Thursday, October 2, 2008

Nationalized or "Universal" Health Care

An anonymous (give me a final word on this, if you want to be anonymous or not) asked me to comment on nationalized health care, so here it is. It's really quite simple, it just depends on what side you take. Whichever side you take dictates the positions you support.

Here's why.

For every claim proponents make, opponents make an equal or exaggerated counter claim. For every claim opponents make, proponents make an equal or exaggerated counter claim. On nearly every issue, claims fall on both sides, cost, quality, the occupation of "doctor," just about every one. Basically, simple differences of opinion, and both sides give examples. But the pros look almost exactly like the cons except in the negative mathematically speaking.

Everyone I've talked to in America operates on a few vital misconceptions about the very nature of nationalized health care (that means you.) Firstly, very few NHC (Nationalized Health Care) systems actually use the government as the insuring agent. The government rarely really controls or owns the system, in fact in most cases, the government simply requires and regulates the system and helps those who cannot afford it.

The US: The American and states governments either directly or indirectly insure around a third of all their citizens. Talk about NHC! The problem is, for every person, not just those insured by the government, the government is already spending more than $500 per year per person more than some governments with NHC and indeed UHC. That's right, we're already spending more per person on health care, and two thirds of those people aren't even insured by the body spending the money!

Another misconception is that everything is covered, leaving the people to foot the bill. Wrong. Most NHC systems work exactly like American health insurance with co-pays, deductibles, and coverage limits. The difference is, poor people get help to pay, and pre-existing issues are covered. It's like accident coverage, not elective plastic surgery.

With the government overseeing and regulating a wide system like this, costs are likely to be much smaller than even current expenditures because of the potential for enhancing efficiency. And it makes no difference the size of the country. European countries are not all the same size, and several of them are larger than California in population. China is already over three times the size of the US and still has NHC which has to be payed for. The US health care system is the most expensive in the world, and yet, does not provide universal coverage. Tell me that can't be fixed. And the worst part about it is that that incredible expense doesn't even get us to the top of the list on stuff like infant mortality, life expectancy, and get this, in health system performance, we rank 37th, behind Slovenia.

In many NHC countries, a goodly portion of the citizenry actually keep insurance above what the NHC system provides. This is to cover stuff that goes over the basic program, like here when you pay more for a more enhanced plan. The difference is you pay less than the US because firstly, your covered for basic stuff by the regular plan, and secondly, the enhanced plan has a much narrowed likelihood of being needed.

Here's the surprising fact, just for you my anonymous friend: Two thirds of American doctors want NHC. That's now. You know why? For the same reason's why some don't want NHC. Doctors in America feel constrained by insurance companies, not able to provide the care they really want to for their patients. Insurance companies force you to go to certain doctors or they won't cover you (I know this intimately, and you do to.) However, in NHC systems, doctors are paid by the visit, which means, if your patients like and trust you, they'll keep coming back, and you keep getting paid, and if they don't like you, no one is forcing them to keep seeing you. Doctors don't have to worry about people not paying for visits, and bill collection costs drop off the map.

The final reason I like NHC is that poor people get helped. I remember a number of times in my childhood when my brothers or I got hurt or born and my poor father had to foot another bill. He still tells us of having to give up a hot rod for each of us (he builds them for a living.) To this day, he still doesn't have a running one of his own. The fact of the matter is, between my brothers and I, there were likely hundreds of times when we should have gotten help that we didn't because we couldn't afford insurance. I fell out of a tree when I was 15 and likely broke my back, (we're still not sure) but I didn't go to the hospital because it was too expensive. It still acts up on me some times, excruciating pain for sure. But the bottom line is this: people who need help get help. I have the stones to lay down another few dollars of my paycheck to make sure that people less able to pay than I am still get the same care.

The "Good Samaritan" did the same, he even paid extra to make sure the unfortunate dude got the care he needed. The funny thing many forget is who didn't help. It was the paid religious professionals and politicians (many of whom might be called conservatives today) who walked on by while a man was dying within arms reach.

I'm for people not dying, not just the unborn babies, I'm for all undeserving people not dying.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm all for the government paying for my elective plastic surgery, if I want it, why not? lol

as for "I'm for people not dying, not just the unborn babies, I'm for all undeserving people not dying" (which, I'll admit is a great zinger) would you say that I disagree with you just because I think you are wrong in your views on NHC? I don't. umm, check out the hospitals, they kind of have this policy thing where they HAVE TO TREAT ANYONE regardless if they can pay or not. w/o wanting to sound racist, do you think all of the illegal immigrants in this area are paying for all their medical care? they kind of qualify for the least of these and undeserving that JC cared so much about and they get pretty much free care. and my single mom friend? pays NOTHING. my sister-in-lay? NOTHING. so the poor of the poor are taken care of as far as I'm aware. Am I undeserving? I think that I am in so many ways, but in the sense of NHC, even living on Raman noodles and medical bills from Summit's surgery and doctors bills piling up, I don't think that the govt. should pick up the tab. I guess the good news is that if we do get it, I'll be one of the first people to receive help!!!

I'm not going to really touch on your dad giving up his car for you b/c I think that touches you to a certain degree still emotionally and I don't want to say something accidentally to hurt you. I think it's awesome that he did sacrifice for you kids, but isn't that something that you'd also do for your kid if he needed it? I think that is beautiful! I'm sorry about you back, I'm glad that you are ok now! :)

all in all, I'm happy to remain anonymous so I don't get hate mail from your liberal readers. something you didn't touch on that I was interested in is the tax rate for the "successful" countries that have NHC. could you post a graph or something? another thing is that we have the best doctors in the world, and that is in part b/c we reward being the best and in a nationalized system, that just promotes mediococracy. the best and brightest are paid the same as the guy that just scraped by. (or perhaps this is one of my many misconceptions that you mentioned???)

maybe you did write about this. my brain is fried. this will be the last somewhat intelligible comment for awhile until I get off all the pain meds from tomorrow. peace.