Let’s Not Go Native

by Don Boudreaux on August 29, 2009

in Health

Writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, PERC’s Terry Anderson cautions that, if Uncle Sam’s track record at supplying health-care to American Indians is any guide, Obamacare will be the death of us all.

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Stephan August 29, 2009 at 11:26 am

Well, here in good old Austria (Sidenote: after Mises and Hayek left us on our own devices we went straight back to Austro-Marxism in regard to health-care) another news story makes the headlines.

It’s about Regina Holliday and her diseased husband Fred. He died from kidney cancer due to no medical insurance. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8195377.stm (Warning: BBC indoctrination)

What I do not understand about the conduct of the health-care debate in the US is the following: instead of going back to the facts and admitting to a problem, which should be solved in either way, it’s mainly ideological warfare about whether there is any problem?

Why not simply state that first coverage is a problem and second the system does work so well in regard to several metrics. Everybody can download one Excel sheet from the OECD website and after some minutes of number crunching admit “Houston we have a problem!”

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 12:26 pm

“it’s mainly ideological warfare about whether there is any problem?”

No. It is the fanatics for greater government controls of the health care system who characterize their opponents as denying that there is a problem. A I suspect the reason is that they don’t want a debate about what the problem is and why it exists.

Stephan August 29, 2009 at 1:05 pm

OK. So what is the problem and why does it exist? Putting myself in the shoes of Fred I would prefer inferior government provided health-care instead of market supplied no-health-care. And are not on both sides the fanatics leading the way?

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 1:23 pm

The problem is that people have been carefully enculturated to believe that they can not and should not take care of themselves, that we are all an interlocking organism that has no individuals.

The solution is simple. Reverse that enculturation process and re-instill the character and common virtues of freedom and individuality, individual responsibility for self and the actions (or nonactions) of self.

Stephan August 29, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Really? My reading was that Regina and Fred both worked two jobs to support their family and still had no 1.000 USD for health insurance to avail. That does not look like unresponsible people who wouldn’t want to take care of themselves. Or in simple words: they could not afford to buy health-care on the market.

So basically the questions is: Do American citizens want universal health-care or do they accept, that some people (only some millions) are left behind? This is not an economical but a political question. Economics should supply the means to either end.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 2:04 pm

No in fact the problems is people like you who have been inculcated into believing they take care of themselves when in fact society is an interdependent relationship that works better when we pool our resources and set fair ground rules to optimize fairness and economic growth.

Say what you want but Canadians and Europeans are much happier with their health care systems then we with ours. they have as good of outcomes and it cost less.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Here is what I know for a certainty. There is a man in Maine that I had problems with way back in 1964.

I am 68 years old, reside south of Houston, Texas, and most likely in the next 30 years or so I will die. If that man is still alive, he will not mourn me or miss me at all.

Why should government force him, through taxation and countless idiotic schemes, to pay for any part of my health care, if I am too stupid or braindead to have already taken care of that through preparation and savings?

On the other hand, I will not miss him or mourn him at all should he go before me, as a matter of fact we are so remote from each other, though sharing a common national border, that it is extremely unlikely that either of us will note the passing of the other. So why should I contribute in any way to his healthcare?

Now, Stephan, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to explain how any thing would change in the above scenario, should he live across town from me instead of in Maine?

Stephan August 29, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Vidyohs,

There’s a concept called human compassion. Eventually this was and is a major driving force why economists appreciate their work and go to great lengths (at least in the past they did). To ease the lot of humanity. Adam Smith wrote not only “The Wealth of Nations” but also “The Theory of Moral Sentiments”.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Because if he wasn’t paying for the Medicare or VA care or Military government paid health insurance you’d be out on your sorry ass looking for a private health insurance company to insure your 68 year old stupid hypocritical ass!!

YOU HAVE GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE you piece shit!!! What an incredible dickhead you are. There’s nothing logical or honest about your position.

That guy in Maine IS PAYING for your health care and so am I.

Anonymous August 30, 2009 at 8:47 pm

First, my response to you was to your factually incorrect statement about one side of the argument being that there is no health care problem–that is actually the false biased characterization by the government control fanatics of their opponents. Your statement therefore strongly reflects that biased point of view.Second, this blog is rife with explanations of the problem and solutions–with hundreds of words posted by me alone. I highly recommend you peruse them. Show me where the OECD specifically compares health care outcomes. When JUST looking at the effects of actual health care treatment, the US is tops or near tops in nearly every quality measure. You can’t blame higher homicide rates, car accidents, inherited lifestyle choices, and larger population of ethnic-related risk factors, on the quality of US health care. It is just fools and sophists who do so. Duration of suffering by those entering the health care system, as well as outcomes for cancer treatment, life expectancy, and premature birth survival rates is no where significantly better and in most cases MUCH worse than in the US. Additionally, some other places, like Canada, give people no recourse when the government monopoly fails them–other than to leave their country or enter the black market.THE problem is health care financing. Specifically, it is the inefficiency of third-party financing (private and public). More specifically, widespread third-party financing creates perpetually growing health care costs (with a similar growth rate in ALL western health care systems). It does so by removing the usual free market individual incentives for seeking efficiencies through choosing consumption alternatives, shopping, and negotiating.This results in growing health care, and health care insurance, costs. Growing costs makes it less affordable to more and more people. That means fewer people buying insurance, and fewer people finding health care consumption affordable.The major solution is to remove the Federal government incentives that created and maintain the current private third-party financing system, and to change the Medicare and Medicaid system of public third-party financing, in order to establish the usual price regulation created by a free market system. Recall, that a free market financially rewards individual consumers who make the effort to find more efficient consumption.Hugely expensive health care costs, the kinds of expenses that cost 10′s or 100′s of thousands of dollars is CHEAP. It is cheap, because it is rare. This makes insurance against those things easy to obtain in youth, which makes saving for uninsurable old age consumption possible. I refer you to HSAs as a way of lifelong individual health care financing.If those government-created legislative factors are removed, health care will be no more a problem for Americans than food, clothing, shelter, or transportation. That is, the number of people for whom Americans feel subsidy is needed will be extremely small and eminently affordable.And the uninsured are NOT a significant financial burden on the US. Cost shifting due to the uninsured accounts for less than 2% of US health care expenditures. The REAL burden is due to those insured by the government–Medicaid and Medicare. And the government monopoly fanatics propose to solve that problem by vastly EXPANDING government insurance.

michigantrooper August 29, 2009 at 1:26 pm

Stephan, Yes, there is a real debate about whether there is a problem. Here are some “facts”: 85-87% of Americans have self-described adequate health care. Those (same people) pay high local, state and federal taxes to support local hospitals and ER’s to take care of the rest.

There is no problem.

Stephan August 29, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Oops … This starts to look like blog work. And this on Saturday in EU socialism paradise. But of course I’m aware I’m the only Austro-Marxist in the room. But at least native from Austria. So bear with me.

There is no problem. Good. Let’s look at the figures provided courtesy of the OECD. I hope we can agree, that the OECD has not a hidden socialist agenda.

I’ve selected the main culprits UK, Germany and France. But cause Paul Krugmann would compromise on Swissifying the US I’ve also thrown in Switzerland.

Health-care spending % of GDP (2005)
UK 8,20
Germany 10,70
France 11,10
Switzerland 11,20
US 15,70 (last in the list)

Health-care spending $ per Capita PPP adjusted (2005)
UK 2.693
France 3.303
Germany 3.348
Switzerland 4.015
US 6.558 (last in the list)

That does not look very good for the US. I mean always last place? But maybe big bang for big bucks?

Infant Mortality per 1.000 Live Births
France 3,80
Germany 3,90
Switzerland 4,20
US 6,90

Life Expectancy in Years
Switzerland 81,40
France 80,20
Germany 79,40
UK 79,10
US 77,80

Potential years of live lost (Male 100.000 aged 0-69) [2005]
Switzerland 3630
Germany 4222
UK 4324
France 4805
US 6291

Potential years of live lost (Female 100.000 aged 0-69) [2005]
Switzerland 2058
Germany 2284
France 2292
UK 2644
US 3633

Ah. Not really a big bang. But there’s one OECD silver-lining and all of you should enjoy it. Even while sipping red wine, eating green frogs and bashing the US the French are not really happy.

Suicides (Deaths per 100.000aged 0-69) [2005]
UK 166
Germany 208
US 269
Switzerland 299
France 320

Jake S. August 29, 2009 at 3:19 pm

“I hope we can agree, that the OECD has not a hidden socialist agenda.”

What about an open socialist agenda? :-D

If the “Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development” actually believed in the free market, they probably would not believe that an organisation was needed to help coordinate it.

But it’s early and I haven’t had breakfast yet, so I could be wrong.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Who cares, those are just statistics, and none of us have any real reason to believe that they weren’t manipulated to get results desired. “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”, you know.

Statistics do no more than reflect dry numbers and do not necessarily reveal causes, facts, reality, purpose, or actions.

Nathan Scott August 29, 2009 at 3:49 pm

And how about cancer survival rates? Or Obesity rates? Or the survival rates of extremely premature babies. Conveniently ignored by the proponents of socialism.

Stephan August 29, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Shit. I just was about to head out. But you are right. Cancer is one of the bright points in the statistic.

Of course this is a damn lie! Or maybe Krugman is right to Swissify the US healt-care system.
Cancer (Deaths by 100.000)
Switzerland 139,4
US 157,9
Germany 159,3
France 165,6
UK 173,3

Sorry guys. You’re way to fat! At least this is world record. I’ve added the diabetes statistics to warn about consequences.
Obesity (% of population)
Switzerland 8,1
France 10,5
Germany 13,6
UK 23,0
US 34,3

Diabetes (Death per 100.000)
UK 6,7
Switzerland 10,8
France 10,9
Germany 16,2
US 20,3

MWG August 29, 2009 at 5:28 pm

Sorry I’m so late to the debate.

Stephen, you cite the case of Fred, but there are plenty of sob stories under universal healthcare “systems”. Sally Pipes from Canada (you can google here name) had a mother who thought she might have colon cancer, but the doctor said she was fine and she didn’t need a colonoscopy… you can guess how the story ends.

The numbers you cite could not be more irrelevant.

1. We spend more because of various reason… not the least of which is due to govt. interference such as mandates on insurance companies. California, for example requires that private insurance covers things like acupuncture, when it should be the consumer’s choice if they want that included. On the other hand, other countries spend less simply because their healthcare is rationed.

2. Infant mortality is calculated differently in many European countries.

3. We die younger because we kill each other more. We’re also fatter as you showed below. These are things that aren’t “fixable” through a better healthcare “system”.

Obama uses the idea of creating more “competition” by created a govt. run insurance policy to that would “compete” with private companies. If he was TRUELY interested in creating more competition, instead of adding one competitor to the “market”, he would open up competition between states thereby creating dozens of new competitors.

I can’t speak for everyone here, but I’m certainly not defending the status-quo as Obama and others would have you believe, but what we currently have here in the US most definitely cannot be describe as a “free market”.

Jake S. August 29, 2009 at 5:37 pm

The “across state lines” prohibition is a big one for me (that is included in the following article). Here are five more:

6 Simple Ways to Dramatically Cut Costs of Medical Care — at Zero Expense to Taxpayers
http://www.centerforsmallgovernment.com/headline/6-simple-ways-to-dramatically-cut-costs-of-medical-care-at-zero-expense-to-taxpayers/

Cheers August 29, 2009 at 7:07 pm

Unfortunately, I learned in stats that you aren’t supposed to compare results unless you have common samples… Do you seriously believe that the base environment under which switzerland, Germany, the UK, France and the US provide healthcare are the same? Do you seriously believe that a single example from 4 different healthcare provision systems is enough to make deductions from?

It’s like comparing the satisfaction of beef consumption between the US, greenland and india with deaths per pound of beef consumed and life expectancy.

I’m not saying there’s no problem, there is one. Canada has an issue with wait times, the US has issues with oligopaly and attainment of coverage. Europe has issues with pressured diagnoses and general coverage issues. You’re not going to find it through those stats, and a bunch of stats that say that 5 different countries have wildly different healthcare results don’t really mean a damn thing considered that out of over ten thousand variables, the only one that is anywhere close to controlled is income.

Anonymous August 30, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Clearly the suicide rate is a valid quality measure of health care.

Shame on you for deliberately falsely propagating those statistics as measures if health care quality. I assume your intent is nefarious, because I will not insult you as being so ignorant.

Stephan August 30, 2009 at 9:49 pm

Cool down. This is not the 3rd world war or one of your famous town hall meetings. I posted the figures. Did I? I’ll answer your post tomorrow. Too late here today. I’m tired. Good night.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Says a Michigan Trooper ( thanks for your service) who likely gets government provided healthcare… not to mention salary and great benefits paid by us taxpayers….you guys are unreal.

The reason we should have universal government provided health care is the same reason we have government provided troopers…. to spread risk and cut cost.

Jake S. August 29, 2009 at 3:22 pm

“to spread risk and cut cost”

I’ll buy the “spread risk” argument, but does it really “cut cost” and, if so, to whom?

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 6:13 pm

It does in EVERY OTHER COUNTRY that has a national health plan. But that’s not good enough evidence for you guys. UNREAL.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 2:00 pm

Europeans and Canadians are simply laughing and pitying the Americans for this complete failure of our society to provide adequate health care to its citizens while protecting Corporate Health Insurance CEO’s ability to make $500,000,000 plus dollars in 5 years

They love their health care systems and have no desire to have a for profit system like ours that puts profits before patients.

They laugh or recoil in horror at the misrepresentations of their health care by American for profits companies trying to scare… and doing so successfully the unwitting uninformed Americans public.

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

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/mary-dejevsky/mary–dejevsky-a-mean-streak-in-the-us-mainstream-1776795.html

MWG August 29, 2009 at 6:23 pm

Muir, you’re an idiot. There are plenty of Canadians, Brits, and French who want a different system.

Let’s test your objectivity… Let’s say you’re absolutely 100% right in saying the universal “system” is better than ours…. is it perfect? are there there no “customers” who would prefer a different system? By the way you describe it, it’s paradise, but if you’re truly objective you’ll admit that there are a number of flaws in the Canadian system and that it’s far from perfect.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Absolutely. There all many flaws in every system. Can you claim that a free market system would be flawless? Of course not. What you need to prove and I disprove is that a free market system would some how be better. I believe the evidence is overwhelming in support of my claims and completely theoretical with regards to yours.

Sam Grove August 29, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Why haven’t you moved to Canada or Europe?

Why should we care what they think of us?

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 9:51 pm

Why haven’t you moved to Canada or Europe?

We almost bought a house in Canada. But this is my home. As long as we have democracy the long term trends suggest our country will become more fair and efficient. In other words the good guys will ultimately win out.

Why should we care what they think of us?

Huh? Because they have a different perspective that might be valuable for us to hear. Unless of course you are a hard core ideologue who just doesn’t care about others opinions. I care about others opinions otherwise I wouldn’t spend so much time here.

Why haven’t you moved to Libertopia?

Sam just curious. What are your major information sources.

Mine our;

Thom Hartmann
Rachel Maddow
Talk of the Nation
Bill Moyers
Daily Show
Planet Money
Science Friday
Fresh Aire
Sean Hannity Show
Bill O’Reilly Show

The New York Times
Wall Street Journal
The Financial Times
The Nation
Mother Jones
Science Magazine
Nature Magazine
Harpers

Huffington Post
Cafe Hayek
Drudge Report
Angry Bear
The Big Picture
Econtalk
Economist View
Mankiw blog
Flybottle

Sam Grove August 29, 2009 at 11:34 pm

Sources for what kind of information?You have time to peruse all those sources?I’m a stay at home dad, I’ve been working on hardware and software development for an electronic product, when I’m not being distracted by my charges.As it is, I spend too much time visiting a few places online.I weigh arguments and develop my own.Information, from whatever source, must always be held in skeptical regard.Sources often provide information and, particularly, interpretations for the purpose of supplanting logic with emotive responses.In other words the good guysA perfect illustration of one of the big problems with political man. The other side is always the bad guys. My side is always the good guys.A division that can be exploited by those who see it as an opportunity for gain.BTW, I have no stomach for “conservative” sources.

Why haven’t you moved to Libertopia?

Want to talk about Democratopia? You know, where several hundred million people manage the government?

Sam Grove August 30, 2009 at 4:32 am

Because they have a different perspective that might be valuable for us to hear. Unless of course you are a hard core ideologue who just doesn’t care about others opinions. I care about others opinions otherwise I wouldn’t spend so much time here.

I don’t care much about opinions that people acquire via socialization. OTH, I have respect for well founded positions based on critical analysis of facts and a deep comprehension of reality.

Opinions are usually felt responses to faulty perceptions, and thus not a reliable basis for informing my own comprehension of reality.

When I ran for congress in San Francisco after the death of Sala Burton, I got to follow politicians around as we presented to various groups. Nancy Pelosi knew how to appeal to everybody, union members and businessmen alike. She knows how to work a crowd. Of course she won handily, Sala Burton had passed the key to the district to her.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 7:15 pm

I can see muirdiot just keep copy/pasting his usual 10 canned posts. No original thought whatsoever. Also notice, he just posts a manifesto-type point, he never invites real argument. Remember he like the other Obama-bots subscribe to Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”. Let me name an important one:

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

Nathan Scott August 29, 2009 at 7:19 pm

Considering the beautiful metropolitan city of Toronto sends over 1000 patients to Detroit (the worst city in America) every year for procedures not offered in government run Canadian health care, I’m fairly sure Canadians aren’t as convinced as you are.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EPd2i4Jshs

Stephan August 29, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Hi guys,

I added my 2 cent. It’s Saturday beautiful weather here and I’m heading for my beer. Enough Marxism ;-) And yes, the OECD is a conspiracy of foreign communists, all statistics are damn lies and I don’t understand anything.

But don’t despair. After our short debate I’m sure Obamacare has a very long way to go. Cheers. Stephan

PS: Definition: Compassion:
Compassion is a human emotion prompted by the pain of others. More vigorous than empathy, the feeling commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another’s suffering.

PPS: Of course I don’t want to coerce anyone here into such a horrible human emotion which can cause such dreadful consequences for society.

Jake S. August 29, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Stephan, for the record, my OECD comment was mostly in jest, but I wanted to use it to illustrate something serious: the fallacy of data universality.

For example, in the gun control debate here in the U.S., most data comes to us courtesy of the NRA (National Rifle Association), the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), the VPC (Violence Policy Center), and the Brady Campaign [to Prevent Gun Violence].

Most people who are *against* gun control naturally/instinctively distrust VPC and Brady Campaign numbers, while most people who are *for* gun control naturally/instinctively distrust NRA numbers. One might *think* that leaves the CDC as a happy medium, but many people are naturally/instinctively “cautious” about CDC numbers as well because, interestingly enough, gun deaths are not a “disease” under any commonly-accepted definition of the term.

Similarly, for those of us who believe in “spontaneous order,” you can see how data from an organisation which believes its very existence is necessary in order to facilitate “economic co-ordination and development” and [among other things] “coordinate domestic and international policies” might be viewed as inherently suspect.

Now go out and enjoy your beer(s)!

Jake S. August 29, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Wouldn’t a truly “compassionate” also society acknowledge those with divergent philosophical views, and not coerce them into participating in their system?

For example, say the Free State Project in New Hampshire grew to 90% of the population. If NH wanted to opt out (of a universal health care system, or of the country as a whole), a truly compassionate society would let them go (“Hey, we’re not gonna hold you guys here against your will.”).

None of the burdens, none of the benefits. This would be necessary in order to eliminate any “free rider” problem someone might object with in order to justify continued coercion/subjugation.

Stephan August 30, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Hi Jake,

Sorry for the late reply. Too much beer and fun yesterday. Eventually I was trying hard to be as unhealthy as possible (drinking, smoking, …) to further the international statistical ranking of US health-care in comparison to socialism a’la EU. But I owe you an answer on that. Right?

That’s indeed a tough question. Let’s assume I’m the benevolent and compassionate US government. And after reading all these letters of Mr. Boudreaux to news outlets, congress, the president, etc. (Hey what about the pope and the UN? Are they nobody?) I realize how much pain my government inflicts on him.

And I’m compassionate. Right? So what should I do about him? I think I would give him the opportunity to cancel membership. No taxes anymore. Promised. But please don’t leave your property anymore. You know the the streets were paid for by members. And in case of an emergency. No no no, no police it’s members-only.

Anyhow. Now I’ve an urgent request to write the next letter. This must be a letter to the Washington Post. It’s about “Debunking the debunking of 5 Myths About Health Care Around the World.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/21/AR2009082101778.html

Jake S. August 30, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Hey, don’t apologize to me… I told you to go out and have fun! You don’t “owe” me anything, but thanks for the answer, regardless.

With regard to “cancel[ing] membership,” I wasn’t so much talking about the individual (doable, but much more difficult); rather, an entire state (NH in my example). Our system of federalism provides a much-easier model for this at the state level than the individual…

For example, in your linked article… which of the many foreign countries listed above do you think is the best? These are the countries I saw listed just on pg.1 (of 3) of that article:

Britain, New Zealand, Cuba, Canada, Taiwan, Germany, The Netherlands, Japan, Switzerland, France, and Austria

Let’s let the state of California try that route… and distribute the rest of those countries’ health care schemes amongst the other states which want universal [gov't-run] health care. This is the “laboratory” model which [Supreme Court] Justice Sandra Day O’Connor referred to in her excellent dissent in Gonzales. v. Raich:

“Federalism promotes innovation by allowing for the possibility that ‘a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country’…”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but that sounds like the best of both (all?) worlds to me.

Stephan August 30, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Basically there’s no perfect health-care system. First the ends must be established. Which is a political choice. For instance do we really want universal coverage? Universal coverage means a trade off.

Federalism is for sure a laboraty for social life! But you can also look at other places and explore the different models in place there. Why invent the wheel on federal level again when you simply can fly to Singapore, Switzerland, …

But this means to overcome prejustice. And that means to put aside the Boudreaux gospel “all government is evil”. Economics is about what means work efficiently to establish an agreed end. Sorry to say that: but Hayek himself would be disgusted to enter Cafe Hayek.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 8:05 pm

Why compare the U.S.’s healthcare industry with Canada, or some European nation? It’s like arguing that Stalinist Russia was a nicer place than Maoist China or Potian Cambodia. Each of these healthcare industries is royally screwed up, and for the same reason — government.

Economiser August 29, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Stephan,

We Americans opposed to universal healthcare generally admit that there are lots and lots of problems today. Those problems stem from the fact that the health insurance market is *not* a free market – it has way too much government interference and restrictions.

Employer-based insurance receives large tax breaks, which effectively killed off the individual insurance market. The current health insurance system divorces the patients from any knowledge of the price of individual procedures or what they are paying. This invariably leads to price escalation and an overconsumption of “free” healthcare. State mandates require health insurance to pay for all sorts of things that are predictable and affordable and shouldn’t require “insurance.” They also require coverage for many politically-favored diseases that raise the cost for everyone. Insurers cannot compete across state lines, so if I find a cheaper plan in another state that insurer is legally prohibited from selling it to me. And on, and on.

The key to health insurance reform in the US is to minimize government intervention. What we have now is nothing like a free market.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 1:56 pm

That Regina and Fred both worked two jobs to support their family is immaterial to what I said about the value and virtue of self-responsibility.

First off, Stephan, did I (a person who shares residence within a common border) have any input as to whether Regina and Fred should get married in the first place? The answer is no.

Did I have any input into their decision to have children? The answer is no.

Did I have any input into their decision to have more than one child? The answer is no.

Did I have any input as to what expenses they would contract for or acquire in the way of possessions, that might factor into their financial struggle? The answer is no.

Did I have any input into how well Regina and Fred would prepare themselves through education and skill acquisition for their future labors? The answer is no.

Did I have any input into how Regina and Fred would budget their incomes? The answer is no.

So in practical and rational terms, Regina and Fred have done to themselves everything that has brought them to their current position. Every step of the way it has been their decisions, good and bad, that put them where they are financially.

And, now you want to tell me that I should step in and save them? I don’t think that would be a good idea for me. And, please don’t bring up the children of Regina and Fred as having to suffer for the mistakes of Regina and Fred, that is Regina and Fred’s problem, and they should be forced to look into the faces of their own children and realize how monumentally they screwed up and are making their own children suffer. Regina and Fred should feel the kind of pain that either kills people or fixes them.

As for a practical insight on the children, to bail out Regina and Fred will not only hurt them in the long run by affirming their belief that others should take the fall for their own mistakes, but their children will also learn that they have a “get out of jail” card as well, and we find we have perpetuated and rewarded the sloth and ignorance of Regina and Fred and everyone that knows of the situation.

Spare me the pleas of the socialist, Stephan, your way is stagnation and death to all who follow that path.

Economiser August 29, 2009 at 2:13 pm

Universal healthcare is not compassion; it’s compulsion. Compassion is when I choose to donate money to help others. And quite frankly, I can probably find better uses of that money than to pay for preventative healthcare for citizens of the wealthiest country in the world. Compulsion is when the government forces me to give it my money so it can redistribute that in ways it sees fit. There’s nothing compassionate about that at all.

If you want to ease the lot of humanity, I strongly suggest you revisit the value of markets. They have done more to improve the daily lives of mankind than any societal development in human history.

Nathan Scott August 29, 2009 at 3:24 pm

It is interesting you bring up the claim of compassion. If we were truly compassionate we would allow the truly poor starving and dying masses to move here. What would happen under such a situation? Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security would all collapse. They are all predicated on keeping the number of poor down to efficiently leech of the rich. If this is your idea of compassion, I want nothing to do with it.

Stephan August 29, 2009 at 2:32 pm

Compassion is a human sentiment. You don’t want Freds out there to dye because they can’t afford treatment.

How to deliver on that is another question. The market? The goverment? This is open to debate and I sincerely have nothing against markets as long as they work. I love my iPod.

But what I strongly oppose is the attitude there is no problem in health-care. Even the Wall Street Journal is not posting “40 Million plus uninsured. Who cares. Their fault. Let’s party.”

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Stephan, meet muirduck, the intellectual Chihuahua, you guys share the same degree of rational thought and intellectual smallness.

Neither of you understand freedom, individuality, and self responsibility; nor, it seems are you willing to recognize the difference that was pointed out to you above by Economiser, “Universal healthcare is not compassion, it is compulsion”.

What is it about that phrase, “Universal healthcare is not compassion, it is compulsion”, that you don’t understand?

If I am forced to make good on your mistakes, then that compulsion is not compassion because it will ensure that you continue to be irresponsible, which hurts not only you but society in general.

Simple truths, explained in simple language.

Cheers August 29, 2009 at 6:54 pm

40 million voluntary and involuntarily uninsured is 13% of the US population.

Do you believe that over 87% (or if you take the highest involuntary figures, 94%) of the population will make it through waiting lists and rationing without it impacting their quality of life?

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Tsk Tsk, teacup Chihuahua, such vehemence, such emotion, such stupidity.

You’re in the wrong blog to try and make your case, people know you too well.

They also know and understand contract and how it involves parties.

You, on the other hand, don’t seem to know or understand much of anything beyond maybe…….well, everything.

You see my little mentally incompetent pet, I know full well all the reasons that I might want to help Regina and Fred as a personal decision; but, no one yet has explained to me why I should submit to compulsion to do so. No one yet has explained to me the basis for anyone claiming the authority to force me to submit to compulsion.

I certainly do not expect someone as deficient in thought and honesty as yourself, muirduck, to even come close.

Gil August 29, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Don’t be daft muirgeo! Vidyohs believes in tax receiving not tax paying!

sandre August 29, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Scumbag!

Anonymous August 31, 2009 at 4:38 am

I’ve always admired Vidyohs’ ability to accurately peg the socialists who troll this bridge, and I get plenty of laughs out of Yasafi-as-a-Teacup Chihuhua, and by God, Yasafi has sure lived up to his billing on this thread!

Yipping and yapping and demanding answers of people while never answering any questions, himself. Yipping and yapping that others are hypocrites as he profits in health care while decrying profit in health care. Yipping and yapping about hypocrisy while he preaches about the impending demise of the globe due to the average American’s carbon footprint, while his own carbon footprint dwarfs the average American’s.

Viyohs,

I’m a bit jealous. I’ve tried to goad Yasafi into that kind of vitriol, but I guess one has to be a veteran.

Yasafi,

You’ve posted prodigiously on this thread, but you’ve been awfully quiet about the topic of the thread, which is the failure of the totalitarian-medical service, known as IHS. Why should we believe you when you assure us that the government loves us and will take care of us from the womb to the tomb, when we’ve got a vivid illustration in front of us that they don’t and they won’t?

Oh, and you could have the VA medical care that Vidyohs earned. All it takes is one hitch.

Nathan Scott August 29, 2009 at 3:26 pm

Actually, when comparing the privately insured to medicare and medicaid it appears people like their health care more under private plans. When asked essentially the same question of whether they like their health care provider, private insurance drops while medicare and medicaid climb. There this idea by people like you that insurance is only in the business of screwing others over. That it is evil to run a business. What is often forgotten the truly evil and power hungry inundate the halls of government. Refusing to use the public option, but mandating others buy into it.

Nathan Scott August 29, 2009 at 5:06 pm

Diabetes/Obesity is a large part of the reason we spend more (why would it be caused by the health care system?). If you actually study the outcomes of individuals who get sick, you get a realistic rating of the health care.

* American women have a 63 percent chance of living at least five years after a cancer diagnosis, compared to 56 percent for European women.
* American men have a five-year survival rate of 66 percent — compared to only 47 percent for European men.
* Among European countries, only Sweden has an overall survival rate for men of more than 60 percent.
* For women, only three European countries (Sweden, Belgium and Switzerland) have an overall survival rate of more than 60 percent.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 6:01 pm

Yeah because the evidence for success of free market health care systems is so pervasive. Where do you guys come up with this stuff?

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 6:07 pm

Where does your health insurance come from Vidyohs?

Mine comes from the group practice in which I work. In other words I PAY FOR MY OWN HEALTH CARE. How about you? Share honestly where you get your health care and WHO PAYS FOR IT?

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 6:11 pm

Yeah he’s a legend in his own mind. Most people would be embarrassed to hell to be so openly hypocritical but this guy is quite content living in his world of self conflict and self-delusion.

That’s why I call him MinArc Man… with a government pension. But now I need to re-name him. MinArc Man… With A Government Pension And A Public Health plan (aka as Dickweed).

Jake S. August 29, 2009 at 6:22 pm

The “to whom” clause of my question was to help answer a nagging/lingering question I’ve had: Does “universal government provided health care” (your phrase) actually cut costs, or does it merely shift them?

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 7:10 pm

Why my little pet, my private health insurance comes out of my pocket. it is a bargain, but then that is they I do business.

MWG August 29, 2009 at 7:23 pm

“Yeah because the evidence for success of free market health care systems is so pervasive. Where do you guys come up with this stuff?”
-muirdog

1000 ad Europe – Yeah because the evidence for success of [democracy] is so pervasive. Where do you guys come up with this stuff?

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 7:26 pm

My little pet, once again I will demonstrate why you and people like you are intellectual inferiors to most of the bloggers here, and I especially can tell you that on an individual basis, you are the moral, intellectual, spiritual, and rational inferior to me. I had hopes for Gil, but it seems my hopes were misplaced.

Let me illustrate why your hallucinations make you an inferior.

By your reckoning, the illusion of thought you live by, if I once repaired Charles Manson’s A/C unit and agreed to accept time payments for my services, then because of that service and agreement, I can never deny your accusation that I too am a religious murderous nutcase.

or:

If I once repaired Teddy Kennedy’s car and agreed to accept delayed payment, then I am as guilty of murdering Mary Jo Kopechne as he was.

Like it or not, those analogies exactly describe the flaws and deficiencies in your broken socialist brain. Sorry, Gil, but you seem to fit the same deficient mold.

That I once contracted with a socialist government, your government, to provide service, and they offered a compensation that included a pension no more makes me or my actions socialist than it makes me a Kennedy cousin.

Now, let’s address (again) the stupidity of your claim that no service man earns what he receives. That you seem to think all servicemen just lay around consuming and never earning is indeed laughable. In your feverish fantasy ridden socialist broken brain you see nothing but socialist scripture and you repeat it with the monotony of a metronome.

Far from offending me with your stupidity, I laud you for laying your stupidity out once again for all the world to see.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 8:00 pm

“Now, let’s address (again) the stupidity of your claim that no service man earns what he receives.” MinArc Man

I never made that claim did I? I fully believe you earned what you received and I am glad to have paid taxes for your services. You are the one who ones to revoke the contract for everyone else while you still receive payments. You are the one who receives regular government services provided by others who contracted with the government but somehow thinks you should be exempt from paying your taxes or that the government is “stealing” only from you. You’re a ridiculously pathetic incoherent mass of self contradictory pretzel logic. You reason and humility centers have some crossed wires. Go see a doctor, we’ll cover the tab.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 9:36 pm

I assume everyone pays taxes. Early in life you tend to pay less… as you get older you tend to pay more. But for a given income we all pay the same.

When you assume the burden goes only to the wealthy you can’t also assume they were not once young and not contributing. Most people take from the pool their first 25 years or so and only then start giving back.

We all pretty much agree that if any of us gets super wealthy we’ll put back more. Nothing wrong with that. But you guys are SO focused on the individual you can see any legitimacy of the needs of the group. We’re social creatures. It would be unnatural to have a society where everyone just looked out for themselves. And that’s likely why no such societies exist.

It sounds real good to be proud to claim you’re an independent liberty loving individual who only wants to be left alone to do as he pleases but it makes no sense with regards to how human societies are set up. Regardless of how much you dislike the idea we are all part of a collective human effort. Individualism taken to the extreme is just irrational.

Anonymous August 31, 2009 at 7:57 am

Government run health care cuts costs by cutting care. It is that simple. It doesn’t make it more efficient–cost growth rates are similar in all Western countries to the US–and it reduces quality of care–as proven in nearly every controlled comparison of actual health care outcomes between private and government-controlled health care.And of course its risk-spreading is highly inefficient and therefore costly. Efficient risk pricing incorporates all available knowledge. Government insurance deliberately ignores all knowledge.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 10:01 pm

Idiot pet, silly little pet. By the very nature of the concept of group, it can not have needs or desires. All a group can do is reflect a consensus of the individual needs and desires.

Jake S. August 30, 2009 at 1:14 am

“[Y]ou guys are SO focused on the individual you can see any legitimacy of the needs of the group. We’re social creatures. It would be unnatural to have a society where everyone just looked out for themselves. And that’s likely why no such societies exist.”

Frederic Bastiat assailed this very argument over 150 years ago:

“Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.” — Frederic Bastiat, The Law

Jake S. August 30, 2009 at 1:16 am

“Regardless of how much you dislike the idea we are all part of a collective human effort.”

I don’t disregard or discount that. I just don’t like the idea of a “collective human effort” directed by government, because I’ve seen it fail. I believe in spontaneous order, because I’ve actually seen it work. That’s my experience, and it is what it is. I am perfectly willing to concede that I *could* be committing the fallacy of similarity here and [that] everywhere else “collective human effort” directed by government has been tried, it’s worked, and that wherever spontaneous order has been tried, it has failed. I just don’t presently believe that to be the case, however. Because I haven’t seen the [conclusive] evidence for it.

“Individualism taken to the extreme is just irrational.”

I’m assuming you’re willing to concede that the same could be said for collectivism? ;-)

Jake S. August 31, 2009 at 1:39 pm

In reading vikingvista’s reply to me, I had to back up and re-read my post that he was replying to (and your post that I was originally replying to, as well). In doing so, it occurred to me that I had rebutted two of the follow-up points in your post, but had not assailed your general/underlying premise. Let me correct that egregious oversight immediately:

“I assume everyone pays taxes. Early in life you tend to pay less… as you get older you tend to pay more.”

Early in life you do tend to pay less… you also tend to CONSUME less, as well (thus justifying the whole “paying less” thing). As you get older, you tend to pay more… you also tend to CONSUME more, as well (see, we’ve got the whole “fundamental fairness” thing pretty well covered).

“But for a given income we all pay the same.”

But for a given income, we do NOT all consume the same [amount of healthcare, or even "government services," for that matter].

“When you assume the burden goes only to the wealthy you can’t also assume they were not once young and not contributing.”

I don’t assume the burden goes only to the wealthy, in fact. An overwhelming burden is also borne by the poor. The “War On Poverty” has also been, in effect, the “War On The Poor.”

“Most people take from the pool their first 25 years or so and only then start giving back.”

Can you show me the data for this? For both “healthcare” and “government services,” please. I was talking about healthcare in the posts you were responding to, but it seemed like you shifted the discussion (with your emphasis on general taxation) to government services, so both now seem to be germane.

Anonymous September 1, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Nobody argues that humans are not social. The question is do we want coercive associations or voluntary associations. The answer to that makes all the difference. I hate coercion.

Anonymous August 29, 2009 at 10:05 pm

Actually you did make that claim about a year and half ago, and had to eat crow on it then as well as now. :-)

And, when I am talking to, at, or with a socialist I learned a long time ago there is no need to feel humility, because I am superior.

You just can’t argue with that logic, my pet :-) .

Gil August 30, 2009 at 2:05 am

Well said muirgeo. There are many people who have paid their taxes over the years and expect certain services in return. Suppose vidyohs got told he won’t see much of his money because the Libertarian Party was in power and all governement contracts and IOUs are now void? “Well you shouldn’t have dealt with thugs and robbers”, they reply.

Jake S. August 30, 2009 at 3:44 pm

I’m not sure which Libertarian Party you’re familiar with, but I can’t for the life of me see the LP being for making “all government contracts and IOUs… void.” The LP that *I* know (b/c my 65-year old uncle is a member; I’m not the biggest fan, myself) isn’t really in the business of welching on contracts, or even advocating for something like that…

Jake S. August 30, 2009 at 7:20 pm

“no perfect health-care system”

At least we agree on that. Can we not also agree that Massachussetts is not Texas, California is not [either of the] Carolina[s], and that New York is not Florida?

Then the question becomes (as muirgeo, IIRC, said earlier) “Which system is better?” That leads to: “Better for whom?” Why should Massachussetts be able to impose its will on Texas, or vice-versa?

As for “look[ing] at other places and explor[ing] the different models in place,” you can’t just say “System XYZ works great in Singapore” (or Switzerland) and automatically know that it will work great for Oklahoma, much less for the entire United States.

Anonymous August 30, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Huh? If “cool down” is any indication of your piercing insight, I won’t hold my breath.

Stephan August 30, 2009 at 10:11 pm

You’re really an asshole ;-) Good night and good luck!

Anonymous August 30, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Not even a consensus. You’re lucky if there is a plurality, with a strong minority or majority of people strongly disagreeing.

Group politics has gone from a last resort for community decision-making to a means to divide and conquer a population so as to violate people’s rights. Democracy is just as likely to be a force for evil as a force for good.

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