Friday, October 12, 2007

Unraveling the Numbers on Universal Health Care

In the comments section of a previous post of mine a liberal reader wrote this

In the name of Jesus, what is wrong with helping to provide for the common good? Did Jesus say at the sermon on the mount, "Blessed are those financially well off enough to pay for private medical insurance?" Did He say "Blessed are the ones who only serve their self interests?"

Since when did health become a privelage? Does the Declaration of Independance say "...the privelage of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...?" Doesn't the Constitution say "...promote the general Welfare...?"

I'm sorry I have to disagree with the naysayers who whine about their tax dollars going to pay for the general welfare of our society and our health. That's not big government that's responsible government. That's not the government intruding into your life. That's the government helping its people. A government is only as effective as the people who run it. And as long as we continue to sit idly by and let it "run itself" it's only gonna get worse. If we take the government back into our own hands as a real American society we can curb the corruption that has left us with unregulated pharmaceutacle pricing practices, and rediculous malpractice insurance premiums that doc's have to pay and pass the cost onto the patient to stay afloat.

Seriously it costs enough to maintain a baby. Should it cost thousands to give birth to one? For that matter, why not just have the mother pay the cost up front when she finds out, that way it wouldn't be worth the non-refundable price for 1)negligent pre-natal care, 2) abortion?

Back to my main point. We're a supposedly "Christian" nation (according to most "conservatives") We tried to prove it in the 50's by declaring "In God We Trust" and adding "Under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance, why then the hypocricy in ignoring the following passages?

All that believed were together, and had all things in common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.(Acts 2:44-45)

There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. (Acts 4:34-37)

This is what the Lord has commanded: Gather of it, every man of you, as much as he can eat; you shall take an omer apiece, according to the number of persons who each of you has in his tent. And the people of Israel did so; they gathered some more, some less. But when they measured it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; each gathered according to what he could eat.

Now, this is an astonishing statement to make. They begin by proclaiming that there is nothing wrong with giving up personal liberty for the common good. Nothing, that is, if you are a communist. That is communism, giving up something of your own person for the common good. They dress it up by proclaiming that it it is responsible government, however when taxes are taken away from individuals to pay for the "general welfare" of the citizenry then what we have is communism.

I doubt the poster even understands that they actually believe in Communism and the reason that I think so is that they are making a wholly emotional arguement. They have no idea the logic behind their arguement.

Second, they reference Jesus and proclaim that Jesus was the one that espouse giving up things for the needy. That is true, however Jesus expoused that is a personal choice and personal responsibility to be a good Christian. He didn't mean that the government would forcefully take the money from you to give it to others. They totally twist the meaning Jesus' words.

That said, I believe to a common somewhat educated, though not political astute individual, this would a powerful arguement. It would hit at all the proper emotions. Emotional arguements are almost always more powerful then logical ones.

This brings me to an article by Joe Conason

Yet despite that antique quality, the old buzzwords appear regularly in columns, press releases and speeches. Rudolph Giuliani, Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican presidential pack run around squawking about socialism whenever anyone proposes health care reform. Syndicated columnist Robert Novak warns that the federally financed, state-run Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is essentially a socialist conspiracy. So does President Bush, who has threatened to veto a modest increase in that program's funding because he doesn't want to "federalize health care."

Although the red threat still triggers an autonomic reaction among GOP true believers, the rest of the country no longer twitches to that high-pitched, far-right whistle. Most polls not only show enormous majorities favoring extension of coverage to every child, but substantial support for a radical change in how we pay and administer health insurance -- including the possibility of a single-payer system.

Now, Conason is an author that I have found plays very fast and loose with the facts and makes assertions that he rarely backs up. (as you will find if you go to the link) For instance, he says this program will increase modestly. Well, I guess that is your definition of modest because it will more than double. As for the polls they are mixed and I will point out just how mixed they are. In fact, in almost every poll there is a dichotomy. There is a healthy majority that are happy with their own health care situation and they are at the same time by a healthy majority concerned about the overall health care situation. Thus, the old rule of what's in it for me doesn't apply.

Now, let's look at the latest Rasmussen poll on health care. It provides some very interesting numbers.

First, as you can see, there is no overwhelming belief toward anything that Conason claims least of which single payer, which is overwhelmingly turned down.

Forty-four percent (44%) of American adults say that health care services should be made available for free to all Americans. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 39% disagree and 17% are not sure.

Fifty-two percent (52%) say that reducing health care costs is a higher priority than making sure everyone is insured. Thirty-nine percent (39%) take the opposite view.

A survey last week by Rasmussen Reports have shown that 50% support government guaranteed health coverage and 62% say the U.S. health care system needs major changes.

Here are some more interesting numbers

A survey conducted September 29-30 found that 51% of American adults initially supported the notion that health care should be made available for free to all Americans. The survey also found that most Americans (52%) believed that such an approach would decrease the quality of health care in the United States. Just 29% thought it would improve the overall quality of care.

Forty-nine percent (49%) believe that making care available for free to everyone would increase the nation’s overall cost of providing care. Just 22% thought it would result in savings. Fifty-two percent (52%) thought that, when taxes wereconsidered, the proposal would end up costing them more than they pay now. Just 28% thought their own costs would go down.

It is interesting that people are willing to give up some quality of their own health care for the common good. The common good is a very compassionate arguement, and it tugs at the heart strings. I personally believe that the common good, actually leads to the common bad, however in order to counter that arguement we free marketers must also make emotional arguements. For instance, check out this story

TONY Blair yesterday faced a woman who pulled out SEVEN of her teeth after
failing to find an NHS dentist.Great-grandmother Valerie Halsworth, 64, removed them with her husband’s pliers.

She pulled out a seventh tooth over the weekend before meeting the PM in Coventry yesterday.

That is the model of universal health care. People wait so long that they pull out their own teeth. How about this?

By December 2008, no patient referred to a consultant led hospital service
will be allowed to wait longer than 18 weeks from referral to treatment.

This will apply to all Trusts in the NHS, and represents the coming together of the various waiting time targets for the different elements of hospital services. For the first time, in a similar way to our approach to cancer waiting times, the 18 week target will cover the whole patient pathway. From a patient's point of view, 18 weeks is a fairer and more inclusive target, and from the Trust's point of view, it is a more complete target that should enable us to effectively measure and manage all the timings of the care that we deliver.

How about waiting eighteen weeks for treatment? Do you think that will elicit an emotional response? Then, there is this.

Liberal MP Belinda Stronach, who is battling breast cancer, travelled to California last June for an operation that was recommended as part of her treatment, says a report. Stronach's spokesman, Greg MacEachern, told the Toronto Star that the MP for Newmarket-Aurora had a "later-stage" operation in the U.S. after a Toronto doctor referred her.

That's right, in a universal health care system, even the politicians are forced to come to the U.S. for treatment. How about that for a response. That is the way for free marketers to win this debate so that when we say SOCIALISM it evokes fear again.

1 comment:

Pangloss said...

I'm gonna go ask my boss for a modest 140% raise just like the modest 140$ raise for S-CHIP. I sure hope he thinks like Conason!