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The coming fight over health care


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The health care industry is throwing words like "socialized" around to scare people into hanging onto the status quo, where there's money to be made.

There are two problems with this argument: First, the cold war ended twenty years ago, so "socialized" doesn't carry quite the menacing "Rooskies hiding under the bed" sting that it used to.

Second, we watch our Canadian and European friends make life decisions--like retirement--based on when it's best for them, rather than being forced to work until they can crawl across that bridge to Medicare.

Them ungodly socialistic types also rest easier when they lose their jobs, knowing that state benefits will kick in to protect them from starvation, and that their children can still see a doctor even if they're unemployed. Assuming that meeting these basic needs is what the state is primarily there for, then socialism doesn't look so bad, after all.

As for the "your taxes will skyrocket" argument, to me it's semantic. Taxes, health care premiums--either way, they get taken out of your paycheck. If, by calling them "taxes," they guarantee me and my family health care no matter what my employment status, then sign me up. Chances are they'll be less than the combination of premiums, co-pays, and "your provider charges more than the standard accepted rate for your region" dodges.

And finally, if single-payer "socialized" health care is so bad for us, why are the private insurers fighting hammer and tong to prevent that option from being passed into law? Could it be that we might get something closer to our money's worth?

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Comments

Does anyone know why the Soviet Union fell apart? It is because a socialist economy does not work. I don't mean it doesn't work well, I mean it is impossible. This was proven by Ludwig von Mises in 1922.

Why are we so ignorant of both economics and history? Could it be the government controlled education system? If you like the post office and you like Amtrak, you'll just love a single payer health care system. Just ask people on Medicaid, they'll tell you how great it is.

As for the "your taxes will skyrocket" argument, to me it's semantic. Taxes, health care premiums--either way, they get taken out of your paycheck.

Maybe we need to imagine a better system. A system of freedom and choice. Government regulations have the effect of raising the cost of medical care while lowering the quality.

One small example is the effect of the FDA on the cost of prescription medication. Pharmaceutical patents have the effect of giving monopolies to big corporations. Patents inhibit research rather than encourage innovation.

Without patents and without the FDA we would have more choices of medications. The cost would be far lower, certainly affordable. It used to be that people without insurance couldn't afford to buy medications. Now people with insurance can't afford the co-pay. Government regulations destroyed the medical system in this country. A government single payer system is the logical conclusion of that destruction.

Chan, I am surprised you see no difference between the government taking money out of your paycheck and your voluntarily deciding how to spend your money. Think about it. Even if you like the way Obama is spending your money, you will probably hate the way the next Republican president spends it.

Please read Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt, available as free pdf download. Socialism always leads to war and poverty. Freedom generally leads to peace and prosperity. It's a no brainer.


Chan,

I agree fully. I hope Obama and Congress pass something soon!


There is a simple and (probably) insurmountable problem with any health care plan that claims to reduce costs: If it would really reduce costs, the folks who have been making a fortune raking in all that money have an unlimited budget to fight said reforms. I wish someone would talk health care strategy instead of health care plan.


There is a simple and (probably) insurmountable problem with any health care plan that claims to reduce costs: If it would really reduce costs, the folks who have been making a fortune raking in all that money have an unlimited budget to fight said reforms.

Every economic transaction has a buyer and a seller. In a free market, buyers and sellers have a choice regarding all transactions. If prices are too high (meaning profits become very high) there will be competition. This will lower prices.

There is a fairly simple solution to this problem. The solution is to allow competition. For example, if I wanted to open a hospital and charge lower prices the government would forbid that from happening. Hospitals are required to obtain a government permission called a certificate of need. The need under consideration is certainly not that of the patient.

Allow physicians to contract with patients. This will solve many problems including the malpractice problem. Would you like a 20% discount if you promise not to sue. How about a 10% discount if you agree to binding arbitration. Of course, at the present time these agreements would not be valid.

Look at how rapidly the cost of government unregulated computers came down over the past 20 years. The cost of medical care is soaring since every aspect is meticulously controlled by government.


“The cold war ended twenty years ago, so "socialized" doesn't carry quite the menacing "Rooskies hiding under the bed" sting that it used to.”

And why did it end? Because socialism doesn’t work! If it did it would still be going strong.

“Then socialism doesn't look so bad, after all.”

Well how can fight logic like that? That says a lot Chan.

I don’t want my doctors office run like the DMV! I would rather have a doctors office run like FEDEX rather than the Post Office. I still remember how bad a monopoly is and a government monopoly is the worst of them all.

No thanks, if all this “Change” is about socialism you can keep it!


Wow. As I look over these posts I see the rampant ignorance that plagues our posters.

Somebody used an example of Fedex... well let's see, the USPS charges me 40 cents to carry my letter across the country in 3-5 days. Fedex charges me $10.

To those that spew rhetoric and repeat what they hear, please provide modern, real world examples of socialistic failures that can't be attributed to incompetence nor tied to communism.

The problem, you see, is the profit these jagofs will no longer make. Period.

And to the poster that said removing the FDA and USPTO would help things, you are dead wrong. With no patents, there would be no incentive to invest millions in R&D if somebody could clone your stuff the moment it hit the market. And without the FDA people would be dropping left and right from bad stuff.

Don't believe me? Take a look at phen-phen, xenadrine and the entire parade of "diet" products that have made people keel over-- and that doesn't even account for the millions in hospitals with heart conditions that AREN'T reported in the media,


Chan says:
Pointman: Socialism (not the Soviet kind) lives on in Western Europe and Canada, among other places, where they all have doctors' offices to go to.

It sounds like you have one, too, and I congratulate you on your good fortune.

Those who do not would be happy to have one, no matter how it's run.



Somebody used an example of Fedex... well let's see, the USPS charges me 40 cents to carry my letter across the country in 3-5 days. Fedex charges me $10.

Actually FedEx is forbidden by federal law from delivering letters. They are only permitted to carry packages. So you are comparing the charge for carrying a package with that for delivering a letter. Sounds fair to me. The post office does not have to pay taxes. The post office receives a major discount on employee benefits and retirement packages compared to private industry. In spite of that, the post office continues to lose money.

To those that spew rhetoric and repeat what they hear, please provide modern, real world examples of socialistic failures that can't be attributed to incompetence nor tied to communism.

You don't get it. Socialism is not a failure because of incompetence. Socialism is a failure for the same reason lead life preservers don't work.

It is impossible for socialist planners to use money calculation. The most competent people with the best computers cannot possibly come close to performing as smoothly as free markets with millions of participants.

You blame socialist failure on incompetence and communism. The sad fact is that socialism always leads to totalitarianism. If it didn't competent people would attempt to drop out of the system. Socialism always leads to war. The impossibility of sustained economic growth under socialism makes leaders look for wealth beyond their borders.

The problem, you see, is the profit these jagofs will no longer make. Period.

I have no idea what a jagof is. Let's talk about profits, something I do understand. Profits are the way a businessman can determine whether he is doing a good job. If a venture shows a profit it is sustainable. If it shows a loss, it indicates the factors of production are being used in a inefficient manner. Profits are not a bad thing. They are the reason we have enjoyed such a high standard of living in this country.

And to the poster that said removing the FDA and USPTO would help things, you are dead wrong. With no patents, there would be no incentive to invest millions in R&D if somebody could clone your stuff the moment it hit the market.

I will refer you to a couple of references that can discuss patents much more elegantly than I can:

Against Intellectual Property by Stephen Kinsella discusses ethical and legal reasons for abolishing patents.

Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin gives numerous real world examples of how patents actually discourage innovation.

Both books are available as free pdf downloads. Do a Google search.

And without the FDA people would be dropping left and right from bad stuff. Don't believe me? Take a look at phen-phen, xenadrine and the entire parade of "diet" products that have made people keel over-- and that doesn't even account for the millions in hospitals with heart conditions that AREN'T reported in the media,

You don't really believe that. People were not dropping left and right from bad stuff in the 19th century. People have become more complacent since they assume an incompetent FDA is going to protect them. It's bad business to poison your customers.

The Phen-phen problem occurred with prescription medications and the FDA did nothing to prevent the problem. As usual they showed up after the fact. Since you believe there are millions of people poisoned by over the counter products, I have a bridge you may also be interested in.

Socialism (not the Soviet kind) lives on in Western Europe and Canada, among other places, where they all have doctors' offices to go to.

Chan, it sounds like you are willing to sell your freedom much too cheaply. They have a doctor to go to if you don't mind waiting 9 months to have your cataract removed. It might be a problem that there is a 6 month wait for a CAT scan. I find living in chains to be unacceptable.


PRIVATE FOR PROFIT HEALTHCARE IS AN OXYMORON!

As congress debates fixing Americas current private for profit healthcare disaster, global embarrassment, and national disgrace. The question is not weather we will have a public option. But rather what kind of public option we will have.

America is the only country in the developed world that has a GREED DRIVEN! PROFIT DRIVEN! IMMORAL! UNETHICAL! PRIVATE FOR PROFIT! healthcare delivery system.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of you are needlessly killed by your healthcare delivery system in America every year. And millions of you are crippled and injured. America is the only country in the developed World that does not have a NOT FOR PROFIT, PATIENT PROTECTING, government managed healthcare delivery option for all it's people.

America currently has the most costly health care system in the developed world. And the lowest quality of healthcare in the developed world. And the most dangerous, deadly, and FEARED! healthcare delivery system in the developed world.

America is the only healthcare delivery system in the developed World that does not cover all it's people automatically. And America has the most difficult healthcare system to access in the developed World.

Contact your representative and tell then that a single payer, government managed healthcare option is a must for everyone that wants it. Tell them that you demand that the public option be the finest in the World.

Tell them it should be available to everyone that wants it as a HUMAN RIGHT! Tell them it should be the easiest to access in the entire world. Tell them it should have the highest quality, with the greatest patient protections in the entire world. Tell them coverage should be automatic for everyone that wants it unless they choose to opt out. Tell them it should be the most affordable in the World. And tell them that NO ONE in the public option is to be reported to a credit agency, or driven into bankruptcy for unpaid medical bills just because they got sick, for FREEK'EN SAKES!

Tell them, none of the requirements above are negotiable. Tell them, that we are prepared to remove them from office. Tell them, we will rain down the political FIRES OF HELL! on any of them that would betray the American people. Or continue to compromise the life, health, safety, and National security of the American people for the GREED DRIVEN, PROFIT DRIVEN! private for profit Healthcare Industry.

TELL THEM NOW! AND PASS THE WORD ON.

God Bless You

Jacksmith — WORKING CLASS


Contact your representative and tell then that a single payer, government managed healthcare option is a must for everyone that wants it. Tell them that you demand that the public option be the finest in the World.

Have you not noticed the country is broke? Wealth is created by free markets. Wealth is destroyed by socialist tyranny. The poverty of third world countries is the result of suppression of free markets.

If the policies you demand are implemented (and it appears they will be) we will all suffer hardships and increasing poverty.

Your heart is in the right place. Maybe it's time to grow up. Have a nice life Jacksmith.


Can someone name one other country that is trying to follow the American model on health care? Business would benefit the most since they would not have to supply this coverage and all Americans would pay and have access. And if the rest of the world is so wrong let's get all conservatives to pledge to not to go to any country that offers healthcare to all it's citizens.


"Socialism always leads to war and poverty. Freedom generally leads to peace and prosperity. It's a no brainer."

Wow, how stuck in the 50s are you? how many wars has Cuba been in in the last 50 years? Zero. And how many the USA? Vietnam, Korea, Grenada, Panama, IRAQ, Afghanistan, all the African diamond wars, all the African COLTAN wars (yah, I guess YOU need to google that), plus all those "conflicts" my tax money funded, like the South-African wars against the rest, in its pre-Mandela days.


"You don't get it. Socialism is not a failure because of incompetence."
No ... YOU don't get it. Universal health care is NOT socialism, socialized or whatever. Besides, all those commie paradises, like Canada, the UK and ... Switzerland! are doing far better than the USA in terms of providing health-care and wealth retention.
Take a real look at Europe, instead of this warped deformed charicature.
Under NO circumstances would any European change his/her system for this American "everyone for themselves and the taxpayers for the rich folks"-system!

And the SOVIET-STYLED communism failed, just like the moronic Bush fairy tale Capitalism of reducing taxes and increasing spending failed. And if he had BOUGHT US SOMETHING NICE with all our money ... but no, all he got us was this broken country overseas, and those 4000 plus dead soldiers bodies.


"It is impossible for socialist planners to use money calculation."
I'm sorry, but just because YOUR education and educational system sucks, doesn't mean the rest of the world can't do simple arithmetic.

"The sad fact is that socialism always leads to totalitarianism."
Wait, in what Western country were voices of dissent stifled, and all political opposition made to look suspect and "un-patriotic"?
The bad old USA.

bottom line, stop using this HUGE STRAW MAN (yeah, google that too) of some socialistic dystopia that never existed, as a picture of what Universal Health Care is in the Commonwealth/Europe.

We have it here, and having lived under both systems, I definitely think this is the best one. But then again, I'm of that dying breed, the liberal Republican. Yes, me weird.

read this. Bet you haven't got the guts for it.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/03/magazine/03european-t.html?ref=magazine


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About the author
Chan LoweCHAN LOWE has been the Sun Sentinel’s first and only editorial cartoonist for the past twenty-six years. Before that, he worked as cartoonist and writer for the Oklahoma City Times and the Shawnee (OK) News-Star.

Chan went to school in New York City, Los Angeles, and the U.K., and graduated from Williams College in 1975 with a degree in Art History. He also spent a year at Stanford University as a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow.

His work has won numerous awards, including the Green Eyeshade Award and the National Press Foundation Berryman Award. He has also been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His cartoons have won multiple first-place awards in all of the Florida state journalism contests, and The Lowe-Down blog, which he began in 2008, has won writing awards from the Florida Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
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