Five Ft. Three

“A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.” ― Milton Friedman


on July 8, 2012

Liberals are big on ideas, not so specifics.  Why does a liberal, such as Saty, who says she has been wanting a single payer health system in the USA since like 1985, but when pressed for specifics on how that would actually be done, tries to turn the argument into “well other countries do it” as the sole explanation.  I want to know how she sees it actually working in this country!

I shouldn’t be surprised, liberals like to talk in generalities and really don’t like to give specifics.


10 responses to “Typical

  1. BB-Idaho says:

    The way it works in most countries is that everyone is insured by the government. The government then becomes the ‘single payer’. Since there are not hundreds of health insurance companies involved, it becomes more efficient. In my experience, with three different health
    policies, they argue with each other, with the providers and try to minimize the percent they
    will cover. As your mom and dad probably know, most of the health coverage of us old folk
    is done by medicare (a single payer system). Even though the private insurers don’t pay out much, are expensive and complicated, we old folks keep them for if we ever run into really costly
    medical problems. Many doctors arefor single payer
    because it simplifies their office work and is less expensive for them. Other doctors are against it because it might lower their rates…although insurance companies pressure them on that as well.
    IMO, the arguments have little to do with decent healthcare and more to do with politics.

  2. Beth says:

    Well, I very much appreciate your explanation of what a single payer system is, I guess I was more looking for how it gets funded, like how much each person has to pay into it, and how efficient it really is, because our government does not have a great track record for being cost effective (because they don’t have any incentive to be fiscally responsible, since they are a monopoly) and how are you going to contest any disagreement of care when you have no other choice?

    I think people who think that a single payer healthcare system are in denial that there will be equal care for everyone with it. For one thing, our wonderful members of Congress will still have their same healthcare. Also, the very wealthy are going to be able to find doctors willing to give them better care than the average Joe.

    By the way, my Dad who owned his own business and thus had control over the decision, had his company’s health care policy include long term disability insurance, which even though they are on Medicare has been a huge difference in the medical attention my Mom has received, as well as the therapy.

  3. BB-Idaho says:

    I read the article. Here’s what I think; Greece (rather long and complicated) had a very strong economy going into
    2000. Credit was cheap, so they ran up their debt, oddly on military spending because they were worried about Turkey [?!]. But the hot Greek economy ran on shipping and tourism; two things that shrank in the world recession. They continued to spend, but their tax revenues shrank,
    their debt rose and so did interest rates because of their risk of default. Naturally, not only
    healthcare, but employment and infrastructure imploded.
    In many of the ‘socialist’ countries that have single payer, citizens purchase private insurance as well, to cover any unforseen bills. Basically, though, IMO, whether gov’t or private, when
    the economy tanks, healthcare suffers as people lose their jobs and incomes. Ever hear of
    economics called the ‘dismal science?
    As far as administrative efficiencies, I read yesterday that medicare has a 2% overhead,
    while the average private insurance provider has a 17% overhead. One explanation being
    that medicare is collected as a payroll tax, there are no sales costs and medicare pays out
    a simple rate per medical procedure. Private insurers spend much more time evaluating
    procedures and overhead is higher with profits going to shareholders and higher executive
    pay; in addition, cost of sales is obviously higher. In addition, most companies offer a range of plans, increasing adminstrative complexity. Many people who are very sick would rather their provider be interested in ‘providing’…rather than collecting $$, but I suppose it will always be that way.
    I am very impressed that your parents had the foresight and means to have long term
    insurance. Like 90% of us, I just couldn’t afford that with 3 kids in college and the usual
    bills (you probably understand that being a mom and accountant). It is relatively expensive, and quite often you don’t get to use it until you get to 89 yrs or so. The gamble with the grim
    reaper, sort of….and by the time you think you need to start, the rates at advanced age are
    of course, really high. In summary- there are pros and cons to just about anything and there
    will always be problems of one sort or the best we can do is try to plan ahead.
    As you note, ‘liberals like to talk in generalities’ so I’ve tried to connect with the real world here!

  4. Beth says:

    I truly appreciate you taking the time to discuss matters, BB, unlike some people who would rather be snippy at me for voicing my concerns with the single payer system.

    You know one reason that Medicare overhead costs could be lower is because the costs payments on the medical side are much higher for the older folks.

    Also, that you admit that some people that live in countries with single payer systems still buy private insurance, doesn’t that pretty much tell you that it isn’t a perfect system?

    Wouldn’t the better answer be to cut out all middle men (i.e. insurance companies included?) I mean, hospitals and doctors will always need staff people to send someone a bill so you can never get rid of that expense, but they could send it directly to the person who used the medical service. There could be health insurance for the huge medical problems people face, for example cancer, but for the regular break your toe and need shot doctor visits would be everyone taking care of that themselves. Just like how you don’t use home owners insurance to get new carpeting in your home, you only use it for emergencies.

    This would mean employers could give you more money as a salary because they aren’t paying for benefits and a benefit coordinator person. You would be personally responsible for your well being, which would be a motivating factor in how you live your life to be as healthy as you can be!

    I think John Kerry advocated this when he was running for president, and I applauded him back then for it.

    BTW, re: Greece, I thought I read that to help them in their financial troubles that they are looking to privatize a lot of their governmental services, why would we try to go in the other direction and try to do more public services during a recession?

  5. BB-Idaho says:

    I agree, health insurance has grown from what used to be catastrophic to a ‘pays anything’
    system. Two problems with that: first, it greatly increases the expense of the insurance and
    secondly, it prompts the providers to test to the max and charge to the max. There also must
    be some super inflation factor…when I first got company provided healthcare in the mid sixties,
    it was cheap, copays were like $5 and everything was pretty much covered. As I recall, it
    cost the company about $75 a month. Sure, they have come up with MRIs, CATscans and all sorts of expensive equipment, surgeries are more complex and no one ever went to ER; but now
    we see reduced staff, shorter Dr. visits, etc. (I have no Dr. For the last 5 years I have had a
    nurse practioner for family care…and a nurse practioner for my ongoing digestive problems.
    (not complaining, they are very good; but cheaper for my insurance than an M.D.) In an odd
    way, private insurance is like medicare: in my case, I’ve paid about $85-100,000 into both over the years, have never had surgery and was only in hospital one day for walking pneumonia and one day for kidney stones, perhaps not typical for a geezer, but not atypical either, really. Never had eyeglass or dental insurance and that adds up over the years. The problem as I see it are not
    the $$, but the % of income for healthcare..that has increased exponentially (along with college tuition)…and when things do that it reveals systemic problems. I believe the medical community itself recognizes these problems and are working on solutions.

  6. Beth says:

    As well the medical community should resolve issues, because it behooves them to have paying customers that they should not overcharge, but when there is a single payer system then sure they are guaranteed payment but then who sets the price and where can competition try to keep prices in check? I don’t like monopolies, especially governmental ones. They are never a good thing because if you don’t like the service, you really have no other choice. This goes for doctors as well who lose control of prices and getting the value of their services (i.e. if they are an excellent doctor they probably will get paid the same as someone who is not as able or careful.)

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