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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cost of Health Care

I was lucky enough to have the following article pointed out to me by an anti-gunner that I debate issues with at aus.politics.guns. Thanks Trevor.

This article appears in the Sydney Morning Herald April 18, 2007. Author is Mark Coultan. Piece is titled "Gouged and gutted by medical insurance".

http://preview.tinyurl.com/34gw3z (if you want to preview the site first)

There were several highlights in the article for me.

"Corzine was not wearing a seatbelt, in violation of his own state's laws."
This is the lawmaker disobeying the very laws he seeks to punish his constituents with. He was in a vehicle with a police officer who obviously did nothing to enforce the law that he is supposedly sworn to uphold.
If the lawmaker doesn't respect the law then why should a citizen have any respect or trust for that leader?
If the law enforcer doesn't enforce the law (presumably he liked his/her job) then what sort of respect should he expect from the community?
What does this really say about these type of laws that try to legislate common sense?

"Unlike the stories you sometimes hear about American medical care"
Yeah, from rags like the Sydney Morning Herald (and the Telegraph, Sun etc). So now they are giving us accurate information (btw I think they probably are) and not sensationalising this time? I'm sorry but they cry wolf so often that I have *no* respect for them.

"A New York state politician did a survey of New York hospitals' costs, finding that one, Mount Sinai, charged $US224,000 for intestinal biopsies, a one-day procedure."
Found *one*. What did the others charge? Are people forced to use this service? Why does it cost so much?

"With breast cancer on her medical record, insurance companies did not want to cover her"
Nor should they have to cover her if they don't want to. It's their business isn't it? See further down for why she has no alternatives to consider.

"To save money, she takes her $US300-a-month medication three or four days a week, instead of daily."
$300 a month! Imagine how affordable it would become if the company did not have to:
- Pay hundreds of millions of dollars ($USD100,000,000+) to get their drug approved by the FDA (not to mention government organisations in other countries).
- Pay annual license fees, regulatory fees, fees for submissions of reports to the government.
- Comply with complex accounting procedures required by the government.
- Pay exorbitant insurance costs to defend themselves against a legal system that has decayed into a lottery for civil litigants.

"As some Americans penny-pinch to afford health care, the nation as a whole binges. The US spends 16 per cent of its gross domestic product on health, about 50 per cent more than Australia or other industrialised countries, yet its health outcomes are no better, and on some measures slightly worse, than comparable countries."
This is an incredible amount of money. To get results that are no better than other industrialised countries just underscores how inefficient the government is as a delivery mechanism of resources.
Worse still is that they are *forcing* (ultimately at the point of a gun) their citizens to finance their squandering.

"Not surprisingly, health care is a constant political topic. Several states, including Massachusetts and California, are introducing universal coverage reforms."
A constant political topic :). I don't know about you but I get sick of all the talk, investigations, commissions, hearings and chest-beatings that ultimately produce the same old tired, expensive and inefficient results.
It's also typical that a "law must be introduced". Great, one more law that people can't reasonably know about.

"There are too many powerful, entrenched and vested interests - doctors, pharmaceutical groups and insurance companies."
This is a massive problem in this area. These interests have:
- jumped through the hoops of government
- paid the over inflated fees required to conduct their business
- paid the onerous annual license fees
Why wouldn't they fight to keep competition out? They have too much time and money invested in the system to want to see someone else come in without going through the same pain that they've had to go through. In fact the more competition that they can keep out, the better.
What most people don't understand is that it is *only* through the *force* of government that monopolies and oligopolies exist. Most of these "big, evil" corporations are there only by the grace of government force.

"with the cost of health care rising rapidly"
Why is it rising? Look at the cost of doing business that is imposed by government. Look at the concentration of power facilitated by the government rules. Look at inflation created by government mismanagement and corruption of the monetary system.

"societies have a choice: either restrict health care on the basis of medical need, which is what a Medicare system attempts to do, or restrict it on the basis of income or employment, which is what happens in the US."
Great! The constant inability to think outside the box is always frustrating. These are *not* the only two choices. How about taking the government out of our lives and letting people choose how they want to live?

To all those do-gooders who want to make me live the "right" way using the violence and force of government - pull your whining little heads in, piss off and leave me alone.

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