Hitler’s health care is an ingenious system where the sick, the poor, the old, the uneducated, and the stupid get handily exterminated under the pretense that they are “covered” for their illnesses, when actually they are being herded into cattle cars before being stripped of their valuables and executed. The strong get stronger and the weak are eliminated. Praise Darwin!
That’s what I think of the current “private” health care system in the United States. It’s corrupt, it’s wasteful, it’s deceitful, and any “conservative” who tries to defend it is a thieving, lying pig.
For a more rational and perceptive account of its problems, here is John J. Reilly:
The United States is now engaged in a great experiment in connection with its health system: how big can the parasite grow before it kills the host? The figure usually given for the fraction of GDP given up to the medical industry is one sixth. Since insurance premiums expand by 10% and 20% in some years, one could extrapolate that the medical industry slice would grow to a third within a decade or so, but that is unlikely to happen. The system will snap long before that.
Remember, these increases are not for essential services, or even for luxuries. They are for nothing. They impinge on the real world chiefly as lost-opportunity costs. They are why the labor markets no longer generate salary increases: any more money available for personnel goes to the medical insurers. That in itself is a lethal impediment to economic growth, because it means consumer demand can no longer rise. Investment money that might otherwise go into productive investment goes to thicken the paper-blizzard or to expand the infrastructure of a diagnostic system that has less and less to do with treatment outcomes. Small businesses cannot start up, and large established enterprises turn into medical-insurance brokers with incidental manufacturing divisions.
This hypertrophy began about the same time as the risk-shift movement in the financial industry, and perhaps there is a deep connection between the two phenomena. Certainly both involved making a great deal of money by expanding worthless vacuums. How the investment banks got away with it is a question that has received some attention in recent months. Regarding the medical industry, I can only repeat what I have previously suggested in this space: for a variety of reasons, medical security is now necessarily a public function, and when a public function is administered by private parties the result is tax farming. Tax farming is always a bad idea.
A great mistake in these discussions is to frame the issue in terms of rights, either of the right to medical care or the right to be free of government interference in medical decisions. It is equally a mistake to frame the question in terms of compassion. Compassion does not have a nickel’s worth to do with it. The issue is what option is most conservative, one that will tend to preserve a system of free labor markets, rational investment, and personal mobility. The answer to that is clearly a single-payor system, paid for by taxes and divorced from the workplace entirely, with market features in the delivery rather than the payor dimension. Like police and fire services, the medical service will become part of the predicate for the market and civil society. This would leave us with an America something like the one we know. The current system will not.
Less ideal systems could suffice, of course. On the scale of acceptability, I do not know where to place the bills currently before Congress. The chief objection to the principal bill in the House is that it leaves too much of the current system intact. It is unclear that the reforms being contemplated would stem the tax-farming tendency to raise costs arbitrarily. Much worse is that it leaves the whole morbid insurance industry in a position to lobby to prevent real reform from occurring.
Historically, tax farmers have tended to be lynched. In the current context, I am sure that that is just a metaphor, but maybe a useful one. The financial industry recently imploded and was in large measure nationalized. Don’t expect the medical insurers to do much better.
I gave my manifesto against health insurers here:
I’m sorry to say it, because I love my paranoid populist buddies, but they are completely wrong-headed in their “anti-communist uprising” against Obama’s health care reform. What exactly are they trying to preserve about the current US system? Is it the 30% payroll deduction subsidy for insurance company executives? Is it the dropped coverage, overworked doctors, increasing premiums, or snarky claims adjusters? Maybe they really want to die from untreated “pre-existing” conditions, just to prove how much they love the insurance industry.
For anyone wandering here looking for ways in which the US federal government is like the National Socialist government of Germany from 1933 to 1945: I think you need to learn what National Socialism is about. National Socialism (“Nazi” ideology) is about the central government protecting and supporting certain privileged groups in society, including the politicians, the political brown-nosers, and the corporations that are essential to the national economy. Meanwhile, the useless, the old, the sick, and the genetically defective are allowed to die for the good of society. Welcome to the US private health insurance system.
There is absolutely no “conservative” or “libertarian” solution to healthcare that does not begin by eliminating all government support and protection for private health insurance. And if it made any difference, I would totally support doing that without having any government-supported insurance at all. None. No Medicare, no Medicaid, no VA, no government employee plans, nothing.
I say, let’s see what happens. And if it fails to make the healthcare providers and the patients wise up and rationalize pricing, well then, too bad. We’ll all learn our lesson and move on.
But I think all you smart-mouthed phony conservatives are too weenie to do it. You love your sugar daddy National Socialist government, as long as the money only goes to people who “deserve” it.