Giving Obamacare proponents the finger.

The healthcare debate is sure getting heated these days
as a 65-year-old man who was against socialised healthcare,
had his pinky finger bitten off in an argument at a healthcare rally.
To be fair, he did punch the other guy first, but was biting
off a finger in return really called for?

Internet responses to this incident have shown many proponents
of socialised healthcare laughing at the irony that the bitten man
went to the hospital afterwards and Medicare was used to cover him.
Some have even suggested that if he were really so against socialised
medicine that he should have refused treatment.

Well, after 65 years of the government taking money from him
to pay for social security and medicare, it's rather understandable
that he would be willing to accept something back for it all.
If he hadn't had so much taken from him by the government for such
things he might have been able to afford private coverage of his own.

This is a clear example of why the public option means no option.
Though competition may be allowed, it is nowhere near fair competition.
We are forced to pay for the public option, making it more difficult
to afford a private alternative. In addition, it is impossible to compete
with a firm that has a continuous supply of income from taxes regardless
of what it does and can offer "free" service.

Even those who are opposed to the government provision of healthcare
may not be wealthy enough to afford private healthcare on top of
the healthcare taxes they’re required to pay in the first place.


Ken said...

Bravo! Odd how people think government could run insurance better than the private sector. It isn't a secret: Social Security now has $13 trillion in unfunded liabilities and Medicare has a $30 trillion shortfall in projected benefits. Shouldn't the politicians straighten out these disasters before expanding their reach?

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

If this man is 65, it is unlikely that he was taxed for 65 years. Also, there are a number of assumptions in your argument that simply do not work. First, I am all for him utilizing Medicare; I just think it is ironic that he opposes governmental health plans for others. Even if he didn't have insurance, because he went to an emergency room, taxpayers would have funded his care.

Also, you seem to assume that taxation is a "give and take" thing. Perhaps it works out that way (people pay taxes, and people receive services), but that is not a promise. Many people pay far more in taxes than they receive in benefits and vice versa. Once our money is pooled with millions of other taxpayers it is impossible to disaggregate it.

Thanks for posting on my blog, and here is my response to your post:


Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Ken: Medicare and social security have shortfalls due primarily to the skyrocketing number of seniors in this country. Furthermore, Medicare has a short fall because the premiums seniors pay are much lower than they would pay to a private insurance company. Also, Medicare does not cut people off because they get sick or deny coverage altogether for pre-existing conditions.

If you want a purely private system for seniors, then be prepared to accept pervasive death panels. Before Medicare, only 50 percent of seniors have health insurance -- and many of those had only partial coverage. The people will full coverage were wealthy, because the plans were very expensive. "We" are paying for this because we as a society value healthcare coverage.

Although I believe that cost containment matters, the fact that Medicare is running out of money is not an indication that government is awful or that we cannot have universal care. On the contrary, it is probably a sign that we need to bring down costs across the system through comprehensive reform - rather than scaring seniors about the impact of cutting costs (which Republicans have been proudly doing for weeks now).

Ken said...

Darren, I appreciate your comments. Let me suggest that politicians were informed by actuaries about the increasing numbers of elderly, just as actuaries inform private insurance companies. The difference is great, however.

Politicians win votes in the election by promising to give benefits and are not accountable for the cost. The cost doesn't come from their own pockets and they cannot be sued for false promises or the theft of money from others. People have no choice in participation and their is no recourse if the government chooses to deny claims, for example, by raising eligibility from age 65 to 67.

On the other hand, people can choose among private companies, which are bound by contract and can be sued for broken promises...though government courts have sometimes failed to enforce those promises.

One reason the cost of health care rises is because people are not held accountable for their own behavior. For example, if a non-smoker is compelled to pay for the health care of a smoker, the incentive of good lifestyle decisions is diminished. Perhaps 80% of all hospitalizations are due to lifestyle related causes: i.e. smoking, reckless driving, drinking, not wearing seat belts, poor eating habits, etc. The government system encourages reckless behavior. Paying for your own health care encourages wiser behavior.

In my view, the major reason for the high cost of health care are medical guilds, such as the AMA, that, over the past century, have used the favor of politicians to eliminate competition, restrict services, and to raise costs. See John Goodman and Ronald Hamowy. This has not addressed by any of the health care reforms being proposed today.

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