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« Past vs. Present - Where Would You Rather Be? | Main | Chevy Camaro? Not Yours! »

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KipEsquire

But this leads into another issue: The absurd mythology of many if not most liberals that health care professionals are intrinsically altruistic and immune from the quest for financial prosperity -- as if being a cardiothoracic surgeon on the Upper East Side were the ethical equivalent of being a pediatrician with Doctors Without Borders.

There was a scene in an old episode of ER where the doctors are conscripted into interviewing med school applicants, and you see their frustration-induced facepalming grow ever more pronounced as they hear over and over again, "I want to help people..."

Phil

Why is it that, after 5,000 years of documented human history, do people keep saying "if we only had the right people in government.... ." The "right" person is as mythological as the unicorn and Peter Pan.

KaiserW

You could just as easily rephrase your original statement from:

"Keeping that in mind, why would anyone think that a private good, like health care, will be better administered by government bureaucrats with little to no knowledge of particular situations than private people?"

to:

"Keeping that in mind, why would anyone think that a human necessity, like health care, will be better administered by for profit corporations with little to no knowledge of particular situations than private people?"

The GOP/Health Care Lobbyist talking point that the "Government will get between patients and doctors" ignores the reality that under the current system "corporations get between patients and doctors".

Do you really think you have healthcare freedom right now? Before a doctor helps you in any way you must first ask your insurance company if a procedure is covered and which doctor you are allowed to see. This idea that you are losing "freedom of choice" is an illusion. There was no freedom to begin with!

Mark

KaiserW said exactly what I was going to say.

Further, what about the 47,000,000 people without insurance? You are already paying for their care, why not make it more efficient? That would be in YOUR self-interest...

Chance

"Further, what about the 47,000,000 people without insurance? You are already paying for their care, why not make it more efficient? That would be in YOUR self-interest..."
I don't think opponents are saying there doesn't need to be any reform, just that more government isn't the way to do it. There are tons of things I could think of that would make insurance cheaper, and most of them are things that we see in other areas of the free market: allow people to shop across state lines, allow people to shape their insurance as THEY see fit, that is, not be forced to buy insurance for things they don't need, provide tax incentives for individuals as well as businesses (why should someone's insurance HAVE TO be tied to their job), allow people to form groups to buy insurance, the list goes on...

Big government people have little imagination, for you, "many people don't have health insurance" automatically translates to "we need the gov't to do something."

Chance

"Keeping that in mind, why would anyone think that a human necessity, like health care, will be better administered by for profit corporations with little to no knowledge of particular situations than private people?"

KaiserW, do you also wonder the same thing about food, housing, and clothing? Do you think those should be public as well? They are human necessities yet I think most people believe the free market does a better job than the government.

I just don't understand your train of thought. Hmm, food, clothing, and housing (keep in mind this includes rental properties and not necessarily owning a house), most people have those and inflation is somewhat under control. Health insurance and health care on the other hand are heavily regulated and there's 47 million uninsured. So, logically, instead of making health care like food, clothing, and housing, let's make it more regulated.

Chance

"You are already paying for their care, why not make it more efficient?"
Since when has gov't been more efficient?

KaiserW

Well the point i was trying to make is not that government control is better than the free market. I believe the free market works great in well regulated markets. Unfortunately the reality is that the health insurance industry is NOT a free market. There is no real competition and it is absurd to believe these large insurers (who are writing the GOP talking points) are going to "self regulate" if that means losing profits. Adam Smith, of whom i am a fan, realized that capitalism suffered from an inherent moral hazard, as defined below:

“The directors of such companies, however, being the managers rather of other people’s money than of their own, it cannot well be expected that they should watch over it with the same anxious vigilance with which the partners in a private copartnery frequently watch over their own . . . Negligence and profusion, therefore, must always prevail, more or less, in the management of the affairs of such a company.”

Clearly he is speaking about money managers (which you could interpret as a foreshadowing of the subprime meltdown, although another topic) but the same concept applies to Health Care. These insurers are in the business to make money, not provide care. Because there is no competition in this market a few large providers have become mirror images of one another, denying rightful care to millions (who are paying members) in an effort to please wallstreet. Most people do not have the ability to buy individual insurance outside their employer provided plan which means we are all hostages to this system.

Now you mentioned you would like to see real free-market reform in the industry to fix this. I would also like to see such reforms but you must be a realist, in America laws are not written by the people but by lobbyists. These laws are then shopped to members of congress who back them for campaign contributions. Unfortunately for all of us the only opposition to Obama is the GOP which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the lobbying industry. (note i am not saying democrats are any better, they simply have different agendas) I would like to see independent capitalists like Ron Paul take the GOP back from these people but that is incredibly unlikely. In fact in the most recent presidential election when he brought up real free market reforms in the primaries he was laughed off the stage by the GOP sheeple.

Given that our current system is severely flawed, (quite possibly beyond repair) I believe having a public option would actually force private insurers to compete on quality of care provided (where there is no competition currently). I do not believe a government operated system is "great" and the free market is "bad". On the contrary i see both as having serious problems. I also do not think the government option will be cheap, i do think it will be expensive. However i also believe it would force through some real competition and could actually improve care by forcing complacent insurance companies to provide a competitive alternative.

KaiserW

Also, it should be obvious, but health care is not like food, clothing, or shelter in the sense that these items, for the most part, operate in a competitive market. You are free to buy food from Whole Fooods or Wal-mart, whichever your budget provides. The same is not true for healthcare.

In response to

"You are already paying for their care, why not make it more efficient?"
Since when has gov't been more efficient?

You are correct, government is usually not efficient because it lacks competition. While this does indeed lead to inefficiencies it also makes government uniquely desirable to do things like protect the environment, provide a military/police force to protect the public, and regulate markets. Do you honestly believe our environment would be better off if private corporations were in charge of the upkeep? All you need to do is look at the Banking industry to see what happens when you let the industry write their own regulations.


You have a cool blog here, i may try your beer recipe :)

Chance

"You are free to buy food from Whole Fooods or Wal-mart, whichever your budget provides. The same is not true for healthcare."

How do you figure? My company is currently on our third health insurance company within 5 years. Every year they evaluate based on cost/benefits. I can think of several as we speak. Is there something you know that I don't (that all are really part of the same group, etc...).
Moreover, I would like to open up the competition more, hence the idea of shopping across state lines.

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