Monday, April 14, 2008

American conservatives oppose Universal Healthcare not because they don't think it would work...

...but because they're afraid that it would.

The plain truth is that the [Republican] party faces a cataclysm, a rout that would give Democrats control of the White House and enhanced majorities in the House and the Senate. That defeat would, in turn, guarantee the confirmation of a couple of young, liberal Supreme Court nominees, putting the goal of moving the Court in a more constitutionalist direction out of reach for another generation. It would probably also mean a national health-insurance program that would irrevocably expand government involvement in the economy and American life, and itself make voters less likely to turn toward conservatism in the future. (emphasis added)


Keith said...

If anything, the ultimate failure that Universal Health Care would create would turn people towards conservatism, not away from it.

Cliff said...

Yeah Keith, really should avoid trying that rap with a Canadian who knows better and knows that our universal system cost a fraction per capita as the American non-system.

You American conservatives are in for an uncomfortable few years; the pendulum has well and truly begun its swing leftward.

Keith said...

Firstly, there's a reason that a universal system costs less per capita: it's lower quality. Look to France for example. Because the universal system in place there is so shoddy, approximately 90% of the French population has to purchase secondary private health insurance on their own simply to cover items that the French government does not.

Furthermore, in Britain, Hospital management due to their universal system has grown out of control, leading the Parliament to pass legislation to ensure that those who enter a hospital must be treated within 4 hours! How big of a problem is there with the system if the government passes that kind of legislation?

At this point, the only contribution that the Canadian Healthcare system has made is cheap pharmaceutical drugs available to sharp-witted Americans living on the border. Heck, there's a reason that people flock from around the world to have operations and surgeries of importance in the United States: we're efficient, and we provide the best quality service.

Believe me, when it comes to the American Political spectrum, a full swing left is not even on the horizon. The only reason candidates like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are even gaining support is simply because the current administration is disliked, not because their ideologies represent those of the American people. Plus, have you even checked the latest Zogby and Gallup polls? Looks like McCain might pull an upset.

So much for those "uncomfortable few years"...

Cliff said...

Wow, you really have no idea what you are talking about. Canadian healthcare is vastly superior to American care, and costs less for several reasons; vastly less bureaucracy for example, doctors in Canada don't need huge staffs to deal with dozens of insurers all looking for any excuse to refuse to pay or diminish the care the doctors provide, less red tape overall, economies of scale in provisioning and one of the biggest reasons, people aren't afraid to go to the doctor and get the primary care they need rather than let health problems escalate to the point where only expensive emergency care will save them.

In Britain their problems were caused by bringing more privatization into the public system. They've come to seriously regret moving down the privatization path. You're using an example that proves my point.

Sure the French sign up for extra health coverage, I have it too. The Universal system doesn't cover drugs or dental for example. That's an argument for more public care not less.

As for America's political future - if you really think polls seven months in advance of the election are any indicator of what's going to happen, wow are you in for a shock. Demographics are a better indicator and they all point to McCain getting beat like a government mule.

Keith said...

Canadian healthcare is vastly superior? I think this man might disagree. What kind of healthcare system could possibly be superior in which emergency care is rationed to the point that its patients are forced to seek care elsewhere?

Plus, the theory of Universal Health Care, at least on a scale as large as the United States, is economically unfeasible. To pay for the virtually unlimited demand of over 300 million American citizens, the government will have to raise taxes quite a bit in order to fund the initiative. Still, the funds won't be enough to effectively fund the every single procedure performed in the United States. As a result, the Government will choose who gets coverage and who does not. I'm sorry, but it's not the Government's role to choose who deserves coverage or which operation should be performed and which shouldn't.

You claim it provides less bureaucracy? A Government provides less bureaucracy? Haha! Not a chance!

There are better alternatives to lowering the price of health care in the United States, some of which involve additional tax breaks aimed at increasing competition within the insurance industry. Economically speaking, this competition would force insurance companies to significantly lower their prices in order to maintain business. Furthermore, this method allows the better management of American entrepreneurs to provide coverage rather than the often corrupt forces of the Government.

As for Britain, if you honestly believe that privatization alone accounts for the myriad of errors and wait lists in their National system, then there's no help for you. As the article clearly implies, the wait lists and problems in the system were present far before privatization was introduced. Furthermore, it appears as if these so-called "privatized hospitals" are anything but, for if their services are payed for on a contractual quota system, the most powerful driving factor of a private system, competition, is entirely voided.

As for the French, their system cries for everything but more public care. Tell me, how much of your income does the Canadian government take from you? Then, on top of that, how much more are you paying for secondary private insurance? Are the combined costs truly less than what you could obtain on a fully privatized market? I doubt it. If Nationalized Healthcare expanded to the point where every medical service was covered, the individual taxes would be astronomical. How much of your paycheck are you willing to sacrifice to the government for this task?

Considering America's political future, my point merely was that there's nothing to indicate that either Barack or Hillary will run over McCain in November. If anything, the strange characteristics of this election are literally playing into McCain's outstretched hands. The combination of a largely divided Democratic party and a quality nomination of McCain will prove to be a tight election, no matter which way it turns out.

JaaJoe said...

Did you see the Bunk study stating 2/3 of doctors in America want National Health Care. The doctors who did this study also conducted one in 2002 and found that the majority of doctors did not want national health care, the problem with this is that the 2 question surveys drastically differ in there 2nd question. I found this article, 60% of Physicians Surveyed Oppose Switching to a National Health Care Plan, It's worth a read.

Cliff said...

Do I get to cherrypick examples of healthcare horror stories too? America has an unbeatable lead in that natural resource.

As for the cost issue - Canadian style healthcare costs less, per capita and as a percentage of GDP. It's a fact that you can't wish away because it offends your ideology. So if it's affordability you are concerned with you just argued for Canadian style care.

When the Democrats settle their nomination (Gee too many good candidates to choose from rather than not enough - I can understand why Republicans couldn't understand that problem.) they will rally behind Obama and that will mean Armageddon for Republicans in the Presidential, Senate and Congressional elections.

Cliff said...

Jaajoe your site is hilarious. Your position is that if a survey's questions are not stacked with right wing talking points on the subject it is invalid:
"If Quackerman and Carroll really wanted to know the opinion of the surveyed physicians, they could have asked the following question: “Do you support or oppose legislation to eliminate all HMOs, PPOs, and for-profit health insurance companies and to force all citizens to switch to a federally-funded health insurance?” If such a question were asked, then maybe the results of the survey would be of some value."

So only a Presidential poll that asks voters: "Would you still support John McCain if you knew he got into fistfights with other senators, supported corrupt savings and loans against ordinary Americans and had a drug abusing wife who used the medical charity she ran as her personal prescription pad?" would be valid then?

Keith said...

Okay then, let's shift away entirely from horror stories, and instead focus on the larger perspective afforded by studies and statistics.

One of the largest complaints lodged against Universal Health Care is the enormous wait times associated with it. According to studies by the Commonwealth Fund, 24% of Canadians waited 4 hours or more in the emergency room, where in the United States, the number was 12%. The same study found that 57% of Canadians were forced to wait 4 weeks or more to see a specialist versus only 23% in the United States.

Interestingly enough, the poor Canadian performance doesn't end there. According to a 2003 survey of hospital administrators conducted in Canada, the US, and three other countries, 21% of Canadian hospital administrators, but less than 1% of American administrators, said that it would take over three weeks to perform a simple biopsy for breast cancer on a 50 year old woman. The same survey also found that 50% of Canadian administrators versus none of their American counterparts said that it would take over six months for a 65 year old to undergo routine hip replacement surgery. Six months? That's beyond inefficient, it's simply pathetic.

Earlier, you argued that the perhaps the strongest point in favor of Universal Health Care was how most citizens visited their primary care physicians more often, and prevented emergency operations down the road. Yet, with the enormous waiting times associated with even the most mundane procedures, wouldn't the effectiveness of such early warning signs largely disappear?

In terms of cost, there are a multitude of different variables that affect the load placed on both the Canadian and American health care systems. Drug abuse and violence are more common in the US than in Canada, and the enormous disparity in Illegal immigrants accounts for an enormous fiscal weight placed on the back of American taxpayers, further skewing the comparative numerical scale. Comparing the cost effectiveness of two systems with different requirements and problems is beyond difficult: some would call it nearly impossible.

Cliff said...

Except that wait times are as bad or worse in the US as they are in Canada and concentrated in much more dangerous and expensive Emergency room care and heavily tilted by economic and racial status. So if your big argument for how the American system is better because of wait times - well the facts are a problem for you.

The wait time issue in Canada has been heavily exaggerated, was largely the result of short-sighted policy steps by conservative provincial governments and the most success in reducing wait times has come from innovations within the purely public system.

As for comparative cost effectiveness, per capita differences and percentage of GDP differences aren't something that can be dismissed. They are objective measurements. And your non-system doesn't measure up.

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