Friday, March 14, 2008

Very Weird Statements in the Health Care Discussion

"America is the only industrialized nation that does not have universal health care"
This is usually written and said with an undertone as if it was something bad, or as if there was something wrong with that fact.
And? So what?
Why should we be like all the rest? Is it bad to be different? Are we back on the school yard, where kids that were different get picked on and bullied? So, we can't be different? What is going on?
Maybe being different is just why the US health care system offers the best quality, maybe that is why people who can truly choose where to get care fly to the US, to Boston, New York, San Francisco, Houston...not to Canada or France or Cuba.
Maybe that is why we are the world leaders in quality and innovation.

Maybe different is good after all. Don't people come to the US because we are different? Because we are just NOT like all the "other industrialized countries"? Why do all those people come to the US, why do they want to immigrate to the US?

I believe we are the leading country in the world. Why should we look at those behind? Why should we choose a system of another country that has not proven its superiority?
Why should the lion copy what the sheep are doing?

But seriously, when I hear people advocating "universal health care" - I do not know if I should laugh or cry....

First, too many of those do not know the difference between "universal health coverage = everybody is covered, everybody has insurance and something very, very different, single payer health care= the government in its infinite wisdom and efficiency administers health care, the dreaded "Medicare for all", think compassion of the IRS combined with the efficiency of the DMV.

I feel like laughing, because it is incredibly nervy and gutsy to actually try to sneakily promote the conversion of a major sector of the economy of the most capitalistic country on the planet
into a socialistic system. The Chutzpah is unbelievable, the nerve, the balls, to even think that. That makes me laugh....

I feel like crying, because all these people are plain ignorant and fall for simplistic arguments that ignore the true causes of spiraling health care costs.
First they have forgotten or never learned and never experienced that the socialistic principle only sounds good on paper. Yes, it is a nice idea, but just an idea. That's all, and we should admire it as what it is. As soon as you turn this nice sounding idea into reality, disaster results. Enough said, just consult your closest history book, I do not need to repeat what is well known.
The sad part is, advocates of a single payer system are unaware (or in plain denial) of the reason for spiraling health care costs: as long as you spend other people's money, you overspend. Also called "Moral hazard" or the "Tragedy of the commons". Or you could call it overconsumption.

As long as everybody spends "other people's money" the increase in health care cost will never stop, not until we are bankrupt.
Someone, somehow has to ration. There are two possibilities:
1. We ourselves spend our health care dollars wisely, we ask our physicians " How can we diagnose and treat this cost effectively"? We make costs truly transparent, so that we can compare prices and quality and shop wisely, like in any other sector of our economy. We have to have a personal stake in health care costs, for example by owning Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), which allow you to keep your health care dollars in your own pocket instead of dumping them in the lap of insurance companies with the opportunities to accumulate money and interest - tax free.
2. We give up on reform and hand it all over to the government, that then institutes cost savings in a one-size-fits-all way, and your health care is dominated by rules set by an anonymous distant "committee". Instead of denial by insurance you will hear "it's not in the budget" "it's not available" and the biggest issue in single payer health care: "get in the waiting line". The waiting line is the symbol of socialized care, for many reasons. Too many for today.

Look at the statistics, before you decide: the cost increase in all health care systems is the same - single payer is NOT the cure for spiraling costs
and look at the statistics for satisfaction of the people: single payer does neither get more nor less satisfaction than our system.

Ever thought why?

Think a little bit, do some research, read about what it really means before advocating something downright dangerous such as single payer health care.

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