En Tequila Es Verdad/progressive conservatism/post/2009/05/14/1618

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May 14, 2009 4:18 PM - Woozle

Woozle said...

You're seriously still arguing that private insurance is a valid solution to healthcare?

Okay. Let's take a look at this.

First: "short-term government plans for the temporarily uninsured":
* what do you do about the permanently uninsured?
* what about independent contractors and the self-employed? Will your "collective bargaining" ensure that they have a place at the table? How?
* what about people with low or unpredictable incomes? How will you ensure that they can afford basic medical care? How will you ensure that they don't have to choose between medical check-ups and a decent meal (or rent, or heat)?

Second, a larger and more general question: Why is it better to have an entire industry devoted to insurance -- multiple companies each spending millions upon millions of dollars trying to convince us that their "brand" of coverage, which is essentially indistinguishable from every other brand, is clearly superior -- than to just pay for everyone's basic medical care up front, no questions asked?

All the resources -- time, paperwork, office buildings, advertising dollars, the list goes on and on -- currently used in the war between Huey, Dewey, and Louie for our medical dollars -- could go into something useful... like gardens or horse farms or ACTUAL EFFING MEDICAL CARE.

If you could envision a design for private medical insurance in which medical care becomes as painless as it is in -- say -- England, I might be interested. Let me relay the horrendous, dismal swamp of the dreaded government-controlled socialist (pardon my French) medical care in that backward country, as described by a conservative-libertarian relative of mine:

STEP 1. Walk into doctor's office.
STEP 2. Be greeted by doctor.
STEP 3. Doctor adds you to his patient list.
STEP 4. Treatment.

The horror.

Note the primitive state of the English medical industry -- they lack even such basic amenities as a front office full of other people who have been waiting an hour, a secretary to take down the insurance information you don't have because you don't need it, and a corner of the room full of dilapidated toys and small children who are failing to be entertained by them. Their doctors apparently haven't even heard of the ingenious American medical innovation of being available at least half an hour after your appointment time. Truly an appalling system.

The whole point of the capitalistic approach is that it is supposed to lead to a superior product. It has clearly failed, and we have a pretty good understanding of why it has failed and why it is the wrong model to apply (as I outlined in my previous comment).

Why do you still support it?


As for the bail-outs -- I agree, at least tentatively and in general. I was not in favor of going further into debt to save failed institutions that only made money in the most abstract possible way; they were not factories that actually added any value to anything, or infrastructure that helped people conduct the business of making wealth, or a resource whose destruction would be felt as a loss.

The only loss was the money they had promised to pay back. To whatever extent the government was going to fix the problem, it should have been by seizing the businesses as they failed, paying off their bad debts prioritized on a case-by-case basis, using their remaining assets to assist -- not keeping them running to leech another day.

And actually, I view this solution as potentially quite progressive in that it would have been much better than the current solution, for most of the people affected. The only people whose lives would have been made more difficult are those who got into those businesses knowing the risks they were running but hoping to cash in on a huge level. My sympathy is, shall we say, limited.

However, what I meant to ask about was not how you would handle the pile of bodies at the foot of the cliff, but what you would have done about preventing all the people from falling over it in the first place.