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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Say what???

I just saw Barack Obama on television saying that he would introduce Universal Socialist Medical Care in the USA and for people who already have insurance policies, the only difference would be such people would pay less in premiums… everything else would be just as good. Yes, you too in the USA can have something as ‘wonderful’ as our decrepit National Health Service. You lucky, lucky people.

And presumably this conjuring act of creating wealth out of nothing with government impositions will come to pass purely via the Triumph of Barack Obama’s will.

Talk about delusional.

44 comments to Say what???

  • We have (had) an excellent, free public health system in Australia.

  • IanP

    Didnt Clinton get elected on the same promise.?

  • nick g.

    Why does Barack Obama hate America?
    Yes, Perry, as free as Free Education. You have that also in Britain, don’t you?

  • Nick M

    Well, it’s “free”, certainly.

    Whether you could call it “education” is a another matter.

  • BladeDoc

    AAAAAAAAAHH — there is no free, there is NEVER free. Free does not exist. You pay in taxes, cash, or labor — or you leech off those who do. Argue all you want about how to pay but calling it free is a lie.

  • nick g.

    You know, BladeDoc, I’m sensing a lot of hostility here. Why not just lie back and breathe in the free air? Even Our Rob, Who Art In Heaven, only Revealed, “There ain’t no such thing as a free LUNCH”. No mention of breakfast or dinner, so those are Holy loopholes!!

  • Jack Coupal

    Barack Obama is what we in the states call an empty suit.

  • Joel Mackey

    Be sure and buy the proper number of carbon offsets before exhaling that free air BladeDoc, and that goes double for all the rest of you “free” air moochers

  • Richard R

    Obama is an empty suit, but he’s better than Edwards, the suit full of anti-matter (per Dean Barnette).

    Either one would be a catastrophy, of course.

  • Scott

    Regarding Obama, calling him an empty suit is an insult to the garment industry….

  • Thripshaw

    Gas, Grass or Ass. Nobody rides for free.

    Some things really were more obvious in the ’70s.

  • Fat Man


    (Sung to the tune of “Puff, the Magic Dragon” by voice impersonator Paul Shanklin, imitating Rev. Al Sharpton)
    :

    Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C.
    The L.A. Times they called him that,
    cause he’s not authentic like me

    Yeah the guy from the L.A. paper said he made guilty whites feel good
    they’ll vote for him and not for me cause he’s not from da hood

    See real black men like Snoop Dogg or me or Farrakhan
    have talked the talk and walked the walk not come in late and won

    Oh! Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C.
    The L.A. Times they called him that
    cause he’s black but not authentically

    Barack the Magic Negro lives in D.C.
    The L.A. Times they called him that
    cause he’s black but not authentically

    Some say Barack’s articulate and bright and new and clean.
    The media sure love this guy, a white interloper’s dream.

    But when you vote for president watch out and don’t be fooled
    don’t vote the magic negro in cause…

    (background singing the first 3 lines, while the singer is saying)

    Cause I won’t have nothing after all these years of sacrifice, and I won’t get justice, this is about justice, this isn’t about me, this is about justice, this is about buffet, I dont have no buffet, there won’t be any church contributions there’ll be no cash in the collection plate, no cash money, no walkin around money…

  • Samusa

    I’ve been calling Obama “Hollow Man” from about the time our media here tried to declare him the Second Coming, inspiring an in-depth look at him. There is nothing there.

  • Julian Taylor

    I would guess that with Obama having all the depth of a puddle of warm cow’s piss his utopian ‘vision’ of a socialist healthcare system is probably nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction to the dreadful Michael Moore’s latest offering.

  • TANSTAAFL there really isn’t – Really!

  • If this is true and Barak looks like getting in, I suggest your companies start learning to swim through treacle and jog with weights on every limb and on their backs, for that is what it will be like, I suspect.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Obama is cursed – Andrew Sullivan has already been gushing about him (although to be fair, Sully says he does not share Obama’s big govt. politics). But the curse of being admired by Sullivan is a terrible one and if I were Obama’s campaign manager, I’d tell Sully to put a sock in it for the duration.

    Mind you, consider the alternatives on the Dem/Rep. tickets. No wonder Dale Amon is enthusing about Ron Paul, even though Ron is a bit of a delusionist over foreign affairs, like some of the more “purist” crowd.

  • John K

    Creating wealth out of nothing? Surely not. Obama will fund this by printing those bits of green paper people are so fond of, what are they called again? Oh yes, dollars. Didn’t you know that’s the way to create wealth? Where did you learn economics?

  • although to be fair, Sully says he does not share Obama’s big govt. politics

    What Sullivan says today is mist definitely not what Sullivan will say tomorrow, although he may swing back to the original statement by next Thursday, but what he will say next Friday is still in question.

  • Tom Perkins

    Nick G.,

    To breathe the “free air”, you have to make the effort of inhaling.

    This presumes you are alive, and being alive isn’t free either.

  • And does this moron also think that if we kill enough of them, Arabs and Muslims will stop hating us? That would be a nice pair of delusions.

  • Brad

    This is still rhetoric at this point. Universal coverage is still a few decades away if mentalities don’t change. The next viable step is universal coverage FOR CHILDREN. Just is such coverage is supported by both parties for the elderly, it is only a matter of time before such is extended to the next “easy sell” – kids.

    This will then only increase the unfunded benefits crisis that has led the US into a $50 trillion accrual basis debt right now, sowing the seeds for the next step. When the system if overheating and about to explode, it will be much easier to sell poor, rationed care as “efficient” government munificence. That dastardly market will certainly get the blame.

  • What is going to make this worse is Moore’s ‘Sicko’ which will be lapped up by the left across the world like red meat to lions.

    We have “free healthcare” for all in the States. It’s called “go to an emergency room and get free healthcare for anything as required by law, wait until the bills get so high you declare bankruptcy, and come out the other end owing nothing, TA DAA!”. It’s a lie to say that Americans can’t get healthcare if they need it.

    Well, free as in Taxpayers end up footing the bill from unpaid medical bills, and inevitable bankruptcy protection.

    God forbid they ask anyone to, I don’t know, pay up front for your health care or anything. No not that.

    There is nothing more ridiculous than hearing people say “healthcare is a right”. MRI’s aren’t part of my civil rights. And neither is free healthcare.

  • Midwesterner

    Tman

    Well, free as in Taxpayers end up footing the bill from unpaid medical bills,

    In your freeloader’s fantasies they are. Unpaid medical bills are picked up almost entirely by the uninsured customers who do pay their bills.

    and get free healthcare for anything as required by law, wait until the bills get so high you declare bankruptcy, and come out the other end owing nothing, TA DAA!”

    Utter genious! I lose everything I own by being forced to pick up the tabs for the other uninsured who don’t pay their bills, and am rewarded by ‘owing nothing’.

    In addition to being uninformed, you are an asshole and an idiot. Perhaps you may want to read this thread from last week. Sad to say, even some nice people here are misinformed. From that thread, here is one of my comments:

    According to this study, published in the journal Health Affairs, and reviewed in the WSJ, hospitals are only collecting 39% of what they bill to uninsured patients. Wow! We uninsured are ripping you insured people off, aren’t we?

    Not exactly. We, the uninsured are being billed at 2 1/2 times the price of you insured people, and at over 3 times what Medicare pays!

    That means that even at the 39% payment rate, hospitals are successfully collecting 97.5% of the amounts they collect from insurance companies and almost 20% more from the uninsured than they collect from Medicare. This is including the people that don’t pay anything!

    “Anderson found that hospitals have been raising their list prices an average of 10.7% a year since the mid-1980s; Medicare rates – a proxy for actual costs – have gone up more slowly, at about 6.3%.”

    So, something that cost 100 dollars in 1986 now costs Medicare ~320 dollars. But it costs uninsured customers ~763 dollars. And we were already being overcharged back then.

    Taxpayers are not picking up the tab for the non-payers. Neither are the insured to any appreciable degree. It is those of us uninsured who DO pay our bills that are picking up their tab. And we are also picking up a big part of the Medicare socialist program. Get your facts straight.

  • Vinny Vidivici

    Recently, I heard Obama declare his wish to ‘transform’ America during a riff about hope in the midst of despair, like it’s 1932.

    Here’s a career politician who’s never held a job of any consequence or authority, yet he believes he’s qualified to remake one of the most complex and — despite its manifest flaws — most successful societies in human history.

    Transform it into what?

    Were it not for Senator Obama’s (half) skin color, we wouldn’t be hearing much about such a greenhorn.

  • Jacob

    And does this moron also think that if we kill enough of them, Arabs and Muslims will stop hating us?

    Well, at least some will stop hating us, the dead ones.

  • …will be lapped up by the left across the world like red meat to lions

    Lions lap up meat?

    Look, US healthcare is (reputedly) great at the top but not good enough at the bottom (so to speak). It’s expensive. And tying health insurance to jobs clogs up the employment market.

    You really don’t think it worth trying to come up with something better than that? Really?

  • Free != gov’t provided.

    Also, gov’t-provided != efficient.

    “And does this moron also think that if we kill enough of them, Arabs and Muslims will stop hating us? That would be a nice pair of delusions.”

    Seemed to work for the Japanese and Germans.

  • Hey, we are trying to win some hearts and minds here!

  • Sorry, Alisa, I was being facetious. Obviously the goal is a free and democratic Mideast where governments help Arab and Muslims citizens secure their natural rights instead of oppressing them and fomenting hatred.

    As in Japan and Germany, (not to mention Eastern Europe) tragically a lot of people will die on the way to getting there — some by our hand, but mostly by each other’s. But it’s pretty clear from history both recent and distant that a lot more will die if it doesn’t happen.

  • Isn’t free education that thing where we all have to get locked up for 15 years(more than a murder ‘tariff’), so that we can stay on the path and never discover what it is to be alive?

  • Midwesterner,

    I’m an asshole? Nice. Is this some liberal compassion coming out? I feel your pain man, really I do.

    Unpaid medical bills are picked up almost entirely by the uninsured customers who do pay their bills.

    No, they are not. They are picked up by all of us as they are absorbed like any other unpaid debt in a free market. I pay for my health insurance. It isn’t free. I pay a lot for it. I may never use it. When you have a car accident, if you have car insurance, then you get a discount on the car repair. This is whole fucking point behind insurance. The majority of people who choose, yes choose, not to have health insurance in the US do so because they are not willing to pay for it. And people who have a gross income that is considered poor get medicaire and medicaid. The 45 million consists largely of those who choose not to pay for it. So yes, your healthcare is more expensive. But I pay for the unpaid bills in the form of higher premiums and deductibles.

    I lose everything I own by being forced to pick up the tabs for the other uninsured who don’t pay their bills, and am rewarded by ‘owing nothing’.

    No, in fact as long as you pay $10 dollars a month you can keep everything you own. I work in the debt industry in various ways, and there are millions of people who have hospital debts that pay $10 a month on their unpaid debt and don’t need to declare BK. And by the way, you don’t appear to understand how BK works either. You don’t necessarily “lose everything”. Most people just get absolved of their debt and have to give up the things that they clearly cannot afford, and none of these are necessities.

    I like how you left out the comment from the American Hospital Association that dismisses Anderson’s article. “I fear that his look at the world is rear-view mirror,” says Carmela Coyle, senior vice-president for policy. “Hospitals are really doing as much as they can, trying to make care as affordable as possible for as many people as they can.” Doesn’t fit the “Sicko” worldview very well, eh?

    Taxpayers are not picking up the tab for the non-payers.

    Yes they are. Costs go up because people don’t pay. Higher costs mean I pay more.

    Neither are the insured to any appreciable degree.

    Yes they do, higher premiums, higher deductibles.

    It is those of us uninsured who DO pay our bills that are picking up their tab.

    Congratulations! You pay your bills! Maybe that means you could afford insurance?

    And we are also picking up a big part of the Medicare socialist program.

    That certainly isn’t what my paycheck says every week. I have this line that says “medcaire tax”. What do you think that’s for?
    It’s people like you who make me think the required insurance program currently in the works in Massachusetts might not be a bad idea.

  • Midwesterner

    Clearly Tman, you do not and did not read anything. I will make this as simple as I can for you.

    Retail price = the price uninsured people pay.

    Discount price = the price insurance companies pay.

    Retail price = Insured price times 2 and 1/2 times.

    Uninsured customers in toto pay 39 % of the amount they are billed.

    Price (at insurance rate) times 2 and 1/2 times .39 equals 97.5 percent.

    That means (read carefully here) that uninsured people in toto pay 97.5 percent of the amount the same people would pay if insured. Except that the fraction of them that do pay are carrying the rest of the uninsured. Not you. Not the taxpayers. The paying uninsured customers are picking up the freeloaders tab almost entirely alone.

    And those paying uninsured customers are also carrying the medicare partial freeloaders along with the insured patients. (Uninsured are billed three times what Medicare is and the hospitals collect 39% from the uninsured so they are collecting 120% from the uninsured in toto of what they collect from the medicare recipients.)

    It’s very loyal of you to try to make your clients in the medical mafia look like victims. But get your facts straight. The hospitals are successfully collecting almost the same amount from uninsured as they are from insured. And they are collecting a LOT more from the uninsured than they are from medicare patients. And those of us uninsured who do pay our bills are the ones carrying virtually all of free loaders and also the share of the Medicare patient’s underbilling proportionate to the total uninsured’s share of the market. Not you. Not taxpayers. Not hospitals. We the paying uninsured are.

    I stand by my character accessment of you as well. Your beliefs are totally contrary to the facts. You live in a delusion.

  • Midwesterner,

    I read in your previous post that you used to have insurance, correct? Did you pay for this insurance? I would assume you did. What you factor out of your above calculations is what was paid for in insurance premiums during the time one is insured. I do not go the hospital every time I pay for my insurance (thank god). I have spent far more on insurance premium PAYMENTS than ANYTHING I have needed to pay to a hospital. I am behind before I even GET to the hospital. But as I noted before, I do this so that yes, an insurance company will cover my larger healthcare costs if need be. If you can affod to pay a huge hospital bill, then why don’t you have insurance? You seem to leave this out of every calculation you make, and I don’t understand why considering you apparently used to pay for it.

    But this doesn’t change the fact that as costs are increased at a hospital I end up paying higher premiums and deductibiles. That’s why I used the car insurance analogy. People without insurance pay more for the car repair in an accident than those that have insurance. But the people who get in an accident and never pay also make the insurance costs go up for the rest of us.

    You seem to be complaining that hospitals and insurance companies are -gasp!- trying to turn a profit. If they didn’t try to turn a profit, then they would all look like they do at government run institutions, which by all indications of some of the people commenting here appear to be complete shit. And this is in the relatively wealthy western world. Less wealth doesn’t make the situation any prettier, I can assure you.

    It’s very loyal of you to try to make your clients in the medical mafia look like victims.

    Yes, the ‘evil’ corporations. Nice that you assume that they are my “clients” but you’ve been assuming things about me already so why stop now.

    Then this statement you wrote made my head spin-

    The hospitals are successfully collecting almost the same amount from uninsured as they are from insured.

    So you’re saying everything is working? Hooray! Healthcare costs the same for all! We all win! Let’s dance the dance of Miltonian Nation Building!
    Then you go back to your “the ones who don’t freeload pay for those that do” argument. And so our lesson is, what exactly? Both uninsured and insured pay the same to the hospital and the uninsured are letting those that don’t pay, um, get away with it? But you said you pay the same as me, so doesn’t mean that this affects me too?

    I stand by my character accessment of you as well.

    Wonderful! It is about as accurate as your career assessment of me, and just as accurate as your arguments in this thread. You’re three for three!

    Wanna go best of seven? You are on a roll you know.

  • Paul Marks

    First Rich Paul.

    If someone keeps trying to kill you, it is a good idea to kill him – he will not be able to try and kill you any more (and if still “hates” you at least he will be hating you from Hell where he can not do you any harm).

    “But his friends and relatives will hate you and they will try to ….” – they already do hate us (this interpretation of Islam has existed from the start in the 6th century – it is not an invention of President Bush, indeed he denies it exists most of the time), and they already are trying to……

    Of course none of the above shows that the Iraq operation is a good idea – I am not going to talk about that on a health care thread.

    On health care.

    Yes it is the vast government (i.e. taxpayer) subsidies (such as Medicare and Medicaid – five billion Dollars in 1965 and many hundreds of billions of Dollars now) that help push up the cost of private medical care (as have the “free” E.R.s). This is an effect also seen in Higher Education – what the subsidies really do is to have the knock on effect of pushing up fees into outer space.

    But, also yes, the vast web of regulations (on hospitals, on insurance compaines, on H.M.O.s – on everything and everyone) also help make medical care very expensive.

    And, of course, one must not forget the F.D.A. (making the development of medical drugs incredibly expensive, and therefore the domain of big corporations only, and keeping some drugs off the market entirely for many years – drugs that could have saved tens of thousands of lives).

    Nor one must forget Doctor licensing – another “in defence of the consumer” con that the late Milton Friedman refuted again and again for more than half a century.

    However, ignoring all the above every Democrat candidate for President is committed to using yet more subsidies and regulations to ensure “universal health care”.

    Of course Senator B.O.s plan would bankrupt the insurance campanies and lead to total goverment control of medical care – but there we go.

    However, even Bill Richardson is committed to “universal health care” and he is supposed to be a free market Democrat. Of course “free market” in Governor Richarson’s case means such things as stealing land from small owners and handing it over to politically connected developers (he is the only Governor to veto a bill to protect owners from such “takings”), but he is still “free market” by the standards of modern Democrats.

    But let us not forget the Republicans.

    The person above who talked about “the children” was correct. I am sure that George Walker Bush would go quite some way with that (after all he is both Medicare extention man and “No Child Left Behind” “education” man).

    And then there is “Arnie” in California.

    But one must also not forget the “conservative” Mitt Romney.

    How many Democrat Governors have made it an offence (punishable by fines, which if unpaid can lead to prison) for business enterprises and individuals not to have health cover.

    From July there will be (in law anyway) “univeral health care” (backed by tax payer subsidies and regulations) – this under a bill that former Governor Romney not only signed but helped create – and boasts about all the time.

    Of course this is also the man who says (within seconds – not on different dates) that he is for “Second Amendment rights” and “for the assault weapons ban” (I suppose he thinks the Second Amendment is about hunting rabbits), and says (again within seconds) both that he is favour of getting government spending under control – and in favour of “No Child Left Behind”.

    Really former Governor Romney should come here to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and become leader of the Conservative party (he is just like Mr Cameron). However, he is harldly alone in the Republican party – and the fact that he can claim to be a conservative Republican (without being laughed off the stage) shows just how bad the problems are.

  • Midwesterner

    Tman,

    Samizdata is

    A blog for people with a critically rational individualist perspective.

    You’ve got the critical part down, it’s the rational part that seems difficult for you. I’ve used small words and short sentences. I don’t know how I can make it any simpler for you.

    Cash customers are charged 2 1/2 to 3 times as much as customers who route their payments through a middle man. Cash customers assume basically the full cost of non-paying customers. Plus they make-up a hunk of the government mandated free ride medicare takes when it refuses to pay for the full cost of its service.

    With cash customers, again, this seems to be eluding you, the cash customers are footing virtually the entire cost of that ‘free’ medical care for non-payers that you so possessively claim to be paying for. You and your insurance company are not paying for them. Those ‘free’ loaders are costing you ~2.5 cents for each dollar you pay. They are costing me ~$1.56.

    So tell me again, how is it free market and individualist to force one small market segment to pay the full cost of this socialist safety net for non-payers so that you can brag about the availability of ‘free’ medical care in America?

  • Hi Midwesterner!

    This is the drunk and careless Tman from Tennessee responding. I am not guing 2 spll as good right now.

    Cash customers are charged 2 1/2 to 3 times as much as customers who route their payments through a middle man.

    Then why doesn’t every cash customer use the middle man? Obviously this is the best deal.

    Cash customers assume basically the full cost of non-paying customers.

    On purpose? Why? Why don’t they use that middle man thingy?

    Plus they make-up a hunk of the government mandated free ride medicare takes when it refuses to pay for the full cost of its service.

    This make no sense.

    With cash customers, again, this seems to be eluding you, the cash customers are footing virtually the entire cost of that ‘free’ medical care for non-payers that you so possessively claim to be paying for.

    These cash customers you speak of, why don’t they use the middle man thingy to not pay as much?

    So tell me again, how is it free market and individualist to force one small market segment to pay the full cost of this socialist safety net for non-payers so that you can brag about the availability of ‘free’ medical care in America?

    HOW THE FUCK IS THIS NOT THE FREE MARKET??????

    THAT’S THE WHOLE FUCKING POINT OF THE FREE MARKETS!!!!!

    EVEN MORE SO WITH THE ONE GODDAMNED THING WORTH SPENDING EVERY PENNY YOU HAVE FOR, YOUR HEALTH!!!!!

    THIS IS NOT THE FREE MARKET…………WHY??????

    ahem…..did I mention I had a few Jagers with my guiness tonight?

    0 for 4 Midwesterner. Try again.

  • John West

    Tman wrote: And people who have a gross income that is considered poor get medicaire and medicaid. (May 30, 11:07 pm)

    Not exactly…

    Medicare is only for people over 65 (regardless of income) who’ve paid into the system. Like private health insurance, enrollees pay a premium (currently $93.50 a month), a deductible (e.g., currently $992 when you’re admitted to the hospital), and a co-payment (typically 20%)…

    Medicaid does cover SOME younger low-income people, but if you’re under 65 you also have to be either pregnant, or blind, or totally and permanently disabled, or under age 19, or a caretaker relative living with a child under age 18. These criteria vary somewhat from state to state…

  • Midwesterner

    Tman,

    With guiness (sic) and Jagers (also sic) holding your hand, there is little hope for a rational discussion. But for the sake of anyone else reading, I will point out some obvious (or maybe not since nobody seems to be aware of them) facts.

    Insurance is a system for spreading risk of loss among a large group of paying members. Insurance works by estimating risks and distributing the costs according to those estimated risks. If knowable risk data is ignored when calculating premiums, then it is not insurance, it is redistribution. Actuarial science.

    The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees with other health problems that are capable of doing the job they apply for.

    The ADA also can be construed to prohibit employers from offering different reward for the same work. They must giver everyone the same choices and terms in health plans regardless of individual history.

    Prior to ADA these to practices were generally adhered to by reputable companies anyway, but now it’s required.

    Everyone who belongs to a group plan is sharing the premium with other participants in that plan. This can become obvious in smaller companies. I worked for a company of about 120 employees. In less than one year, four employees (myself included) generated large claims. The individual terms of us four could not change, but the entire company’s premium went up enough to cause problems.

    Why? Because insurance companies have staff that make actuarial assessments that evaluate the risk to premium return. The companies premium was adjusted to reflect the estimated average risk of the employees in that particular company. The claim history caused the actuarials to believe they had made a mistake in risk assessment and to raise the premium to reflect their new opinion. (As a curious side note, it was a company where a greatly disproportionate share of the employees where either less than 30yo or more than 65 yo. The four of us who generated the high claims were all less than 30.)

    What this means is that known high risk individuals are absorbed into the average risk of people covered under one group insurance contract. The bigger the group plan you belong to, the less obvious this is. You people in very large group plans are footing the tab for known high risks in your plan but it is averaged out across all of the participants.

    This characteristic of how our insurance system works does not reverse scale well. As the group covered under one contract gets smaller, high risk individuals within that contract are a greater cost to the other individuals because the entire group’s premium must reflect the known risk estimate for the entire group. That is the actuarial’s job.

    The smallest group is one. An actuarial setting the premium for a single person should set that risk according to his risk factors alone. They do.

    What this means explained differently, is that company group plans where employment or other non risk related reason qualifies you to participate, are not in actual fact insurance so much as redistribution of cost between that plan’s high and low risk members.

    At the level of the group plan’s contract with the insurer, it truly is insurance as the entire contract is subject to actuarial review. But at the individual level, between the participants in that contract, there is not actuarial adjustment. The cost of varying known risk factors between participants is simply redistributed from the high risk to the low risk members of that contract.

    This is why the greatest problems in US health care occur at the individual level followed closely by the small business level. Since I lost my group insurance coverage by leaving the company and starting my own business, I have only applied for insurance once. I desperately wanted to avoid having to answer that inevitable question “Have you ever been denied insurance?” with a “Yes.” I found an agent who absolutely assured me I would not be denied, so I applied. I was denied. From now on I have to answer that question “yes” every time I apply. It was a given that even if I had been accepted, I would have had many things ‘ridered’ out of the contract and I would have payed a greater premium. All I would have gotten from the plan is a discount on medical, which as I’ve pointed out above, is no small matter. And this would have required a very high (several thousands of dollars) deductible to have any hope of making it affordable. I had assumed at the time I applied that I might be unable to afford the terms they offered, but I was denied, so it didn’t matter.

  • Paul Marks

    In the United States the taxpayer (Federal, State and local) picks up about half of the cost of medical care – and these subsidies (like the subsidies for higher education) have the “knock on” effect of vastly increasing costs.

    There is also a vast web of regualtions (everthing from doctor licensing to the F.D.A., to the “free” E.R.s, to the strangle hold on insurance companies and H.M.O.s – although this helps some business enterprises by undermining competition) that also vastly increase costs – although some States are worse than others.

    There is also a great distortion of Tort law (although Midwesterner may not agree with me here, and like him I am not happy with Federal efforts to gain control of tort law) in various States – this also greatly increases costs.

    To call all of the above “the free market” is an error.

  • Midwesterner

    In the United States the taxpayer (Federal, State and local) picks up about half of the cost of medical care -

    By this, Paul, I assume you mean the cost of medical care for those people who are able to receive it. It could be implied from the context that you mean that everybody has half of their medical care picked up. I have been denied insurance, am not eligible for Medicare or Medicaid, and am billed 250% of what insurance companies are billed and 300% of what Medicare is billed for the same service. I’m having trouble seeing how those statistics fit in with your statement implying that the government taxpayers are picking up half the cost of my medical care.

    And more, Paul, when you say “picks up about half the cost”, I assume you are first subtracting the free ride medicare takes on other participants in the system from the amount that is being “picked up”? For we cannot say the government’s taxpayer is picking up half the cost if, with the other hand, it promptly sweeps it back up again.

    And while we’re at it, how can those taxpayers pick up half of the cost of my medical care and half of the cost of insured person’s medical care when we are being billed at such spectacularly different rates? Unless somehow I am receiving an adjusting subsidy that I don’t know about.

    Perhaps I have misunderstood your statement?

  • Paul Marks

    Sorry.

    I should have typed “just under half of the money spent on health care in the United States comes from the taxpayer – Federal, State and local”.

    Of course these subsidies are one of the two main reasons why you have to spend so much for health cover (due to the knock on effects – the same thing that has been seen with the government subsidies for higher education).

    The other main reason why you have to spend so much for health cover is (as you know) the vast web of regulations.

  • Midwesterner

    Got it. Thanks.