Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Case Against Medicare

Anybody want to get rid of Medicare today? Many of the arguments against health care reform today were used back in the sixties against Medicare by leading Republicans.


bossmanham said...

Medicare is terrible. It is denying far more claims than any insurance company. This is why the free market is the answer :)

Victor Reppert said...

I don't know that this does much without an explanation of what claims are being denied and why. I know there is a lot of people who try to defraud Medicare. I do know that a very high percentage of people on Medicare are happy with it.

I consider Capitalist theory about the way I consider Communist theory: they are nice as theories, but we are best off with a mixed bag where we go case by case and ask ourselves whether privatization or socialization is the right answer. Karl Marx and Ayn Rand are just two sides of the same coin.

That would be a cool thing to market: a coin with Marx on one side and Rand on the other.

bossmanham said...

Except when Marxism is implemented, people lose liberty and get killed by their own government. Wasn't one of Marx's conditions to eliminate 20% of the population?

Indeed, I don't think Ayn Rand ever said, "You must, therefore, confess that by "individual" you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must indeed, be swept out of the way, and made impossible (Manifesto of the Communist Party, Published by Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1973 edition, page 66).

Not that I agree with Rand on everything either.

Also, a lot of people try to commit insurance fraud as well. There may be many people happy with Medicare, but there are at least 475,000 in one year that aren't.

Anonymous said...

The devil is in the details. Most people like the general outlines of the Obama plan but don't trust the government to implement that outline correctly and efficiently.

The largest HMO in the country is the (government run) VA system. And it is notorious for getting the details wrong.

Victor Reppert said...

With both the VA system and with Medicare, you are a long way from arguing that we would be better off without them. And we do need to look more closely at the claim denials.

Remember, the "conservative" Bush administration tried to expand Medicare to include prescription drugs. It would have been political suicide for him to reduce it or eliminate it.

You can't have your Medicare or VA benefits taken away because you get sick.

Victor Reppert said...

My impression with respect to Marx is that he had kind of a romantic view of human nature and thought we could get rid of capitalism and learn to share and share alike. But how we get to that stage was the hard part, and one suggestion he came up with was that a "vanguard" of the Proletariat would arise, and for a limited time have a "dictatorship" to teach people to be productive without the profit motive. Of course, to do this, the vanguard would have to do their job and then voluntarily relinquish power, and they would of course have to avoid privileging themselves. In distributing in accordance with need they were not to say that they, of course, needed the lion's share. The Party, which Lenin eagerly put in the position of the vanguard, of course did neither, and the rest is history. They privileged themselves, they didn't relinquish power, and they started eating their own. This all happened over Marx's dead body, but the Marx's lack of an equivalent to the Christian's doctrine of man's sinful nature was what ruined the "nice idea" of Communism.

Jason Dulle said...

Taking away something that has already been provided is nearly impossible, and not always a good idea. But as someone who has worked in the health insurance industry for 10 years now, I can say it was a bad idea, and expanding care to all Americans is a terrible idea. The government can't even manage Medicare very well. It is sinking in debt. While Bush approved Rx coverage, he didn't know how to pay for it. They still can't figure it out, and many predict that Rx coverage will be the ultimate death of Medicare. And yet we want to expand coverage to all Americans? Our taxes will have to go through the roof to pay for it. To avoid raising taxes too much Obama wants to offer minimal coverage. That's why he keeps emphasizing cost containment. But in the health industry, there are only two ways to cut costs: ration care, cut technology. Neither are good for the American people. While our healthcare system is not perfect, it is superior to one in which the government supplies all with "free" healthcare. Look at Canada. Look at England. There care is substandard, and it takes forever to see a doctor or have a surgery. Women are literally delivering babies in the ambulances or in the hallways because there are not enough beds. Universal coverage sounds like a great idea, but it doesn't work well. It always reduces access to care and the quality of care, while raising taxes. Anything the government does you can expect to pay more for it, and get less for what you pay than if the private sector does it.