. Hell, you don’t even really need an appointment…just show up.

              4. It’s “alleged” inconveniences, yet you stand behind the anecdotes saying that the “alleged” inconveniences are accepted.

                I believe you. Of course people are willing to die in line so long as the rich have to die in line too.

                Except the rich don’t of course.. they fly to the US.

                Tony you’re pathetically illogical.

            3. Daniel Hannan, the British MEP who rails against the NHS, says that discontent with the system is higher among people who have lived somewhere else. People who don’t know any different than “come back in 9 months for your routine surgery” don’t object to it as much.

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5vSkpIFByk

          2. Americans expect more. I would imagine if you went to sub saharan Africa and set up a clinic where there had never been one, the people there would be estatic with the care. Does that mean that the care was better than what we get here? Those surveys have limited value.

        2. We also drive a lot more than in most contries so we have higher deaths from car accidents. Furthermore, for whatever reason (i’ll leave this to the sociologists), we have a propensity to shoot each other more and therefore our homicide rate is higher than in most western countries. If you adjust for just these two items (never mind our horrible eating habits), we have the highest life expectency in the world.

          1. I doubt Tony or MNG will respond to your debate-winning post. Nothing imposes silence in a statist like cold, hard facts.

        3. He doesn’t have data. There’s a reason people come here from all over the world. We have the best outcomes. I posted some data.

      5. This reminds me of when I learned that Chicago had fewer murders–total, not per capita–than Tampa when I was in law school. That’s clearly false, so how come the statistics say that? Because the city finds way to distort the statistics. Governments lie.

        This says nothing about the other side of this, that most major biotechnological and pharmaceutical advances occur in the U.S. European socialism remains dependent on the economic engine of the U.S. Slow it down for long enough, and watch the house of cards collapse. Ditto, by the way, China, which is quite dependent on our consumption.

        1. So any difference that does not break in the US favor are LIES, the other governments are just lying, that’s it…

          There was probably something at law school that dealt with that type of reasoning too Pro…

          1. One thing no socialist can explain: why does government healthcare work better than the free-market. Explain the principles behind your belief.

            1. Because the market doesn’t necessarily reward cheap, good, or universal access to healthcare. Government can direct resources in an ends-based way. But you have to believe that access to healthcare is a right (therefore a proper end for government to pursue) and not a commodity to be bought like a TV.

              1. If health care access is a right, then what are the limitations to that right?

                After all, freedom of speech is recognized as a right, and yet it does not extend to a right to commit perjury.

              2. How do you know that the market doesn’t reward “cheap, good and universal access” to healthcare? Any evidence. We don’t have anything approaching a market right now, so you can’t possibly look at our current system as an example.

                By the way, your argument can be applied to any life-sustaining service or good. You are arbitrarily deciding that the market can’t provide something that all people deserve. But if an individual can’t pay anything close to the cost of a service or good, then the market is failing? How so? Not everyone can afford housing. Should the government dictate all housing prices? Can’t you see the efficiency is such an approach. What makes you thing that a centralized authority can better allocate resources than millions of individuals on their own? WHat makes that centralized authority so much better?

                In the end, your argument is anti-liberty and anti-humanity. You are mistaking naturally occuring inequities that can be “taken care of” through charity with market failure. The truth is that the market, through competition, incentives and self-correction will do the best job of allocating the scarce resources of health care. That won’t mean everyone in the world gets the best care for free. That outcome is impossible and a fantasy.

                1. In the end, your argument is anti-liberty and anti-humanity.

                  In the end Tony doesn’t care about liberty or humanity – he just doesn’t want anyone to have more of anything than he does. Just a dog in the manger.

                  1. No, we simply reject your narrow, self-serving and childish concept of liberty.

                2. Because nowhere in the history of the planet has the market spontaneously produced cheap, good, universal healthcare. What has produced it in every advanced country but this one is some form of government provision.

                  Some life-saving treatments will always be too expensive for some people. The market will never make it so that everyone can afford every treatment that they may randomly need.

                  Now how about you offer an argument how the magical market WILL provide this end, rather than just assuming it a priori and expecting me to do so as well?

                  I want a society in which human beings do not have to worry about being bankrupted by medical procedures that they have no choice in getting. To me, that is not just more concern for humanity, but also represents much more freedom.

                  1. Tony, a libertarian believes that a lone man trying desparately to catch rats and bugs on a desert island is much more free than, say, a Wall Street tycoon, because the tycoon has to pay taxes. Don’t you get it? Don’t you see how the tycoon’s “negative” rights are being infringed, but the islander’s are not? Don’t you realize that negative rights are the only ones that matter?

              3. Health care is not a right. If you think it is, I’d bet we could manage a nice free lead pill for you to swallow, cockroach.

                1. But, but, but, the UN SAID IT WAS@!$!%

              4. But the market DOES reward cheap, good and universal access to healthcare procedures not covered by insurance (and therefore outside their regulatory realm) like Lasik and plastic surgery. Even in the world of veterinary medicine, the market rewards access to cheap, good and universal care. How many people have health insurance for the members of the family that bark or meow?

                Our position is not one not so much based on “belief that healthcare is a right”, but rather the empirical knowledge that access to markets where goods and service providers are forced to compete with each other instead of collude with each other lowers cost and more equally distributes wealth than any centrally planned system.

                Is access to such a system also not a right?

                1. Joe H,

                  You’re making my argument for me. Lasik and plastic surgery are elective procedures. You have a choice to get them. When getting necessary medical procedures, nobody chooses, and certainly not rationally. You just get what you need, and since life is more important than money, the normal rules of supply and demand are completely distorted.

                  1. So how would price controls affect health care.

                  2. what distortion? constrained supply, infinite demand = rationing.

                    Either it’s rationed through the market, using money, or it’s rationed through government, using politicians and bureaucrats.

                    I know which one I’d prefer. The market means increased supply, the government means shortages.

                  3. That’s what defenders of the status quo want people to think. But the opposite is true. The more medicine embraces competition and innovation in elective procedures, and the larger the scope of elective medicine, the more that procedures, drugs, and devices useful for urgent or emergency care can be improved, and made both more available and less expensive, by borrowing from the elective side.

                    Extending this line of reasoning suggests that making ALL of medicine as unregulated (or maybe I should say, as “un-micro-managed”) as current elective medicine would lead to the best results in terms of access to affordable quality care. On the other hand, I can understand that some people might recoil at the thought. Still, I think we would do well to back off of the throttle of government intervention, and might even benefit from putting on some real brakes to the healthcare-industry distortion process that started several decades ago. Unfortunately, the legislation working its way through Congress now does NOT take such an approach. Rather it plants a lead foot square on the accelerator and aims us toward that guard rail at the cliff’s edge.

                  4. You’re not deluded, you’re just lying. People still try to shop around, and if you’re willing to pay cash you can usually save thousands of dollars.

                    You can’t even make the argument for trauma, because in a free market people would compete to see trauma patients. When your care dies that you depend on for your livelihood in you mind all mechanics would stick it to customers ‘because they can’. Instead the market causes enough mechanics so that never happens. It works like that for food, which you will die in days without, OMG! In much shorter time than the vast majority of medical ailments. But there’s food everywhere.

              5. Throwing in “good” won’t work–no way, no how, anyone can rationally expect a government-run healthcare system to be better than what the private sector would provide. Would be a first for something like that.

                Really, “cheap” is also nonsense. It may look cheap when you go to the doctor, but someone else is going to pay, and through the nose.

                Universal is bullshit, too. To keep the system viable, the government will HAVE to exclude people and conditions from coverage. Oh, so sorry.

                1. “no way, no how, anyone can rationally expect a government-run healthcare system to be better than what the private sector would provide”

                  Unless you consult evidence instead of libertarian axioms.

                  1. Which evidence is that, Tony? How is Medicare working? Hell, how is that space station doing?

                    Bah.

                    1. Umm, Medicare is working just fine, as evidenced by the excellent health and longevity of those who manage to make it to 65 years old. The only time we really do well in international comparisons is when you look at the elderly.

                      It has got to be a coincidence…

                    2. Yeah, it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with violent crime rates, automobile accidents, drug use, smoking, alcoholism, teenage pregnancy, etc…

                    3. God bless America!

                    4. Umm, Medicare is working just fine, as evidenced by the excellent health and longevity of those who manage to make it to 65 years old.

                      Oh sure. And whenever I use all my available credit I feel really wealthy.. until the bill comes due.

                      Medicare is broke. This very bill is trying to cut funding. Let’s see how well it performs that they’ve spent all the money and have to go back to the well.

                      The only time we really do well in international comparisons is when you look at the elderly.

                      Come on Chad. You know damned well the US has the best medical outcomes. Overall mortality rates are irrelevant, and even then if you factor out murder the US is on top. What makes you think these lies will fly here?

                    5. -Medicare costs us taxpayers over $60 billion dollars for medicare fraud

                      -Medicare is going broke

                      -Health economists Regina Herzlinger of Harvard and Robert Book of the Heritage Foundation note that on a per-person basis, Medicare has higher administrative costs than private firms. They look smaller only because the average Medicare patient uses more services than the average private insurance patient

                      – under the Medicare system Dr’s are paid substantially less than it costs to treat the patients. Many provider’s are starting to want nothing to do with Medicare patients anymore.

                      With that said, it is true than many of the elderly rely on Medicare. Though many, like my sweet old grandmother, complain that they have little individual empowerment.

                      We should hang on to Medicare , but reform it to grant more patient empowerment and fix the fraud.

                      The Houses solution? cut $400 billion dollars from Medicare….ridiculous

                  2. Evidence is abundant and ubiquitous that free markets provide more, cheaper, better, and more expeditiously than managed markets.

              6. “Because the market doesn’t necessarily reward cheap, good, or universal access to healthcare”

                yeah, NOBODY would want to buy cheap good healthcare. WTF.

                “But you have to believe that access to healthcare is a right (therefore a proper end for government to pursue)”

                Free speech is a right but government doesn’t provide the speech. We have the right to own guns but government doesn’t provide the guns.

                Your reasoning is poor. Please think harder about the issue. You need to go beyond just thinking “everyone should have health care”. Think about what that means and how to do it.

              7. You can’t have a right to a service or a product unless you have a right to take the product or force someone to provide the service.

                You cannot have those rights without a reciprocal right to steal and enslave.

                Because the market doesn’t necessarily reward cheap, good, or universal access to healthcare.

                And why is that? It that works for markets that government doesn’t intervene so massively. It worked before the government got involved. The mortgage market was fine before the government got involved. Hmm..

          2. Of course, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m just exercising some skepticism about how great government-run anything is when it’s the governments that are telling me that. Surely that’s not an irrational position to take.

            Anecdotally, everyone I’ve ever spoken to who has dealt with U.S. and various versions of (more) socialized medicine have preferred medical service in the U.S., hands down. Really, if you dig into the concerns of Americans about healthcare, it’s not about the medication, treatments, or doctors, it’s about the insurance–both the costs and the bureaucracy. Insurance is insanely regulated, with virtually insurmountable barriers to entry at the state level. Open the door to more competition, and premiums will tend to go down, as is usual when supply increases.

            1. The big question that has yet to be answered is why do we need insurance in the first place.

              People do not need insurance to buy food, clothes, water, or electricity.

              The reason people need health insurance is because the cost of health care is insanely high. If we had price controls on health care…

              1. You know, my food, clothing, water, and electric bills have never randomly spiked into the six figures, either. Indeed, they exhibit either almost no volatility, or easily-predicted seasonal fluctuations.

                1. That’s because they are more or less uncontrolled by the Govt. Look to the Soviet example to see how Govt. interference in those markets works out. Don’t stand on that 6 figure number either. Even 2 figures leads to starvation if you don’t have $10 for food, and it can go to 6 figures if there’s more money than food in the economy.

                2. Exactly Chad.

                  And the parts of the health care market that aren’t subject to such government intervention doesn’t exhibit that volatility or inflation.

              2. The best price controls are provided by competition and innovation. What we need is AFFORDABLE health care so we won’t need insurance any more than we do for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, etc. Prior government interventions (on several levels and from several directions) have distorted the health care industry and the prices charged for medical goods and services. Most of the interventions serve to stifle competition and innovation. They are sold to the people on the theory that intervention (regulation, licensing, etc.) is needed to protect the people from quackery, other forms of fraud, and shoddy manufacturing. But the end result of these “protective measures” is inevitably to restrict supply of providers, drugs, devices, and new innovations. Restricted supply — especially as demand increases — leads to higher prices. In a true free market, restricted supply of some product or service would inspire others to make that product or service available, or to develop acceptable, even popular alternatives to it. But because of the many regulatory hurdles that stand in the way of such alternatives, we get stuck with the unsatisfactory and ever more expensive status quo for a lot longer than necessary.

        2. that is another point… we essentially subsidize most of the other government systems in the world by paying for the fixed costs of R&D and then the other countries only pay for the marginal costs. If we had a system like Europe’s you can kiss global medical technology advancement goodbye.

        3. This reminds me of when my cousin’s body was found decapitated & dismembered in Thailand. The Thai police claimed it was a suicide, because high murder rates discourage tourism.

      6. Measures that aren’t directly related to the health care system.

      7. Any measure, except things like cancer survival rates, ect….

        1. Stop being obtuse. This was explained above. When one sets all factors equal (i.e., adjust for automotive deaths, shootings, etc.), then the US has a longer life expectancy than the majority of those socialized medicine countries that give you wood.

        2. You’re just lying. And it’s too easy for people to look it up.

          But don’t worry, you have no credibility to lose.

      8. Ah your naivete in this thread amuses me.

        First off, the United States government has more pages of legislation regulating health care than any other government in the world – including single-payer and government-provided systems. It’s a giant clusterfuck that adds huge amounts of administrative overhead and red tape to every imaginable procedure, along with massive liabilities. The difference between this and other countries is that our regulations are designed to build and reinforce a couple massive corporatist cartels, rather than provide better, cheaper health care. Regardless of whether you “think” that healthcare is a “right” (note intentional quotes), our system needs less, not more regulation.

        Second, “why don’t the voters vote it out of existence” – that’s really cute. No rant for that one, I just find it adorable that you believe in an intelligent democratic process like that. Why didn’t they vote Stalin out of office in Russia? Ahahaha.

        I’ll leave you with this: AAA.

    2. It’s absolutely pathetic that we can’t even discuss the obvious fact that a system harmed by massive government intervention and regulation (at the state and federal levels) is not going to be improved by even more government involvement.

      I discuss it all the time. What’s stopping you?

      -jcr

      1. I don’t mean you and me. I mean they who pass bills.

    3. Increased competition in the insurance industry would no doubt be a good thing. But, still, the business of insurance is to collect as many dollars in premiums as possible and pay out as little as possible.

      Insurance policies arguably work as market commodities. Healthcare, however, doesn’t. Either you believe that people should have access to healthcare regardless of their ability to pay or you believe that people with more money deserve more and better healthcare for that fact alone.

      1. So, Tony, how exactly do you plan to provide all of this healthcare and make money no longer an object without either bankrupting the govenrment or rationing care based on government preference?

        Yes, Bill Gates gets better healthcare than I do. But he gets a lot of other things that I don’t get to. It generally sucks to be me rather than Bill Gates. But that is not going to change. The question is how do you want to ration healtchcare by money or by bureaucracy? I will take money.

        1. John, I suspect that Bill Gates has worked a lot harder and more than you in the last 30 years. I mean this as no disrespect to you.

          1. True enough. I am not saying Bill Gates doesn’t deserve it. Just the opposite. I would rather take my chances with money than with government.

        2. Yachts and mountain mansions are not necessary to life. Healthcare is. And the neat thing is it’s a proven fact that universal government-run healthcare systems work more cheaply than the market-based system we have. That means more wealth for individuals, more tax dollars for government administration, and more universal access to healthcare. Really the only rational reason to oppose it is if you happen to work for an industry that profits from the status quo.

          1. And the neat thing is it’s a proven fact that universal government-run healthcare systems work more cheaply than the market-based system we have.

            Are you even capable of arguing in good faith. Yes, we just want to swim in our gold vaults while and laugh at all of the poor people dying in the streets. And you support terrorism because you oppose the PATRIOT Act. Healthcare is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country. Goverment picks up the tab on about 60% of medical costs. Calling it market-based is hilarious.

            1. Okay, I can’t type today. Trying again:

              Are you even capable of arguing in good faith? Yes, we just want to swim in our gold vaults and laugh at all of the poor people dying in the streets. And you support terrorism because you oppose the PATRIOT Act.

              Healthcare is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country. Goverment picks up the tab on about 60% of medical costs. Calling it market-based is hilarious.

          2. “it’s a proven fact that universal government-run healthcare systems work more cheaply than the market-based system we have”

            Like Medicare!

            Oh, wait?

            “more tax dollars for government administration”

            And this is a good thing because?

          3. You havn’t actually answered the question:

            “how exactly do you plan to provide all of this healthcare and make money no longer an object without either bankrupting the govenrment or rationing care based on government preference? “

            1. By not believing every scare story that Frank Luntz manufactures for you?

              You guys don’t have a leg to stand on because every other advanced country does healthcare better than us. So you just make shit up.

              1. Then why do people from other countries come to the U.S. for healthcare they can’t get in a timely fashion in their own countries?

          4. Yachts and mountain mansions are not necessary to life. Healthcare is.

            Yes, and most of the necessities of life are not free – they have to be produced. I don’t care to spend my time producing them for others – certainly not for a miserable thief or beggar like you. If you can’t produce your own, you can do without – you know, like honest people do.

            1. Cuz in the final analysis, Tony, it isn’t necessary for you to live.

          5. universal government-run healthcare systems work more cheaply than the market-based system we have.

            Our system is market-based like movies are based on true stories.

          6. You can’t live without food. Do you suggest that the government feed everyone?

            The primary problem with your position is this: most “healthcare” comes in the form of services provided by individuals (doctors, surgeons, nurses, etc.). These services represent their labor. If you believe that “healthcare” is some sort of right, then you necessarily believe that individuals have the right to take freely the labor of other individuals.

            If you truly believe that, please send me an email. I need you to come over today to fix my septic tank.

            1. If we had a problem of mass starvation, then yes I’d suggest the government do something about it. We do have a problem with mass lack of access to healthcare.

              Believing healthcare to be a right is not a fringe view; it’s held by the citizens of practically every advanced country in the world.

              Do you believe people should die sooner simply because they’re poorer? If so, fine, but don’t tell me yours is a morally superior position.

              1. Which health care? And to what extent?

                Vaccinations? Penicillin? Lasik? Coronary bypasses? Cyborg technology?

                1. Well I’m a socialist so I’m for common funding of mitigation of as many inequalities that exist in nature as we can find. A more meaningful question from my perspective is what absurd disparities in individual wealth should society tolerate.

                  Healthcare is easy. It’s not radical. It’s the status quo of advanced societies. You guys want most people to be poor as inevitably results from a laissez-faire market and then you want the more numerous poor people to die sooner because you don’t think they deserve healthcare.

                  1. Your assumptions are all wrong.

                    What is the laissez-faire market? It is simply allowing humans to act in their own self-interest to create relationships of one type or the other with other free people. This is a bad thing? In your mind people should be controlled by a centralized authority? That will somehow create better outcomes?

                    Forget the fact that liberty is an end unto itself, but to think that after looking at all of the history of mankind, you hypothize the subjugation of individual liberty will lead to misery and that a centralized-authority will create a better world is contrary to human experience. How does that work? Why can government create better outcomes than free individuals? Did you ignore the friggin 20th century?

                    1. Having a mixed economy that provides some social safety nets is not the same thing as authoritarian communism.

                    2. Problem exists, government goes in to fix the problem, government creates 1/2 dozen unintended/unforeseen problems, many of which don’t manifest till later. Government goes in to fix the problem, government creates 1/2 dozen unintended/unforeseen problems, many of which don’t manifest till later…

                      Having a mixed economy leads down this path. We grow comfortable with the social nets when things are going good, but they have shown a disturbing tendency to disappear when they are really needed most. A prop that breaks apart just as you lean on it is worse than having no prop at all.

                      You may claim that the US will never get as bad as Soviet Russia, but I have to ask…What exactly will apply the breaks to the cycle? How will we know we’ve gone to far? Exactly what is the tipping point from Liberty to Servitude?

                      The Soviets, the Chinese, the North Koreans all went down their paths with the best of intentions. Their leaders saw the world was unfair, and felt they had solutions. None of them woke up in the morning and looked in the mirror saying “wow, I’m one evil son of a bitch!” They didn’t go into the plan intending to subjugate their people, they were just trying to help. The problem was, the people just didn’t know what was good for them. When guidance doesn’t work, then force must. Once the people understand that this is going to help everyone, then the force could be turned off. Some people may buy that crap, but it’s been sold in the past and hasn’t worked for the buyer’s yet.

                      Cheers!

                    3. But the part that you want to “fix” would be truly socialized.Why does that work better than liberty, free markets, etc.

                    4. Having a mixed economy that provides some social safety nets is not the same thing as authoritarian communism.

                      Exactly that’s why you aren’t content with merely subsidizing the poor. That doesn’t get to authoritarian communism quick enough.

                    5. It IS a bad thing when the relationships are dysfunctional. In the case of health insurance, they clearly are. This is why everyone on earth but us has long since moved on and created a better system.

                    6. How and why is health insurance dysfunctional? It doesn’t work because of massive government intervention. We have a half socialized system right now. The socialized part works against the non-socialized part. The non-socialized part is heavily regulated to the point that it in no way functions as a free market. But your solution is to get government more involved?

                    7. This is why everyone on earth but us has long since moved on and created a better system.

                      Better as in people die more often when sick. So better in killing people.

                      America has had a history of not emulating the failed institutions of the rest of the world. Monarchy, socialism, fascism, all these forms of collectivism we have rejected and have reaped prosperity as a result.

                      Unfortunately Keynes offered the solution to the statists.. we can borrow and provide the ‘benefits’ of collectivism without perceiving the costs immediately. It’s slower but the result is the same. The plutocrats get control.

                  2. So everyone is entitled to all the health care they need to stay perfectly healthy?

                    Here is a hint: perfect health is not necessary for life. Diabetics are capable of living without cloned Islets of Langerhans. Quadriplegics are perfectly capable of living without cybernetic spinal implants or prosthetic limbs.

                    1. And derivatives traders can live perfectly well without 5 houses.

                    2. Good thing nobody is advocating government funded housing for derivatives traders.

                    3. So then the government should not buy houses for derivative traders?

                    4. And derivatives traders can live perfectly well without 5 houses.

                      Then stop supporting the command economy that caused that.

              2. That a majority of people believe something to be true has little bearing on whether it is, in fact, true.

          7. Which health care?

            Do quadriplegics really need cyborg technology? Do nearsighted really need Lasik?

          8. So is food and waters…

          9. Yachts and mountain mansions are not necessary to life.

            They are if you build yachts or mansions.

            But better there be no rich and we all work in the rice paddies.

            I don’t care about the rich. The only way they can get me to do stuff is pay me. I like that.

            Government just sends guys with guns.

        3. Tony, Chad and our other token liberal friends don’t seem to realize that if you are unsatisfied with something due to your inability to pay for it in a free market, you always have the option of finding a way to make more money. On the other hand, if you are unsatisfied with something controlled by a bloated, unresponsive, impersonal and small-minded bureaucracy, you’re basically shit out of luck…

      2. You sentences make no sense. People who can’t pay equals charity. If you are arguing for charity, make that argument, but don’t muddle it up with bs about private health insurance not working.

      3. Actually, increased competition will do jack diddly squat in the vast majority of places. Margins are thin as it is.

        The problem is not lack of competition but rather that all of the choices are broken. The insurance industry is not making too much money, and insurers are amoral just like all other corporations. The problem lies in the total and complete market failures that exist in this industry, which cause severe inefficiency and conflict.

        To the extent that we even have “choice”, the choice between a couple nearly-identical plans from (at best) a couple of nearly-identical insurers is all most Americans have. Such a pathetic and useless “choice” between a few steaming piles of dung is not a “choice” worth fighting or sacrificing for.

        1. “he choice between a couple nearly-identical plans from (at best) a couple of nearly-identical insurers is all most Americans have”

          Hilarious. Why is choice limited in this way? You can’t blame it on market failure.

          1. Actually you can. The reason we have our employer-based system is that it partially mitigates the adverse-selection and asymetric information market failures that muck up private health insurance.

            Of course, going to a national system completely fixes this problem, as everyone is fully insured all the time.

            1. The reason we have our employer-based system is that it partially mitigates the adverse-selection and asymetric information market failures that muck up private health insurance.

              The reason we have our employer-based system is that it partially mitigates causes the adverse-selection and asymetric information managed market failures that muck up private health insurance.

              FIFY

              Of course, going to a national system completely fixes this problem

              Oh yeah. Monopolies are wonderful.

              Just like in the credit market, health care market is jacked up by government.

              But you know that, which is why you don’t want to open the market to competition.

        2. Even assuming — for the sake of argument — you were right that “all of the choices are broken”, that would seem to be all the more reason for more, rather than less, competition.

        3. Nice fantasy, but it represents nothing about what is going on. In states that allow product variation, that havem’t banned actuarially-sound rating methodologies and aren’t over-burdened with state mandates that dictate coverage, health insurance rates are multiples lower than other places. What would really drive down the cost of health care is a free market among providers. The medical cartel must be weakened. We need more medical schools, other providers should be allowed to provide non-complex services that are within the training, drug patent lengths should be decreased while making the FDA approval process much shorter. We also need much more competition in how and where services are delivered. So-called certificate of need laws need to be abolished, so new, more effective care facilties can be built that will lower the cost of care, while expanding the amount of care available. True provider competition would greatly lower costs, and in conjunction with freer health insurance markets and charitable care, would allow access for everfy American to affordable, quality health care. The “market” as you attack it is truly a straw man since a market in health care does npot exist.

        4. Chav is deliberately being dense. He knows damn well that state mandates and regulations prevent insurance companies from offering competing plans with different levels of coverage. If they are all being forced to offer the same plan, it makes it easy for them to fix prices too.

        5. “Asymmetric information” is bullshit too. It is not a legitimate function of government to babysit dumb asses who make misinformed decisions when no actual fraud has occurred.

      4. The business is to make money, and to do that you need customers.

        What we have done is enact all sorts of mechanisms that pressure or bribe people to buy the product. This reduces competition and motivation to provide a good service.

        What you now want to do is completely force everyone to buy the product. And you expect this will make them provide a better product?

        Healthcare, however, doesn’t.

        Of course it does. And it did before we started messing around with it.

  10. Caption: And I crushed his penis with my hand, like this.

  11. Caption: Rock, paper, scissors, public option!

    1. I like this one.

    2. I like this.

      1. Public option beats rock, paper, and scissors, which ruins the game, because everyone will be forced by the rules to use the public option.

        1. If public option beats rock paper and scissors then everyone will pick public option every time. When everyone picks public option, nobody wins.

          1. Man, maybe I was wrong about Pelosi. Maybe she’s a secret libertarian, communicating this deep assault on the public option with her hands. Or maybe she had a stroke that makes her only able to communicate her libertarian ideas by hand gestures.

  12. Socialized medicine is supported by wealthy Americans who can afford brand name drugs. The US is the only market where it pays to bring new drugs to market. If the US would allow reimportation of prescription drugs, thus forcing pharmaceuticals to charge the same price everywhere, health care in CA and EU would collapse.

    1. Uh yeah… but then they’d have no reason to make new drugs. No profit in the US? AND you won’t get it anywhere else? = no sense spending on R&D!

  13. But…but…but…Europe!…Canada!…all developed countries!…it’s our moral imperative!

  14. She makes my wingle wangle.

    1. She makes my meat retreat.

      1. She made my choad growed.

  15. How well did health care reform work in Hawaii, Tennessee, Massachussetts, and Maine?

  16. Insurance policies arguably work as market commodities. Healthcare, however, doesn’t.

    More of Tony’s special brand of crypto-economics whimwham.

    1. Imagine a world where people ignored the trolls.

      1. But then what would be the point of the internet?

        1. Cat pictures and recipes. Duh.

      2. Imagine there’s no trolls
        It’s easy if you try
        No Tony below us
        Above us only Fry
        Imagine all the commenters
        Living for today

      3. If we didn’t have Tony we would be forced to invent him. Someone who is ignorant yet ignorant of that ignorance and opinionated.

        You can’t buy that.

  17. And the neat thing is it’s a proven fact that universal government-run healthcare systems work more cheaply than the market-based system we have.

    I’m convinced. How could I ever have doubted?

    1. With all the data backing it up, only a true partisan hack could ever doubt it. We pay half again more than everyone else and suffer far more risk, for health care that is merely among the best, and actual health that is much worse than most.

      1. With all the data backing it up, only a true partisan hack could ever doubt it

        There’s plenty of data and it shows the opposite. Even as hosed as the health care market is by government it still provides the best outcomes in the world.

  18. I recognize no right that can only be exercised by stealing from other people.

  19. I don’t care if it rains or freezes
    Long as as I got my plastic Jesus

  20. MNG, go read camillia. She more than adequately trashes the idea that European systems can be moved to the US with success.

  21. The business of insurance is the assumption of risk. That can’t be done if you force adverse-selection on insurers and don’t make the individual mandate strong enough to force people to buy imsurance at the inflated price.

    Health insurers actually do a good job. They have done more than any other group to keep the price of care down (provider negotiations, product design, health care management, etc.). They get attacked by know-nothings because they don’t cover fradulent claims and dish out charitable care to all-comers.

    1. They get attacked by know-nothings because they don’t cover fradulent claims and dish out charitable care to all-comers.

      That’s the whole thing in a nutshell – people want health care, but they don’t want to pay what it’s worth. They want it even if they can’t pay for it and they are willing to force someone else to pay for it. We live in a country where half the population are no better than thieves.

    2. I agree. The adverse-selection issue is at the core of the market failures related to health insurance. The market cannot solve it, but there is a simple way to do so that everyone else on earth has figured out – insure everyone all the time.

      Duh.

      1. So long as you don’t mind dying from cancer that’s a great plan.

        The adverse selection is created by government. We subsidize consumption. Of course we get more demand. That’s the point of a subsidy And we strictly control supply. Of course we get higher prices. That’s the point of a cartel

        And you would increase the subsidy to 100% and think this will somehow decrease demand or price or efficiency?

        We need to remove the barriers to competition so prices will recouple with overall inflation. Then we need to slowly devolve the subsidies for people that can afford them so we can subsidize the people that actually need it.

        And the subsidies for people that actually need them will go much further, and everyone’s health care dollar will go much further.

        And let me ask you this. If removing the barriers to competition won’t work then why are you, and every progressive, so afraid to try it?

        1. Umm, you do realize that our cancer MORTALITY rates are actually far from stellar, right?

          I see little evidence that lack of competition among insurers is a major factor in the out of controlled health care costs we face. Most states have plenty of competition.

          1. Umm, you do realize that our cancer MORTALITY rates are actually far from stellar, right?

            No, we have the best cancer survival rates in the world, period. I posted data. You can’t have avoided seeing the data. When you say stuff like this you lose credibility. And unlike Tony you have some to lose with me yet.

            We have high obesity rates too, and low malaria rates. What does this have to do with health care?

            I see little evidence that lack of competition among insurers is a major factor in the out of controlled health care costs we face. Most states have plenty of competition.

            You merely have to look at history of health care in the US. Before we started meddling doctors made little more than carpenters. You can look also at free health markets like Costa Rica’s medical tourism business.

            But I suspect you know it will help. Because I know you know it can’t hurt. And yet you reject it. So I must conclude you’re afraid it will work and obviate the draconian measures you really want.

            Intrastate competition is only part of the problem but it’s an easy one to fix. So is tort reform. Both of those are only hard politically because of the money from the lobbies. Undoing the FSMB/LCME monopolies is a bit harder.

            The last thing that needs to be done is restructure entitlements so they don’t don’t distort the market so much. Subsidize only the poor and they have to keep any funds they don’t use.

            That will fix it. We can have a safety net and it only do minimal damage to the economy, but we’d have to want to do it.

            But most progressives instead would break the system. They would rather die waiting for care so long as they know some rich guy is going to die too.

            Except of course the rich won’t be. They will be on an island resort recovering from their treatment.

            They will be waiting in vain.

            Because surely this time expanded government power will be used to help the little guy.

  22. Imagine a world where people ignored the trolls

    I’m too busy imagining a world with no threaded comments.

  23. I heard somewhere there were pictures of MNG and Tony… oh, never mind, that’s just mean and hurtful. Sorry.

  24. Looks like he has his new blog going at FOX Business:
    http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/

  25. Mr. Stossel:

    I’m sooo glad you’re writings are being posted on reason.com! You sir, are a breathe of fresh air.

    Keep up the good work!

  26. Say, about these threaded comments: If I am the father of a long subthread, does that mean I get paid for anything that generates income in that subthread?

  27. Huh, I’m no fan of Tony or socialism, but he’s surprised me with the consistency of his arguments — he can argue in a way that congressional socialists simply can’t (mostly, I suspect, because they are too stupid). And he’s managed to get the usual suspects around here all up in a lather. Good theater. Libs should welcome discussion with him…can’t live in a self-reinforcing vacuum all the time, eh?

    1. I rate them on a scale of MNG > Tony > Chad.

      1. MNG>Tony>Chad>MNG

        Fixed that. They are like some kind of sucking sound.

      2. I consider that a badge of honor, Hazel.

    2. “Libs should welcome discussion with him”

      He started posting on Reason about how libertarians should embrace socialism because we want to achieve the same thing and bullshit like that.

      1. Socialists never look at history to see that their policies result in the opposite of what they think they want.

  28. Say, about these threaded comments: If I am the father of a long subthread, does that mean I get paid for anything that generates income in that subthread?

    Pro Lib, I am your father. 😉

  29. Choice and supply can both be increased by decreasing the power of the labor union that is causing the problems-the American Medical Association.

    1. see my reply to your following mindless and uninformed comment.

  30. I have to pay one of their members a small fortune to get a permission slip to buy a two-dollar bottle of pills.

    1. Gao Xia En, you are remarkably fact-challenged. The AMA is not a labor union; it does not collectively bargain to fix the price of labor at above-market rates, under threat of strike. Rather, it lobbies to fix the price of labor at above-market rates, and doctors cannot strike for fear of anti-trust prosecution.

      The AMA is fast becoming a paper tiger, with membership declining for years, as physicians like me realize how little good it actually does for either patients or physicians.

      And for the record, I’m all for selling medications to anyone who wants them and has the cash, without a prescription. If you’re dumb enough to rush out and buy the latest erection-mending or bowel-moving medication without first asking someone who knows about the possible downside, your genes require extirpation from the pool anyway.

      Furthermore, I am all for the abolition of state licensing for physicians–really, for any occupation. Most doctors submit to board certification processes, which are a better affirmation of basic competence in a specialty anyway. I couldn’t care less if you want to have the veterinarian down the street spay your wife; just don’t come whining to me when things don’t work out and cleanup is required because you failed to do due diligence. Not that many vets couldn’t do a better job of it than several of the gyn surgeons I’ve worked with over the years….

      I realize that, ultimately, my ability to make a living as a physician has to rest on my offering something worth buying in the marketplace at a price acceptable to buyer and seller, not a government-compelled price that may or may not reflect my marketplace worth. I think things will work out fine for me, and I’d rather live in that sort of country anyway.

      1. The AMA inasmuch as the LCME and FSMB operate. Remove their provider and school licensing police powers and they would probably be a market benefit. However with those powers they are a huge problem. They don’t even represent the opinions of most physicians, right now they mainly exist to retain power.

        1. Shold have been The AMA is only a problem inasmuch as the LCME and FSMB operate.

      2. I hope to see you in the agora when the time comes that you can no longer work under the socialist yolk. I’ll be not only happy, but proud to pay a principled doctor for his services at a fair market rate.

  31. Holy crap! The fact that 200 and some odd representatives of me would think that a further intrusion into the market could possibly help matters is completely baffling. There is zero, zilch, nada, nyet historical proof to make this stick. Name an economic crisis an I or one of my brethren here can trace it back to government interference and, AND beyond that government ALWAYS x 6.02E23 makes it worse when they try and help.

    I relation to healthcare specifically, I do not want to put anyone in a position to where they can tell me that I should not have that second helping of French fries because the government is footing the bill, for my deca-bypass. If I wish to eat my self into dia-beet-us that is my god given right. The more that government is involved in health care the more they are involved in my personal day to day choices. That is an unacceptable infringement on my liberty.

    That is what this debate should be about, the relative effectiveness of any given system is irrelevant. The impact of said system on our liberty is the real issue.

  32. Universal Government run Health care is
    a bad idea!!www.pistoneforcongress.org

  33. An Analogy- Gov. Med.(GM) is similar to Gov. Motors(GM). Lets give Gov. Motors(GM) the power to design and engineer all Ford products, set the sales price, regulate the marketing and require all consumers to buy from Ford or GM on pain of a $2500 tax,or $250,000 fine if tax not paid. How long will Ford continue to exist(or Toyota/Nissan/Honda etal)

  34. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on.

  35. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane.

  36. Universal Government run Health care is
    a bad idea!!www.pistoneforcongress.org
    reply to this

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