How about socialized medicine?

So I’m in this thread about Americans and the issue of health care comes up. I was advised to revive an old thread (which is never as much fun as starting a new one). In that particular thread a poster stated the following:
“The realisation that the free market does not work effectively and efficiently in all circumstances. Whether one agrees with this is a personal issue but the facts are fairly convincing (as Clinton and others agree). Something like 70% of the US enjoys comprehensive health care at an annual cost (in GNP) of 15%. Comparable countries cover 100% at a cost ranging from (approx) 8% to 12% GNP. Top clarify: 30% of the US population is not comprehensively covered – that is not acceptable in a modern society in the opinion of every country save the US.”
To which I replied:
First of all, the completely free market has never been tried.
Second of all, your 30% figure means nothing to me. Medicine…ready? a technology. Technology is expensive. It involves research, years of effort, multiple teams studying multiple aspects, etc etc. The average time for a single drug to reach the market is five years and millions of millions of dollars (source: my job). And you, well, feel it is a right to have that drug? To have all these people working for you? That’s not “fair,” that’s arrogant. It would be just as presumptuous, but more cost effective, to demand every citizen has a computer with a printer.

To which the poster who suggested I turn this hijack into a thread (or revive the old one) mentioned that he was upset that that 30% figure means nothing to me. Anyone else?

Why the hell does anyone feel medical care is a right? You may tell me all about the civilized world already accepting socialized medicine: that’s moot. 10 million red chinese can be wrong. Why do you feel that it is a right to have health care?

I think we ought to have a right to cars, too.

Without one, it’s hard to compete with others to get a good paying job, or even get to a job, to provide food, clothing and shelter for your family. Food, clothing and shelter are among the most basic of human needs. Certainly more important than access to healthcare, IMHO.

So, basically, the govmnt should provide cars free of charge, not busses and subways, since individuals ought to be able to get to work at any time, whatever and whenever their shift is. And since it’s so important, gas should be free too. And maintenance on the cars. And tires. Everything that goes into the ownership of a car ought to be provided.

And houses too. And clothes. And food. And cable TV.

Health care is nothing more than a variety of goods and services. You have as much of a right to health care as you do to food, housing, and clothing. All of these are neccesities, but if anyone proposed socialized housing, clothing or food, he/she would be denounced as a communist.

There’s also the matter of implementation. In Canada, people often have to live with painful and sometimes debilitating conditions for ridiculously long periods of time before recieving surgery, and the only way around that is to go down to the US and pay for a doctor here.

People who like the idea of socialised medicine are often looking at rights and freedoms in a different way. I myself happen to agree with the idea of socialised medicine, although I do recognise its many flaws.

My point, though, is this: freedom to many, especially Americans (no judgement intended here), means freedom from - freedom from state intervention, freedom from interference in one’s life, desires or property. Sure, there may be limits for practicality’s sake (my desire to kill at will and your desire to stay alive), but the idea is that freedom is something to be protected from infringement.

The other way of looking, which is often seen in Europe, is that freedom means freedom to; freedom to make something of your life - and this idea of freedom requires someone to guarantee it. In this way, the state becomes an enabler, “intervening” to provide socialised medicine, economic benefits and so on to give people the freedom to do certain things that they could not otherwise do.

I don’t have time to debate specifics (and I don’t think people with different ideas of what freedom means will ever really agree anyway) but this theoretical difference might explain why there is such a difference of opinion.

[sub]Of course, I may have this totally arse about face (in which case “freedom from” is freedom from starvation, and so on, requiring intervention, and “freedom to” is freedom to do things without state interference, but the point’s the same!). It’s been too long since uni…[/sub]

Alright 'lover?

I feel like I’m stuck in an endless warp here, forever doomed to explain this concept again and again. But here goes.

The thing about so-called “socialised” medicine (henceforth referred to by its British moniker, the National Heath Service, or NHS), is that in this particular case it isn’t Big Gummint Oppressing the Free Market. It’s nothing but insurance raised to the largest degree it can be raised. Here is a nicely paragraphed argument for you to respond to:
[ul][li]insurance is not a good like other goods. It is based on grouping statistical risks to iron out variability in the risk. It depends on the Law of Large Numbers to work. You must take on as much risk with the least correlation you can in order for it to work.[/li][li]Furthermore insurance is desirable. I don’t want to dredge up the arguments I had with jmullaney a couple of months ago concerning the use of insurance to generate capital so I’ll hope you’ll take the following generalisation:in general the more we can control risks the less we need to hold margins against them and the more we can put towards more optimal uses.[/li][li]This holds for companies obtaining insurance for warehouses as well as individuals obtaining insurance against ill-health.[/li][li]Insurance companies will want to assess their risks as accurately as possible in order to know that they are charging an appropriate price. This is good and proper - our situation is not improved by having shaky insurance companies.[/li][li]However the last couple of points can create problems when put together. The insurance companies can be too powerful compared to a consumer, leading to refusals or missellings of policy. It must be regulated. Back when I only had a couple of posts I wrote a long essay on the purpose and use of regulation. Rather than rehash that I will merely point you to it here.[/li][li]So we need a regulated insurance industry. Fine. This will work with no problems for just about all forms of insurance. Competition will healthily keep prices low and regulation will ensure that they do not get too low (actually the largest risk of a non-regulated industry - the biggest danger of all is that insurance companies start falling over).[/li][li]Health insurance however is a slightly trickier problem. You see - when it comes to life insurance we have things pretty much under control. Mortality levels are pretty predictable and relatively few lives are needed to stabilise results. General insurance events happen rarely enough for us to smooth them out without too much problem.[/li]Health (or rather morbidity to give it the technical name) on the other hand is notoriously difficult to predict and analyse. It is also subject to much greater volatility than mortality. This means that you need to insure many more lives in the same scheme to stabilise results.
[li]This is where private insurance starts to fall down. Schemes would easily be too small to really justify being proper insurance. To stop the more excessive volatilities then insurance companies must start inserting clauses (e.g. no pre-existing conditions) and excluding those seen as bad-risk. Furthermore they must apply reasonably large contingency margins to their prices. Combine this with the profit margin and you have a premium considerably in excess of the theoretical risk.[/li][li]And so we come to the concept of a nationwide insurance scheme. By insuring everybody in the country without exception we can reduce our volatility as far as it will go without excluding.[/li][li]And then the NHS. By removing the possibility of going bust from the system we don’t need to apply excessive margins any more. The premiums can be harvested directly from tax and set to the theoretical risk. It is more efficient.[/li][li]This is why the NHS covers more of the country at a lower % of GDP. It is, at the end of the day, more efficient.[/li][li]And it has more to invest in drugs too.[/ul][/li]There. I have left holes in the argument because (a)I want to go home and as such am feeling lazy, (b)I’ve argued this before and am a little bored of it (sorry) and ©some things really need a proper theoretical treatment that would be difficult to go into here. I shall be interested to see you find the holes.

For now - good evening.


Just curious, ARL, if you feel the same way about socialized national defense, socialized police and fire protection, socialized roads. Do you have a right to some of these, but not health care? If so, what is the distinction?

The public defines rights. A right is whatever we say it is. Education up to 12th grade is currently a socialized right with incalculable benefits to all. Likewise, healthcare has social benefits as well. If the wealthy think they can define health rights for the rest of us, let them print their own money and watch it become worthless. It is our money to be used for our common goals. That’s why conservatives desperately put “In God We Trust” on it since 1954 during the cold war, to confuse the fact that it is really public money that must be artfully taxed to realize the goals of having a social-values economy. Read the preamble to the U.S. consititution if you must know what I am saying.

I have always been a fan of socialized health care. There are some things that should not be left to the random ebb and flow of capitalism. Among these include education, police protection and health care.

No one supports socialized clothing because even when times are tough, there will always be enough clothes for the populace.

As for food and shelter, we have socialist versions of those, but they are only for those who cannot afford them otherwise.

Health care, I believe, is a right in the same way that education is. It is not explicitly stated, like food, clothes and shelter are, but it is necessary to preserving life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In providing something as essential as health care, profit should not be the movitvating factor.

However, that doesn’t mean I don’t think there shouldn’t be health care companies where profit isn’t a factor. In fact, for health care, I think a system similar to the education system would work well.

Most Americans attended public schools, got a good education and have gone on to have stable careers. However, some do not find public education desireable. In impoverished areas, these people have an excellent point. So, there are private schools to educate them.

I think there should be a national health care program that anyone can opt into, regardless of economic status. If they oppose that on principle or do not feel that system is good enough, or for whatever other reason, they can use a private company.

No, I don’t know if that would actually work. However, it seems a good balance between a government providing an essential service to its people and free enterprise, two things I hold near and dear to me.


You write of the expense and the cost of research but do you neglect to recognize that some of those costs were subsidized with the tax dollars of EVERY tax-paying American?..even those with health insurance, or the means to pay for care?

Fantastic. :smiley:
wrath :wink:

robodude Agreed, there are problems with both systems

mattk Now THAT is an interesting assessment. However, after some law passed in the 40’s (I think, my book is at home but it was during the reformation of anti-trust legislation) the government passed a law requiring it to do everything within reason to promote the economy. Since that time, and since the adoption of more public housing and such, many Americans are definitely starting to think that we are guaranteed many things above and beyond a certain measure of safety and opportunity. Read union slogans, listen to demonstraters, etc…it is now considered the government’s job to provide what we won’t or can’t ourselves. Clearly a shift, though whether a good or bad one is another debate altogether.

kabbes In a seperate post :wink:

gilligan No, I don’t have a problem with the idea of “socialized” protection. This is mainly because protection is far from a commodity. Apart from that, if there were no public military and no public police force the government would have a hard time doing much of anything and wouldn’t need to exist. You won’t find me as an advocate of applied anarchy :wink: Without protection from external forces (military) the government itself is in danger. Obviously not what we want. The police force, however, is the practical application of mattk’s “freedom froms.” So long as there is any central lawmaking body there needs to be a central law enforcer. This may be accomplished on a smaller level as well when applied to the state. So long as there are public laws there is a public police force.

brian Eh? “The public defines rights”, meaning, you say, “A right is whatever we say it is.” You then procede to say “If the wealthy think they can define health rights for the rest of us…” Perhaps I am missing something in your classification of wealthy. Are they not entitled to social programs? Are they not people? And since they aren’t a part of “we” why can you dictate rights to them but not the other way around? If it is sheer numbers, then, you realize you are not an advocate of democracy or any other peaceful society but mob rule? If you don’t know what I’m saying try reading up on the French Revolution. Down with the aristocrats! :rolleyes:

SNec In RE to things that shouldn’t be left to the ‘ebb and flow’ of capitalism: “Among these include education, police protection and health care.”
Police protection: agreed, of course, as I noted in response to gilligan. Education I have a quibble with, mainly due to the huge drop-out rate of public schools and the poor state of learning in many high schools. Pumping more money into it isn’t the solution, much to the socializer’s dismay. You can’t just give a problem more money and expect it to disappear. Education is not intuition, and a good education requires good teachers. Good teachers are purchased just like good computer programmers: through a high salary and/or benefit packages. “But arl,” you say, “I thought you just told me more money isn’t the answer!” Correct. Public institutions have the problem of legislation governing their operations. That is, to hire and fire there must be rigid standards in place. “Rigid,” of course, does not imply “high.” Private institutions, however, are not limited by such garbage. They work in the free market. The institution itself sets its own standard, sets its own pay scale (unlike public schools which must have, if even localized, standards). They stand on their own laurels: “Look at the fine young students we graduated!” whilst public schools tell you “Join us and here’s what we provide as a minimum.” Ugh.
Anyway, to continue on a more focused level. You say “Health care, I believe, is a right in the same way that education is.” Well, how is education a right? You failed to explain that one.
“However, that doesn’t mean I don’t think there shouldn’t be health care companies where profit isn’t a factor.” No. Public institutions competing for profit is against the idea of private enterprise at all. This is why the government uses debt spending no matter what (the degree of deficit spending is determined by the particular money policy at the time, but the government does not make a profit). The government has the law on its side: it creates it. Private institutions have no such recourse against this, and that is unfair competition.
“Most Americans attended public schools, got a good education and have gone on to have stable careers. However, some do not find public education desireable. In impoverished areas, these people have an excellent point. So, there are private schools to educate them.” Are you kidding? Do they get to deduct the cost 100% from their taxes, or do they just get to pay for two schools and only use one?
“I think there should be a national health care program that anyone can opt into, regardless of economic status. If they oppose that on principle or do not feel that system is good enough, or for whatever other reason, they can use a private company.” Read kabbes post. The idea behind socialized medicine is cushioning random factors. Unless you intend to make everyone pay even if they do not use the system it is not going to create a better system.

And now we get to Krispy
“You write of the expense and the cost of research but do you neglect to recognize that some of those costs were subsidized with the tax dollars of EVERY tax-paying American?..even those with health insurance, or the means to pay for care?”
I don’t neglect it, I am simply against it in the same way I am against socialized medicine. However, I am not at all sure what sort of subsidies you are referring to. Are you insinuating that without government grant money people wouldn’t be looking for a cure to cancer? AIDS? My goodness, the patent right on that could be sold for more money than Microsoft. If you are not insinuating this, then please explain what sort of subsidies and to whom you are referring.

I never implied it was. According to the Libertarian quiz (ha) I am just northwest of centrist. I don’t have a problem with a strong central government, nor a big one, merely in its actions.

A bit of a simplification there, but I’ll bite.[sub](reserved right to quibble)[/sub]


Ok…I’ll bite, though I’m unsure about how exactly insurance companies control risks other than by means of policy prices…


And shakey insurance companies don’t find themselves in business very long. While insurance is not like every other commodity, bad business is bad business.

Again I find myself facing the eternal argument. Why is it a laughable “Big Gummint” but all-too-serious “Big Bid’nez?” (I refuse to argue misselling or other mistakes…accidents are not illegal) However, as far as refusals go, this is not a problem. Why should an insurance company automatically accept a customer? A successful insurance company will, like you implied, strike a leaned-balance (leaned toward capital gains) between risk and reward. Should a company play it too safe it can’t generate the right funds to continue in the insurance game. Should it be too lenient it cannot pay out its claims. The government is no different, except that the government, or a government agency, in charge of paying out claims has a little more leeway in expenditure (the government has a hell of a time going broke, eh?)
We might need regulation of a sorts as far as what is good business and such, much like we have other petty regulations, but to put a floor on insurance coverage, set limits and rates…why, that’s playing the socialism game England plays very well. You want to own this house in the country? Fine…but you can’t modify it externally or even internally: its a historic building. Any replacements must match the original. As well, you want to run insurance? That’s fine. But here’s how you are going to do it. In other words, the government runs it and hands over profits to the agencies themselves. Ah, no wonder capitalism has such a bad name. Its regulation that does it. Those “Fat Cats” don’t need to stand on their own laurels, not when Big Gummint runs the show :wink:

Very nice observation on the floor, but I still don’t find it absolutely necessary. Very practical though.

Yeah, and? Selling screws is trickier than selling computers…you need to sell screws in large volume to make real profit. Same with individual electronic components. And? We still have way over 30 semiconductor manufacturers and a screw shop (most likely) within 30 miles of any medium-sized city.

“Proper insurance” is a term I’m not familiar with. But the rest is a pretty accurate assessment of health insurance plans. Myself I have barely ever been covered under a plan. Cheaper to pay the doctor on a per visit basis.

No, now we come to the idea of business-subsidized insurance. As in “benefits.” The company shares in your expense of health care, just like 401k plans, vacation days, etc etc. HMOs are a bad example of what this “nationwide” plan entails. Large insurance companies, yes. Doctor-based plans? Sickening.

More efficient with regards to whom? The consumer? The inventor of new medical technology? The doctor who takes 8+ years of schooling for this “efficient” pay?
If cost wasn’t an issue, kabbes, would you prefer a private doctor, and American HMO, or a public one?

Have any figures relating to doctors wages in pounds or american dollar equivalent (not that I can’t convert it, but whatever)?

I’m REALLY not sure about this one. Seeing as my company sells a relatively unique product for drug development teams on a worldwide scale, with distributors all over europe and japan, I can assure you our US sales more than triple total worldwide sales. Our instrumentation is relatively unique in that there are other similar instruments available but not with our precision. Any way you slice it, there is a LOT more drug development going on in the US alone than in most of Europe.

Or what I consider holes, haha. :wink:
Always good debating with kabbes! Hope the epistemology thread is still putting you to sleep :slight_smile:

OK, just for one last time……………

A couple of other things I didn’t see mentioned yet:

I’d advice spending a little time reviewing that old thread to understand why America consumes more drugs than any other country (pro rata) – a clue: There’s profit to be made both in the treatment and in the drugs (see in particular the comments of a Canadian Doctor).

The rest of the world shows that the American Health Care system is very, very expensive (again, the figures are in the previous thread). The reason: Profit motive.

It is, perhaps, useful to remember that the Heath Care industry in the US consumes 15% of GDP. That is an amazingly large amount of money and along with it goes, profit, corporate tax, millions of jobs and power/influence for the Insurers.

However, if you analyise the figures – and I really, really don’t want to sound provocative – the Heath Care system as practiced in the US is a scam from top to bottom. Also, it is the most successful propaganda coup of the modern age – how they’ve got away with this ‘socialized’ nonsense is a wonder to behold. Can people really make a value judgement between the needs of a child who is sick and who also needs socialised education ? Then there’s the “we do things different” angle, then the “Our unique heritage” mantra to appeal to patriotism – it is all just sales crap from an Industry that has the country by the balls.

Universal health care is cheap – review that old thread. Not one country practicing whichever version of the system they employ is contemplating changing the fundamental principle that health care should be available to all (most have a combination of free-for-all and private health care). But here’s the one pre-requisite: Spending must be accountable.

The Clintons tried to move toward universal health care and, unfortunately, Hillary blew it.

There really is no valid way to justify spending 15% of American GNP to cover the health of 70% ish of the population when every other country can cover their entire populations to the same standard for 2/3 of that cost (i.e.10% of GDP).

‘Rights’ are in a funny way accidental. They are time and place dependent as all history would show. The US has most of its rights fixed from a founding document written by middle class Englishmen (or at least that’s what the called themselves only 20 years earlier) which ensured that the US Constitution ensured that the interests of late 18th century radical ‘English’ gentlemen were protected. These rights reflected the needs of these people and the social structure of the time. Things have developed over the past two centuries, but the root structure is the same.

Specific to health, eighteenth century medicine was amusingly inefficient- read the texts of the time! Guaranteeing good health would have seemed laughable at the time. However, so would freeing slaves or allowing votes for women. These rights sprung up from other aspects of the constitution that were intended to protect other interests but were later reinterpreted.

Now suppose that the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness had been continued from the Declaration of Independence and had later been interpreted (when medicine could easily extend life).

Then we might have many constitutionalists insisting the free universal health care was an inalienable right guaranteed by the constitution.

Countries more able to reinterpret their basic law (i.e. most of the Western World) have been able to do this with universal effect- universal health care of some sort.

Maybe its an historical accident of history that US health care is as it is.

Ah but here we start to see how the insurance business differs from other business. If you sell widgets then you know how much that widget cost to produce and as such what your minimum break-even price is. If you sell insurance however then the calculation of the reserves you need to hold to cover that insurance (and hence the price you need to charge) is a highly complicated thing, subject to opinion on appropriate assumptions needed for up to 70 years in the future. Insurance companies have been known in the past to be a touch over-optimistic in their assumptions. We need to prevent this because if the widget factory goes bust then we just lose a supplier of widgets but if the insurer goes bust then everybody who has invested money with that insurer loses out. (Please note that this is fundamentally different to the investors in the widget factory losing out - customers of and insurance company and capital investors are not the same thing).

No you are wrong - misselling is illegal. It is deemed unreasonable that the average man should be well-informed enough about actuarial matters to be able to determine the best choice for himself in the face of bad advice. In this country at least, life insurers must conform to “PRE” - Policyholder Reasonable Expectation". That means that even if they say something in cunning legal language, if they have given the reasonable impression that a different thing will be true, they must do that instead.

But this is the crux of the matter. Go back to an earlier point where you did agree with me: Insurance is desirable. We want our people to have insurance to cover themselves against the possibility of nasty things happening, so that they can use the money they would have had to otherwise keep “just in case” on “better” things (without wishing to get into an explanation of why some forms of capital distribution are better than others. Just think: investment good, hoarding bad).
However in a totally free market insurers would be stupid to accept certain risks. This would leave some of those we want to have insurance without. Bad news! You see, when I say that refusals are bad I am (for once in my life) not talking about from the point of view of the insurer. I’m talking about from the point of view of a (pareto-optimally distributed) economy. We want our populace to be insured.

No - that is regulating the insurance industry in the way that it needs to be regulated. I can only repeat: insurance is not as other goods. Free markets don’t work very well with it. Even in the US you know this: your insurance market is very heavily regulated. Remember the essay: we need to set our marginal benefits of regulation equal to our marginal costs and the benefits of regulating insurance are much bigger than the costs.

Methinks you were getting a bit carried away here :wink: No profits are being handed over to agencies in the NHS. And the situation with our listed buildings (hah! Just because in this country we actually have a history to protect ;)) is not really very germaine to the argument!

It’s because of the difficulty in establishing what a minimum price actually should be and the large scale social problems associated with an insurer falling over. We really don’t want those who have saved for 30 years for their retirement to suddently lose all their money because of company mismanagement. We might not care that the widget factory goes bust. Please tell me that you see the difference?

no no NO! I’m not talking about volume for profit here. I’m talking about volume as necessity to make your actuarial assumptions meaningful. Lack of volume means meaningless assumptions means that you don’t have insurance, you just have messing about.

I meant that without enough risk taken on to reduce the volatility to usable levels you don’t have ironing out of experience, which is the primary objective of insurance. You have merely translated the peril - not mitigated it.

But what if you suddenly needed the money for a $100,000 operation?

Business subsidised (with an “s”, please!) doesn’t necessarily get around the problem of the insurer themself needing a critical mass of risk before the insurance becomes meaningful. Your primary mistake in your reasoning is mixing up the three point of views germaine to the discussion: that of the insurer, that of the policyholder and that of the economy as a whole.

More efficient with regard to maximum coverage for minimum cost. That is the aim.

To be entirely honest, it would depend on how much was being spent. Don’t forget that we only spend 2/3 as much of our GDP on heathcare that you do, and that must cover almost 50% more of the population (10% GDP covers 100% vs 15% GDP covers 70%). If we spent an equivalent amount of money on our healthcare than you then I have no doubt that I would prefer the public service. As it is we don’t spend enough, so our system is in places shoddy (and in places it is superb - don’t believe the propaganda). I have had numerous operations on the NHS (one of them cosmetic) and the service has always been wonderful. On the other hand our casualty departments (equivalent to your ER I believe) tends to be overstretched.

Not sure about the relevance of this. We do have private medical schemes as well you know. Most doctors still choose to work in the NHS. In any case the figures all came out last time we had this discussion (a few months back). Search for “socialized medicine” and you should find it easily enough.

Alright you caught me. That was a “I really must go home now” attempt to close the argument when I couldn’t quite see how to do so. It seems to me that large organizations should have more money to spend on research than small ones, but I don’t have any cites or anything other than my guess. Retracted.

Still some holes there you know. Chip away!

Right back atchya. Its worth writing for someone you know will take the effort to read what you write

But it died :frowning: A few deep breaths and maybe we can start it all over again:)

Just to clarify. Kabbes says “we” spend 2/3 of what the US spends on health care (with 100% coverage as opposed to 70%).

The UK, in fact, spends slightly less than 50% of what is spent in the US to cover 100% of the population. My figure of 10% GDP is toward the top end (Germany) of those countries practicing universal health care.

The UK doesn’t spend anything like enough, yet ! But things are changing, slowly, over the next five years. The UK is not a good example right now, for a comparison I‘d suggest any other Western European country.

Lots of calls to visit the past thread but no link so far. So here it is:

Click here for lots of statistics!

This post has strayed a bit, and I’m still not clear on why we deserve health care. Is it only because it is there now or is it something that we needed all along?

London, calling it socialized medicine is a bit of a misnomer as you seem to assert, but it is not entirely wrong. You (in the other thread) renamed it “free” health care which is a HUGE misnomer. It is not free at all! Its just that everyone is forced to pay. It is socialized in the strictest sense of the term, its the “medicine” part that is a misnomer in “socialized medicine” because it is much more than medicine that is socialized.

The interesting question still remains…if I opt for a private doctor, do I still have to pay tax into this public service? And I thought the free market was a scam! :wink:

kabbes “Go back to an earlier point where you did agree with me: Insurance is desirable. We want our people to have insurance to cover themselves against the possibility of nasty things happening…” Yes, we do want everyone to have insurance but that still does not make it my duty to pay for a service I don’t use, or even worse, to pay for someone else who does use it more than me for the same dollar amount. It is desirable for people to be insured; this is not an endorsement (or even a next logical step) for nationalized health care. It would be, again, just as desireable for every individual to own a car or to have a computer but neither of these are reasonable either.
“However in a totally free market insurers would be stupid to accept certain risks. This would leave some of those we want to have insurance without.” Yes, but just because it is agreed that everyone desires health insurance, again, does not imply its nationalization! There are many things “everyone” wants that are far from being nationalized and should rightly stay that way.
“It’s because of the difficulty in establishing what a minimum price actually should be and the large scale social problems associated with an insurer falling over. We really don’t want those who have saved for 30 years for their retirement to suddently lose all their money because of company mismanagement. We might not care that the widget factory goes bust. Please tell me that you see the difference?”
Yes, of course I see the difference, but I still don’t care. I do not see medicinal care as a right but as a technology. Like other technologies, it is a commodity. If the government nationalizes insurance it, in effect, works to set prices of the medical industry itself. Socialized medicine socializes doctors, nurses, hospitols, etc etc. If we drive the price of medicine down we drive the profit of drug-developers down. It won’t be as lucrative of a field (and it is a lucrative field!). An easy way around this, of course, is to shorten patent rights on drugs. We are already assuming the medical industry is ours to do with as we please so why, really, should we merely stop at insurance? This isn’t a slippery slope argument, it is a practical one. Controlling the drug development as well as the drug delivery will be more efficient which is the stated goal.

As well, I am still unclear on the “allowance” of private doctors. Is one still required to pay for national health care while paying for a private doctor? Looks like those fat cats still get the best care while we po’ folks are stuck with less.

I’ll finish reading that other post later this evening…


The implied assumption of my post was majority rule, obviously. As for the wealthy, I define these as the same billionaires who profit from disease and healthcare, usually insurance companies and pharmaceuticals, etc. Sorry, I wouldn’t place you in that class automatically.

The argument that people whose children attend private schools should be able to deduct the tuition for the private school from their taxes is total bunk.

If you ever look at a pie chart of "Where your tax dollar goes’ you would probably see that one or two cents of every tax dollar you send to the state goes for education.

So why should a person get several thousand dollars off of their taxes when only (maybe) a few hundred goes for the service they do not use? You may argue that they deserve the hundred(s) of dollars back.
Except for two.
Even if your children do not attend public school (even if you have no kids at all) you still benefit from the existence of public schools. Say all you want about them but the situation would be much worse if they did not exist.

You agree that it is OK for socialized police but this is also a product or a service. There are communities that utilize private security. You could argue that the state does not need to pay for this and that each community could make their own arrangements and with competition the companies that offered the best security at the best price would prevail. This would give each community the freedom to choose.

Now to Health Care.

I do not see health care as a right but I would like to see it provided to all for the same reasons that a good education should be provided to all. It would make our society stronger in the same way. People with toothaches or chronic stomach pains or people who could use a little therapy usually do not make the most productive citizens. By providing NHS we would (IMO) improve society. That, I feel, is the basic goal of the state.

I agree with you in that it is not a right. I think people who argue that it is a right do harm to the cause. NHS is a benefit for all of society just the same as police protection, fire protection, roads, education, funding medical research, and the thousands of other things the government does with our tax dollars.

These two quotes actually sum up the exact opposite of my personal opinion. I do not believe in such a thing as an indivual having the right to receive health care. Not at all.

But I do think that a supposedly civilized and compassionate nature would view it as their responsibility to offer their most needy health care. Especially when you’re talking about a nation that already spends enough on healthcare to offer it to all. Their’s something really quite disgusting about a system that costs more than it should, yet doesn’t provide as much coverage as a cheaper system.

That’s why it worries me that you don’t care about 30% of your compatriots having no access to health care. We’re talking about a fairly basic level of compassion for your fellow person, and it doesn’t even need to cost you a dime.