universal healthcare will bankrupt this country, I call BS.

and that blog pretty much sums up why. the short version.

According to this silly thing called research, a company concludes that the lack of health care costs this nation billions of dollars every single year. lost productivity, lost wages, lost quality all add up to a massive loss to our GDP and the only people who are happy with the status quo are the insurance companies (well them and a few others who I generally think of as “special”"

are there really people who think that the current system is Free? that having people who need some kind of care not getting it costs us nothing? I have a friend who has needed a hip replaced for about 15 years, for the last 5 hes been living on food stamps and any kind of public assistance he can get. a couple months ago he finally got the surgery through some kind of program for people in his state. now the guy is working like a mo-fo pulling 16 hour days for weeks on end and generally making your average working man look like a lazy old fart. had this been done way back when he really needed it there would have been no need for any public assistance at all for him.

kinda rambling I know but I think the point is pretty clear.

People who lack healthcare are usually not the ones who produce billions of dollars worth of output. Not that this should necessarily change the moral calculus in expanding coverage, but you seem to think that spending hundreds of billions of dollars on healthcare will “pay for itself” in increased probability. Bollocks.

so, out of curiosity did you actually read the linked info?
millions of people with no coverage means billions in lost productivity, you seem to think that an average worker gets paid more than they produce or something.

I call BS on that blog post.

How will UHC fix this? People are still going to get sick/hurt/diseased and miss work regardless of the health care system in place. Do people not miss work in the UK? Oh wait, they miss more work. So do other UHC countries.

How? It’s not your coverage status that determines if you can work or not, it’s whether or not you are sick.

Further, most of those millions without coverage are the unemployed. There is no lost productivity if they get sick.

so my friend that I wrote about in the op, it was cheaper to leave him without needed health care for 15 years than to get him back in the workforce?

um I have been without coverage my entire adult life, and other than a couple of stints I have been employed my entire adult life. welcome to the real world. I haven’t seen a dentist in almost 23 years my last doctor visit was 6 years ago and I could only afford it because the doctor gave me a great price. all of those check ups you are supposed to get? yeah I don’t get those, my vision which I absolutely require to do my job? comes straight out of pocket. when I get sick my ONLY option is to tough it out. my company suffers, I suffer, and my students suffer.

once again people are taking sides on a issue without even doing any research, there are millions of EMPLOYED people with no health care. thinking otherwise is delusional.

If you have insurance, you get preventative care and don’t get as seriously ill as often. When you do get sick, if you have insurance you go in and have your minor illness taken care of. When you don’t, you end up in the ER with pneumonia. Many people lacking coverage aren’t unemployed - my boyfriend has no insurance because he’s a hardworking penurious entrepreneur and he can’t afford it. If he gets sick he can’t go to the doctor and if it gets bad enough for him to be out of work too long the businesses he runs will fold, therefore unemploying other people.

The question is whether you and your friend are the exception or the rule.

Do you have a cite for this, please? Specifically, that people with insurance do not get seriously ill as often.



Cite - pdf.


Public healthcare is almost universally cheaper than private healthcare. Our private system is far more expensive than other nation’s public systems. Our public systems like medicare are cheaper than private systems. So if anything private health care will bankrupt the country faster.

However we live in a nation averse to taxes. So public health care might bankrupt the government. Not because the money isn’t there, but because politicians will not be willing to raise taxes.

By cutting the growth in health care costs, we will save far more than these bills cost.

I was watching the news and a democratic senator said the health bill will save $150 billion over 10 years in the deficit, and another $650 billion over the next ten years according to the CBO.

The bill itself only costs $800 billion, and half is paid via medicare cuts. So you invest $400 billion and see $800 billion cut from the deficit.

And that is just public spending. According to the commonwealth fund a well designed insurance reform plan will save $3 trillion over the next 10 years.


Who knows how much we’d save after that. But these plans will pay for themselves via savings due to cuts in medicare and/or lower growth rates in health care costs according to the CBO.

I think you’d be foolish to say that the current system doesn’t have enormous costs; a simple look at the numbers shows that Americans spend more per capita on health care than virtually any other country on the planet, significantly more than they spend in Europe or other places with totally socialized medical systems.

I think the problem some people have with the proposed health care plan is that it very likely won’t eliminate any of the costs we currently have, it will just add more without actually fixing many of the intrinsic problems with the current system.

your first 2 cites only talk about increased “medical” spending, and the first one talks about type 2 diabetes only. now lets say medical expenses go up for all people with type 2 diabetes. all you are looking at is the cost of that medical treatment. you are ignoring the fact that these same people will live healthier lives as a result. healthier people work more and are more productive. net loss to medical spending = net gain everywhere else.

your comparison is like a company that wants to spend less money on travel, so they create a department to handle booking flights and hotels for all employees at the cheapest possible cost. the effect? because its cheaper they fly a guy out on a redeye instead of a normal hours flight, he arrives exhausted and in little condition to do the work he was sent there to do.
or worse, they book a bus to a company event for 10 employees because its cheaper, only the 2 days spent on the bus instead of a couple hours on a plane are a cost, you have to pay those people for their time and there is no way to factor in how pissed they would be spending that much time on a bus instead of a much shorter flight.

think big picture, taking little snapshots and trying to shoot them down is what all of the con uhc people seem to be doing.

Yes. Isn’t that what we are discussing? The idea is that we can cover the increased medical costs of preventative care with offsetting savings created by reducing disease. As the CBO and several medical studies seem to indicate, that won’t necessarily work.

I am afraid you didn’t read the study very carefully. Only the youngest diabetics had enough reduced disease to save money on their care, overall. All the other diabetics had increased costs, overall.

I am thinking big picture - the idea that preventative care will save on health care spending seems problematic at best.


The reason we are in crisis is because the health care costs are gobbling up over 1/6th of our GNP. It is rapidly growing and it has to be changed. Keeping what we have is not an option. It passes the cost onto our products and decreases our ability to compete in the world market. It leaves over 50 million uncovered and the tax payer has to absorb that cost. Insurance companies are raising prices, cutting services and dropping customers who may not be profitable any more. it is a farce.
This is our 1st and last chance to fix it . We have to fight off the insurance and Pharm lobbies and do it right. Will we ever do the right thing in America?

Nobody has yet refutedSinaijon’s link showing that UHC in other countries hasn’t resulted in fewer sick days than the USA. The link is to The Economist, which I would call a reputable source. I think that’s a pretty powerful piece of evidence against the argument that UHC will pay for itself by reducing absenteeism.

I can think of only three ways to explain it away or reconcile it with the study cited by 538.com.

  1. If other countries with UHC had sicker workforces than the USA to begin with, than UHC could still be saving them a lot of sick days, but not enough to match US workers’ records. But that contradicts evidence, ironically produced by UHC proponents themselves, that other UHC countries’ populations are generally healthier, not sicker, than the USA’s.

  2. The graph doesn’t distinguish between paid and unpaid sick days. If UHC countries’ workers are offered more paid sick days than American workers, then they have an incentive to malinger longer than American workers. But I have no evidence for that “if.”

  3. The graph doesn’t measure the “presentism” that 538.com measures, meaning that UHC workers could be healthier and more productive when they do show up. But 538.com itself seems to concede that American workers are exceptionally productive when they are at work.

Of course, even if UHC won’t save any business losses, that hardly proves that it will bankrupt the richest country in the world, when it does not bankrupt poorer countries. But I think Sinaijon’s evidence against the 538.com study needs to be addressed, not ignored.

The reason it doesn’t bankrupt poorer countries is because they cover less. Of course it probably won’t bankrupt us, but people will be allowed to go untreated if it’s not cost effective. This is obviously necessary, but it’s also necessary for the people to know that this is what they are buying into.

You can’t bankrupt a country that’s already bankrupt and wallowing in debt.

You can plunge it even more deeply into debt and force service cutbacks, by instituting a hugely expensive new government health plan that includes imaginary savings through “eliminating fraud and waste” (which we seem unable to do now), electronic medical records (which will add to costs) and preventive care (which will save lives but cost a lot more money through all the tests and procedures that ensue), while refusing to acknowledge that the necessary steps to be taken will have to be paid for by much higher taxes as is the case in countries with universal government health care, and not just taxes on the “wealthy” or fees imposed on the greedy hospitals, avaricious doctors and satanic drug companies.

Suggesting that UHC can “pay for itself” is a dangerous fantasy that most people already suspect is untrue, and will delay the ultimate establishment of UHC.

Honesty is too painful and politically untenable, it seems.

I agree. We need to start over. The Democrats didn’t even make an effort to consult the people. They wanted to rush this thing through by July. This needs to be a national conversation about what we want to accomplish and what tradeoffs we are willing to accept.

And if we do start over, Republicans need to actually come to the table willing to negotiate for real. Maybe after the 2010 elections we’ll see some seriousness on the GOP side, and maybe Democrats will take the right lesson from their debacle and actually consult us next time they want to try something huge like this.

And further, ‘presentism’ is still more productive then ‘absentism’, even if the employee isn’t at full capacity. So if the other countries encourage ‘absentism’ over ‘presentism’, for what ever reason, be it more paid sick days or UHC mandates, it is still a net loss in productivity.

I believe one of the ways Obama purports to be keeping his “health care will not add to the deficit” promise is to assume that the bill reducing Medicaid payments to doctors will pass (it has not been passed for the last six or seven years).

But cuts in fees to doctors is going to be at least as necessary as any tax increase. As you no doubt know, doctors in other countries with taxpayer-funded healthcare have lower incomes than the US. That will have to change.

No kidding - everyone wants something for nothing.