Saturday, July 24, 2004

Healthcare

Is universal health care (not just emergency health care) a fundamental right in which all are entitled and the government should provide (on the tax payers dime)?

I would have to say no.

In America you are generally expected to generate some amount of income which will then cover the expense of the resources that you use being alive (i.e. food). 

For example, in general people expect you to pay for your food.  Although good health care is important over the long term, food is important over the short term.  Some organizations give food away for free (In Houston I heard that a homeless man can get three free meals day if he is willing to walk for it) in the name of charity, but that is not the norm.  And in those cases where food is given away free it might come with strings attached.

I don't see how health care is any different than food.  Except the democratic socialists are trying to get me to pay for the health care.

cube

4 comments:

Stephen said...

Yeah, everyone should pull their own weight. Health care, food, housing, those are all luxuries that others should not have to provide for you.

Cubicle said...

"Yeah, everyone should pull their own weight. Health care, food, housing, those are all luxuries that others should not have to provide for you."

I would like to further state my position on the matter. I don't mind paying for the basics is there is no way they can afford it (such as welfare). In fact you could make the argument that you should cover them totaly while they get additional training to re enter the work force.

A little loss in producitvity could be made up in years of eventual econmic productvity and self reliance. That is a helping hand not a hand out.

Andrew said...

Let's imagine we have a 45 year old man with a pre-existing, congenital condition who got worked 25 solid years then got layed off when his company off-shored his job. Since then, he has covered his rent payments by working a job as a Wal-mart clerk, unable to get benefits because Wal-mart intentionally limits his working hours so that he doesn't classify as a full-time employee. He's been looking for other work, and even skills training, but hasn't found anything for over six months.

Well, since he's been without health insurance for six months and has a pre-existing condition, insurers are no longer obligated to continue coverage at old prices. Now they can jack it up high enough to cover the 30-year-old trust fund adreneline junkie whose dad pays just $100/mo for coverage that includes all his suns wind-surfing injuries. So they offer the hard-working 45 year old who got laid off a $500/mo premium on a $2500 deductible plan. But he's still just working his maximum hours at Wal-mart which only nets him $1200 a month (too much for medicare), so it's completely out of question.

He's just a hard-working guy that's shit out of luck.

The fight for health care is a fight to fix a broken formula. The answers are neither free health care (because Americans are too tax-wary), nor total deregulation. It's somewhere in between, but it's probably something more 'liberal' than what he have now.

And the comparison with food is silly: we have a health care problem, but we don't have a starvation problem. With adequate production (which we have), food costs are small and very predictable. But on the other hand, health care costs are high, complex, and nearly unpredictable.

I know I need $50 for food next week. I can work hard enough to make sure I have that $50. But I have no idea how much I'll need for health care. Maybe nothing'll happen and I won't need anything; maybe I'll break my leg and need $10,000. Maybe I'll be lucky my lifetime costs for health care will be $3000. Maybe I'll be unlucky and I'll need of care $100,000 next year. It's in the interest of every member of society to estabilish a system that smooths out these kinds of unpredictable expenditures.

You don't want your trained employee (or his bus driver, mechanic, or wife) randomly dying next month, but you also don't want to get hit with a surprise $50,000 bill just to save him. By having everybody contribute what they can over the course of their lifetimes, we get the stability and security necessary for investment and progress.

Cubicle said...

"He's just a hard-working guy that's shit out of luck."

Yep, unless he was able to get help from some private oganzation.

"And the comparison with food is silly: we have a health care problem, but we don't have a starvation problem. With adequate production (which we have), food costs are small and very predictable. But on the other hand, health care costs are high, complex, and nearly unpredictable."

We do have adequte production (like some countires do), but if we didn't food cost would high and nearly unpredictable.

So is health care a supply problem to be solved by the market or fundamental right in which the goverment should pay for?

"It's in the interest of every member of society to estabilish a system that smooths out these kinds of unpredictable expenditures."

Actually no. It is only in the intrest of the people who would would suffer the worst losses. The others would recive no benafit at all, execpt a (supposed) clean consicence and a lighter wallet.


"By having everybody contribute what they can over the course of their lifetimes, we get the stability and security necessary for investment and progress."

Stable. yes. Though I belive that any socialized system is going to be more innefficent than a free market system (due to social loafing tendacies, and personal responsiblity issues), which those inefficenties would use up the money which might have been used for investment and progress.

Now all of that being said.
Morally the free market apporach to health care seems wrong. It is one sick system which allows people to profit from anothers misery or bad luck.

Health care providers could move to a non-profit structure or limited profit strucuture (some of the gains of the free market mentality and compeition, with out the greed). That about the best i idea that i have seen for hospitials.

As far as the health insurance, i think that is best handled by the market at this time.