Thursday, July 23, 2009

Random thoughts on health care

Here's a random collection of my thoughts on the health care debate:

1) I've stated it before, but we are discussing the wrong issue with regards to health care in the US. The root problem we want to solve is making sure that health CARE is readily available to as many as possible, but instead, we keep trying to come up with ways to make health INSURANCE readily available to as many as possible without regard to whether that insurance will lead to accessible health care.

2) Our concept of health insurance isn't even insurance - it's just making our medical payments through a third party. How anyone thinks that any third party payment system (government or private) could ever be cheaper than patients paying directly for care is beyond me. The customer (patient) doesn't have any incentive to shop around or reduce their purchases to what is necessary and the seller has no incentive to keep prices down.

3) There are only two ways a government plan can keep costs down: A) they will ration care - so much for health care being a right (a common refrain by proponents of universal coverage) and B) they will force doctors to accept less in return for their services - unfortunately, this will lead to more individuals exercising their right to NOT become doctors and for existing doctors to exercise their right to retire - price caps ALWAYS make a given resource less available.

4) I certainly don't advocate this solution, but giving everyone an anual $2000 medical voucher to be used at any medical facility would probably be cheaper than anything being rammed through congress today. If individuals were permitted to rollover the unused portion of their voucher to the next year, they'd have an incentive to decide for themselves what care is necessary, price shop etc. Doctors would have incentive to compete on price.

5) Apparently, individuals have a right to force others to provide for their health, food, & housing, even though the US Constitution says nothing to that affect. However, individuals do NOT have the right to provide for their own self defense, even though the right to keep and bear arms is CLEARLY spelled out on the Constitution.

6) Once the government is responsible for providing for our medical well being, they own us. If we don't conform to their vision, they can just decide that our medical needs are less of a priority.

7) Socialism of any sort is not maintainable. As noted in item 3, the price caps necessary to keep expenses down will cause people to avoid medical/pharmaceutical fields altogether. The only way to continue such a vision is to FORCE people into medical practice. This is why citizens of communist countries have so little career choice. The government decides where an individuals talents are most needed and the individual does not have a choice.

8) Hopefully rather than devolving into communism, we will realize that although freedom does not mean that every individual will have all their needs met, no system does. Freedom gives every individual the CHANCE to have their needs met and meets more peoples needs than any other system in history.

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