Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Simple Question For The Socialists

Given that we all agree that the 19th century practice of forcing one man to pick another man’s cotton was a great and terrible evil, why then does the left today think it is perfectly acceptable to force one man to pay another man’s doctor bills? link

23 comments:

maxutils said...

I don't get it .. .anyone who currently has health insurance is already paying other people's doctor bills, in the form of higher premiums. In the case of employer provided health care, the cost is reflected in lower wages. I have yet to see any concerted effort to pass legislation to prevent this, that is, by denying medical care to anyone who cannot demonstrate either coverage or the ability to pay up front. That would solve this problem.

So . . .why oppose mandated care, which would require that everyone pay for their own doctor bills? Even if there is a governmental subsidy for those of low income, that's no different than the general progressivity of the income tax, and would somewhat offset the regressivity of the FICA tax, which, among other things funds Medicare/Medicaid.

mazenko said...

Why do we ask for one man to pay for the primary education of another man's child? Why do we ask one man to pay for the police to investigate a crime in another man's neighborhood?

It's not about one man to another man. Conservatives believe in government securing basic institutions that provide for an ordered society.

Your question is a glaring oversimplification.

MiaZagora said...

"I don't get it ...anyone who currently has health insurance is already paying other people's doctor bills, in the form of higher premiums."

It's not "socialism" when it's voluntary participation. It's socialism when you forcibly take from one to give to another.

Obamacare does nothing to bring down the actual "cost" of providing health care (via any sort of tort reform or deregulation so that health insurance can be purchased from other states, which would create more competition and a wider cost-sharing community). Obamacare simiply regulates behavior and "solves" non-existent problems by taking away options and not really solving anything.

MikeAT said...

So . . .why oppose mandated care, which would require that everyone pay for their own doctor bills? Even if there is a governmental subsidy for those of low income, that's no different than the general progressivity of the income tax, and would somewhat offset the regressivity of the FICA tax, which, among other things funds Medicare/Medicaid.

Because the federal government cannot mandate me to do that. You show me where in the Constitution the federal government has the authority to mandate me to buy something? If I want to go the self insured route, that is my business.

allen (in Michigan) said...

The obvious answer is that not all coercions are created equal.

Some coercion occurs for morally reprehensible reasons and that's bad. But other coercion occurs for morally wonderful reasons and then it's alright and just fine.

maxutils said...

Mazenko, education and health care don't really equate. There is an argument to be made that neither should be governmentally funded, but the argument in favor of public education is that society directly benefits from having an educated workforce, rather than criminals or layabouts. On the other hand, if you are jaywalking and are struck by a car, you are the direct beneficiary of medical treatment. As such, we can probably count on you to provide it for yourself: unless, of course, you for whatever reason enact laws requiring hospitals to treat you.

As for the rest of the comments . . . well, as one who has health care that comes as part of my compensation, I resent that I have to pay higher premiums due to the fact that hospitals take care of everyone. If you legally require everyone to have health insurance, all those unpaid costs are spread over a wider area and, assuming you also promote competition, everyone's rates go down. So, MiaZagora, THAT is where Obamacare actually DOES reduce costs. So allen, while I appreciate your cynicism, I actually have you beat because I don't want to provide it for moral reasons; they are purely pragmatic. As for the constitutionality, we've argued the point before,and it's really moot. The 9th and 10th amendments have been ignored for so long it's ridiculous . . .I'm willing to play that game as long as we're all entirely consistent. That means no federal department of education, or drinking age, or abortion law, or prosecution of marijuana users in CA, etc. Unless we can do that, it really makes no sense as to arguing which issues we turn a blind eye to.

MikeAT said...

allen

I have to ask....what are some examples of morally reprehensible reasons and what are some examples of morally wonderful reasons?

MiaZagora said...

Sorry. I disagree. Obamacare will NOT reduce health care costs -no matter how many times you or they say it. I doubt even Pelosi believes her own crap. In some cases, many may just pay the fine, since it's less than insurance premiums, because they either can't afford it or they are generally healthy - until something happens, and then they can just get insurance on the spot because they can't be denied coverage. Obamacare takes everyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions - which will cause insurance premiums to actually rise - ask New York or any other state where insurance companies are required to take all comers. Mandating insurance won't solve the problem either - look at Massachusetts. Are they better off? No. Not only that, but, contrary to what we were promised, everyone will not be able to keep their coverage. The cost of cutting 500 billion in Medicare will just shift this cost on to privately insured people - they talk big talked about finding fraud and waste in Medicare before the bill was passed, but how much have you heard about it since then? Besides, they didn't need a bill to cut waste and fraud in Medicare or anything else. Yeah, there's big talk about "reducing costs" by reducing reimbursement - how many doctors or hospitals are going to be able to stay in business, or even want to stay in business, if they get reimbursed less and nothing is done to lower the actual cost of providing care (Tort reform, among other things). The COST isn't lowered, but REIMBURSEMENT is. We are going to get less health care. The most expensive care - for the elderly, those with chronic diseases, the very young - will be rationed.

Ronnie said...

I would think having a healthy population is something that benefits the country as a whole just as having an educated population does.

mazenko said...

Max, it does not benefit me to have an increasing population of poorer people. It does not benefit me to have 65% of elderly people living in poverty. It does not benefit me to have people losing homes over inability to pay health care costs. It does not benefit me or my businesses or my schools to have a population without access to regular and affordable preventable care.

These conditions are a burden to society which become a burden to me as a member.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Well let's see...

There's coercion based on racial identity. I think we can all agree that coercion based on racial identity is both morally reprehensible and morally wonderful depending on the coercor, the coercee and the date.

Then there's the coercion that requires kids to sit in school for hours every day. That's widely regarded as morally wonderful although in general not much in the way of argument is advanced to justify the coercion. Largely unexamined is the assumption that education and coercion are inextricably intertwined, at least before the age of eighteen, and the moral good of education completely offsets the morally reprehensible nature of mandating attendance.

There's the moral good of coercing generosity which, although it doesn't require any generosity on the part of individuals results in the generosity of the aggregate.

Now we've come to a point in this nation's history wherein those who see no alternatives to coercion have succeeded in laying the foundation for coercing membership in a government-run health insurance system.

Are you sensing a common thread here? I don't believe it's my imagination when I observe that for a certain segment of the populace coercion seems to come as naturally as breathing and is just as inescapable in its necessity. The only question is how to arrange the coercion and the particular issues which require coercion.

maxutils said...

Mazenko, none of those things harm you, either. Assuming we don't ruin it by supporting them with other programs. I'm not saying that's a good thing -- just that people will buy their own health care if it's affordable.

Miazagora, I didn't say that Obama care WOULD lower costs, overall -- there are too many things that it didn't do, and not enoughthat it did. I absolutely agree that tort reform and open competition are necessary. That does not mean that mandating coverage, taken in isolation, will not have as ITS effect, a downward pressure on cost. Your taking some of the costliest patients out of the ER, putting them in to the doctor's office, where it's cheaper and more preventitive, and making them pay in. How could that possibly NOT reduce costs?

Darren said...

Max, to answer your question I direct your attention to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

maxutils said...

Darren, the Commonwealth of Massachusets is not an answer to my question. At best, it's an example of a poorly run socialized health care program.

To answer my question, you need to explain how, specifically, a policy of mandated health care could not decrease costs. (Not, mind you, prices -- that is a separate issue that requires competition and profit motive, something which you will not have if it's state or nationally run.)

and the economics is unambiguous: at worst, the cost of providing medical care would stay the same. It's not like people are going to go out and attempt to get sick or injure themselves now that health care is provided. Those who had it before will use it at the same clip. Those who didn't, but used ERs for small matters because they were required to provide treatment, will now go to less expensive general practitioners, and will be more prone to seek out advice before illnesses become more costly. Also, their payment into the system will help defray losses thet were previously written off. Those without health care who didn't ever seek attention will now do so, but that cost will be offset by their payment into the system. So, you have two neutrals, and two savings. I believe that must be unambiguously a savings . . .

If you're talking prices, it's a different story. In the short run, there will be an increase in demand for medical services, raising their price -- or, rationing them if the price is fixed by the government. That problem will persist if it's a regulated price, but if we allow the price to rise temporarily, the end result will be more people becoming doctors, supply increasing, and prices falling as more people receive health care.

Darren said...

And while that's true in theory, it hasn't worked in practice--not in Massachusetts, not in Kentucky, not in Hawaii, not in Canada, not in Britain. Communism works well in theory, too, but for some reason *every* time it's been tried there have been a police state.

mazenko said...

Darren,

The facts disagree - it has worked to lower costs in all places outside the US, and I believe that's true in Hawaii.

Max is correct in that Mass is poorly run - but no more poorly than the massive waste and weak correlation of cost-benefit analysis in the current system.

Darren said...

If it were *no* worse, then prices and wait times would not already be increasing.

mazenko said...

Pretty sure Max already addressed that.

Darren said...

So the "improvement" didn't work. Just as communism never works, despite what the theory says.

mazenko said...

We're going in circles here, aren't we? :-)

maxutils said...

Except . . .communism actually doesn't work, in theory. It provides what appears on the surface to be a morally superior way to produce and distribute goods and services. In practice, it hasn't even done that,but not even in theory can you predict that it will lead to greater efficiency or lower costs.

In contrast, my suggestions are founded in good old fashioned free market economics. You don't interfere in the market by holding prices artificially low, as does Massachusetts, but you do interfere to force everyone to participate in groups, in order to attempt to balance out the informational asymmetry that will other wise make health insurance unprofitable or prohibitively expensive. Seriously -- look up market failur, asymmetric information in any basic microeconomics text, and I would wager a goodly sum that the example given is either used car sales or health/life insurance.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Holding prices artificially low isn't market interference? I'm sure every farmer who's had the opportunity to try to earn a living under the authority of an agricultural board would have cause to disagree.

In this case the classic example is Bangladesh which, once freed of from the artificially low prices imposed by their agricultural board went from being "the basket-case nation", unable to feed it's population to a net exporter of food.

maxutils said...

allen, my emphasis didn't come through. Try, "you SHOULDN"T interfere by holding prices low . . . but you SHOULD interfere to force . . . "" Ovbviously, both interfere with the market, but I was not clear in my intent.