Why We Need Government-run Universal Socialized Health Care

If you don’t “get it” after seeing this video, you just don’t want to.

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10 responses to “Why We Need Government-run Universal Socialized Health Care

  • hippieprof

    Thanks for posting the – great stuff! I have been planning a similar blog – but it won’t be as humorous as this one.

    Keep up the good fight….

    — hippieprof

  • Stephen VanNuys

    Wow – this is awful.

    “Free service?!” How could they write that after showing the funny little picture of all the stick figures dumping their $$$’s into a big pool. Hilarious!

    And then the people looking around for a provider in their network for fire insurance? Have these people read up on Canada and the UK and all the massive shortages of doctors and general availability of care they have, relative to our own? Supply tends to go down when you pay less. This is way too demand side, no supply side.

    Doesn’t speak to the $60 billion in fraud-related losses that MediCare incurs annually.

    When describing “efficient,” it doesn’t talk about the $37.6 trillion in unfunded MediCare obligations over the upcoming decades. Or the fact that social security and medicare payments will consume basically our entire national budget sometime in the 2030s at their current trajectory. That doesn’t sound free- or efficient. Sounds like a poorly managed plan that has too much overpromising and too much underdelivering.

    I have to admit, though, this video sums up my view of a lot of liberals when it comes to money and economics.

    Sorry guys. This one didn’t sell me. But I did nonetheless appreciate the humor…

  • Lottie

    Sources, please?

    Thanks! 😀

  • hippieprof

    Steven,

    Wow – how many different threads are we currently talking on?

    The problem is that you are allowing too many variables to simultaneously change in your analysis. Lets do a simple thought experiment.

    Take two identical insurance companies – same administrative structure, same risk pool, same coverages, etc – exactly the same down the line.

    Now make one a for-profit company, and the other a non-profit.

    Which one delivers the product cheaper?

    QED

    (and please – now bring up the bit about the for-profit company being motivated to innovate…. please do go there)

    — hippieprof

  • Stephen VanNuys

    Unfunded oblgations number:
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/13/social-security-medicare-trusts-quickly-running-dr/

    This is actually well documented. This is a huge problem that Obama is trying to address through the end of life counseling, etc. in this health reform bill. They don’t talk about these numberes, but this is what is driving the discussion that “health care” will bankrupt the nation. It’s really just MediCare being so underfunded and there being no political will for higher payroll taxes to fund it (i.e. stick figures dumping dollar bills into the pool). I’m more in favor of moving back the retirement age for MediCare and Social Security – on a grandfather basis. meaning, pick an age and say everyone this age or less, you will not get benefits until you are 70. That will give people time to save to help themselves.

    Anyway – it’s complicated to fix the problem. But that is an example of why gov programs are so bad in my view. Politicians promise much more than they can deliver.

    Medicare fraud-related costs:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/12/AR2008061203915.html

    That’s the 60 billion estimate. That’s a big estimate, I realize. I’ve been curious to read more about where that number comes from, though I’m aware from various other sources whatever the true number is massive. But again, this would have to be solved through increasing adminitrative costs.

  • Stephen VanNuys

    >Take two identical insurance companies – same administrative structure, same risk pool, same coverages, etc – exactly the same down the line.

    Sorry, Hippieprof, I may not be following your logic here. I don’t think you could ever assume such an ideal scenario, which provides the same product cheaper. The government program would begin with the overwhelming advantage of being able to finance any deficits it runs through cheap borrowing and increased taxation. That instantly would kill the competition. The private insurer has to have profits to sustain future operations and future growth. The government does not have this operational “disadvantage.” Just look around at basically any federal government program – social security, post office, MediCare, etc. These things run at enormous losses. No private company could do that. They’d be belly up in 3 to 4 years.

    My scenario is imagine if you had an insurance company that sold policies, knowing full well it wasn’t building the “pool” large enough to fund the policies (i.e. promises) it was giving to its policy holders. Imagine that company running at an enormous loss for a handful of years and then running to the government for a bailout. We would be irate! It be like AIG all over again. But replace “insurance company” with MediCare and that’s exactly what we have going right now. And somehow MediCare is held up as this perfect example of how government programs should be run. It’s baffling to me.

  • B.T. Murtagh

    The U.K. doesn’t have a shortage of doctors; they had some shortages in some specialties last year, due to a poorly considered change in the NHS training program. They also do have a lot of aging infrastructure.

    Canada, on the other hand, does have a long-standing shortage of doctors across the board, probably due to the draining effect of the American market. Wait times for nonessential services are longer than for Americans, but vital surgeries are prioritized.

    Neither country has tens of millions of citizens lacking any non-emergency health care, neither has further millions of people endangering their health by putting off doctor visits while saving up to pay for them, neither has medical costs as a leading cause of personal bankruptcies. Both countries have lower infant mortality rates than the U.S., both have longer life expectancy than the U.S., yet both spend a smaller proportion of their GDP on healthcare costs.

    Healthcare is an expensive business in any country. The biggest difference, it seems to me, is that in the American private-only system any shortfall in funding is paid for by not including people. The healthcare systems in other countries are providing universal care, through a variety of mechanisms; we’re simply letting people go without, both wholesale (people with no insurance at all) and retail (people with insurance who still can’t get needed costs approved by their private insurer).

    It’s perfectly true that government-run institutions like the post office can run at a loss for a time more easily than a private company. That’s a plus in my book! The books must always be made to balance in the end, of course, but government programs are better able to weather crises.

    As for healthcare systems “going broke” (a very popular phrase among HCR opponents) the Canadian system has been providing decent universal healthcare since the 1960s, the UK system since the 1940s. Neither one is actually on the verge of collapse in spite of the rhetoric.

    Medicare isn’t about to collapse either; adjustments will be made, waste cut, perhaps new funding (yes, taxes – public goods and services are paid for by the public) will be needed. These things will happen though, and the people on Medicare, unlike so many on private health insurance plans, will not simply be cast aside as economic liabilities.

    I’m confident that this is the case because everyone on Medicare, and every adult in their families, has a vote, if they care to use it, and any politician who tries such a thing will find that out. By contrast, relatively few people depending on private insurers have any say whatsoever in the running of those companies, which regularly ditch unprofitable customers with almost complete impunity, or simply refuse to pay the necessary costs.

  • Lottie

    Glad to see some activity on my blog again. It’s been a while, but that’s my own fault for neglecting it like I have.

    I encourage everyone to continue with this discussion. It’s important to keep a mutually respectful dialogue flowing. I, however, have a belated and long-awaited honeymoon to prepare for, so you won’t likely be hearing from me over the next few days, possibly weeks.

    For the record, I support the views expressed in the video which I’m sure goes without saying, otherwise I wouldn’t have posted it here. 😀

    Now, rock on!

  • hippieprof

    Stephen (BTW – I am sorry – I have been spelling your name “Steven” periodically – I think the V at the start of the last name was confusing me)…

    My point is this….

    A non-profit insurance plan will ALWAYS be cheaper than identical (and I mean identical down to the last detail) for-profit plan. That is a no brainer. Of course it is not realistic – but that isn’t what I was trying to do – I was establishing an all-else-help-equal scenario.

    When we start talking about the cost of a public option, we typically gloss over the fact that the public option would also be trying to do more than the for-profit option – that is the reason it would be more expensive.

    So, we are mixing two points here. Public options are less expensive ALL ELSE HELD EQUAL but because they try to do more, they look to be more expensive. You are still getting more for your money with the public option. (and by “you” I mean society – which is of course relevant to our discussion on the thread on my blog).

    In fact, I think what is baffling you has to do with our basic assumptions of the role of government. The government commonly runs some things at a loss because a greater public good is served. Public transportation is a great example – it runs at a loss, but that is OK because it provides a much needed service for society.

    Our much-belittled post office is actually a good example. Sure, it runs at a loss – but it also provides a much needed service. How much does it cost to send a letter by Fed-Ex? If the post office charged Fed-Ex prices for every letter then nobody could afford it. As much as we bash the post office, we probably agree as a society that having affordable postal access is a societal good. The post office thus runs at a loss to provide that good.

    — hippieprof

    — hippieprof

  • hippieprof

    B.T.

    Hear hear!!!!

    — hippieprof

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