Friday, August 14, 2009

Why public health care is stupid.

I just don't think people understand this health care issue. Radical reform is being pushed so hard so fast by the left, that no one has even had time to educate the public on the facts. I watched Michael Moore's "Sicko" a few years ago, and I have to admit I found it a compelling case for socialized health care. He painted a picture of greedy private health care providers robbing dying Americans VS. a social program serving the "public good". Only recently when health care reform has taken the spotlight have I taken the time to research & examine this issue. Apparently, "Sicko" was an extremely biased and rosy picture of socialized health care... showing the Cuban hospital rooms for the 'elite', instead of the actual barbaric care most people get.

I'd sum up the arguments of public health care advocates as:
  • Greedy insurance/pharma companies rip off Americans
  • Health care is a "right"
  • Countries with socialized health care have better care than us

All of the above are false. The real results of a public plan will be:
  • Health care quality will decrease
  • Our tax burden will increase
  • Private providers will be put out of business by taxpayer-supported govt. competition
I will attempt to explain why below...

sickle and caduceus public socialized health care

GOVERNMENT SPENDING
Everyone supporting reform points out that health care inflation has risen four times the rate of other services in the past few decades. Why? Let's look at a few facts:
  • Health care costs are rising in both US and Canada, so we can't blame the free-market for this inflation.
  • Our government spends the most per-capita on health care of any country in the world *
  • Medical procedures not covered by third-parties (e.g. lasik, plastic surgery) have not suffered this inflation *
  • Of those "greedy" insurers that rake in obscene profits, the ones that do Medicare/Medicaid reap the most profit? *
  • Even Obama & his experts have admitted that Medicare/Medicaid spending are primarily responsible for health care inflation *
See how you feel about Medicare & Medicaid after watching this? These programs should be drastically cut back, if not replaced with private health saving accounts. The goal of state politicians is to pull federal money into the state... they are not concerned with accountability. A public plan only worsens the existing problems.

GOVERNMENT REGULATION
Spending is only part of the puzzle. Is it any wonder that big insurance & big pharma are reinvesting their profits as the largest lobbying force in Washington? The health industry is the most heavily regulated. Bills and regulations are crafted by these companies under a guise of protecting patients, yet they squash competition and consumer choice with things like Patient Bill of Rights. What are ways consumer choice & competition could drop health care costs?
  • What if you could find a good doctor & sign a non-liability form with them.... so, he/she wouldn't have to purchase expensive liability insurance which is passed onto you? Not allowed!
  • What if nurse practitioners could setup clinics for basic care, where you could go for cheap treatment of basic problems? Not allowed!
  • What if there were less controls on the types of arrangements you could enter with health providers, and less restrictions on who could practice medicine? Not allowed!
  • The costs of health regulation outweigh their benefits by two to one, meaning that the total burden of health regulation in the United States, as of 2002, was $169.1 billion annually, or an average of $1,500 per family
  • reference for above
We all know that government operated entities do a lousy job. Does anyone really think that something this complicated or this complicated can work?

LITIGATION COSTS
Tort reform would make a great blog post, but a few facts related to health care:
  • Litigation costs are 10 times higher in the US. E.g. maternity suits are common and juries are very sympathetic to dead babies, regardless of fault. *
  • Since 1975, medical malpractice costs have risen four times as fast as general price inflation and twice as fast as medical price inflation. *
HEALTH CARE AS A RIGHT
For those who think public health care will provide quality... don't watch Sicko, just ask a real Canadian. Profit & competition breeds innovation. Bureaucracy & regulation just breed deadweight loss. The populist mob reads the headlines & want a sirloin steak at McDonald's prices. I guess they don't care if they have to take other people's money or reduce doctors pay to get that.... they just don't understand the consequences. What if we didn't have innovation in health care in recent past? We'd still be bleeding out with leeches. Any American has better health care provided by $5 spent at aisle #4 of Rite-Aid than King Henry VIII had! So is health care a right, or a responsibility? Does every American deserve the best medical advancements and technology available? Then there will be no more advancements.

A public plan WILL compete with private, and ultimately hurt them and their quality. What would happen if the public plan led to a public monopoly? Now, your life choices become a burden on society & the state. Let's outlaw smoking, drinking, french fries, require motorcycle helmets. Oops, guess we're already part-way there. Say we had a 100% effective cure for cancer... except it cost $500,000 per person. In a public health care system, who would get that & who would decide who gets it? What if it cost $100... or what if it cost $100 million? I'd rather have a bureaucrat I CHOOSE, rather than one assigned to me which I have no choice but to pay.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

10 Most Annoying Radio Hits of My Life

I'm sure there were some really stupid songs before I was born... even as I was a tot growing up (e.g. "Barracuda" by Heart). However, these are the songs that scarred me & made my brain shrink. I couldn't escape them on the radio/MTV during their hay day.

I still hate them... yet for some masochistic reason I listen to them and laugh whenever they come on (especially if Brandie is in the car... then I proclaim "it's my favorite song of all time" & sing along). These songs are either digustingly cheerful, or moronically simple lyrically/melodically. I still wonder why they were played so often... was it a conspiracy of some kind, or does the general populace really have standards so low? We may never know. Here's the list:
  1. I'll Be There For You (Theme from Friends),The Rembrandts
  2. New Low, Middle Class Rut
  3. Womanizer, Britney Spears
  4. I Go Blind, Hootie and the Blowfish
  5. Spaceman, The Killers
  6. I Can't Dance, Genesis
  7. Never Gonna Give You Up, Rick Astley (My opinion must be shared... hence the "rickroll")
  8. Dancing on the Ceiling, Lionel Richie
  9. Remedy, Jason Mraz
  10. Too Legit, MC Hammer
Oh... of course there are more than ten, and I'm sure there will be many more to come in my life.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Open Government

One of the things I liked about Obama during his campaign were his promises for transparency, accountability, and "open government". What a refreshing change from Bush's closed, secretive, and non-inclusive adminstration. Unfortunately, Obama has not stuck to his word - whether it be classified documents or lobbying. I guess it's still "business as usual"... even when our congresswoman Matsui calls the White House to get IG Walpin fired so Mayor Kevin Johnson gets Sacramento's share of stimulus money. Later today, I'm going to join some locals to show support for H.R. 1207 "Audit the Federal Reserve" for Sunshine Day. This bill has been stuck in committee regardless of it's large number of co-sponsors, yet Obama is pressuring congress to rush his 1000 page health care reform bill to a vote without time for analysis, discussion or even reading it! There are so many examples of government without oversight: GSE's like Fannie & Freddie, the Federal Reserve, Obama's unelected "czars".

As they say "sunshine is the best disinfectant", and if government eventually opens up all it's information and data for us to reliably expose what they're doing... that'd be excellent. Until then, there are some terrific websites out there for this purpose: