Saturday, November 14, 2009

With Universal Coverage, No More Votes to Buy

Once the whole population is covered [by health insurance], there is little political incentive to increase spending on medical care. Once the bulk of costs have been taken over by government, as they have in most of the other OECD countries, the politician does not have the carrot of increased services with which to attract new voters, so attention turns to holding down costs.

~Milton Friedman

MP: How to hold down costs? Think Canada. Long waiting lines, fewer MRI machines and fewer physicians per capita compared to the US, etc.


At 11/14/2009 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Democrat health care plan is not about insuring more people or providing better access to care, it's a power grab. It's about making more and more people dependent on the government, and, by extension, the Democrat party for their health care.

If it were truly about health care, it would not have been pushed through without giving members of the House an opportunity to read it and debate it's provisions in full. It would not include a clause that undermines tort reform in states that have instituted it. It would not include billions of dollars of grants and favorable tax treatment to private sector unions. It would not grant exclusion to members of Congress and government unions. It would not start collecting premiums in 2011 and only start paying benefits in 2016 only to run out of money completely in 2029.

Pelosi and the Democrats know exactly what they are doing, and it has nothing to do with helping those who need help. They are trying to establish a massive entrenched bureaucracy, similar to the current government unions, beholden to the Democrats for it's very survival. Once established, it will be a reliable source of campaign cash and votes.

John Edwards was right, there really are "2 America's"; government workers and those enslaved to them.

At 11/14/2009 1:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention Canada is a bigger country than the US with 10% of the population but which still provides better health care for its citizens than the US.

By why only pick on Canada? You might be interested in this weeks' Frontline comparing US health care with 5 other countries including the UK, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, and Taiwan Frontline: Sick Around the World. Guess who came in last?

At 11/14/2009 1:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Canada ... provides better health care for its citizens than the US."


Watch this

and this.

At 11/14/2009 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Watch this ...and this

The health care system for any major country in the world is going to treat millions of patients a year. I'm sure you could come up with similar videos for the US system (Sicko anyone?) Overall, they're not that informative.

You have an issue with Frontline? The program seemed pretty balanced and matter of fact to me.

At 11/14/2009 2:35 PM, Blogger Angie said...

Canada takes such good care of the people that the people finally demanded the right to buy private coverage. Last time I checked, there were doctors setting up illegal private clinics in order to allow people to bypass the bureaucracy.

So many problems, in a country that doesn't have as many people as our three biggest cities combined.

We're Americans. We're supposed to be proud that we aren't dependent on the government teat.

And we're supposed to move to Canada if we like their system better, giving other people the freedom to choose differently.

At 11/14/2009 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of bad data gets tossed in with health care data that makes the US look bad. The US counts all live births. The US has a higher death rate due to accidents (freedom=risk). When you remove non illness related deaths and us international standards for live birth, the US goes to the top of the list for life expectancy.

The same is true for individual data point. Where is your bets chance for surviving breast cancer. The US

At 11/14/2009 4:34 PM, Blogger Craig Howard said...

Ol' Milton sure got this one wrong. Universal health care will only assure that every election from now to eternity is, indeed, about health care.

This party will promise more and better coverage while that party will pledge to provide more and better coverage at less cost. Friedman's prediction could only be true under a system where everyone got all the coverage he wanted.

Not bloody likely.

At 11/14/2009 5:00 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Canada provides universal (cheap) basic health care, but doesn't provide much (expensive) specialized care. Canadians have to go the U.S. for that.

Even the WHO, which rated U.S. health care below Cuba, admitted the U.S. is #1 in the world in both labor and capital (e.g. doctors, nurses, hospitals, equipment, etc.).

From article:

"I was once a believer in socialized health-care prejudices crumbled. On a subzero Winnipeg morning in 1997, I cut across the hospital emergency room to shave a few minutes off my frigid commute. Swinging open the door, I stepped into a nightmare: the ER overflowed with elderly people on stretchers, waiting for admission. Some, it turned out, had waited five days. The air stank with sweat and urine. Right then, I began to reconsider everything that I thought I knew about Canadian health care. I soon discovered that the problems went well beyond overcrowded ERs. Patients had to wait for practically any diagnostic test or procedure, such as the man with persistent pain from a hernia operation whom we referred to a pain clinic—with a three-year wait list; or the woman needing a sleep study to diagnose what seemed like sleep apnea, who faced a two-year delay; or the woman with breast cancer who needed to wait four months for radiation therapy, when the standard of care was four weeks.

At 11/14/2009 5:50 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Also, I may add, a high infant mortality rate reduces life expectancy:

U.S. lagging behind many other nations on infant mortality rates by Kim Krisberg

"In 2005, 28,000 infants younger than age 1 died, out of more than 4.1 million births. Among those deaths were glaring disparities: The brief reported that the infant mortality rate was 13.68 deaths per 1,000 live births among blacks in 2005, 8.06 among American Indians and Alaska Natives, 8.3 among Puerto Ricans and 5.76 among whites. The lowest U.S. rate was among Cuban Americans, at 4.42."

At 11/14/2009 6:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

UK, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, and Taiwan

I notice that the countries keep shifting. It used to be Canada and the UK, but after they were exposed as health care "hell holes", it's shifted to Japan and now Taiwan. I suppose that's because it's harder to find statistics and stories that can debunk these systems the way that Canada and the UK have been exposed. The left will twist themselves into pretzels in order to ram socialism down our throats.

At any rate, since the education of liberals and leftists is a never ending job, here's a few links concerning what passes for care in the UK:

AN 80-year-old grandmother who doctors identified as terminally ill and left to starve to death has recovered after her outraged daughter intervened.

Hazel Fenton, from East Sussex, is alive nine months after medics ruled she had only days to live, withdrew her antibiotics and denied her artificial feeding. The former school matron had been placed on a controversial care plan intended to ease the last days of dying patients.


A plumber whose arm was left twisted grotesquely out of shape in an accident ten months ago has had an operation to correct it 'cancelled four times'.

Torron Eeles, 50, has been left unable to work since falling down the stairs and now fears he may lose his home after being denied incapacity benefit.

The father-of-three today hit out at the NHS for the 'unacceptable delays', but East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust said Mr Eeles had his operation cancelled on 'only' two occasions on clinical safety grounds.

His left arm has hung limply by his side since he fractured the humerus bone in December 2008.

Don't miss the pic.

Daily Mail

Bad nurses will be purged from the NHS after a report detailed shocking cruelty towards the elderly.

The study by the Patients' Association said up to a million people had suffered poor care over the past five years.

It gave harrowing examples of 'cruel' and 'demeaning' treatment, including patients left lying in soiled bedclothes, having personal alarms confiscated and having to go without food or drink.

Daily Mail

And, Germany:

Meanwhile in Germany, often cited by American liberals as the "model" of a well-run health-care plan, the political debate is running in the opposite direction. Chancellor Angela Merkel's new coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party, is pressing her to claw back the state's participation in a system that now insures nine of 10 Germans.

Germany's health-care system was brought to life in 1883 by Otto von Bismarck and became the model for virtually every such state-directed national insurance plan since. Alas, the German system is starting to come apart at the financial seams.


Researchers at the independent Council of Experts on Integration and Migration have found that some 180,000 Germans have left their country in the past five years ...

One field where the personnel pinch is being acutely felt is medicine.

The Council's latest report shows that more than 3,000 medical staff, most of whom were trained in Germany, left the country in 2008. That brings the total number of German doctors working abroad to 19,000. Meanwhile, Bade points out, there are places in the eastern part of the country, the former GDR, where the lack of medical practitioners is reaching crisis proportions.

DW World

At 11/14/2009 6:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And, Switzerland:

Switzerland installed an individual mandate 15 years ago. Since then, insurance premiums and overall health care spending have continued to balloon, resulting in a health care system even more expensive than France's.

Faced with mounting public expenses, Swiss officials have closed hospital facilities, reduced medical reimbursement rates, and restricted access to surgeries.

In 2002, the Swiss government even halted the creation of new private medical practices. The country now suffers from a severe shortage of working physicians.

Detroit News

And, 'Sicko", really?:

As the Caribbean sun sank down on Moore’s breathtakingly meretricious movie, I couldn’t help recalling that when Fidel Castro became gravely ill last year, he didn’t put himself in the hands of a Cuban surgeon. No. Instead, he had a specialist flown in — from Spain.


At 11/14/2009 9:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

PeakTrader over looks the data on infant mortality rates. If Canadian and EU standard of live birth were used in the US, The US would rate first. In most of the world, just because you are born alive, doesn't mean you count as alive.

At 11/14/2009 11:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

> We're supposed to be proud that we aren't dependent on the government teat.

Sure, but at what point did this become that we don't owe anything to the well-being of our fellow citizens.

At 11/14/2009 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the "Sicko" reference was simply used show that you could cherry-pick the worst case from any care system.

At 11/14/2009 11:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>It used to be Canada and the UK, but after they were exposed as health care "hell holes" ...

Here come the hapless zealots and their one note orchestra.

At 11/14/2009 11:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Say what you want about the UN world rankings, but even the Wall Street Journal couldn't put the US at a better place than 15th.


Oh, and by the way, those heath care 'hellholes' Canada and the U.K still rank higher than U.S.

For those seriously interested, the Comments section article are pretty interesting. A lot of good viewpoints all around.

At 11/15/2009 2:42 AM, Blogger juandos said...

anon @ 11/14/2009 11:12 PM says: "Sure, but at what point did this become that we don't owe anything to the well-being of our fellow citizens"...

Hmmm, when did ever become the job of the federal government to foist off the care and feeding of societal parasites onto the productive citizens?

At 11/15/2009 2:54 AM, Blogger juandos said...

Over the past forty plus years since the inception of LBJ's Great Parasital Pandering program have we seen stories similer to this AP story?

Govt: Medicare paid $47 billion in suspect claims

Now imagine what that monetary amount will be when Congress rams 'ObamaCare' down the collective throats of taxpaying citizens...

At 11/15/2009 3:47 AM, Blogger Marie Everington said...

It's the diet. America ranks poorly compared to other Western and East Asian nation/city-states because the American diet does in fact consist mainly of corn syrup and highly processed vegetable oils. thanks, Big Agra!

There is increasing evidence piling up on pubmed that many, perhaps most Americans are vitamin-d and omega-3 deficient, and said deficiencies are most extreme among black americans.

vitamin d and omega-3 deficiency are implicated in low birth weights, preemies, and increased infant deaths.

the massive amount of corn syrup and vegetable oils in most foods further compounds these deficiencies by destroying insulin regulation, causing obesity, diabetes and various other expensive chronic conditions that make our 'health care' spending twice that of other nations.

our artificially cheap food supply consisting of subsidized garbage crops is quite ironically why our health care costs are so ridiculously high compared to any other Westernised nation.

At 11/15/2009 4:04 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Michael, I know measurement standards between countries aren't universal. Anon's WSJ article supports my prior comments. Moreover, it should be noted, 60% of the WHO criteria is based on equality, not quality:


"On measures such as child mortality and life expectancy, the U.S. has slipped since the 2000 rankings. But some researchers say that factors beyond the control of the health-care system are to blame, such as dietary habits."

Another article:

"In The Business of Health, Robert Ohsfeldt and John Schneider factor out intentional and unintentional injuries from life-expectancy statistics and find that Americans who don’t die in car crashes or homicides outlive people in any other Western country."

At 11/15/2009 4:32 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Marie, I agree. Too much fast food-junk food-processed food doesn't seem to be a positive factor on health outcomes. Also, the U.S., as a society, favors driving autos over exercising through walking and biking.

At 11/16/2009 1:10 PM, Anonymous Norman said...

How about Universal coverage like this:

The citizenery as a whole (ie, government)provides a stipend to cover health insurance policies. A person is obligated to buy two types of coverage. One is a catastrophic policy which is for the really big problems that are impossible for a person to manage. The second is a Health Care Savings Account which is used to cover those nagging problems. In the latter the citizen will be highly motivated to get value for his or her dollar because whatever they save becomes theirs to use at retirement or for a house, etc as the laws allow like IRA's.

Getting from where we are to there because of tax deductible insurance and medical care and other institutional bindings will be difficult. But the final legislation will be much smaller than 2,000 pages.

At 11/16/2009 3:51 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"How about Universal coverage like this"...

Why Norman?

What part of the Constitution mandates any sort of federal government intervention into any part of medical/health care sector?

At 11/16/2009 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Canada has fewer MRI machines than Boston

At 11/16/2009 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In France , "preemie" babies who die before the age of 6 months are not included in child mortality rates , thus they have a lower infant mortality rate .
When apples to apples are measured , the US child motality rate is the same as France

go figure , lieing about stats does give you better readings

At 11/16/2009 6:03 PM, Anonymous JJ said...

Princess Di was in an ambulance for 105 minutes before arriving at an Emergency Room .....

Why ?!?!?!?

The French healthcare plan hopes to "cure" emergencies before they make it to the hospital so as to not waste hospital finances ... great system


Post a Comment

<< Home