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RightNation.US: Where Are the Grown Ups on Health Care? - RightNation.US

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One of the most respected economists in America actually wrote this:


There are two strongly distinctive aspects of health care. One is that you don’t know when or whether you’ll need care — but if you do, the care can be extremely expensive. The big bucks are in triple coronary bypass surgery, not routine visits to the doctor’s office; and very, very few people can afford to pay major medical costs out of pocket.

This tells you right away that health care can’t be sold like bread. It must be largely paid for by some kind of insurance. And this in turn means that someone other than the patient ends up making decisions about what to buy. Consumer choice is nonsense when it comes to health care. And you can’t just trust insurance companies either — they’re not in business for their health, or yours.

This problem is made worse by the fact that actually paying for your health care is a loss from an insurers’ point of view — they actually refer to it as “medical costs.” This means both that insurers try to deny as many claims as possible, and that they try to avoid covering people who are actually likely to need care. Both of these strategies use a lot of resources, which is why private insurance has much higher administrative costs than single-payer systems. And since there’s a widespread sense that our fellow citizens should get the care we need — not everyone agrees, but most do — this means that private insurance basically spends a lot of money on socially destructive activities.

He's actually comparing paying for health care to buying bread and saying that there's no place in it for consumer choice. I've never read anything remotely intelligent from Paul Krugman as it is, but this has got to be about the stupidest thing I've ever read.

First, why doesn't he compare buying health insurance to buying a house? Who has the kind of money to pay for a house outright? Hardly anyone. So do we stamp "it's a right" on housing and mandate that everyone get one? While there are plenty of liberals who would like to do so, we still have myriad options on housing, and the public option is the worst. Many choose to live in their cars instead. Consumer choice works just fine as long as the government stays out of it, and we've seen all too clearly what happens when the government doesn't stay out of it.

But back to bread. You can't compare something so mundane to health insurance, and to be fair, that's kind of what he's saying. However, it's already the case that we don't treat buying health insurance like we do bread. Find yourself in an emergency state of hunger, walk into your local supermarket, grab a loaf of bread and walk out without paying. what's likely to happen? You're going to get arrested unless you have on really baggy pants. Now, find yourself in an emergency medical situation without the ability to pay and what happens? They give you a ride to the medical treatment store, or hospital, treat you the best they can and bill you for it later. See, that's the part Democrats and liberals want to eliminate, their constituency's need to pay for stuff.

My brother had a nasty asthma attack in his mid-twenties. He was one of those young, healthy guys like myself who went for quite an extended period without insurance--and getting sick in my case. He was taken to the hospital, treated and billed. It took him several years to pay it off, but he was able to do so, while getting care for his newly discovered condition.

So even without health insurance reform, in this country, it's easier to get health care without paying for it up front than it is to get bread without paying for it up front.

Paul Krugman is himself a loaf.

My Mind is Clean

3 Comments On This Entry

The only reason I can think of that Paul Krugman has a Nobel Prize is that, outside of the hard sciences (and Medicine) the Nobel Prize is awarded to the best-known leftist in that field. I know Krugman was once the Golden Boy of the Council of Economic Advisors--under President Reagan, no less!--but he has certainly fallen to being a whiny Keynesian/Marxist who is never reticent but usually incorrect.
Where are the grown ups on Health Care? Good question. I'd take it a step further. Where are the grown ups in politics? When did the last of them forget that they're not sent up there to "...give the people what they want." They're sent to limit the naturally overreaching tendencies of the central/national government. When did the last one forget that? Is it even taught in schools any longer? I can't remember the last time I even heard the word "civics." I had the class in High School, and then it ceased to be part of the American language.


KenpoDude, on Jul 27 2009, 11:20 AM, said:

Where are the grown ups on Health Care? Good question. I'd take it a step further. Where are the grown ups in politics? When did the last of them forget that they're not sent up there to "...give the people what they want." They're sent to limit the naturally overreaching tendencies of the central/national government. When did the last one forget that? Is it even taught in schools any longer? I can't remember the last time I even heard the word "civics." I had the class in High School, and then it ceased to be part of the American language.


The Constitution was supposed to limit them. It was supposed to make them behave like grown-ups. But somewhere along the way, someone figured out that they could simply ignore the Constitution or change the way we talk about it. Some would say Lincoln was the first. I'd say at least by Woodrow Wilson's time.
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