My Thoughts on Passing Health Care

Many people are very happy about this new Health Care Bill.  At the same time, many people are skeptical and say that this will actually create more problems in the future.  To be honest, I’m actually torn.  I think both sides make compelling arguments.  I don’t mean the particular politicians, but the issue itself is divided because both sides can equally be argued for with good conviction.  First, let me explain the arguments (at least, the way I see how the arguments are represented), then perhaps you can see why I’m torn.  Of course, you may reply, “It’s obvious, Shaun, that this side has more benefits than the other.”  Perhaps, but I want to be clear about these arguments before I make a full decision.  First, let’s get the facts down.  (I didn’t originally come up with this idea.  Rather, I got it from this site):

The bill would:

  • Expand coverage to 32 million uninsured in the U.S.
  • Create insurance exchanges. The uninsured, self-employed and small businesses could purchase insurance through state-based exchanges. There are subsidies to help purchase insurance through the exchange for those who make between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
  • Expand Medicaid to cover those who make up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for Medicaid.
  • Close the so-called Medicare “donut hole,” a costly gap in prescription drug coverage for seniors.
  • Ban higher premiums and denial of coverage because of preexisting conditions.
  • Ban higher premiums for women.
  • Require coverage of maternity care.
  • Allow children to continue being covered by their parent’s plans through age 26.
  • With some exceptions, require all U.S. citizens to purchase insurance or face a $695 annual fine.
  • Require those with 50 or more employees to insurance or pay a $2000 fine per employee every year if any employee receives federal subsidies for purchasing insurance. The actual employer mandate was removed by the Senate.
  • Ban undocumented immigrants from purchasing insurance with their own money in the new exchanges.
  • Ban the use of federal funds to pay for abortion in the exchange, which experts say will eventually eliminate even private insurance coverage for abortion.

Additional summaries of the bill can be found here and here. Many more documents, including the full bill and summaries, can be found at the Speaker of the House’s website.

For Health Care:

  • First of all, it seems that the main argument proponents of health care claim is that it’s a matter of justice, more specifically social justice.  The question is: “How can an advanced country like the United States not be able to give it’s own citizens a decent standard of living?”  Well, let’s see if this argument holds.  Can we readily apply it to other things?  One basic thing we need to survive is water.  Does the government provide that?  Yes and no.  The government does have a standard on what type of water should be running through our pipes before it reaches our homes.  It must be drinkable and healthy to bathe and cook with.  On the other hand, you do have to buy this water through the government (that’s what the utility bill is).  We all need air and shelter.  Does the government supply this?  Yes and no.  The government does give restrictions on how much pollution one can make and certain standards of how a house can be built.  However, you have to buy your own shelter.  Air, however, is free.  So I guess in a sense, the government does provide healthy air for us.  Is this analogous to health care?  By 2013, every citizen must have health insurance and if you can’t afford it, then the government will help you out with that.
  • This bill also forces insurance companies to accept anyone.  They can no longer deny people because of pre-existing conditions.  One argument against this is that there are going to be so many people who are sick and since the insurance companies can’t afford to pay for all of these sick people, they’ll have to raise premiums in order to pay for this.  I don’t entirely buy this argument.  Suppose we have 10 people who have had cancer can now buy insurance but they couldn’t before because the insurance companies denied them because of a pre-existing condition.  But if everyone has to buy health insurance, then the insurance companies will have a huge influx of customers.  Thus, it seems that for every 10 people who has cancer, there will be 100 people who are healthy.  If all of them buy insurance, then those 100 people’s money will help take care of those 10 people who have cancer.  Thus, premiums won’t have to be higher.  Indeed, if more people join up to an insurance company, the supply will be so high and the demand will be so low, that it actually makes insurance rates cheaper. Now, I haven’t actually crunched any numbers or anything.  So the variables are: new people paying for insurance, how many of these people have pre-existing conditions, the total amount of revenue, subtract the new care that these new patients need.  I’m not saying that is for sure, but it’s a possibility.
  • If everyone is mandated to purchase health care, the insurance companies will have a huge influx of customers.  So, in a sense, that’s a good deal for insurance companies.
  • Who knows?  This might actually be better for the common good.  People have the fear that if the government does some activity, it’ll make things worse for us as individuals.  In a previous post, I mentioned that this fear is unfounded.  Remember, two steps back, five steps forward.  Taxes are helpful if it does indeed provide for the common good (including you).
  • There is many studies that show that the costs are actually better.  You can see that on a previous post and some other bits of info:https://i2.wp.com/www.nybooks.com/images/tables/20060323img2.gif
  • This may pass the Rawlsian test: behind the veil of ignorance, you don’t know if you could be someone without insurance.

Against Health Care:

  • By 2013, people are forced to have health care.  That means every citizen must have health insurance whether you want it or not.  That does seem pretty authoritarian.  Even if the government does have the ability to help those who can’t afford it, the only way to do it is to raise taxes, which thereby means that the people have to help pay for those that can’t afford it.  That doesn’t seem very fair.
  • With this, it’s mandated that everyone must purchase health care.  If that’s the case, then any citizen can now see the doctor easily because they are now covered by insurance.  However, let’s say that most people don’t have health insurance because of some pre-existing condition.  Now that they’re covered, they can now go to the doctor and get the care they need.  But now, there will be a huge influx of patients and the amount of doctors will stay the same.  Thus, the demand for care is higher, the supply will be the same.  The law of economics says that prices will therefore go higher.  But what price?  Either premiums will (insurance has to make up for this by charging more), or the government will raise taxes (if the customer needs a subsidy).  Either way, the American public has to pay higher prices just to have care.
  • Along with the line of thinking above, if the supply of doctors is the same, but the demand is higher (because of the new influx of patients), then the waiting period will be longer to see a doctor.  (However, one opposition to this is just because one has health care, it doesn’t mean that they’ll use health care by seeing a doctor.  I have health insurance, but I hardly go to the doctor.  Nevertheless, doctors will get more patients to see and it’s hard to say how much more.)
  • It’s fiscally irresponsible.  Why should I pay for someone’s irresponsible health care?  I’m in charge of my life, thus I should be the only one responsible for my own care.
  • This doesn’t pass the libertarian test.  By far, it actually opposes it.  Now I’m not saying I’m libertarian or more of a Rawlsian; I’m just pointing out that it doesn’t pass this test.
  • Would You Advise Your Representative in Congress to Vote for or Against a Healthcare Reform Bill Similar to the One Proposed by President Obama?The last Gallup Poll shows that most people are against this particular bill.  If Congress represents the people, then shouldn’t they vote based on the people’s wishes?  (Of course, some exceptions exist, but with health care, I think it’s one where it’s based on the will of the people.)
  • If this thing turns out to be a disaster, it will be really hard to repeal it.  It seems that this things is here to stay and all we can do is modify it, but never get rid of it, for better or for worse.
  • I’m no lawyer, but many attorney generals are suing the Federal Government because this may be unconstitutional.  It could be, we’ll have to wait and see.

The day after, I checked out news sources to see what people were saying.  Believe it or not, I think Bill O’Reilly has the best route.  I don’t agree with his approach, nor do I agree with his conclusions most of the time.  However, I like his methodology of fact-checking.  The episode was on March 22, 2010.  There are two things that I want to mention that I somewhat agree to:

  1. He did say that what this comes down to a welfare state in which the government helps out the unlucky folks vs. a small government that stays out of people’s lives.  In a way, it’s true but I think it’s more fundamental than that.  I think both sides have something in common: justice.  The Democrats are appealing to a sense of social justice: raising the standards of living by raising the minimal level of health, letting the health pie be distributed more, and having healthy citizens.  On the other hand, Republicans are appealing to a sense of economic justice: more government means more taxes, the economic pie will have to be distributed even more so, and we’ll have another social program where the private sector could do it.  Here’s my take: taking everything together, which has more weight?  Which do you want more: social or economic justice?  Well, it’s really hard to tell.  We want both and I think that’s why this is such a divisive issue.  How can you compare social and economic justice?  They seem to be irreducible and incommensurable.  If, however, someone can reduce them down to pure numbers, that would help.  But there seems to be so many variables when one tries to make social justice into a quantifiable number.  This leads me to number two that O’Reilly said:
  2. In the end, O’Reilly says that no one knows for certainty.  He critiqued the left saying that they can’t know with certainty that this will work.  But he also critiqued the right saying that they can’t know with certainty that this won’t work.  O’Reilly even said that this could turn out to be a disaster for the country, or it could end up being a great thing at little cost, which would also be great for the country.  Of course, O’Reilly believes that this will not work, but what’s great about this methodology is a little mitigated skepticism.  This is why when it comes to a divisive issue such as this, almost everyone is dogmatic because of their ideology.  We need a little skepticism in everything.  I’m not talking about a full-blown antecedent skepticism, but some skeptical notions that doesn’t appeal to a certain core framework of ideals and be open to the fact that one could be wrong.

There are so many variables in this and when there are variables, they are by definition unknowns.  If I asked you what is x+4, you couldn’t give me an answer because we don’t know what x is.  Well, in the health care debate, there are many x’s.  Thus, the mitigated skeptic can only say, “I don’t know if this will work, however I believe this will/won’t work.”  Until we can figure out the variables, the best I can say is I don’t know.

Feel free to comment and any other ideas that belongs to either.  Again, I must remind people of my comment policy.  Also, no rhetoric, I can’t stand it.

Update (3/23/2010): I have found more info about people who are not mandated to buy insurance:

  • The penalty will be phased in, starting at $95 or 1 percent of income in 2014, whichever is higher, and rising to $695 or 2.5 percent of income in 2016. But families would not pay more than $2,085.
  • American Indians don’t have to buy insurance. Those with religious objections or a financial hardship can also avoid the requirement. And if you would pay more than 8 percent of your income for the cheapest available plan, you will not be penalized for failing to buy coverage.
  • Those who are exempt, or under 30, can buy a policy that only pays for catastrophic medical costs. It must allow for three primary care visits a year as well.
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About shaunmiller

I am a Ph. D student at Marquette University. The primary purpose of this blog is to get my ideas out there, and then have other people scrutinize, critique, build upon, and systematize beliefs. This blog will sometimes pertain to what I'm learning in my classes, but it will occasionally deal with non-classroom issues that I'm thinking about as well.
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26 Responses to My Thoughts on Passing Health Care

  1. Kevin says:

    Great post. I agree with some things in the bill and disagree with others. I don’t necessarily like the mandate that everybody has to have health care, but I understand the logic that you need a pool of healthy people to balance out the sick. I find the biggest problem with health care right now is the complexity with the system. I can’t find anywhere if this bill does one of the things Obama said he wanted, which is government funding to help doctors and hospitals get all their records online. That alone would improve the care nurses and doctors provide to people like you and me. It’s a good point that just because everybody would have healthcare doesn’t mean they would use it. That’s the exact reason I don’t have healthcare. The deductible at my work is $2000.00, and I just don’t get sick enough to justify that. Because I don’t get sick though, I’d be happy to pay into a pool to keep others healthy. Maybe I’m just too empathetic.

  2. You’re absolutely right, there are so many x’s. The worst part though is this: most of them don’t need to be there. Insurance costs could have been regulated better so that they wouldn’t be unaffordable as could health care costs. But no, our leaders had to make some big sweeping ordeal, thump their chests, and puff party rhetoric. The polarizing effect of this, was entirely self-manufactured.

    This could have been such a simple and effective reform law that it would have hardly been noticed. Instead we let politics and political ideology (fueled with a healthy amount of lobbyist dollars and political donations) guide it’s formation. And before anyone screams “republican” or “democrat” I’ll say this: Both are guilty of it. President Obama told McCain “we’re not on the campaign trail anymore” not more than two weeks ago; and what was he doing last week? campaigning.

    Do we need universal coverage? Yes. But we can do it in a way that is economically just as well as socially just.

  3. John says:

    Great post. However, there are, as many of the George Mason professors of economics have argued, as very large gap in how this bill is going to work economically. First, insurance companies are excluded from the anti-trust violations, thus, they are able to band together to insure economic viability -this “union” is what has led to a cartel system. The costs of insurance will not fall, but premiums will rise; one can only wonder why donations from insurance companies were given to the DNC. Assuming that the insurance companies are self-interested, they must be benefiting from this bill, but why? Obama was taking a consistent populist position in arguing that insurance companies are bad and greedy, but he received money from them… interesting. As long as insurance companies are placed in a cartel like position, they will be able to dictate cost and this bill does nothing about that -the responsible thing to do, economically, would have been to have first repelled the anti-trust exemption that protects insurers.

    Now that the economic argument is set, we can look the moral implications. Social justice? Well, there is a problem with the Rawls test in this case. Suppose that the economics implications in conjunction with the possibility of excessive taxation obtain and the augmented corruption that will consequentially take hold, would any rational self-interested agent, behind the veil of ignorance, consent to exist in such a world where the government imposes laws that harm the necessary economic infrastructure in such an irresponsible fashion? Well… Rawls according to section 6 of Theory of Social Justice, was in favor of free economic systems that were “acting justly”, this would not pass the “Rawls Test”.

    Like FA Hayek argued, “the curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they know about what they imagine they can design”. He would argue that this creates more protection for large and corrupt “false capitals” (government protected monopolies.. i.e. the insurance companies), decreases investment power on an individual basis (taxation), impedes incentives in the industry in question (incentives to do research and develop methods due to government involvement), and that the basic moral considerations of forcing individuals to act in conjunction with an economic principle that is not proven sound (mandate) is in and of itself -evil.

    (note: also the spending per country chart is fallacious, consider the fact that we use almost double the resources as those countries on “check ups and unnecessary care”, moreover, economically we have access to a broader arraignment of services and goods than do those countries -this equals greater spending and thus more costs. Even if it were good, however, I would oppose it: I, personally, beleive that any action that FORCES me to do something that is not directly harming anyone else nor effecting the freedom of another, is morally wrong).

  4. John says:

    In light of the fact that the bill is now widely avalible and some companies have been able to react to the cost, we see one of the fundamental laws of economics come into full swing. The fundamental claim regarding government involvement in the market is that 2 things can happen: (1) the market can negate what the intention of the governments were, or, at least, neutralize its effects via contrary consequences, (2) the market can be harmed by the intervention. News was realized today from Deer Co. Caterpillar, and Valero Energy that they would have a hard time swallowing these costs (costs that will effect their bottom line due to the healthcare tax). In fact, Valero might move all of its service/office workers to Mexico or Panama to avoid taxation -that is 3000+ jobs. This is just two days following the passing of the bill…. really? People think added taxation and excessive regulation is a good thing for a gloomy market?

    This bill, contrary to the promises by the president, does not take any effect or help anyone out till 2014, but the taxes are immediate. This bill and the general process with which it was passed is a joke -and anyone who supports it needs to really consider the logical and economic implications first.

  5. Marcy says:

    A couple of points I would like to make regarding health care. First off I am very lucky because my family has health insurance, but even with health insurance we have had huge medical bills that could have financially ruined us. We were fortunate enough to get substantial raises near the end of our medical crises and we also had the ability to go to parents for help if the need was to financially difficult for us. So I never had to chose between buying medicine for my child or keeping a roof over our families heads, but like I said we were lucky.

    You mention the republicans want economic justice , first I would like to say I don’t think economic justice exists even without this bill. I would even venture to say that for families like mine who have had medical crises this bill would bring them economic justice and social justice. A child died of a tooth infection a few years ago in Massachusetts because his mother could not afford to take him to the dentist, that is not economically or socially just.

    One of the comments that was made by someone who left A comment was that.. it is morally wrong for the government to mandate me to buy into something, but isn’t that exactly what they do for car insurance? Aren’t we all required to buy car insurance for the greater good of everybody?

    Finally on a very personal note, I have had three amazing children( I only said two in class so I wouldn’t get emotional in front of everyone) and unfortunately my oldest child passed away at the age of 4 after a long two years of fighting a cancerous brain tumor. Had he survived he would have had to fight for medical insurance for the rest of his life. Therefore he would have not had economic justice or social justice. My son would have never been able to get ahead financially because he would be bogged down with medical bills.

    Having practically lived at Primary childrens for those two years I can tell you that no person should ever have to worry about if they will be able to afford to save a loved one’s life. Every person has value. Why should my child get better care then the child who’s mother or father works at McDonalds? I can tell you what you earn plays a large role in the care you receive. I actually had a doctor ask me what my husband did for a living before he prescribed my child a particular medicine.

    I can’t say for sure if everything in this bill is good, but I truly believe it is a step in the right direction. Right now the bill is going through labor pains, but in the end I hope we have an amazing health care system that we can all be a part of.

    One more thing you can find arguments on both sides when it comes to the economic implications, I found very positive information from a USA today article. The information came from a nonpartisan study.

  6. shaunmiller says:

    @John,

    It’s obvious that you know a lot about this from an economic point of view. In that sense, it’s looking at it from a cost-benefit analysis. I’m not familiar with cartel systems, George Mason, anti-trust violations so I’ll have to take your word for it. Taxes will obviously go up (I hope the Democrats can see that), but I guess the mood is that it’s worth it. I guess we’ll wait and see.

    @Matthew Herrmann

    And you’re right: there have been some backroom deals where certain states receive extra money or some service through this bill. It is a shady deal. Politicians are now rhetoricians instead of speaking for principles. In my opinion, there are only two principled politicians: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. Even if you don’t agree with their policies or politics, you have to admit that they’re pretty principled (Ron Paul more so).

    @Marcy

    Hello Marcy. There’s a few things that economists want to bring out: everything has a cost-benefit analysis, even lives. Yes, it sounds unfortunate, but economists simply look at the facts of the situation. Whether it brings out a certain value, that’s up the the individual. So let me bring out an example: there is a certain species of whale that is the size of a dolphin. Because this whale is really small, it can’t really defend it self from bigger whales and so this small whale will be hunted. Now, it may pull our heartstrings, but let’s suppose we made a tax that states that we should defend all of these small whales on earth. That would take up a huge amount of resources, and we would be spending most of our time trying to save these whales. Through that, it seems that the costs extremely outweighs the benefits. Thus, we don’t do anything about it. Now, this might pull some heartstrings, but again, economics doesn’t really look at feelings; it looks purely at the facts and if the facts suggest that the costs outweigh the benefits, then it would be best not to do that action. (In a sense, we learned this from utilitarianism.) Bring this into the human realm, and it’s the same thing. Yes, it will pull our heartstrings even more so, but nevertheless, the economy doesn’t care about our feelings nor has a concern for us. It’s only concerned with the costs and benefits of certain actions. Thus, if the health care bill does bring more costs (even if it does bring more people health care), then economics say that the health care bill was the wrong step. If, however, economics says that this brings more benefits than costs (despite what people believe or say), then the health care bill is in the right step. So economics is purely about facts and numbers, not about value or feelings.

    As for the government mandating us to buy car insurance, it’s true, but the other side would reply with this: you have a choice in driving, thus you aren’t forced to buy car insurance. At the same time, car insurance protects the other person from your mistakes. The health care bill protects others from your pocket. Now, you could reply that the choice of driving seems really compelled since we live in a world where if you want to be part of the social workforce, then we have to drive. So even though I’m not forced to drive, it seems that if I don’t drive, then I can’t contribute and thus I would have to get assistance to survive. Thus, I may not be forced to drive, but I’m compelled to drive through our industrialized system.

    In a sense, I agree with you that every person has value. And that’s the troublesome spot: economics doesn’t look at things in terms of intrinsic value, but only in instrumental value. Thus, humans have instrumental value too under economics. (After all, we all decide to see a movie rather than use that money to help starving people in Alabama.) So if humans have intrinsic value, and economics can’t realize that, then we have two competing systems which seem to be incommensurable. Thus, my dilemma. I couldn’t find the USA Today article that you mentioned, but I’ll keep looking.

  7. Marcy says:

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-06-19-health-economy_N.htm

    This is the article I was referring to, you are right my heart strings get way to involved…sorry

    Anyways another thing I heard about healthcare (from liberal media) was that 68% of bankruptcies occurring in the united states are because of families outstanding medical bills. I haven’t researched if there is any truth to this, but I will. So this could have a big impact on the economy.

  8. shaunmiller says:

    Hi Marcy,

    It’s a good article. I really liked the part where people don’t shop around for insurance. If we opened it up to the market, conservatives would cheer for it, but I’m skeptical of open choices without any guidelines of which option is the best. I don’t want to spend my whole weekend simply researching insurance companies. There’s a book that I read that talks about this. It’s called Nudge and I wrote a review for it on this blog.

    I know that our health care is one of the largest for our GDP, which isn’t good. As for bankruptcies, I heard about that too, and I’ll keep my eyes out for those stats as well.

  9. John says:

    @Shaun,
    Well, the cartel of insurance companies is something that must be stopped, but it wont be, so insurance premiums will rise, tax will rise, and so will exterior costs -and we are seeing companies’ reactions to it already.

    @Marcy,
    The stuff about car-insurance is a false analogy. As Shaun pointed out, choice is a huge thing here -especially if I am required to purchase a private good due to mandate (this is something that the insurance companies want! Obama is actually, in an economic sense, helping them make big money. Thats why he was given support money from such companies -don’t be so easily fooled). The costs that we might have to deal with this could be very damaging -the free-rider problem is going to be HUGE!

  10. Kristina W. says:

    Great read. I have some things I would like to add for thought.

    First a (morality) bill to include everyone regardless or disease etc, must coincide with a mandate of care universally. With 15% uninsured and 35% underinsured. Otherwise it wouldnt work economically as is without revamping EVERYTHING (including the insurance companies). In a country with 16% GDP wrapped in HC, and the millions of jobs it employs chances are narrow that we will evaluate from the ground up on this one without a Government ran universal care. So in a sense we are battling the controls, and you cant have one without the other. It serves the interest of corporations to keep their products healthy, affordable and sustainable. However in my experience those are lacked in the need for monetary effeciency.

    Irony in this specific example is that cancer only accounts for 5% total expenditure (last I read). All though cancer usually has a high fatality. Common ailments like diabetes, over weight, and complications relating to poor health due to diet sedimentary lifestyle or substance abuse like cigarrettes/alcohol account for the majority of spending. One could argue that if the FDA upped the requirments of what constitutes healthy and labels where more clear then the society by enlarge would be more aware of choices. Or even further, FDA revamped what is ok and what is not and unhealthy things be more stringent on “optional”. I believe it was you who said, is it not odd that real lemons are used on the floor, but synthetic lemon on our food? I believe that HC by enlarge is bigger than our x’s and o’s when it comes to politics of it all. We are reflective of society in health. When the society changes so will our health. Until then this will just have to work.

    “•I’m no lawyer, but many attorney generals are suing the Federal Government because this may be unconstitutional. It could be, we’ll have to wait and see.” -I read a really great argument that for some reason cant find now so I will sum up to the best of my recollection (from a constitutional lawyer). The argument was about HC and if it is unconstitutional to mandate HC. The sum of it was no, being how that ALL the mandate was comprised in the taxation process. Not in a penalty of private financial methods. Since it was wrapped in a taxation with representation process then it technically was constitutional. If you were taken to jail for not having HC, or in a situation that the law stacks you up to fail then it would likely be unconstitutional. Since its balanced in the taxation process it avoids alot of sticky situations that otherwise would have been a sea of legal disputes. Rather clever actually.

    I think overall this bill will readjust what is considered moral in our country – bottom line. It is a crossroads for what we as Americans and Humans could do if we aimed with an objective in sight. Rather than this aimless goal we usually walk the HC line with, and take no real raines in the definition of “quality” in our country. But that is a philosophical argument I suppose. I think that when me and you are elderly Shaun the kids will look back at this and laugh at the fact we had such a hard time with this. At least I hope so.

    As for other countries and cost and effectivness of HC, I believe this is because we are in a point of time that the bourgeois can only consume so much before they eventually consume themselves. There must be a balance and we are obvioulsy not in it currently.

  11. John says:

    Kristen,
    The market determines balance, I can’t help but feel that you seem to take a quasi-marxist view here. First, the ability for this bill to be morally “good” for society is a joke. I mean, moral development is, as John Hicks describes it, “the result of long won deposits fo effort”. Market competition and individual decision making are the best ways to ensure that people gain these so called “deposits”. Society, as it were, is merely the construct of individual actions and imputs. These actions and imputs combined with individual economic actors breeds moral or immoral agents. If you feel tempted to respond in objection to this, just think about the senario where theree exist a society where all planning is done by a central body of leaders… What would the morality of that society in question be like? Is it not via opposition and reason that we grow to be “better moral agents”? The point, thus, is that if people cannot take care of themselves, make good health car decisions, “shop” for providers, and resist the government protecting insurance companies by letting them be exempt from ant-trust laws (something that this bill does not do, which will just facilitate more inequality), and get the government out of private markets, then we would see quality (which in all reality is really high) go up, and cost fall and we would ace competing agents that keep the market naturally at equilibrium.

    Also, if we remove the bourgeious from society, then wealth concetration dissolves and the ability to take risk to achieve investment and allow for perpetuation of new technologies will fall. Also, I would love to see our government provide the social services and even this healthcare mumbo jumbo with just the tax of the proletariat.

  12. Kristina says:

    Again, “I think overall this bill will readjust what is considered moral in our country – bottom line. It is a crossroads for what we as Americans and Humans could do if we aimed with an objective in sight. Rather than this aimless goal we usually walk the HC line with, and take no real raines in the definition of “quality” in our country”. Quality determined as health already achieved.

    Your right John the market does determine balance, but what determines the market? The people more or less. I am pointing out the morality in this bill, not in the sense of economic political argument. But of one of morality as traditionally defined as what is right. I suppose you can collectively wrap my opinion around a quasi-marxi view. However, I would beg to differ. I dont know if your familiar but we have had similar arguments in history such as freeing the slaves. The worry was that the GDP would go down as the slaves were the value in the workforce. In hind sight what actually happened is GDP and the economy boomed. Because the slaves were given rights which lead to monetary value as the whites. (serious oversimplification)

    ” the ability for this bill to be morally “good” for society is a joke I mean, moral development is, as John Hicks describes it, “the result of long won deposits fo effort”- I would think the families who went bankrupt despite playing but the rules and having insurance would disagree with you. Not to mention the dead who could have been saved if healthcare was affordable. Dont forget there is not enough jobs in this country for everyone to have one with HC. So someone somewhere will go without no matter what.

    “the point, thus, is that if people cannot take care of themselves, make good health car decisions, “shop” for providers, and resist the government protecting insurance companies by letting them be exempt from ant-trust laws (something that this bill does not do, which will just facilitate more inequality), and get the government out of private markets, then we would see quality (which in all reality is really high) go up, and cost fall and we would ace competing agents that keep the market naturally at equilibrium” – I hope you mean people taking responsibility of their health in general. I couldnt agree more. But, if the government does not facilitate health as good as it could (FDA) is rather lack than what it could be. But that is another argument. Your pointing out the economic gains and market determinisms. I guess I should reiterate than I am not pointing out the what works now, but the bigger. The bigger picture of what could be achieved if money did not serve as the sole value. What is the value of everyones good health? in my experience that does not have a monetary value that anyone can afford. But that is a much bigger argument than what was posed here.

    “Also, if we remove the bourgeious from society, then wealth concetration dissolves and the ability to take risk to achieve investment and allow for perpetuation of new technologies will fall. Also, I would love to see our government provide the social services and even this healthcare mumbo jumbo with just the tax of the proletariat.” – No one is suggesting the burgeious be removed. That is not realistic, but what about tweeked to include other moral factors. Like negative externalities
    being accounted for to start. And not passing the buck to society from the beginning. Or managing opportunity cost more and with the people of community in mind. I often wonder if that would not be the balance society and corporate and government wish to achieve harmony. That is NOT a social service, that is soething EVERYONE wants and desires. The shortest distance between two places would not be having to make healthcare stops. It would be having health to start and eliminating the negative externalities of BIG business. But I suppose one could and do argue that is taking away choice, individual responsibility on the extreme views.

  13. John says:

    First, the economic claim that you make about the slave is interesting. First, the liberation of the slaves was good for the economy as per the individual economic agents that society now had were more, meaning more consumers, increased business movement etc -that’s why immigration is good for society as is free trade. However, the healthcare bill that you call a ‘moral readjustment’ is not anything like the prior point. First, there are freedoms that are restricted (I am supposing that you have not read the bill or even the simplified version), I can’t choose which PRIVATE good I wish to buy without FDA or HHS approval of the plan; I can, also, not choose to go without health care insurance if I wish. I also have, if I am wealthy, pay more tax on plans and property so as to subsidize others. This bill is a restriction of liberty and a type of implicit and explicit coercion that has nothing to do with morality unless you feel that obligation by threat is morally laudable and that people can gain genuine moral attributes by actually being forced to be responsible with regards to their action ( I think John Hicks would say that this bill removes the hard-wone values the come following opposition and trial and error combined with suffering over time and is the immoral).

    Also, your claim about the fact that some unfortunate group of people would disagree with me. And that we will now save them from suffering. In any social system or economic system (take your pick), you will always have some group that suffers or is left to unfortunate circumstances -this healthcare bill, arguably, will not drastically alleviate such sufring. It is not a full-pay system, still, people with still not make their payment and still not receive perfect treatment; this bill is not a solution to suffering -just as Medicare was intended to not cost more, ever, than 200 million, yet we know that cost have gone up an average of 21.25% per year since Medicare was expanded in the 70’s under Carter. This expansion has caused healthcare service individuals to raise cost to cover increased interference from the FDA and HHS in the private practice of those who accept Medicare (forced acceptance ended in 2002; there are some good studies as to how Medicare and government tax subsidies to hospitals and myopic regulations has caused cost to skyrocket inspire of standard market demand, look up Bachman 2002: why Medicare and the government ruined health care, he is a Nobel prize laureate and is very insiteful).

    And again, you can make appeal to macro-views and “bigger reasons”, but the real big reason is to achieve utopia right? That is what you are basically appealing to if you mean there is a big and “final” picture or end. However, we are ,then, confronted with certain possibility issuers -it may not be possible to eveer achieve utopia and moreover, while achieving utopia as a goal is laudable, I dispute your view on historical grounds as per government usually does not get us there the agents of said society do.

    You speak of negative externalities of big business, but what about those of government. Arguably those and the negative economic spillovers caused by corruption and failed consent factors are more impacting than any group of businesses.

    The only morally just act on behalf of the government should be remove the anti-trust exemptions that created business that are monopolies and corrupt market entities that create , what you call, the negative externalities – such externalities dispare over time by market forces; Adam Smith points that out in the Theory of Moral Sentiments and in The Wealth of Nations (I think it is book 2). Over time agents will establish equilibrium which is the gold that everyone strives for inherently without intervention such markets would be obtain, but there will always be people who defend intervention and the arbitrary authority of government to determine how agent act which, as Hayek noted, is a “Fatal Conciet”.

  14. Kristina says:

    Well said, I understand the point you are making. However I stand by the point I was initially trying to make. In that, this move will redefine what is morally right in regards to healthcare. Utopia is always some form of objective, and your right it is out of reach in ways. We can pick apart each entity until we are blue in the face that is a given. Obviously we did not get here because one thing went wrong. So to point a finger is ridiculous. Government itself was a problem to start in its roles and limitations so naturally the following will fail in time under those circumstances as building blocks. However, I think you will agree with me when I say it was only a matter of time before something had to be done (economically, morally, politically etc). It just might not have been what was necessary given the current economic system.

    I dont believe this bill is a one stop shop. It is far from it, and I have read enough to not call myself uninformed about the issue. It does not really address cost in any real extent (understatment) but how can it without redefining the ENTIRE system down to the cost allowable without completely redoing everything, which cant realistically be done in one bill. The government has a responsibility to not interfere so much that it dampens. And no one is saying government is perfect, however it does not serve purpose to blast apart what is trying to be done simply on grounds that it is not perfect. Or that it fails to be whole. After all that would mean you would have to take that same thinking and apply it to big business (N. Externalities). Which is clearly not what is being done. Only time and a seemingly endless balad or trial and error solves those issues. That is the clumsy factor in my opinion of Government and society by enlarge. I suppose to some extent we all just have to sit on the rollercoaster and wait out the ride.

    But those are the social, government and business roles that as a country we constantly are fighting. To determine what role and to what extent and what conditions those are (organically).

    And unfortunately our founding fathers did not create a key that explains what to do when A doesnt address B properly. I cant remember who said if you make it a law in writing, prepare for it to be misinterpreted.

    As for what about Government in relation to negative externalities, that is besides the point I was making and a rather clever way of not answering my question and rather posing your own. Government was never meant to play those roles (obvious given). But whether you agree with the Governments roles or not, you cant ignore the process that leads up to the necessity of its intervention if the free market fails. As by definition it usually always does to some bigger or lesser extent (Things such as negative externalities in big business blended with healthcare for example). Governments purpose is to serve in the peoples best interests. So it is no blunder as to its service role in the matter when those people that you seem to adjust and write off; as a casualty of life. This is why I say think bigger. Not as in the ultimate (utopia) but rather the how did we get here to start.

  15. john says:

    Kristina,

    I think we both agree that there is a large spectrum of problems on both sides of the issue. However, I think that you like to skirt the issue. You make, in all your comments, a suppressed and implicit assumption that has finally come into the light, glaring:
    “As for what about Government in relation to negative externalities, that is besides the point I was making and a rather clever way of not answering my question and rather posing your own. Government was never meant to play those roles (obvious given). But whether you agree with the Governments roles or not, you cant ignore the process that leads up to the necessity of its intervention if the free market fails.”
    That, again, is my point. The market did not fail. You obviously have been given a spoonful of ignorance if you believe that. The market, with regards to healthcare, has not been “free”, nor may we even dub it as “conditionally free”. The healthcare industry has been under a plethora of regulations that constantly change and adapt; in fact, according to the National Medical Association, the whole industry must comply with over 2 million different statues, laws, regulations, and guidance rules may of which are of the direct result from Medicare and Medicaid and other state and local government back healthcare insurance measures. These argument I did mention, albeit summarized, in my last comment, but you just neglected, as it seems, to move around them. It is a well-known fact that systematic intervention causes costs to rise… this is economics 101, right? Look at the effects tariffs have on cost, demand and general supply when compared with standard free-trade policies and then look at the graphs following the lifting of such tariffs -markets find equilibrium.
    Now, this example is too simple right? The healthcare industry is to vital and to complex to be made analogous to the exchange of goods, or is it? Technological innovation, exchange, efficiency and price are all carried out with more maximal optimality than government could ever dream of doing. I think F.A. Hayek, again, proved this to be true in his marvelous work “The Road to Serfdom”, he argues that central planning by industry takeover or required regulation leads to waste and eventually failure, and most economist will espouse this idea. The price mechanism that establishes cost in healthcare is subject to the same market forces that standard non-regulated industry is, but why is the price high? IF you argue that the price is high due to, only, negative externalities and business corruption, then giving such companies more consumers (via the mandate) and keeping the industry-protective laws (i.e. the anti-trust exemptions that protect health insurance companies and the anti-buffer laws that protect the power of companies to raise cost arbitrarily ), you are not lowering cost BUT rising it! That cost is now subsidized, however, so the pinch will not be felt by us directly and immediately; rather, we will see the cost appear in the form of lower GDP (which happens as debt increases for long periods of time), Lower investment power, and lower technological development in the health care field -are you willing to exchange all that for approx. 20 million getting care many of whom -like me- choose not to have it all the time?

    If you say that cost are high and the system failed due to twisted corporate and government coordination and that this is a solution, then you are mistaken. Imagine if I get cut an decide that the solution to my pain it to cut deeper, then what would be the outcome? Obviously it is no solution, even for the most economically vacuous person, to assert that corruption problems are solved by increasing inter-dependancy of entities.

    In the end, the cost will not stop rising -arguably they will rise as per the positive incentives for professionals and industry will creep into the shadows due to the presence of regulation (i.e. the black market phenomena) – and people will suffer even more. You may think bigger, but the blunder is on central thinking which has always failed and will inevitably fail yet again.

  16. Kristina says:

    “The market did not fail. You obviously have been given a spoonful of ignorance if you believe that. The market, with regards to healthcare, has not been “free”, nor may we even dub it as “conditionally free”. – If government intervention was necissary it failed. You can see in the first paragraph here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_failure Failure is not limited to economics. It also has a social factor that needs to be balanced as well.

    In addition I would encourage you to read http://www.springerlink.com/content/q55898t483148lv3/ where there have been several really great works written on the matter by scholars that clearly explain how the healthcare system failed by not meeting these objectives”

    Sources of market failure in the health care industry are identified as: 1) lack of competition; 2) insufficient information; 3) inadequate access to health care services; 4) presence of externalities; and 5) a persistent disequilibrium in the hospital, physicians, and nurses markets. I would also highlight presence of ANY externalities. Insufficient info not only in the form of health providers but that of the society as well I would point out.

    Markets fail all the time to a bigger or acceptable lesser degree. Are you refering to “free, conditionally free” as free market?

    “If we include costs borne by everyone, then we get social costs, which are the total costs of production no matter who bears them. We say that the total cost is equal to private costs plus external costs.” source – Negative Externalities / basic economics 101 – http://www.basiceconomics.info/market-failures-and-externalities.php There are so many forms of negative externalities it is almost impossible to identify them all. Classic example is non hereditary (environmentally) caused cancer. Or overtreatment in various forms leading to rising cost for all accross the board.

    “The healthcare industry has been under a plethora of regulations that constantly change and adapt; in fact, according to the National Medical Association, the whole industry must comply with over 2 million different statues, laws, regulations, and guidance rules may of which are of the direct result from Medicare and Medicaid and other state and local government back healthcare insurance measures. These argument I did mention, albeit summarized, in my last comment, but you just neglected, as it seems, to move around them. It is a well-known fact that systematic intervention causes costs to rise… this is economics 101, right?” – are you suggesting that government intervention in any form including regulation, laws etc systematically led to the rising cost of care? To a degree you are right but you are not considering arbitrary inflation which is rampant in the healthcare industry. NPR produced a great story with a health economics professor in CA that covered this topic in some great detail as to what led to the inflation in healthcare in audio I am sure you can find online if your curious. It was actually determined because health care is both a consumption good that yields direct satisfaction and utility, and an investment good, which yields satisfaction to consumers indirectly through increased productivity. They ultimatly determined it fell in the majority bucket that people expect an abundance of utility for there visit to health professionals. And since most people are alienated to the cost of those utilities try to get everything they can from a doctor. Combine that with a doctor willing to do the work as they are paid based on what they provide it lead to a disaster of waste within the community. Combine that with an unhealthy economy since its intertwined with GDP and it is a time bomb. Fraud and uninsured while huge was not a majority (that they could determine reasonably w/o est) of the rising cost in care. Then people blamed tort reform which Orrin Hatch submitted to the CBO and was ultimatly determined that it would lead to a dilution of healthcare in America and only accounted for a very small percentage of actual cost<3% if I remember right. So you dont hear about it anymore. However there are more variables we can include to the cocktail of things that did not work as expected, the big one was people not taking healthcare into their own hands, asking questions about necessity and erroring on the side of caution without jumping ahead on procedures that have other less costly ways of addressing the issue. Economic wise blending HC into the nations GDP serves a problem when things dont go well in the financial sector. As it maintains a peripheral position.

    What I find ironic is that US is the only country that "expects" that they get more out than they put into in relation to HC. Where else can you go and expect to total your car several times over and reasonably think that your insurance costs will not rise? Its absurd.

    "IF you argue that the price is high due to, only, negative externalities and business corruption, then giving such companies more consumers (via the mandate) and keeping the industry-protective laws (i.e. the anti-trust exemptions that protect health insurance companies and the anti-buffer laws that protect the power of companies to raise cost arbitrarily ), you are not lowering cost BUT rising it! " – your correct I never said it would solve the issue, but if the cost rises anyways why not get more out of it. If more people are covered then at least you have a chance of budgeting more readily. I suppose you can view this intervention of government as a demand for inclusion based on our countrys moral beliefs against poor/unhealthy/weaker/unfortunate segregation.

    "If you say that cost are high and the system failed due to twisted corporate and government coordination and that this is a solution, then you are mistaken. Imagine if I get cut an decide that the solution to my pain it to cut deeper, then what would be the outcome? Obviously it is no solution, even for the most economically vacuous person, to assert that corruption problems are solved by increasing inter-dependancy of entities." – your correct here as well.

    "In the end, the cost will not stop rising -arguably they will rise as per the positive incentives for professionals and industry will creep into the shadows due to the presence of regulation (i.e. the black market phenomena) – and people will suffer even more. You may think bigger, but the blunder is on central thinking which has always failed and will inevitably fail yet again." – I think our difference is not the issue directly but what we choose as acceptable givens and what is identified as a problem.

    What I can say grand stand so to speak is not matter how you choose to address the issue (economics, sociological) you will maintain that there are always factors and conditions that will lead to the fail on both extremes. If you have an unhealthy economy you can see why social systems serve better.

    When you have a healthy GDP you can see where economics of business serve a more "fruitful role". This is why one system solutions dont work in a dynamic country. You have to balance your budget and systems with the happenings and capabilities in the society in that time.

    To try and make clearer my point is the roles each view each other. Take business (economic geared minds) we will call "bizs" and those of social wellbeing geared minds we will call "socials". Socials accept the role of bizs easily. And can see how important it is to have bizs in society and fluidly accept interchange of those roles and purposes. On the other hand you have bizs who while they see socials as a given, they do not under any circumstance accept the interchange of thier roles since they go against the grain of the bizs basic principles. Which is economic "monatary" value of exchange.They wont factor them socials in unless it effects the bottom dollar. Bizs views of socials is not very accepting way. Does that make sense? One accepts the other and is willing to let them "take control" if appropriate while the other is not at any event.

    It is a serious limitation of business in my opinion to not be able to blend in a role for a social based system. It is rather seen as the answer to the economy woes under the guise that if we could just get this right for long enough. Same rules for everone across the board no matter what the circumstances are. Same one box fits all.

    I would like to see an economically geared gameplan that can manage the socials as a necessity that is inclusive rather than a non-preffered neighbor and exclusionary. But I fear in order to see a whole different gameplan available we have to dig alot further into the nest of government and regulation and completely shake it up. Like alter the views of acceptable in society and acceptable in business. I see what you are saying and agree with your points. But I feel its not being very revolutionary in the way you view its possible role. It is rather like a tool that is to be used only one way. While we understand the role of economics and business, we forgo the idea that they could and chould function more efficiently. There is room in the economics sector for improvments like removing neg ext relating to environment as one. But it would be at the cost of altering ones view of value from monetary to health. And on paper it has yet to be tested how everyones health will ultimatly effect the GDP

  17. Jason says:

    @Kristina

    “It is a serious limitation of business in my opinion to not be able to blend in a role for a social based system. It is rather seen as the answer to the economy woes under the guise that if we could just get this right for long enough. Same rules for everone across the board no matter what the circumstances are. Same one box fits all.

    I would like to see an economically geared gameplan that can manage the socials as a necessity that is inclusive rather than a non-preffered neighbor and exclusionary. But I fear in order to see a whole different gameplan available we have to dig alot further into the nest of government and regulation and completely shake it up. Like alter the views of acceptable in society and acceptable in business. I see what you are saying and agree with your points. But I feel its not being very revolutionary in the way you view its possible role. It is rather like a tool that is to be used only one way. While we understand the role of economics and business, we forgo the idea that they could and chould function more efficiently. There is room in the economics sector for improvments like removing neg ext relating to environment as one. But it would be at the cost of altering ones view of value from monetary to health. And on paper it has yet to be tested how everyones health will ultimatly effect the GDP”

    This is an interesting point. I believe that the business schools back in the day taught under theory and is what lead to alot of the trouble we see today. It was never actually tested in the long run. That is until it gained focus with the current large economically devastating failures.

    We need to remember that everything is constantly changing. Economics needs to not be a static learning, but rather a critical thinking process constantly improving, otherwise it is stagnant and things go as usual like the circumstances that lead to the housing bubble. Why they did not see that coming is beyond me.

    I think Post Reagan this has been a long time coming. Your socials and bizs example does make sense. Reminds me of the resemblance of the palestine-isreal conflict. Upon a truce one would no questions asked put down the guns, while the other would wait until you dropped them and then fire. Not far from the truth of todays ideologies.

  18. John says:

    Kristina,
    I have enjoyed our conversation, but you make an interesting assumption: “This is why one system solutions dont work in a dynamic country. You have to balance your budget and systems with the happenings and capabilities in the society in that time…”. To suppose that one system, which I think you mean standard business approach -or maybe even free-market approach, is not able to apply to fluid or dynamic system is to suppose that the corresponding system is static. This is a very large leap. The system of adaptive competition is something that keeps the price down and the innovation up, which are all necessary for “proper” equilibrium. So, by assuming that standard economic action is not “sufficient” you assume a stadic system which is patently false.

    Also, back to the main argument. First, you held that the health care bill is “morally praiseworthy” or at least morally good in the social sense. However, I would like to know why it is. Is it consequentially good? Hedonistically? Deontalogically? Maybe even virtuous? And what are the grounds? We already know that it has, in it’s current form, possible economic consequences that could be very damaging to innovation, action, competition, and motivation, but what and where is your moral argument?

  19. Kristina says:

    I have enjoyed our conversation, but you make an interesting assumption: “This is why one system solutions dont work in a dynamic country. (let me interject here. I am not saying that economics is static. I am saying that current applications have been red taped which in the end is similiar but not the same. Its the application of it, not the fundamentals of it. I have said economics system has the formula to work more effeciently given different objectives) You have to balance your budget and systems with the happenings and capabilities in the society in that time…”. To suppose that one system, which I think you mean standard business approach -or maybe even free-market approach (standard business is more appropriate), is not able to apply to fluid or dynamic system is to suppose that the corresponding system is static (No, it is not. But if the focus is soley monetary maximum at any cost without gaining any new margin value of utility or accounting for a shrinking middle class it might as well be). This is a very large leap. The system of adaptive competition is something that keeps the price down and the innovation up, which are all necessary for “proper” equilibrium. So, by assuming that standard economic action is not “sufficient” you assume a stadic system which is patently false. (Economics is a formula, much like Pi would be to math. I am not questioning the math, I am saying that if all uses of it are used soley as a money machine then its not inginuitive in its application to solve the current needs effectively)

    Also, back to the main argument. First, you held that the health care bill is “morally praiseworthy” or at least morally good in the social sense. However, I would like to know why it is. Is it consequentially good? Hedonistically? Deontalogically? Maybe even virtuous? And what are the grounds? We already know that it has, in it’s current form, possible economic consequences that could be very damaging to innovation, action, competition, and motivation, but what and where is your moral argument? – Kant’s deontalogical would be closer to what I feel. If you remember I said, I personally believe it will redefine whats moral in this country. It wasnt an argument, it was an opinion. A prediction of sorts or observation. However, if I must defend my point it is simply that I believe that it is wrong for a insurance company to cherry pick ones health (pre existing). It takes away ones right to purchase care that is in my opinion your fundamental right as an American to be able to do so at least opportunistically. If you recall, it was not that one could buy it more expensively (as a higher risk and still be covered) that wasnt the option. It was that one was denied the right to do business with period, or denied to the pre condition. That was the moral point being made. You should as a human be able to buy a good that is essential. It is much like walking into a grocery store and being denied the ability to buy food with the money on the counter. I would even accept if one said you must pay more for the 6-12 months. At least in that event you have the option to buy (@ higher price and be covered). As a country we all agree on that point I would like to hope.

  20. John says:

    That is where you are wrong. Economics is more than a formula or a set of conditions and causal indicator -I sincerely hope that you do not believe that- it is a social and moral study, which uses math to try and show outcomes of interaction and decision. Moreover, maximization of profit are not the sole determinators of economic activity -our view, here, is obviously bias and seemingly myopic. Many business have more intention to their actions and in many cases, as behavioral economics have shown, are geared toward service provision, game playing, internal gains, charity outcomes and even social improvement (see the work by Tullock here). And as Hayek points out, monopolies and class imbalances are usually result of tax and investment imbalances -decision and policy errors per se, and not the result of business action or general microeconomic play, so government and uniformed agents are probably, as history would have it, the ones to blame and this occurs, ironically, more readily in socialist countries rather than capitalist….

    You said that ” It takes away ones right to purchase care that is in my opinion your fundamental right as an American to be able to do so at least opportunistically.”… Not so fast, no one is being prohibited from care just from insurance purchases, which are a private good and, thus, businesses have a right to choose to whomever they will sell their products. And if they find -for whatever reason- to deny coverage of private product they have right to do so. So, you want to revoke the rights of business leader and individuals that own them to secure the rights (which is minority) of certain people to purchase a private good? That seem inconsistent to me…care to explain?

    Also, I don’t see how Kant plays here. Are you using the CI -will or conception ? And both seem to work both ways here for the purchasers and for the individual businesses… Appears to be a wash to me.

  21. Pingback: Health Care Reform « A Verbis ad Verbera

  22. Kristina says:

    I meant Kant style theory of ethics as being deontological.

    “You said that ” It takes away ones right to purchase care that is in my opinion your fundamental right as an American to be able to do so at least opportunistically.”… Not so fast, no one is being prohibited from care just from insurance purchases, which are a private good and, thus, businesses have a right to choose to whomever they will sell their products. And if they find -for whatever reason- to deny coverage of private product they have right to do so. So, you want to revoke the rights of business leader and individuals that own them to secure the rights (which is minority) of certain people to purchase a private good? That seem inconsistent to me…care to explain? ”

    Interesting you point out the business rights here. I thought you would as it seemed an open given but maybe I will try to make clearer. You pointed out the fact that no one is taking away ones right to care. Correct? This is because you have the right fundamentally to purchase said care at full price w/o insurance. This would seem to support the belief that health care is then a right at least conditionally to ones ability to access. (Not to be confused with free care which most certaintly is not nor has been the case) Rather than a priviledge. Correct?

    We know of course that healthcare in of itself is a right. That is to say because it is federally illegal to deny one human health care in the event of immediate and fatal doom. Protected by law, that was voted by our legislature. Known as Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act. So this being said we can safely wrap this under a right to access healthcare despite ones ability to pay/legal status. Again not to be confused with access to free care. So our legislation voted that its a right to have access to care.

    But lets look at this another way. Is it not, illegal to prevent care to an individual in need? As an example it is illegal under states laws to deny/block care to someone who is in immediate life threatening need. If I were to see a hit and run, then walked over and take the phone out of the hands of a person dialing 911 I would be breaking the law. Because I am denying that person access to care even if I was doing so with the intentions of being helpful. If I were to be scrutinized under oath, and deemed responsible for taking that phone out of ones hand which directly denied access to care that would otherwise have saved potentially that persons life. I am responsible.

    What makes that scenario different from this next example; an insurance adjuster whos job all day long is to find loop holes, for the intention of denying care on behalf of insurance. There was not to long ago a similiar/same scenario where an insurance adjuster testified in front of congress from BCBS Anthem who did something very similiar. She was faced with a patient who had a life threatening condition in which case there was only one known answer which was surgery. She testified under oath that she knowingly denied payment on behalf of the insurance company because she found a previous incident of treatment for acne that was not disclosed to Anthem a decade earlier. The medication perscribed had been linked in the past loosely to causeing a increase in blood pressure that “could” have been a precursor (cause, if longterm used) to the condition that they were now considering surgery. This insurance adjuster testified to congress that she knowingly knew she as an american citizen had denied access to care that she knew would save the mans life. And in doing so believed that even though she was protected under the guise of employment that she had been directly responsible for the loss of this mans life. Apparently in addition she saved the company a cool 100k dollars, which was a benefit for her long term prospects to the company. (besides point but thought to mention). It was later determined, that even thought the corporation was legally protected to deny coverage, the claim in which they used to deny the benefit to the man, later turned out the mans perscription was so small that it was no more dangerous to ones health than a few tablespoons of salt. The family of the man sued Anthem and settled out of court for an undisclosed amount.

    This is example of why I have a real concern with corporations, business being compared to personal individuals rights. That is because there is a clear leap of hypocrisy in responsibility and alienation to the results of actions taken when one blends these two together. Did you mention inconsistent? If we consider a corporation to be protected and treated as a person and all rights there to. Then they should also be liable the same as an individual in not only our legal system but of our civil courts as well. And you know as well as I that is not the case, nor do we sanction. Your claim that “no one is being prohibited from care just from insurance purchases” is not acurate entirely. Because the definition of immediate doom is very loose. Hospitals are a business and do have the right to deny a person care if they cant pay for it upfront, or if they feel it to be a waste. Chemo cost thousand of dollars a week for someone who is battling it full on. Could you honestly say anyone could afford that short term, let alone long term? Can you save a Cancer patient last minute, to justify the statement no one is being prohibited from care? I completely understand what you are saying. You quote the current systems justifications quite well. But that does not make it right, and I do not believe it holds the answer to the dilema that I feel the economics your discusing (I would even say ideology) should be pioneering. 6 Months preexisting might not seem to big. But to an individual who is in chronic serious pain, or someone who that can mean the difference between life and death, it is not so simple.

    You say “So, you want to revoke the rights of business leader and “individuals” that own them to secure the rights (which is minority) of certain people to purchase a private good?” and use minority as a bullet point, almost as if to justify a arbitrary reality. To put that into perspective; 2,996 people lost there life in 9/11. 0.0009% of the United States population. That I think qualifies for a minority if any, yet that did not stop a country going to war in two countries and incurring 10 Trillion in debt over it, in addition to taking away rights of its citizens at the cost of security. I understand the purpose of this was to be that everyone was equally at risk of terrorism. But what seperates the risk between those protected and the unfortunate in health? Seems the odds are pretty much a wash. Even if we had a 9/11 happen every single day for the last 10 years that would still only account for 3.2% of the total U.S. population assuming the population doesnt increase. But since we know babies are born each day, 11,000 day in the states. Thats considerably <3.2%

    We as a country are willing to provide ceiling free Rx drug plans to seniors in "addition" to medicare simply because one is elder and weak economically or physically to be able to fight these issues on thier own. So when you point out the economic math of how this healthcare bill ecourage costs to rise and dispute the morality as a joke. I find that rather irrelivant given the past actions of our country. It is pretty obvious something is not right when the cost goes up anyways.

    To quote you "Society, as it were, is merely the construct of individual actions and imputs. These actions and imputs combined with individual economic actors breeds moral or immoral agents" I hope you at least can understand what and where I am coming from if you dont agree. Rather than us continuing on the fiddle of current economics, I challenge you to use that knowledge to figure out the how to solve. And assume there are no rules.

    Besides this I am losing focus of the educational learning and constuctive opinion/debate I originally intend to find on this site. My purpose is to at least understand/learn one better than before in the event of disagreement, which is not happening. So rather than becoming aggetated and in a slump that the worlds intellectuals have lost the ability to innovate and answer the worlds problems in contrast to that of parroting them, you will respectfully understand why I will no longer contribute. Nothing personal with you, but to me these issues are personal.

  23. John says:

    @ Jason,
    I know it would be nice to see an “economic game plan” as Kristina suggests. However, would that not require centralized planning? Or, at leaser, strong economic limitations and directives? If so, (and I think it does), then you fall victim to the Pardox of Planning and your economic output and stability will be brought down.

  24. John says:

    Kristina,

    I take you points with care and thank you for the discussion. I was able to see a different view and engage it, and, for me, that is educational, I still do not agree, but as per your request, I will not nit-pick your points. Let us hope, as we both do, that there is productive solution and that we are able to make things work the best for humanity,

  25. shaunmiller says:

    Kristina and John, I’m equally impressed by the comments back and forth. I wish I knew more about this issue so that I could get more involved in this debate. Thankfully, I have learned a little thanks to you both.

  26. Pingback: What I’ve Learned this Past Year — 2010 Edition « Shaun Miller’s Weblog

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