Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Universal Health Care Explained

I've always been against universal health care but could never really explain why in a simple, effective way. Below is an article that does just that. It was written by my blogging friend Roadie who blogs at Roadhouse; check him out in my blogroll. Roadie was nice enough to let me reprint his article on PGZ. Once you read this you'll understand perfectly why universal health care is a bad, bad idea.

Universal Health Care Explained
by Terry Leasure, aka Roadie

"There's no such thing as a free lunch." One of many old sayings that have proven to be very accurate. This concept can be applied to many things in life, but none quite as important as life itself and, to a lesser extent, health care. As I watch the presidential candidates try to out-liberal each other on the "health care crisis" I can do little else than shake my head in disgust.

First of all, there is no "health care crisis". Yeah, I said it. Is health care expensive? Yes. Does that constitute a crisis? No. Cars are expensive. College is expensive. Coffee, cable, and blue jeans are expensive, but we don't refer to them as crises. A health care crisis is when there are no doctors to be found. Or when hospitals shut down. Ironically, this will be the result of the liberals' plan for universal health care. Let me explain.

Health care is a service, an important service, but a service nonetheless. It could also be considered a product. For this reason I can use the following analogy. Think of our health care system as the fast food business. Because we have the power to eat at McDonald's or Wendy's, Burger King has to make sure they make a better burger and offer better service than the other two. Arby's has to make sure it offers something even better by virtue of the Beef & Cheddar. Then Subway steps in and offers an even better deal than any of the others. This is called "competition", the end result of which is constantly improving quality, constantly expanding options, and competitive prices for the consumer.

Now, what if the government stepped in and offered free cheeseburgers for everyone? At first, everyone would rejoice. Then we'd notice a few changes. First, we'd notice McDonald's stores closing down, followed by Wendy's and Arby's. After all, no one is buying their products any more. Then we would notice a persistence drop in the quality of our government issued burgers. After all, why does the government need to worry about quality control when they are the only game in town? Menu options? Think again. Extra mayo? Not a chance. Fries? Don't even think about it.

You see, now the people we rely on to make our burgers are government employees. You know, like the friendly folks down at the DMV or the IRS. As long as they don't stick out in the crowd their job is safe. Now that the government has taken the profit out of the food business why bother with ten years of cheeseburger college just to punch a clock for Uncle Sam? Where's the incentive? Who wants to be a burger chef now? Certainly not the cream of the culinary crop. In fact, few people jump at the chance to do the job at all now that the money is taken out of the equation. This leads to burger shortages due to lack of production. Yet the demand increases due to the fact that the burgers are free now, and everyone wants one whether they need it or not.

To get your "free" burger you are put on a waiting list. Six weeks later, you have the cheeseburger you were promised. It is issued to you at a government facility and it resembles exactly what you would think a government issued cheeseburger would look like. If they forget the cheese just fill out the appropriate forms and someone will review your case in six to eight weeks.

Oh, you don't like cheeseburgers? You wanted a Big Mac, or a hoagie? Too bad.

Remember folks, it's one thing to sacrifice the quality and expediency of a cheeseburger for its cost, but what about your child's heart surgery? Do you want free health care or good health care for your child? You can't have both.

Bravo and amen, Roadie!


WomanHonorThyself said...

excellent post my friend! me I know from friends firsthand what a night mare it is!!

elwoodin said...

Great post girl and Roadie should be proud of that analogy of Health care the regular way, as compared to Universal Health care, which, as he said, will destroy it.


JMK said...

A fine article!

The problem with government-run healthcare is that it pretends to make a commodity (healthcare) a "right," by (1) rationing care, (2) making healthcare providers, veritable employees of the state and (3) masking the real costs, which are ironically HIGHER than if healthcare were provided via the free market, by rolling them into taxpayer financed "government expenditures."

Milton Friedman often made the point, that without government intrusion, healthcare providers would have to provide care at rates the consuming public could afford, same as plumbers and carpenters know that raising their prices astronomically would "price themselves out of the market."

Roadhouse said...

I'm blushing.

JaaJoe said...

This study is 100% Bunk! 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.

virgomonkey said...

UHC scares me a bit. I think we should keep everything put. However, for those who cannot afford health care at all, I think the UHC system should be in place....for them.

The only benefit I see that doctors can get out of UHC is that they don't have to hire as much staff for as much time keeping things running more efficiently in the office. With our present system, staff and even doctors themselves are batting for hours and sometimes weeks with insurance companies just to get their $15 co-pay. Under UHC, that would be kicked to the curb. But that's really the only benefit.

But hey... I like our system. I mean, look at the stigma now on people who are unhealthy, overweight, smoking.. whatever. If a UHC system is put in place and your neighbor coughs a bit, people will start getting bitter that THEY have to pay in taxes for that person's "negligence" to live a healthier life!! People will start calling others hypochondriacs and putting other unnecessary labels on those truly in need of medical help. This is already happening in Canada and in Britain. Now, the PM of Britain is wanting to propose some kind of rule for UHC to only be applicable for the "healthy". Lovely, eh?

Hence the phrase, "Be careful what you wish for".

JMK said...

No form of government-run healthcare has worked effectively anywhere jaajoe....and by "effectively," I mean WITHOUT severe rationing of care, limits on doctor vistis and procedures, etc.

What BOTH Hillary and Obama offer is pretty much what the far brighter Mitt Romney offered in the Bay State - he merely decreed that ALL residents earning above $24,000/year buy their own health insurance (much like mandated auto insurance)...all those BELOW that level were already entitled to Medicaid.

I know a lot of Dems haven't looked closely at the HRC and Obama proposals, but they differ ONLY to the extent that while Hillary would demand ALL those above the poverty buy their own health insurance, Obama's plan would only mandate that for people with children.

Forcing citizens to buy something they'd rather not is NOT "Universal Healthcare" in any recognizable sense.

Not that I'm complaining, although our current healthcare system, reliant as it is on huge insurers, like GHI, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, etc. is plenty flawed.

As the GREAT Milton Friedman observed way back in the 1980s, America's healthcare system has grown more expensive and inefficient the more government and insurance companies mask the real costs, while adding to those costs with layers of bureaucracy.

Friedman long advocated removing BOTH government and insurers OUT of healthcare, as he noted, "Physicians, like plumbers and electricians couldn't price their services beyond what the consuming public could pay, without pricing themselves out of the market."

Tapline said...

Girl, The problem with cost is basically, lawsuits. malpractice insurance for doctors as with lawyers is extremely high. Look at the advertisements on TV..If you suffer from attn Jony Jones. Drug companies the suits......Hospitals...same law suits. Some settlements are outrageously high. If one wants UHC look to Canada and see what happens......