So I’ve not blogged in a while. The political landscape has burned me out. Real life has been a drag on me. But I have the ultimate blogger tool now (a lap top) a Paper I am 13 into probably 30 pages of finishing (and I want to stretch out my break time) and I want to wash out the Bad taste in my mouth of the last Iowa Debate. So over in Farkistan I was pointed to the American Thinker and well… Some one has to call Shenanigans on this post.
A Conservative Case for Universal Health Coverage
You have my attention……
I am a small-government conservative/libertarian and have hated the concept of socialized medicine almost all my life. But now, I could live with universal health coverage in the U.S.. Here’s why.
We now have the worst of both worlds: we are paying for universal health coverage, but not getting it. In fact, we pay more for health care in taxes than countries that provide universal coverage. Then we pay more than that amount again in private coverage. Additionally, what we have now in the U.S. is nowhere near a free market in health care. Defending the status quo is not defending a free market. And if socialized medicine is your fear, we already have it.
Here is the first problem with this post from the American Thinker, which suggests a lack of the usual thought it has. Universal Coverage. Our system is not coverage driven. Our system is driven by Universal Care. You name a type of care you have access to it Universally. Now how you pay for it… thats a very different matter. So the flaw we have is comparing a system of Universal Coverage that means everyone is covered, but does not have access to care universally. So right here fundamentally I am in a system thats paying for oranges.. he shouldn’t say its a really expensive apple.
He is right that we have aspects of Socialized/Universal Coverage systems but the truth is we are making a half assed effort at a half ass version of Socialized medicine.
I’ve heard no one, on either side of the political spectrum, play up the fact that the government in the U.S. already spends more on health care than almost every other country on earth.
then you haven’t listened.. government advocates for state ran care have always brought that point up
Note that the countries frequently cited as models of universal health care, Canada and the U.K., spent less on public health than the U.S. did. Sweden, the notorious welfare state, spent 15% less than the U.S.. The only country to spend more, Norway, has about the size and population of Colorado, with oil exports over 3 million barrels per day
Again we fail to see the difference between Apples in Oranges. In Canada their is massive care rationing. So people just can’t get as much care as they can in the united states. If you allow less care, your going to spend less on it. This is a fascinating bit of economic reality no one needs an advanced degree to figure out.
Our government health care systems have inefficiencies and HUGE cost over runs because instead of in these other state run systems the US does not ration care
But if universal care (via emergency rooms) is already mandated, what’s the problem? First, it is not the best way to get treatment. For one thing, the condition has to be regarded as a medical emergency. Also, the law does not relieve you of having to pay for that treatment. In fact, medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcies in the U.S., accounting for half of them.
Of course Correlation does not equal Causation. Going to the emergency room is not the most sound course of action. so people who are more apt to use hospitals and emergency rooms may be more apt to poor financial choices anyway.
NOW hospitals create Urgent care centers which take care of emergency care more efficiently so good hospital management could take care of that very problem. so its really not proving anything and just restating some tired old rehtoric
As small-government conservatives or libertarians, we could say, “That is the individual’s choice: get the insurance or suffer the consequences.” But if that is our policy, then why is our government paying over $2,100 per person per year and regulating health care at a cost of $1,500 per household? What are we getting for that money?
If our government stopped all those things, then I would a happy libertarian. But the government will not stop them. If politics is the art of the possible, it is not possible to end all the programs and policies cited above. So … if we are going to be forced to pay for something, then we ought to get it. Either provide us the coverage, or give us our money back.
What is a system that makes hospitals, doctors, and the entire health care system drive up prices Alex? What do I win? So far the argument is “we pay to much” well thats fine and dandy but this argument isn’t why we should come up with a system which attacks human freedom and liberty
It would be naïve of me to propose a specific plan. But a true conservative ought to be able to work within the following guidelines.
* Public health spending in the U.S. not to exceed current costs as a fraction of GDP (currently 6.6% of GDP).
* Coverage of all U.S. citizens. The definition of “coverage” could be debated, but should include catastrophic type coverage as a minimum.
* Consolidation and integration of all aspects of public health programs should be on the table, including Medicare, Medicaid, veterans’ hospitals, research and all federal health programs and policies. That is, Medicare reform should be part of the deal.
* Preservation of private choices in health care.
* Medical tort reform.
* Reduced mandates on individuals, insurers, health providers and states regarding health care policies and practices.
I don’t see why a small-government conservative or libertarian would think the above is worse than what we have now. I also don’t see why the above should be impossible, even politically.
So Point by Point
6.6% of GDP today isn’t going to stay as more of the American population becomes elderly unless we do massive restrictions on other people’s health care. That is the management of an economy that conservatives simply can’t stand for.
Coverage of all citizens is the wrong outcome you should seek. Pushing the prices down is what we should do by eliminating unfunded mandates and opening things like Interstate commerce trade by allowing insurance companies to truely compete.
Integration of all the Federal programs is not a bad idea.
When you speak of preserving choice and limiting spending those two things are not going to work out
Tort reform is no where near as bad as people let it out to be
Reducing mandates is a good idea
so really only two of those ideas are conservative. The rest are “lets surrender to the illiberals because we can’t win”
I fail to accept that we can’t win