Affordable Health Care

by Don Boudreaux on December 31, 2007

in Health, Myths and Fallacies, Standard of Living

Are many Americans really unable to afford health care?  No.  Or, more precisely, the question is flawed — as I argued in this column a few years ago.  Here are some key paragraphs:

But health care, like most things in life, is not like pregnancy. It comes in an enormous range of degrees. At one extreme is the amount and quality of health care that Bill Gates might purchase — personal physicians and pharmacists, each devoted exclusively to Gates; monthly physicals conducted with the most advanced technology; immediate transportation in a private jet to the world’s finest hospitals for treatment by the world’s most acclaimed physicians; and recuperation at luxurious Swiss resorts attended round-the-clock by a staff of doctors, nurses and dieticians of unparalleled excellence.

Now imagine the opposite extreme — the case of someone who can afford no health care at all. This horribly unfortunate person would not only be unable to visit a physician to check out that runny nose or that blurry vision, he could not afford even to buy over-the-counter antihistamines, aspirin, cough drops, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, reading glasses, Band Aids, athlete’s-foot spray, vitamins, toothpaste, condoms, or any of the many other health care and personal hygiene products for sale in every supermarket.

Almost all Americans, of course, consume an amount and quality of health care somewhere between the amount consumed by billionaires and the amount consumed by homeless paupers.

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{ 49 comments }

a Duoist December 31, 2007 at 4:53 pm

Clearly the disparity in rising health care costs and more slowly rising personal incomes is going to increase political pressures to address the disparity. The question is, what to do; and how to do it?

As the national per capita GDP steadily increases, eventually won't a culture based upon Christianity just find it intolerable that free market solutions in the world's largest economy are not 'adequately' or 'affordably' providing health care? Savings accounts for health care sound wonderful, but in an economic environment of negative personal savings, how do such accounts make any difference?

This is much like the conundrum about welfare: A horrible, paternalistic idea, but then the trade-off is, there has never been a proletarian revolution in any modern welfare state. And so long as we have NAFTA, the three signatories are going to have to face the fact they need to coordinate their health care systems; Canada's nanny system is going to burst with all the surging demand from newly-arrived Mexican-Canadians.

Randy December 31, 2007 at 5:31 pm

a Duoist,

Re; "…but then the trade-off is, there has never been a proletarian revolution in any modern welfare state."

I don't disagree that a religious nation, be it christian or progressive, will inevitably demand welfare healthcare, but the above caught my eye. I mean, what about the Soviet Union and its client states in eastern Europe? True, they weren't exactly "proletarian revolutions", but then, there has never really been such a thing as a "proletarian revolution" – ever.

John Dewey December 31, 2007 at 5:43 pm

a Duoist: "that free market solutions in the world's largest economy are not 'adequately' or 'affordably' providing health care?"

What free markets in health care exist in the U.S.?

- Hospitals are highly regulated;
- Pharmaceuticals are highly regulated;
- Licensing is highly regulated (which I somewhat support);
- Medical care for seniors, the high cost population, is socialized;
- Private medical insurance is highly regulated by the states.

Where's the free market to which you refer?

The Dirty Mac December 31, 2007 at 5:45 pm

If you live in New Jersey you can't buy health insurance from Pennsylvania or vice versa. We get all the "benefits" of protectionism, such as lack of scale economies, linmited competition, etc. Of course with all of the duplicative bureaucracies, there are plenty of jobs in the health insurance sector.

muirgeo December 31, 2007 at 6:30 pm

The point here is that individuals can mostly afford health care as long as we make the definition broad enough. Even if a large numbers can only afford minimal health care.

The counter argument is also valid. I'm frustrated by those who claim we as a nation can't afford national health care. The facts clearly dispute this claim. 40 plus other nations are providing universal health care at a lower overall cost and with out significant differences in outcome…. arguably better outcomes when the whole picture is averaged out. Likewise their economies are as good as ours as is their general quality of life.

You may disagree on ideological grounds but factually as a country universal healthcare is affordable. Just as true as the claim that the poorest among us can afford basic health care like buying their own thread and needles to suture their wounds themselves…. duct tapes also not a bad option. But why would a country that see itself more as a WE society then a ME society vote for the later? In fact they won't. Universal Health care will come and we and our country will be the better for it. So no need to be gloomy as per the prior post it will all work out.

muirgeo December 31, 2007 at 6:42 pm

"A recent study by Harvard University researchers found that the average out-of-pocket medical debt for those who filed for bankruptcy was $12,000. The study noted that 68 percent of those who filed for bankruptcy had health insurance. In addition, the study found that 50 percent of all bankruptcy filings were partly the result of medical expenses (14). Every 30 seconds in the United States someone files for bankruptcy in the aftermath of a serious health problem."

ABC News/Kaiser Family Foundation/USA Today, Health Care in America 2006 Survey, October 17, 2006.

Himmelstein, D, E. Warren, D. Thorne, and S. Woolhander, "Illness and Injury as Contributors to Bankruptcy, " Health Affairs Web Exclusive W5-63, 02 February , 2005.

Per Kurowski December 31, 2007 at 7:08 pm

I must join those asking …What free markets in health care exist in the U.S.?

What insurance company offers chrages you low premiums based on that they would cover you to travel to India and get a heart operation for a tenth of the current US cost… with a side trip to Taj Mahal included?

foxmarks December 31, 2007 at 9:27 pm

"individuals can mostly afford health care as long as we make the definition broad enough. Even if a large numbers can only afford minimal health care."

"factually as a country universal healthcare is affordable"

It seems we must establish the level of universal health care *we can afford*. I expect the pauper level for all would represent a decrease in total healthcare spending. If all the GDP went toward healthcare, I doubt we could afford universal luxury care at the Gates level. So what's the upper limit for the quality of universal care?

We can't put 100% of GDP into healthcare (at least some has to go toward food). Is care complementary to other goods? By spending a greater share on health, do we increase GDP because healthy people are more productive? Or is care only a wasting good, with every new nurse depriving us all of a potential productivity-increasing inventive genius? Should our goal be to maximize health while minimizing its share of all economic activity?

If it's somewhere between, what share of GDP devoted to health optimizes growth and total output? I mean, let's say we can forget the moral value human liberty and the Constitution's limits on state charity…how much universal healthcare is best?

jurisnaturalist January 1, 2008 at 2:09 am

Health care is overpriced. The lack of competition and the presence of government subsidization make for upwardly distorted prices. Fewer Americans choose to consume health care at these prices. For them, they suffer a net loss.
At any price there will be some consumers who choose not to consume health care. These same consumers are more likely to accept a handout they consider an entitlement than to consume something of very low cost. Why do newspapers still charge at the newsstand?
With right price mechanisms we get both the right prices and the right level of consumption. Resources which otherwise would go to unnecessary medical provisions can now be employed elsewhere in the economy to the net gain of all.
Universal health care is expensive, or as the cliche goes, freedom has its price. But liberty is inherent.

Nathanael Snow
ndsnow@ncsu.edu

Python January 1, 2008 at 2:52 am

Muirgeo,

I smell your BS again. Please list the 40 nations that you refer to that have as good of economies as the United States. I suppose one of them will be Iceland, lol.

"Likewise their economies are as good as ours as is their general quality of life."

Alcyoneus January 1, 2008 at 3:46 am

I don't agree with Boudreaux. Surprise.

I'm saving $2,300 for a root canal and two crowns. Why? Because of a job change that means I have a "pre-existing" condition. People have all kinds of stuff they can't afford in this system, and they can't afford it because of the damn government. Boudreaux if full of it.

There 'aint no free market in health care, and I'm getting taxed for a socialist system without the "free access" part. I don't have money for my dental work because: (1) I too stupid to understand the f***ing terms of medical insurance , (2) the company gave me bad information on the phone, (3) my net income is reduced to pay taxes for health care that benefits illegal aliens that swamp Dallas hospitals , (4) I pay for the current socialist system without the "free access" part.

We have de facto socialism, and still we have the largest economy in the world. Let's acknowledge it and just go single payer for healthcare. It can't be any worse than it is now.

Babinich January 1, 2008 at 6:11 am

muirgeo says:

"Universal Health care will come and we and our country will be the better for it."

That's a great generalization… Unfortunately you are projecting.

If public health care is so great in this country than why is it that Medicare fails to hold down health care costs?

Could it be the fact that there are so many more capital and human health care resources in the US?

Government spends, spends, and spends with reckless abandon. What makes you believe that the government will be able to reign in costs?

How will the universal system handle the "grey areas" of health care? Are you suggesting that bureaucrats set health care priorities?

I see the government's role as being one of covering only the poor; those that are prepared to pay would be best to go the free market route: higher deductibles, catastrophic coverage in extreme cases of health decline, & decoupling health care from employment.

Randy January 1, 2008 at 8:30 am

Babinich,

"…why is it that Medicare fails to hold down health care costs?"

Because the primary purpose of Medicare, and any government run program, is to channel as many tax dollars as possible through the hands of the political class and into the pockets of themselves and their patrons. There are thousands of government "services" already in existance, and the political class is not even close to exhausting its ability to imagine new ones. The objective is profit, not service. Holding down costs is not the objective and it should not be the expectation.

Randy January 1, 2008 at 8:35 am

P.S. I absolutely agree that the governments role in welfare should be only to take care of those in need, and I think the most efficient method would be to simply hand out cash. No programs at all – just collect a pot of cash and dole it out to those in need. Perhaps some sort of welfare court system to validate the need. No default entitlements. Those in need have to make a request, and justify it.

John Reed January 1, 2008 at 9:00 am

Unless one grants an absolute right to keep what one earns there is no way to determine what the "correct" level of health care is.
Given the absolute right to keep what one earns, the correct level of health care is whatever one chooses to buy, or what is available from the charity of others.
Only this latter solution allows for a non-aggressive solution.
John Reed

vidyohs January 1, 2008 at 10:11 am

Alcyoneus,
You're right, there is no "free" market, but take me serious there is still a "market".

"There 'aint no free market in health care, and I'm
Posted by: Alcyoneus | Jan 1, 2008 3:46:26 AM"

Please at least try this (because I can get the dental work you mentioned above $1200 cash).

Go to your dentist's desk clerk and ask her what dental plans they take. Get brochures from those companies and select the one that has the nearest to a 50% discount for cash as you can find, and whose cash bill for those services would reduce your total payment to at least half.

Then forget that dentist, and go to another dentist that accepts the plan you looked at, where you aren't known. Arrange to speak to the dentist himself, and proposition him with the deal of you getting the root canal and two crowns at the cash discount offered by the plan you chose and you put the cash up front at the discounted price.

I'll bet you find him perfectly willing to deal with you because he looses nothing as he receives cash from those plan customers anyway.

It's worth a try, sir. I did it and I get what I wanted, half price cash service.

vidyohs January 1, 2008 at 11:46 am

The main element in affordable health care sits between every one's ears and we know it as the brain.

Educate the brain and then use the brain and health care needs drop dramatically.

That process is an individual responsibility.

Leaving the brain uneducated and unused is evidence of stupidity, and nature has a way of dealing with stupidity….it's called early death.

Instead of universal health care at the horrible expense and waste of resources it would bring; I suggest each community invest in (a) one dump truck with grasping tongs (b) a crematorium (c) a staff of 3 (one to drive and operate the truck and two to operate the crematorium.

Then the stupid ones who experience nature's solution could be placed curbside each morning, picked up by the dump truck operator and taken to the crematorium where they would be immediately processed.

All at an extremely attractive cost to the public as opposed to the guaranteed ghastly cost of trying to treat stupid people who, after being reated, will continue to be stupid and a recurring drain.

I see no, and understand no, reason for any intelligent person to waste any time, money, or sympathy on those who persist in being stupid when nature has provided such a practical solution to it.

As someone above or in previous posts pointed out, at some point each of has made a decision or the decision that placed us on our path. It is a chosen path, it is always a chosen path. Even when one is being manipulated or used by others it is still a chosen path because one can always walk away or remove one's self from that state of being. Being passive is a choice just as surely as being active is.

The time has long since passed when this nation should be physically separated into one socialist nation and one free nation. Physically force those whose ideas are rooted in socialism into the socialist side and never ever let them tour or immigrate back to the sane side. When that side does what all socialist groups do, starve to death, and they are all gone, then we could take down the fences and reoccupy the now empty lands and towns with sane, rational, and intelligent capitalists.

muirgeo January 1, 2008 at 1:20 pm

"Instead of universal health care at the horrible expense and waste of resources it would bring; I suggest each community invest in (a) one dump truck with grasping tongs (b) a crematorium (c) a staff of 3 (one to drive and operate the truck and two to operate the crematorium.

Then the stupid ones who experience nature's solution could be placed curbside each morning, picked up by the dump truck operator and taken to the crematorium where they would be immediately processed."
vodyohs

vidyohs… the guy with lifetime government provided healthcare and a government pension.

Any fellow libertarians want to come to his defense here as him being some one who represents the libertarian position?

Dude… you're whacked out!!

Chris January 1, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Don, Muirgeo, any others –

As a consumer, I recognize that the cost of health insurance has shot up by something significantly higher than the cost of inflation. However, I have yet to find any information that says why this is.

I would love to see a study comparing, say, the various costs of a normal term birth in 1987 with the same procedure today, or the cost of removing an appendix or any of a number of procedures which I suspect haven't changed much in 20 years. What's gone up?

Alcyoneus –

That's a big chunk of change; one most people would have to save up for. But, dentistry is probably more free-market than the rest of health care is, just because there are only so many dental procedures, a lot of people are uninsured and most dental insurance doesn't cover that much — try to get an implant covered by your dental insurance.

Sam Grove January 1, 2008 at 3:05 pm

Government managed health care is necessarily authoritarian.
I don't want it, I don't want to pay for it, yet those such as muirgeo have no qualms about pointing gunvernment at me to require participation in a system that takes away my choice, rations care, and is likely to discard my health needs when I get too old to contribute to the system.

The money you earn is your power. Letting politicians take you money is to surrender your power to the politicians and bureaucrats.

Why would any sensible individual want that?

Dick King January 1, 2008 at 3:38 pm

The Warren study that muirgeo cited is a complete sham.

To get to the assertion that 1/2 of all bankruptcies are medically induced they had to…

1: Count a particular bankruptcy as medically induced if the person could remember as much as $2000 in medical bills, no matter what kind of other credit card bills and taxes and expensive cars and the like that the debtor incurred

2: count a bankruptcy as medically indiced if any of the following were apparent causes:

2a: problem gambling

2b: drug abuse

2c: disability of the breadwinner, not necessarily involving any medical bills

2d: death of the breadwinner

2e: birth or adoption of a child

yeah, right. We need socialized medicine to prevent those bankruptcies!

-dk

muirgeo January 1, 2008 at 4:33 pm

Don, Muirgeo, any others –

As a consumer, I recognize that the cost of health insurance has shot up by something significantly higher than the cost of inflation. However, I have yet to find any information that says why this is.

Posted by: Chris

Chris do you know who William Mcquire is? CEO for United Health who made over $1 billion dollars as the CEO. He got caught back dating his stocks and instead of rotting in jail the scum bag still has $500,000,000 of his payors money.

THAT's free market health care for you… INDEFENSIBLE!

Jay January 1, 2008 at 6:17 pm

Muirgeo:
"Chris do you know who William Mcquire is? CEO for United Health who made over $1 billion dollars as the CEO. He got caught back dating his stocks and instead of rotting in jail the scum bag still has $500,000,000 of his payors money.

THAT's free market health care for you… INDEFENSIBLE!"

Nice strawman. The instance you are pointing out has everything to do with the SEC and socialized contract enforcement and nothing to do with the free market/socialism mix of the health care system.
In fact if we had a free market enforcement system(i.e. privately hired mafia) I all but guarantee that no one would back date stock options for fear of Vinny showing up at their house to break their leg(or worse).

Chris January 1, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Muirgeo –

I don't know the details of McGuire's comp plan, but I would point out that in most cases, companies just issue new shares when an option is exercised.
This is important because the company does not put out any cash. As a result, the costs come not from what the company's customers pay, but from the hides of the company's stockholders, in the form of dilution.

UHC's customers probably didn't pay for McGuire's back-dating. Instead, the UHC stockholders paid it because the value of their shares went down.

brotio January 1, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Not that Vidyohs needs me or any other person coming to his defense, but I happily say, "BRAVO!" to this gem…

"I see no, and understand no, reason for any intelligent person to waste any time, money, or sympathy on those who persist in being stupid when nature has provided such a practical solution to it." – Vidyohs

Wonderfully put, sir.

And your solution of physically separating the socialists from freedom-lovers is a nice twist on 'Atlas Shrugged' :)

Per Kurowski January 1, 2008 at 9:47 pm

Don Boudreaux wrote: “Bill Gates might purchase — personal physicians and pharmacists, each devoted exclusively to Gates; monthly physicals conducted with the most advanced technology; immediate transportation in a private jet to the world's finest hospitals for treatment by the world's most acclaimed physicians; and recuperation at luxurious Swiss resorts attended round-the-clock by a staff of doctors, nurses and dieticians of unparalleled excellence”

But what the Washington Post reported in 2004 was an open-heart surgery that was budgeted at an unaffordable 200,000 dollars in the United States, but then finally carried out, successfully, in India, by doctors educated in the United States, for only 10,000 dollars, an airplane ticket, and a little side trip to the Taj Mahal included.

Chris January 1, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Per –

That's an excellent point. There are many cases where somebody could go overseas for surgery, especially when the surgery is something that can be planned in advance — I don't think going to India for emergency bypass surgery would be feasible.

The obvious question, then, is why do so many people have procedures done in the US?
I think a big part of it is reliance on insurance — when somebody else pays, you don't really care how much it costs. But, even worse, insurance is so obtuse that people often don't find out that insurance won't pay, until after the procedure is done. And, then they're stuck.

Sam Grove January 2, 2008 at 12:51 am

So muirgeo only offers two choices, half socialized or fully socialized.
Bad or worse.

Why do we have to give up our power to either system?

Lee Kelly January 2, 2008 at 4:51 am

The current trend of the National Health Service, here in the United Kingdom, is very interesting. In short, the trend is the introduction of new rules, so that those who are deemed responsible for their illness are denied treatment, such as smokers, drinkers, idlers and those who eat the "wrong" foods. Unfortunately, this denial of treatment will not be accompanied by a corresponding choice to pay for the service.

Jon January 2, 2008 at 9:20 am

Muirgeo-
"vidyohs… the guy with lifetime government provided healthcare and a government pension.

Any fellow libertarians want to come to his defense here as him being some one who represents the libertarian position?"

Sure, but first you can stop with the ad hominum attacks.

Now on to the issue at hand.

Here is one of the glaring problems I see with Nationalized Health Care. If we give the gov't the power to provide this good and only they can provide it, then we put ourselves in a position where government will be lobbied by special interest groups to deny care to those that don't fit a predetermined level of compliance with certain laws. We ALREADY see this in the NHS system in Britain where smokers are being denied care or are being constantly bumped to the end of the waiting lists (which de facto denies them care).

NY just banned trans-fat for christ's sake. To borrow a line from the pro-choice nuts: "Get your laws off my body!"

-Jon

Mwop January 2, 2008 at 9:47 am

So Muiergeo,
Are you ok with a national single payer system that uses HSA's with catastrophic coverage, and no limitations on buying supplemental insurance (for example that is illegal in Canada).

Is your goal health care for all or "equal" health care? The latter is what scares me, becuase the government restricts freedom to seek medical care on one's own to accomplish that, and then creates exceptions for the privileged (politicians and their friends).

vidyohs January 2, 2008 at 10:17 am

Yes Jon,
Lee Kelly did post some intrigueing info above.

It is particularly ironic that this is so because it is socialism that created the conditions that they now condemn.
Consider:

In the 50s and early 60s the looney left beat the drum for unrestricted abortions because it was the dreaded restrictive society that was driving young ladies to back alley abortion doctors. They broke down that standard of responsible sex.
Then
They beat the drum to drive the word "alcoholic" from our lexicon because being a boozer was a character problem stemming from poor choices. No it was a disease, a disability. So society was forced to deal with drunks like they would someone with measels. They broke down that standard of behavior and it became a disability.
Then they beat their drum again and went through the same exercise and we now have to treat dopeheads as if they were diseased and not weak in character. They broke down that standard, and doing drugs became a disability.
Then
It was the crippled and handicapped that got the looney left's support and the drum was beaten again. The ADA was passed through congress and the USA was saddled with the worst law ever written and laid on the people. They broke down the standards of personal decision being primary in businesses. Business owners had to provide for an occurrence that would never happen in so many cases. Businesses had to retain employees long after that employee could perform the job.
Then
They began to beat their drum in support of fat people, obese people, and advanced the claim that stuffing your face all day long without ever performing one physical activity, was a disease and not their fault. So they broke down that standard and it was officially recognized as a disability.
Now
The looney left is beating their drum to have queers labeled as disabled because their activity is not their fault.
Meanwhile
A very large segment of the medical community and the AMA specifically and cynically aided and abetted these new labelings of irresponsibility as disabilities because then clients could file for insurance and the insurances companies had to pay.
And
After the passage of the ADA literally everything deviant in human nature has been classified as a disability, even a filthy mouth in the workplace. (When Bush the 1st signed that ADA, I turned to my wife and said, "Mark these words, in five years you will see fat people getting handicapped sticker for their cars so they can park close and have not so far to waddle." Those were prophetic words but off by a factor of three years. Fat people began getting and using them with the second year ADA was on the books.

As I have said before, if one carefully assesses everything that the looney left claims is a social ill, you discover that it is their own policies that caused those things they now complain about.
And
As Lee Kelly and Jon correctly point out, in the world of socialized medicine (result of the looney left) they now have to turn their back on their own policies and deny care to the creatures they created.

If my fruits of labor weren't being raped to pay for these stupidities I'd laugh for the rest of the day.

But, here is the real irony. Not one single main stream media source will ever point out the hypocrisy as I just did. They will find a way to push that onto the right.

Jon January 2, 2008 at 10:27 am

I think you're a little hard pressed to blame everything on the left. At this point I'm not confident that the 'right' will make things any better.

Historically, you're correct. I don't really trust any politician, no matter which side they are on.

Randy January 2, 2008 at 10:51 am

Jon,

Me either. I think that running for office is symptomatic of a character flaw.

Jon January 2, 2008 at 10:57 am

@ Randy

Yep … And I'm still going to vote for Ron Paul if he makes it to the Republican ballot in Va…

I'm such a pushover… *chuckles*

Sam Grove January 2, 2008 at 12:59 pm

The looney left is beating their drum to have queers labeled as disabled because their activity is not their fault.

I think you have this one backwards. Homosexuality used to be considered by the psychiatric community as a mental disease. Now it is not so classified.

Correctly, I think.

Dick King January 2, 2008 at 3:37 pm

Mwop, the Canadian law against buying supplemental insurance has been ruled unconstitutional by their supreme court. I apologize for sending you to a gated site, but it is free.

It speaks volumes that the reason given for this ruling is that the delays for those who stuck with the single payer system were unconstitutionally long. Perhaps they hadn't seen Mr. Moore's disingenuous film*?

-dk

* Of course they hadn't — the film came out after the decision. I consider it kind of ugly on MM's part that he didn't even mention the decision while he was claiming that the delays don't exist.

mcwop January 2, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Thanks Dick,
I have been following that, and it seems it may only apply to Quebec and it is not clear what options many have after the suit. But that is exactly the type of thing (illegal private insurance that is) that I do not want to see in a single payer universal system here.

Floccina January 2, 2008 at 5:11 pm

Almost all of the benefits of healthcare come for the cheap stuff like vaccinations and antibiotics. People can already get those for free or for very low cost.

Also food and vitamins could be considered healthcare. They are very important to our health. Even shelter is important to health and could be considered healthcare.

Since in the USA Government already spends more per capita on healthcare than France does why do advocates not demand that our corrupt politicians give Universal care for without increasing spending.

I just read an article that said that said:

However, health inequalities tend to increase when health resources become more available to everyone (Gottfredson, in press). That is, increased availability of health resources improves health overall, but the improvements are smaller for people who are poorly educated and have low incomes than for people with more education and better incomes. Compared with people in high-SES groups, people with low SES seek more but not necessarily appropriate care when cost is no barrier; adhere less often to treatment regimens; learn and understand less about how to protect their health; seek less preventive care, even when it is free; and less often practice the healthy behaviors so important for preventing or slowing the progression of chronic diseases, the major killers and disablers in developed nations today.

So do not be sure that a socialized system will help the poor.

Floccina January 2, 2008 at 5:25 pm

So who would socialized medicine help? IMO the middle class who would like to have the security of health insurance but since the incentives are wrong get stuck will buying more healthcare than makes sense see:
http://www.overtreated.com/
http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2007/05/hanson_on_healt.html

We could rig a socialized system that would deliver one third of the care that we get to for half the cost of today’s system and most people would be better off because the value of last two thirds of medical car is so low. (I used only one third of the care for half the cost because of the inefficiency of Government).

Now IMO the current system is a boon to the intelligent poor (if there are any of those). He is uninsured so he spends little on healthcare but can work the system to get care if he needs it.

vidyohs January 2, 2008 at 5:27 pm

Jon,
I did not blame the looeny left for "everything" I said this….
"if one carefully assesses everything that the looney left claims is a social ill," which is restrictive to my point, I believe.

Sam,
I believe you are correct, but hey even the worst of us can get carried away, eh? :-)
But, you gotta admit that the looney left is definitely deep into the fray to make us all accept mainstreaming the queers in every way.

Floccina January 2, 2008 at 5:33 pm

BTW Since the poor tend to die much younger (in the poorest part of Scotland the male life expectancy is only 54 years) than the rich and because the least cost effective healthcare is to the elderly (the most cost effective is to infants and young accident victims), Medicare is about the worse possible healthcare program.

M. Hodak January 2, 2008 at 5:44 pm

"muirgeo says:"

Who the hell cares? muirgeo doesn't contribute sh*t to this discussion. I wouldn't respond to anyone who ignores the basic "commons" fallacy, constantly re-iterated in some form of: "individually, we can't all afford health care, but collectively we can afford health care for all. And it would be cheaper and just as good as we have now!" Fool.

vidyohs January 2, 2008 at 9:03 pm

IC,
Assuming Libertarians aren't stupid is a good idea. While they, like I, really don't give a damn what any person or persons do in their private life, I/we do care about what people do in the public life. Especially that which may affect our well being and the well being of those we care about.

Therefore, I believe that you will find most Libertarians would rather not have queer scoutmasters interacting and instructing their children in morals and good character much less being alone with them for any length of time on a repitive basis.

I believe that I/we would rather not have them as school teachers if we can at all help it.

As AIDS/HIV seems to be virtually a disease that affect queers and it is exchanged by transfer of bodily fluids, I'd rather not have a queer in a kitchen, giving me dental care, as a surgeon handling sharp instruments and operating on me, and most of all I think that the laws passed making it a crime for a AIDS/HIV carrier publicly identified should be overturned.

As to what it all has to do with the thread, evidentally you did not read what I posted above at:
Posted by: vidyohs | Jan 2, 2008 10:17:42 AM
Reading that may or may not enlighten you as to how this has been injected, or how the twist has been made.

I stand by what I said then, the looney left creates the sad conditions that they later cry about and try to pin the cause on the right, and cramming homosexuality down every one's throat is one of those sad conditions.

And, please do not try to tell me that young scouts are not in any kind of peril of molestion if they have a queer scoutmaster. The odds are exceedingly long that they are. I go with the odds and support the scouts in denying them particiapation in scouting or schooling.

I have always admired your posts for the clear headed thinking they show, so I am not going to fight with you over this. I have said all I have to say on it and only did so that you might understand what my intent and ideas were.

I am not politcally correct and if people want to slam me for saying what is real and using the words people use to describe themselves, so be it.

TSowell_fan January 2, 2008 at 10:00 pm

Using vidyohs logic, I — a straight grandfather — should be declared ineligible to lead my granddaughter's Brownie troop or coach her hockey team. Pretty sad.

I do think we are being lobbied to celebrate rather than accept homosexuality. And, I think that Gay Pride groups caricature their community — especially with their ridiculous parades. But, I also believe that, except for a sexual preference that scientific evidence gathered so far suggests is beyond their control or choice, they lead lives similar to the rest of us. (Come to think of it, I didn't choose my sexual preference either.)

vidyohs January 2, 2008 at 10:34 pm

Using vidyohs logic, I — a straight grandfather — should be declared ineligible to lead my granddaughter's Brownie troop or coach her hockey team. Pretty sad.
Posted by: TSowell_fan | Jan 2, 2008 10:00:41 PM

Sir,
I believe you go to great lengths to construct a strawman argument and twist the logic of nature.

I could spend a lifetime in close proximity to grandfathers and never see the licentiousness and complete moral degradation I can see in a gathering of homosexuals in ten minutes.

Thank you very much.

James A. Donald January 2, 2008 at 10:56 pm

No one can afford heal care out of their own pocket because there is no market in health care and no prices for health care:

Conversation with Stanford Hospital:

Me
My wife needs a colonoscopy: Could
you give me a price on it?

Stanford Hospital:
Twenty five hundred to thirty five
hundred.

Me
You do this all the time. Can't
you give me a specific price?

Stanford Hospital:
Sorry

Me
Is $3500 the all up, all included
price to both myself and my
insurance?

Stanford Hospital:
It only includes the doctors fee,
and does not include any additional
services

Me
So after I have this done, any
number of people could then charge
me any fee they like in addition to
the thirty five hundred?

Stanford Hospital:
I am afraid so.

O'Connor Hospital

Me
My wife needs a colonoscopy: Could
you give me a price on it.

O'Connor Hospital
Do you have a primary physicician.
Me
Yes, my primary physician has
advised this procedure, but it
seems expensive. I am looking for
a price.

O'Connor Hospital
We don't give out prices.

Mercy General Hospital

Me
I am looking for a price on a
colonoscopy.

Mercy General Hospital hangs up without a word.

Saint Joseph's medical center of Stockton:

I am transferred to financial counciling, who transferred me to "Estimates"
The estimating lady appreciated my problem and made sympathetic noises.

She then asks me for a CPT code. I then
research what CPT codes are, and discover that a colonoscopy can result in any CPT, and any number of CPTs. I discover that no matter what CPT I give, it is unlikely to be correct or sufficient, that additional CPTs can show up any time. A CPT would only be useful if it was possible to know in advance what CPTs would result from a colonoscopy, but the CPTs are only decided after the colonoscopy, usually long after the colonoscopy.

Chris January 3, 2008 at 12:06 am

James A. Donald –

There is actually an entire industry organized around CPT codes. If you go in for a specific procedure, the hospital will often code it up to maximize what the insurance company pays. So, for example, instead of coding "Treat broken arm," for $1000, it will be coded as "x-ray of arm" ($300) "set broken arm" ($400) "apply cast" ($400). I'm amazed that anybody is willing to trust his health to people who pull that sort of crap.

Getting quotes for procedures which are not generally covered by insurance is a lot easier. It's possible, for example, to get an all-inclusive quote for a lap-band installation. (It's a reversible alternative to gastric bypass, but a lot newer, so rarely covered.) Expensive dental procedures, such as implants, are similar.

Lee Kelly January 3, 2008 at 10:58 am

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