Thursday, October 25, 2012

A case against socialized medicine

Here.

What do you guys think of these arguments?

18 comments:

B. Prokop said...

The line "Taxes equals force and force is Bad" is just unthinking ideology. Calling something "force" may mean that you personally don't like it, but that doesn't ipso facto make it bad. (Doesn't make it good either.)

I am "forced" to drive on the right side of the road.

The concept of being forced to do something is a neutral term. That's partly what we have representative democracy for - to decide on what (and what not) we should be forced to do.

Crude said...

Ugh. Youtube.

That's all I have to say right now.

The concept of being forced to do something is a neutral term.

Neutral? No it's not. It's a *negative* idea for anyone who values freedom. That isn't to say you can't mount an argument that it's necessary in some cases, but it's not 'neutral'.

Necessary evils may be necessary. The fact that they're necessary doesn't make them good.

Syllabus said...

"It's a *negative* idea for anyone who values freedom."

I may be both misunderstanding you and taking this out of context, but I'm not sure that's true - if by "negative" you mean "bad". For instance, is it "wrong" to force someone to go to jail if they impinge upon another human being's rights by, say, murdering them? It seems to me that that would be the appropriate, even the just, response. In fact, I might even go so far to say that it is the "right" response. It further seems to me that a certain amount of "forcing" is intrinsic to the concept of civil liberty.

Crude said...

I may be both misunderstanding you and taking this out of context, but I'm not sure that's true - if by "negative" you mean "bad". For instance, is it "wrong" to force someone to go to jail if they impinge upon another human being's rights by, say, murdering them?

Well, that helps illustrate it. Sure, imprisonment is appropriate. But it's not a neutral term by default. It's a negative term, that is sometimes justified. By definition, it's overriding a person's free will. That's not 'neutral', that's something that should be only done sparingly.

Syllabus said...

That's not 'neutral', that's something that should be only done sparingly.

I agree that it should be done sparingly, and I'm not sure whether it's neutral or not - since I don't think making such across the board judgements should be done unless thoroughly justified - but I still wonder whether it's intrinsically negative or not. Is it "negative" that I constrain someone from killing someone else? That is, is the act of my overriding their free will, in that case, a negative one? It seems that could only be true if one were to make the judgement that the highest good was exercising free will qua free will, rather than exercising it rightly.

If I understand what you're saying, you seem to be using something like the doctrine of double effect in saying that we should only override people's free will sparingly. This makes sense, under the assumption that the constraint is always a bad thing. Again, though, it seems to me that it is sometimes a good thing to constrain another person's free will - in the case of interning a homicidal lunatic in an asylum, say, the constraint of his/her will would actually be a good thing, it seems to me. The constraint of a corrupted or misused will - or, to put it in the other way, forcing him to not indulge in his misused will - would seem to be an objectively good thing.

Now, of course, I'm against forcing people to do stuff in almost all situations. I'm just not sure whether you can say that forcing someone to do something is always and everywhere a bad thing.

im-skeptical said...

A few notes from an "economic illiterate":

Do you know why we have medicare? It's because private insurance can't or won't step up to the job of covering older people. It eats into their profits.

Do you know why the Post Office is bankrupt? It's because congress passed a law requiring them to pre-fund pensions 75 years in advance. The law was designed (by Republicans) to force the Post Office out of business. Imagine the outcry if they imposed such a requirement on any private business.

Do you know why European countries provide better care for their people than we do, and at lower cost? It's because they have socialized medicine, which works better for them than our private system works for us.

An additional note: I speak from experience. As a military retiree, I have had government coverage and private insurance from my employer. My wife has very serious (and expensive) medical problems. I'll give you two guesses which has taken care of us, and which one has done everything in their power to worm out of paying.

Crude said...

Do you know why we have medicare? It's because private insurance can't or won't step up to the job of covering older people. It eats into their profits.

It also eats into public funds, which are not infinite. If you don't think the government is entirely capable of denying coverage, especially once money gets tight, you live in a world of fantasy. Reality is more troublesome.

"Europe" was a very popular example of a way to have excessive public services and still be something approximating 'prosperous' until recently. Go ahead, point at Spain or Greece or even France as a model for public service.

Do you know why the Post Office is bankrupt? It's because congress passed a law requiring them to pre-fund pensions 75 years in advance.

Are you aware of the difference between a government pension and private retirement plans, even in the broad sense?

Crude said...

By the way, regarding the post office conspiracy theory...

Who voted for this bill?

So, both republicans and democrats sponsored this bill. The bill passed in the House of Representatives by voice vote. - a record of each representative’s position was not kept. The bill passed in the Senate by Unanimous Consent and a record of each senator’s position was not kept of this either.

Assuming that's accurate, this is an interesting GOP political conspiracy. Yea, their tendrils run deep. Into the heart of the Democratic party, in fact.

im-skeptical said...

Crude,

Interesting article about the troubles in Greece. I think it supports what I've been saying. As they move to something that is closer to our system, the problems mount.

"The development is new for Greeks — and perhaps for Europe, too. “We are moving to the same situation that the United States has been in, where when you lose your job and you are uninsured, you aren’t covered,” Dr. Syrigos said."

Sure, there can be excessive government services resulting in unsustainable debt. Sure, there are things that private industry can do more effectively than government. I don't believe in "big government" as a solution to all our problems. Nor do I believe that private industry is a magic pill that solves all problems, as some do. There has to be a reasonable balance.

Crude said...

Interesting article about the troubles in Greece. I think it supports what I've been saying. As they move to something that is closer to our system, the problems mount.

Oh for the love of...

They are out of money. They spent way more money on state solutions than they could have paid, while guys like you talked about the responsibility of the state to provide however-many services to the public. I wonder how many of those damn services were things politicians said Greeks had a "right" to.

The point is that having the state pay for something doesn't mean it's guaranteed. States can go bankrupt. States can cut. States can tell you you're not getting your medical treatment.

I don't believe in "big government" as a solution to all our problems.

Alright: name a major problem for which you can't or wouldn't assign government a primary role in solving it.

That's a real, real open-ended question. Should be easy. Let's see what you come up with.

im-skeptical said...

I think wherever there is a fair and competitive marketplace for some product or service, private industry can be effective in delivering that. Problems arise when businesses try to manipulate the market for their own advantage. Health insurance is a good example of this. They used to spread risk over a broad pool of clients, and charging premiums based on the risk with a profit added on. Now they are in the business of eliminating risk to enhance profit, and that means not covering people who need it. So they no longer function as insurance providers in the traditional sense. That being the case, people need an alternative source of healthcare that is fair to everyone and meets the needs of everyone. If private industry would do the job, I'd be delighted, but they won't.

On the Postal Accountability Act, sadly Democrats signed on. I can't explain why. Do you think that 75 year requirement is reasonable? If you think FedEx will give you a better deal for delivering mail, I think you're dreaming.

Crude said...

On the Postal Accountability Act, sadly Democrats signed on. I can't explain why. Do you think that 75 year requirement is reasonable? If you think FedEx will give you a better deal for delivering mail, I think you're dreaming.

You said it was a GOP political conspiracy. Are you now saying you were wrong?

im-skeptical said...

I said it was designed by Republicans, and yes, that provision is intended to kill the Post office.

Crude said...

I said it was designed by Republicans, and yes, that provision is intended to kill the Post office.

Okay, so it was a bill designed by the Republicans to kill the post office. According to that link, unanimous support in the senate. Co-designed by democrats.

So, I guess the democrats are in on this 'kill the post office' thing, right? It's a bipartisan attack on letter carriers? ;)

B. Prokop said...

"name a major problem for which you can't or wouldn't assign government a primary role in solving it"

I'm not sure any answer to your challenge would be meaningful. How about replacing the word "primary" with "significant"? Take telecommunications. The private sector is doing just fine, thank you, in innovation and production in this area. But I'd hate to see the government abandon its regulatory role in this area. In fact, the whole industry would blow up were it not for someone making sure frequency bandwidths are policed, etc., etc.

The idea that "government is the problem" is like saying the left wheels on my car are the problem. Government and the private sector are like the left and right wheels on an axle. You wouldn't get very far without both of them acting in tandem.

Crude said...

I'm not sure any answer to your challenge would be meaningful.

And I'm not sure you can give a single answer to my "challenge". Because you may well be unable to think of any general area of human experience where you don't think the government should have some kind of primary role.

And that says a lot. The fact that you view it as a challenge, some kind of exceptional difficulty, to simply name a major problem that government shouldn't have a major problem in solving, says a lot. This shouldn't be hard.

B. Prokop said...

OK, I'll play "you too" here.

Name for me one "major problem" for which you would assign government a major (note: not primary) role in solving it.

Mark Frank said...

I suppose it is inevitable that the debate is conducted on this level – but really it is just posturing on both sides.

You can evaluate a health care system on several grounds. On most of them the US system is not doing well compared to other comparable systems.


Efficiency: The US system provides a service that is not significantly better than most first world countries for about twice the cost per capita.

Fairness: For those that are uninsured the service is very poor

Ease of use: US citizens know all too well about the administrative side of dealing with insurance companies and health providers.

Freedom of choice: A system can be largely tax-payer funded and still allow for a choice of health providers and payment/insurance for optional luxuries such as private rooms or cosmetic care. I understand many US insurance companies restrict the choice of health provider.

In addition as it becomes more and more possible to predict ill-health many years in advance any insurance based system is going to break.

Having said all that, a health care system is embedded in a society. You can’t change it overnight (or in 4 years) and you can’t ignore the culture it is operating in – which is presumably why what is actually emerging is an odd hotchpotch of rigged insurance and state-funded.