Author Topic: My Problem with Universal Health Care  (Read 544 times)

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Alia

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My Problem with Universal Health Care
« on: August 27, 2009, 09:59:24 pm »
I believe there's one glaring problem with universal health care that stands above all others as what should be the cause of discontent.

And that is Fault, and Reason. Perhaps it is unthinkable to simply let people die, but this idea adds a premise as it moves along toward universal health care, and that's the premise that it doesn't matter how a person came to their ailments. I don't find it unthinkable to let smokers die of cancer, I find the alternative unthinkable: To make those who sacrifice to live well pay the hundreds of thousands of dollars associated with treating lung cancer. Why, I could throw myself off a cliff and the rest of the taxpayers could fit the bill for all my rehabilitation therapy.

There has been a lot of talk of rights, as in, health care should be a right. I don't necessarily disagree. However, I think the terminology is being twisted; health care is a need, not a right. Having what one earns is a right. It seems that in this country, when need and right cannot both be met, need wins out no matter the circumstance. Once a person decides to smoke, and gets cancer, the need of that person for medical care always will come into conflict with the rights of all others, since it is very unlikely that a given individual will have the means to pay for the care himself. Therefore he must steal - here I term it stealing because it is taking without earning no matter who endorses it - the money from others.

So need wins over rights. This in itself is not a bad thing, at least not in every case. From childhood, children might be exposed to one of the warm, fuzzy Disney movies like Robin Hood, or Aladdin, which includes a scene in which the main character steals bread to feed the poor, which is portrayed as "good" as are the infamous actions of Robin Hood. So as a whole, our society accepts that Need > Right. However, that opens the door to a whole new issue: Irresponsible creation of need. Those who need health care because they are irresponsible clearly fall into this category, and it's a large category, inclusive of such disreputable beings as the injured drunk driver, the cancerous smoker, the victim of an extreme sports or thrillseeking accident, those who attempt suicide, the AIDS-infected, and the perpetually pregnant. I don't know if I could here mention obesity or not.

Those who are ill because they are irresponsible must be left to die, or pay for their own mistakes. When that happens I will be for universal health care.

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Giuliano Taverna

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Re: My Problem with Universal Health Care
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2009, 09:22:05 am »
That's a brilliantly well thought out assessment and I agree wholeheartedly. I think there is a lot of confusion over the concept of universal health-care.

Health-care insurance by definition is designed to pool risk to cover things that may or may not happen such as a car accident or the need for a major surgery. It was never intended to cover regular hospital visits or chronic diseases.

The idea that people should have access to regular hospital visits is something that can be explored, but we shouldn't confuse that with insurance when the two are incompatible.

In addition I think any system should have clear exemptions for lifestyle choices, studies indicated half off all health problems in the united states today are related to lifestyle choices, obesity and smoking being two of the most obvious.
"It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them." Tiberius Caesar

Alia

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Re: My Problem with Universal Health Care
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2009, 04:34:49 pm »
I'm borderline on the obesity issue, since obesity has been shown to be genetic.

Therefore I would set it up thusly.

I would provide gyms with tax breaks for admitting those whose obesity is a danger to their health. Along with the tax breaks would come a few minor obligations. Excercise cards would be given out to the obese, and they would work like punch cards inside a gym, with the punch card machines being given to the gyms who apply for the tax breaks. So, if the obese individual can prove he is trying, he will recieve medical care. A reasonable number of hours that constitutes a reasonable effort will be decided and agreed upon by experts, and if people tried to cheat, there would be cameras in the gyms that applied for tax breaks. Those that do not try to improve will not recieve medical care for obesity-related ailments.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2009, 04:38:40 pm by Alia »

Giuliano Taverna

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Re: My Problem with Universal Health Care
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2009, 08:05:06 pm »
That is actually a brilliant idea... I might have to steel that as my only current plan is to require them to lose the weight themselves to be eligible which is admittedly not a perfect solution.
"It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them." Tiberius Caesar

Alia

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Re: My Problem with Universal Health Care
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2009, 02:33:50 am »
That is actually a brilliant idea... I might have to steel steal that as my only current plan is to require them to lose the weight themselves to be eligible which is admittedly not a perfect solution.

I can't believe you'd push for universal health care at all. It really is more of a Socialist idea.

Giuliano Taverna

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Re: My Problem with Universal Health Care
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2009, 07:14:16 am »
Depends on how you  define universal health-care. If you mean single payer or government control over health-care providers then probably no. I also don't believe health-care is a right.

However as an issue of national pride, and because I'm an altruist, I'd favor programs designed to ensure everyone who deserves coverage has access to it. As a practical matter a healthy population is an asset.

The issue is how does one go about this? I'd like health-care plans to be as individual, personal, and adaptable as possible with more choices, transparency, and managed at a level close to and accountable to the people under it.

My problem with the Obama plan and most of these plans is that they fit few or non of these parameters.
"It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them." Tiberius Caesar

Alia

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Re: My Problem with Universal Health Care
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2009, 08:41:02 pm »
To speak of deserving something, as you just have, is admitting that it is a right. You do not want to see poeple die because they cannot pay, and there isn't anything wrong with that.

Health care costs are ballooning out of control for all the reasons the Republicans say. However there is a very nasty reason nobody ever mentions. Medicine does not belong within capitalism because it's not capitalistic. Medicine is either needed to live, or it is not. Even after you strip away the government scamming hospitals out of billions by forcing them to accept everyone in the emergency room, even if they cannot pay, even after you reform the insurance system, medicine will always be left with an ugly, anti-capitalistic flaw: You cannot refuse it if you need it.

Let me elaborate. If ten people suffer amoung five doctors, and are each paying the doctors $10 a week to treat their condition, the doctors make $50 a week each. However, if the doctors increase the cost of treatment to $20, even if two of the ten can no longer pay, the doctors each have four clients left and make $80 a week, and for less work, too. If they increase the cost to $40, and another two cannot pay, they still each have three clients left and each recieve $120 a week. Taking this even further, the ideal situation is to charge exhorbitantly, let us say we make the cost of treatment $200 a week, and only the last two people can pay, leaving the doctors with minnimum work and maximum profit of $200 a week each, because no one who can pay will refuse. This is the ideal. If one of our two doctors lowered his prices back to $10 a week, he would recieve double the work he originally had and only $100 a week compared to $200 for just one client.

I believe in Socialism where Capitalism must fail, and here is an example. Whenever need works to the benefit of the trust and oversupply cannot counter it, I think intervention must come.

Food is another such commodity, and this will eventually be realised. Now, deliberate oversupply counters need. This is so farmer after farmer is put out of business because low prices do not allow him to compete with massive growers, and when all the skills are comfortably in the hands of a select few, a shortage will be engineered and prices will skyrocket. This is waiting in the wings, I assure you. People not on Welfare will die. The starving will roam the streets raiding peoples' homes. This is not Depression II, this is utter Catastrophe.

I believe in price fixing, but, only for necessities. Someone needs to see to it that providers of necessities make enough to live, even when there are a great many provders and harsh competition. This forestalls Catastrophe.

The way I see it government should probably step in on health care, but the problem needs to be faced from the bottom up. Firstly, medical school is too expensive. Government-run medical schools should admit students, and even pay them to live comfortably for high academic achievement, and enough to at least live even if they have a C-average. If they never graduate, they must repay their entire debt to Society. If they do graduate, they should be put to work as doctors, and paid a fair price for their hours rather than an exhorbitant one. The face of medicine should change; no longer harsh competition in which the brightest few with their eyes on money from the outset earn the right to stand beyond competition and drive up prices. Instead, a decent system where those genuinely willing to help can be doctors, paid a fair wage for a fair job. If people want the best, with no chance of error, they can pay for that. If they're sick and need help from an honest Joe for an honest price, then they can be helped.

Giuliano Taverna

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Re: My Problem with Universal Health Care
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2009, 11:55:59 pm »
I don't agree with your assertion that to want people to have access to healthiness is to believe it to be a right. I have always drawn the distinction between rights and publicly provided services.

A right is something you have, that a dictator can take away from you. Such as your life, your property, your freedom, your ability to speak, ect. That is the basis of the bill of rights in this country. To protect people from other people, and from the government. Not to protect people from themselves or from nature. This I believe is primarily their responsibility.

I also see a fundamental flaw with your proposed system. If you cut compensation to doctors, less will aspire to be doctors. The fewer doctors there are, the longer the wait time will be to see them. This is why you can't fix prices. The same holds true of any commodity. if you say grain can only be a certain price, then people will stop growing it and chose another more profitable crop.

Managing the economy in this way will only guarantee that for every sector you regulate, others will expand, and that one will contract. This will create shortages in some places, and unneeded surpluses in others.

For your system to work, you would need to be able to force a certain number of people to become doctors. And that would require radically changing our system of government.

Really, to manage the economy, you would need to manage the entire economy, and that would mean every poor person would cease to be "unlucky" and become a victim of the state. A government that runs the economy, is responsible for the effects of the economy.

Food, shelter, and other necessities have always been part of the capitalists system ever since we attained a division of labor such that certain people grew crops and others sold them.

The issue is simply making sure that enough independent entities offer the good or service so that there can be competition among them to win customers. This also requires savvy customers who understand what they are buying and how much it ought to be worth.

Now I am not suggesting capitalism is perfect, capitalism is the worst possible economic system except for all the ones that have been tried in its place.
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Alia

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Re: My Problem with Universal Health Care
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2009, 08:24:57 pm »
I don't agree with your assertion that to want people to have access to healthiness is to believe it to be a right. I have always drawn the distinction between rights and publicly provided services.

A right is something you have, that a dictator can take away from you. Such as your life, your property, your freedom, your ability to speak, ect. That is the basis of the bill of rights in this country. To protect people from other people, and from the government. Not to protect people from themselves or from nature. This I believe is primarily their responsibility.

If Life is a right, then so is Health. In an Alia-style fascist dictatorship, the dictator makes the disctinction between the inferior genes and their hapless bearer. One must be wiped out; the other should not be punished. As long as the latter is behaving responsibly, and is in fact a victim of his own body, the State will pick up the slack, provided the person agrees to be sterilised. If Technology advances far enough, they would even be allowed to have children as long as their gametes go through a process that assures the disorder is not passed on.

I have no problem with Health being a right for those that are responsible enough to earn it; I have a problem with the alternative, with people dying of heart problems at 45 while cigarette smokers who drink and drug outlast them, even if they die more slowly and painfully when the time comes. Protecting people from Nature is a part of creating a world where instead of chaos and randomness, we have rewards for responsibility and punishments for bad behaviour. This replaces helplessness and apathy with a healthy dose of drive, pride and deserving in accomplishment, and confidense for the broad masses. I think that's worth it, because Humans need it. In the Past, this need was filled by gods who were either punishing you or rewarding you, depending upon your behaviour. Without these gods, without the false assurance of fairness they provide, hopelessness takes over. One of the only benefits of a large government is that it can provide this fairness, only real, instead of false.


I also see a fundamental flaw with your proposed system. If you cut compensation to doctors, less will aspire to be doctors. The fewer doctors there are, the longer the wait time will be to see them. This is why you can't fix prices. The same holds true of any commodity. if you say grain can only be a certain price, then people will stop growing it and chose another more profitable crop.

Managing the economy in this way will only guarantee that for every sector you regulate, others will expand, and that one will contract. This will create shortages in some places, and unneeded surpluses in others.

For your system to work, you would need to be able to force a certain number of people to become doctors. And that would require radically changing our system of government.

I don't think so, the "force" is already there, and the State would simply have to take everyone who needs a job and put them through the system I outlined. If they aren't perfect, so what? They can still learn. Standards are kept artificially high to inflate the price of medical care and the profits of doctors. I'm talking about tearing down this artificial wall, not making more.

Your thought about Capitalism is very true. But remember, Capitalism is not the fairness it seems to be. Bound up in it, it has all the price-fixing, absence of competition, and control of the economy which I can tell you despise. Only, in Capitalism, instead of fixing prices so they don't go higher, Trusts fix them so they stay artificially high. Instead of denying competion with State-run control, big companies work together to crush upstarts with their greater financial power and keep their pockets fat.

You should forget words like Capitalism and Socialism, and more importantly, their associations. Capitalism is not any more neccesarilly associated with free competition than Socialism is, except in the rare case when Capitaism is newborn and only if everyone starts on a decently level playing field.

It's just a matter of where the control comes from.

Giuliano Taverna

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Re: My Problem with Universal Health Care
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2009, 08:51:51 pm »
I don't consider life a right either in the sense that the government has to take proactive steps to protect you from the elements. My understanding of the right to life is that the government won't take life away from you, that goes for liberty and the pursuit of happiness if you like.

That having been said the system you describe isn't objectionable as far as I am concerned. It seems fair enough. However I don't think its practical.

I think a much simpler and less costly way to insure national health-care coverage would be to negotiate compensation in higher wages for the loss of employer provided health-care, impose anti trust regulations on insurance companies, reform and reorganize regulations and subsidies related to the health-care system. And create a social welfare program designed to cover regular doctors visits and chronic disease. This will be based on a simple negative tax deduction system. If you pay more than your health-care cost in taxes, you would be allowed to deduct that much from it. If you pay less you would be given money back.

It seems to me that could solve the major problems in the health-care system.

Lack of competition

strain on business

preventative treatment

and

the cost of health-care.

It would also require either the current amount of bureaucracy or even less. Limiting upkeep costs.

"It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them." Tiberius Caesar

Alia

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Re: My Problem with Universal Health Care
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2009, 12:17:12 am »
We do not need higher wages... If anything we need lower wages so we can compete with the overseas labour market.

Health care is just one of the parasitic industries that force minnimum wage higher and destroy the job market with thier trusts that make cost of living go higher. "The market will self-regulate," cry Republicans, but a market without any international trade regulation will not do so; it will destroy itself instead.

One more advantage of universal health care would be my vision of assigning each doctor a preset number of patients. If this was done properly, instead of pushing medications, instead of convincing people they are ill to provide more treatment and rake in more profit - as they must do in a ballooning medical indistry - each doctor would strive to make less work for himself instead of more, and my educated guess is that many peoples' "chronic" "conditions" would miraculously disappear. The twin forces of genetic degradation and medical advancement would cancel eachother out, pushing for cures instead of treatments. There is a very good reason no disease since polio has actually been cured.

Giuliano Taverna

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Re: My Problem with Universal Health Care
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2009, 09:45:10 pm »
If we lower wages to compete with the rest of the world we are going to have riots. Americans could never be made to live like that, you'd have a Marxist revolution.
 
The better option is to force our trading partners to raise their wages. 
 
The cost of goods will skyrocket and people will have to deal with that. I could care less, anyone who would rather have cheep goods at the cost of slave labor than goods made by paid workers deserves to be sent to a labor camp and forced to make shoes for the rest of his or her life for 5 cents a day in 95 degree moldy rat infested conditions without clean water or plumbing.
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Alia

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Re: My Problem with Universal Health Care
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2009, 03:51:13 pm »
Just as higher wages in other countries would cause the price of goods to go up, wages here on order of five cents an hour would cause goods to deflate.

Coca-Cola would go bankrupt if everyday Joes couldn't afford a single bottle after a whole day's work. They could lower their prices, or go out of business. And they could lower their prices, since the labour would be costing them less.

Giuliano Taverna

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Re: My Problem with Universal Health Care
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2009, 06:01:22 pm »
I never thought you'd be arguing the conservative position and I'd be arguing the progressive. Funny how that works. The way I see it, if you set the cost of labor universally the market will readjust to about where it should be, and the slow shift of manufacturing from america to china and Latin america will cease, and manufacturing and consumption will start to distribute evenly.

As it is, we will continue to consume while the rest of the world produces, and our debt will rise until the nations that handle production refuse to buy anymore of it. Then the global economy dies and world war 3 starts.
"It is the duty of a good shepherd to shear his sheep, not to skin them." Tiberius Caesar