Thursday, November 16, 2006

Hopefully, We'll Only Hear About Single Payer Health Care on VH1's "I Love The Nineties" - Not CSPAN

Really, really, really good post from Jane Galt on what nationalised health care would actually look like. Rather than delving into the theoretical, she makes several great practical points. If a single payer system was introduced, you can't provide less coverage or slower coverage- you can't lower the wages of medical workers- you can't limit care for old people- and you can't give health care away to illegal immigrants.

Of course, looking at it that way, I'm not sure how a single payer system would ever be possible here.

I also enjoyed Galt's discussion of "the emergency room" problem. Emergency room numbers are often cited as a problem with our system, but as Galt points out, is it any more expensive to provide care for routine ailments in the emergency room as opposed to anywhere else?

Personally, I have a sneaking suspicion that calls for universal health coverage go hand-in-hand with more government involvement in our everyday lives. After all, the recent cry for universal health care is in part based on the fact that those without health insurance don't go to the doctor and end up costing the system more. And just what are these costs? Well once again, they're not for routine ailments. The system ends up paying more, supposedly, because of the lack of preventative medicine- that is the doctor telling you to exercise and eat healthier because of some potentially impending medical problem. (Obviously, not all preventative medicine works this way.)

Ultimately though, preventative medicine is only as good as the manner in which people follow their doctor's advice. Want to really reduce health care costs? Force everyone, by law, to exercise and eat healthy diets. Now do I think this is where we're headed- likely not, or at least I hope not, but the path is clear.

Universal health care, on some level, means that the individual is less important than the system and the health of the nation as a whole. And more than anything else, that is what scares me about universal health care.


Blogger Larissa said...

"Want to really reduce health care costs? Force everyone, by law, to exercise and eat healthy diets. Now do I think this is where we're headed- likely not, or at least I hope not, but the path is clear."

Lonely Libertarian. I am surprised that you would even suggest such a thing, regardless of whether or not you think it's going to happen. Now of course, I do not have statistics. But, while proper diet and exercise can prevent the on-set of some conditions, it certainly will not prevent the spread of disease and hereditary conditions. A federal law mandating exercise and a healthy diet wouldn't help much of anything by way of these things -- "healthy" people are still able to get sick. While I agree that a universal health care system is not likely in our country anytime in the near future, nor is it necessarily a good thing for us, federal mandate of diet and exercise beyond controlling the menus and the curriculums (more gym class, more recess) in schools, and regulation of foods, is unlikely. Not to mention, though every once in a while, we hear a threat of a "cookie tax," look at how responsive the food industry is. Government regulation is not necessary. We hear transfats are bad, so how does the industry respond? Away with transfats! We are all on the Atkins-craze, Low-Carb versions of products abound. Now look at how easy it is to get different kinds of whole-wheat products -- whole wheat white bread, even! While many food products are unhealthy, more and more healthy products keep appearing on the shelves every day. If the government should do anything, perhaps offer some educational programming or exercise commercials akin to anti-drug commercials. lol For sure, if we are going to rely on diet and exercise as an answer to beating illness, the government should incentivise, rather than punish.

Anyway, law mandating diet and exercise...shame on you Lonely Libertarian.

11:04 AM  

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