Tuesday, July 31, 2007

health care - socialized medicine(if only it were that easy)

How wonderful would it be if healthcare was an inalienable right. In fact, if protection, preservation, and prolongation of life is the goal of civilized society, then we should as a group take care of it! It is this good-hearted mindset that has opened the floodgates for the filthy disaster that is managed healthcare.

When a person falls ill in America today without proper healthcare(which by the way, I am one of, most touring musicians don't have a health care plan), the first thing to blame is the market. This stems from the fact that someone somewhere out there started a vicious false rumour that we are in a free market health care system. The grisly truth is we haven't had a free market system in over 50 years. Its regulated, and by the government. The initial myth is that government regulation of health care will result in higher quality care. If our government was lead by a team of the worlds greatest doctors, then yes, this could be possible. However our government is run by career politicians, and lobbyists in the health care industry lobby for regulations that give them monopolies over services via certification, or government handouts to insurance companies to help them 'cover the poor'(or a number of other self serving interests). Well after years of corruption, now the system is so well regulated, that after I had heart failure at 16, I read my bill, and the insurance that I had at the time charged 45$ for a pair of rubber gloves and 9500$ for a doctor I never saw.

Why is this happening? Because I wasn't paying for it. Insurance companies are. Ergo I don't shop around, noone does. Of course this is a gross oversimplification of the process, and the problems, excluding a lot of jargon and technical language you might not know. There's a learning curve to it, but the jist rings true.

Socialized medicine is looked at by the 'michael moore' politics newbies as the way out. The problem here, is you don't have history of a functional government universal service lasting or being productive, it simply isn't possible. Socialism promotes slovenly work, and no advancement, as you can't earn more for harder work. In Canada this failed attempt to create universal socialized medicine created a schism between the public and private sectors. Private sector pays doctors handsomely, public not so much. This causes a mass exodus of skilled doctors to the private sector. Therefor, you get what you pay for. Public treatment? 6 month waiting list for an MRI. Private? Specialists on demand. The less skilled doctors work for less pay in the public sector, meaning that the "free" health care is riddled with errors and waiting lists.

Socialism is a long dead paradigm.

Recognizing that we are nowhere near a free market health care system is key, and that actually switching to one would even seem like a somewhat frightening and radical change. (albeit foolishly, as the outcome would be lower prices and better quality of care).

For example, creating super tough qualifications and laws as to who can perform which tasks causes an education wedge on the front end of the cost of healthcare. This can be done away with. I'm a fan of pretty hardline free market. Many of the tasks can be done by someone with just apprentice training. Do we really need someone having 26 years and 200,000$ worth of education to do stitches, bacterial tests and give influenza shots? The market deals with credentials via word of mouth and trade magazines. If someone goes to a clinic and comes out sick, word would spread fast that the clinic doesn't do the trick. This would quickly drive it out of business. You definately need highly trained specialists at emergency medical facilities or doctors offices, but paying 250$ to get a dr to do the test proving you have strep throat and give u a prescription is robbery. That's a 15$ test and 10$ prescription, the rest of that money goes to pay someones education you didn't use, that they're forced to have by regulation on who can provide what health care services.

This is but one of a myriad example of how the free market would cut costs, and this one alone would save millions

You can't cut the free market out of health care via socialism however, or you'll lose access to its incentive for advancement in medical science; its what drives men to cures.

Take a moment to get your head out of the idealism bullshit cloud that is michael mooria and give the free market a chance. Do a little research! It could save your life some day. Ron Paul or your friendy neighborhood libertarians are a good starting point in mainstream politics, and some more advanced research of free market economy can show you the more intimate underpinnings of how this can work.

It does. It did, until the government stepped in.


Anonymous said...

Wow, and you sing in a punk band? Maybe there is hoe after all.

Anonymous said...

The government should have stepped in initially to control pharmaceutical costs.
I mean, come on, I'm paying $45 a month for Wellbutrin (and my insurance covers like 83% of it) and supposedly in regards to the changing of the worth of the US dollar, pharmacy prescriptions now cost 100 times what they did several decades ago. Yes, there are new drugs on the market but that's insane.
And with that socialized healthcare nonsense, I hear Australia has it figured out a bit. For one thing, people don't go to college to be "doctors". For instance, future surgeons go straight out of high school into a specific surgeon school and in five or six years they have their graduate degree and they get right to work in their field of expertise. People study their specialties specifically (as in bachelors are stripped of gen eds and usually take three years, for better or for worse), and university costs aren't near what they can be in the USA (partially because their standard of living is about 30% lower.) And yeah, the guy who gives you a check up about that tummyache didn't have to spend a trillion years in school and rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in college debt. I'm not really sure about the relationship between healthcare in the public and private sectors, though; I'll have to check up on that.

Danny said...

Anonymous, (second)
You are missing the point, It's not just the issue of schooling. It's the entire system of people being accountable for their medical work, people shopping around to ensure the best care at the best price. You don't get that with Socialized.
Perhaps the Australians are better at socialization, but in the end all regulation and statism ends up worse off.
So, Australia might have it better now, but we can easily one up them with a free market system :)

Reverend Jeff said...

what about the idea that since we have things like fire depts and police depts to aid the public, that healthcare should be the same way? It's still kind of a public welfare thing, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Another thing that I found very scary about socialized healthcare (thanks to my sociology courses) is the whole people-dying-while-waiting-for-treatment thing, and what's more, dealing with public and private sector hospitals and what they offer. A lot of insurance companies wouldn't cover the costs for a client if, say, he or she wanted to try some new treatment with a better success rate but it's only offered at hospitals that said insurance company doesn't include as part of its policy. At least people can appeal to the corporation and possibly even sue for a wrongful death suit if it comes to health insurance negligence at fault for untreated illness, but if the federal government controls it, how long would such an appeal take to get to the powers that be? The government's not going to cover getting treatment at private hospitals obviously (unless the government is really run by some secret organization who control "American interests" along with a huge number of private corporations, then maybe) and therefore be possibly responsible for many deaths as a result of not being able to get needed treatment at public sector health centers. And it might be hard to sue the federal government, especially after court decisions like United States vs. Olson which add a bit of a gray area that the federal government could conceivably use as a loophole in the US legal structure.

Anonymous said...

And to Danny, any sort of healthcare, even the crappiest healthcare, is better than none. When 43 million Americans don't have it (14 million of them children, which is shocking since Healthwave was supposed to solve that) we're in no way "better off" than them especially with our level of economic inequality. I'm not once saying that socialized healthcare is the answer (I'm more likely to point to education, being that only 68% of American citizens graduate high school, and how amazingly biased the public education system is towards middle class culture and values) but there is indeed a problem; Barry's arguing that socialized healthcare would create even bigger problems in the process, and he's got strong points to back them up.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I should've made it clear that I was saying healthcare (or the lack thereof) was definitely a problem that should be addressed, and therein lies the difference; someone like Ron Paul is going to look at possible solutions differently than someone like Dennis Kucinich, but most sides of the political spectrum are trying to "solve" the problems inherent in the current system of healthcare without creating a multitude of new (even worse) troubles.

cxx_guy said...

What is a middle class value? Things like working rather than taking welfare?

If so, what should the schools be teaching? The opposite?

Anonymous said...

That's really not something you should be getting into since it's clear you don't know what you're talking about. I write 20 page papers on that kind of stuff but this is definitely not the place to be arguing about the public education system's alleged bias that adversely affects students from low SES communities and makes them feel like failures as opposed to helping them overcome generational poverty and enter the workforce/post secondary studies as accomplished individuals so on so forth etc.
I'll stop spewing crap about the public education system buddy, and so should you.

Anonymous said...

Yeow, I didn't mean to come off so snotty considering I'm like ten years old. That's just not your field of expertise whereas I don't know nearly as much about law & economics and blah blah blah as most of you.

Dan said...

The REAL first step is to get Americans on healthy diets. Pass a law that controls portion sizes in restaurants. When everybody is eating normal amounts of healthy foods, there will be much less need for hundreds, maybe even thousands of pharmaceutical drugs.

I’m not saying that we don't need health care, but I’m saying that our dependence on it will decrease immensely.

Barry Donegan said...

to reverend jeff... i think you just answered my point. do you honestly feel like the police department does a good job?

police depts in major cities are a hotbed for corruption, and their relationship with the community they supposedly serve is very poor. I am a believer that privatized police forces, purchased by the communtities they represent, and firable when they do a poor job would be far more cost efficient.

right now police prioritize apprehension because they are paid the same either way. however, prevention is more cost effective, saves money in the long run in security and police business. if police forces were required to run at a profit, and could be fired, they would no longer be able to pester their community to do their work for them. they would have to actually make a visible enough presence to prevent crime, or arrive on scene fast enough to actually satisfy the community they work for.

right now your more likely to be profiled and pestered by cops when innocent, than you are to get them to arrive on scene on an actual crime thats currently being committed.

Barry Donegan said...

and to answer anonymous commenter #2s statement "the government should have stepped in initially to control pharmaceutical costs"

government intervention does not control costs, the market does. government intervention EXPLODES costs. the reason it costs that much, is the pharmaceutical lobby goes out of their way to prevent cures, prevent natural remedies from being promoted as potential cures, and then the problem with people getting their coverage from insurance to pay for everything.

if it was pure free market, the pharm companies would have to compete with each other for your business, which is simple economics, lower prices, better quality gets the dollar in a free market economy.

this government management is what baloons prices, we are no longer a government of the people! we are a government of the corporate lobby!

stop trusting them!

get their hands off everything with value!

they are GREAT at making missles and tanks. let them keep doing that so long as they dont influence foreign policy.

building roads! to the best contractor the spoils!

besides that, corporate lobby government,

leave me the fuck alone!

Barry Donegan said...

and to dan, about legislating diets.

for the government to start stepping in and regulating portions would be nice IF the government were dieticians. the minute that happened, the fast food lobby would be all over the FDA getting sickly lethal tasty high-fat portion sizes.

a non profit group who is out to educate people about good health, in concert with local hospitals is the free market way to do the prevention education, and although it wont have access to balooning public funds, it would actually work where applied. there ARE people passionate about that subject, who also gain financially from it, such as health food companies, GNC, and gymnasiums. these people will put the financial resources into educating the masses about their goods and services, which are profitable and beneficial to your health usually.

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