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Thread: Healthcare

  1. #21
    Senior Member avolkiteshvara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    Normal market mechanisms do not work when you have perfectly inelastic demand, such as with health care. The profit incentive would be to either increase prices or reduce supply at the same price level, which will hold given the unchanging demand (in the absence of a major epidemic, the number of people utilizing health care remains consistent with population growth year-to-year, since you're not going to choose against health care if the other option is dying or excruciating pain).
    Not sure what exactly you are referring to. It depends at what level you are talking about. I've heard of people super gluing their teeth together because they couldn't afford a dentist. Many people avoid seeing the doctor until the absolute last straw and have to go to the ER.

    In the manufacturing business, they say the best way to limit costs of defective products is to catch it early in the build cycle. The more capital that been put into it, the more expensive it is to rework/recall. If you apply that to humans, it cost less to see a doc for some antibiotics than it is to amputate a limb or do surgery because an infection has taken hold.

  2. #22
    (☞゚∀゚)☞ The Decline's Avatar
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    Kill off everyone older than and including the baby boomers and we're set.

    HOSPITALS.
    "Stop it, you fuck. Give him some butter."
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    = Ne > Ni > Fi > Te > Se > Fe > Si INTP (I/PNT) 5w4

  3. #23
    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by avolkiteshvara View Post
    Not sure what exactly you are referring to. It depends at what level you are talking about. I've heard of people super gluing their teeth together because they couldn't afford a dentist. Many people avoid seeing the doctor until the absolute last straw and have to go to the ER.

    In the manufacturing business, they say the best way to limit costs of defective products is to catch it early in the build cycle. The more capital that been put into it, the more expensive it is to rework/recall. If you apply that to humans, it cost less to see a doc for some antibiotics than it is to amputate a limb or do surgery because an infection has taken hold.
    You're right. It's also more profitable to not cover someone who will go over their deductible in preventative care, keeping disbursements as low as possible. The insurance model relies on people who only hold that insurance "just in case". Preventative medicine is the complete opposite of "just in case".

    Insurance at its core is a gambling system. You have a big pool of "losers" (i.e. the people who pay for insurance and do not use it) who subsidize the payments going toward the "winners" (people who have to use their insurance benefits), with the "house" (insurance companies) pocketing the rest. You've also got to pay the "vig" (premium) in order to play the game, ensuring that the "house" has a steady revenue stream.

    If the "winners" start outnumbering, either in quantity of winnings (due to the increased costs of health care, through equipment and drug costs or high charges from health care providers due to the bureaucracy of dealing with multiple insurance companies and profit-seeking doctors ) or quantity of winners, the amount paid into the pool by the "losers" and the "vig", the model breaks down. So an insurance company has to balance the numbers of winners and losers to maintain costs, so as to not fail. That means many near-guaranteed "winners", based on actuarial data, are denied insurance (this is part of the pre-existing condition issue).

    However, there is a problem with all of this. Health insurance companies are publicly owned corporations. What this means is that even before managing this casino operation, they have a first and foremost priority to their shareholders to maintain and increase the price of their stock. The primary means of this is through profitability. This culture has gotten to the point where a consistent profit level is considered a "cost", rather than the reward for running a business well.

    What this all means is that given the rising costs of health care (with no incentive to hold those costs down, as the many insurance companies cannot compete with the highly-collusive health care industry), insurance companies have no choice but to screen out otherwise-healthy people, either for too many small "winnings" (preventative care) or for the possibility of a huge payout in the future (the other part of the pre-existing condition issue), or deny coverage. This is not because these people cut into their revenue stream, but because net profits are increased by their not being in the pool. The most profitable health insurance model would be covering nothing but otherwise-healthy 18-35 year old males, as they use health care only when necessary (for the most part), and the higher risk of catastrophic injury is outweighed by the much lower slow trickle of health-related payouts. Everyone else is a drain on profits, as the increased revenue is balanced by the need for more workers to handle the cases.

    The reason single-payer health care works so well in other countries is because the national health insurance company is large enough and has the force of law on its side to suppress the cost of care. Health care companies, such as for-profit hospital systems, pharmaceutical companies and medical supply companies, would see their revenue streams plummet, which is why they are lobbying so heavily against it.

    Doctors, by and large, wouldn't see their incomes drop, as they are generally paid what the market demands for them. At the same time, private practice doctors may see a drop in revenue, but it's unlikely as either their revenue comes from non-insurance sources, or their costs are low enough to be part of many insurance plans.

    The real cuts in revenue would come from the elimination of bureaucratic overhead, much of which would be unnecessary with a single system and consistent paperwork, along with computerization. This also puts pressure further downstream, as supply companies will no longer be able to overcharge for basic items that cost nothing to manufacture, and pharmaceutical companies won't be able to foist ridiculously expensive patented drugs on doctors when much cheaper generic alternatives exist.

    I'm not saying it'll be a perfect system, but it will be much less expensive than the one we currently have (which we do pay for with our tax dollars, due to public emergency rooms - that's where the revenue-neutral arguments come from), and it will provide a greater scope of care for more people at a lower cost. I don't see why anyone would oppose that.

  4. #24
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by onemoretime View Post
    The reason single-payer health care works so well in other countries is because the national health insurance company is large enough and has the force of law on its side to suppress the cost of care. Health care companies, such as for-profit hospital systems, pharmaceutical companies and medical supply companies, would see their revenue streams plummet, which is why they are lobbying so heavily against it.

    The real cuts in revenue would come from the elimination of bureaucratic overhead, much of which would be unnecessary with a single system and consistent paperwork, along with computerization. This also puts pressure further downstream, as supply companies will no longer be able to overcharge for basic items that cost nothing to manufacture, and pharmaceutical companies won't be able to foist ridiculously expensive patented drugs on doctors when much cheaper generic alternatives exist.
    So much in the above post was spot on but I just wanted to focus on the lobbying aspect against single-payer. There are several corporate lobbying firms that are sabotaging the current town halls that are taking place to discuss health care reform. One of the biggest offenders is FreedomWorks, lead by Dick Armey, as well as Right Principals and Americans for Prosperity. They are running coordinated efforts to sabotage and disrupt the town halls and FreedomWorks has even circulated an instruction booklet on the deliberate interference of such gatherings. The lobbyists representing AMA, PHRMA, AARP have received millions to stop single-payer dead in its tracks.

    Insurance companies are literally making a KILLING off our perverse system of "health care"...and I do mean that literally.
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  5. #25
    Senior Member matmos's Avatar
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    Singapore's health care system seems cheaper and more efficient. It puts the ball back in the patient's court without some of the minuses of European systems:

    Singapore's Health Care System: A Free Lunch You Can Sink Your Teeth Into, Bryan Caplan | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  6. #26
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    I currently do not have health insurance, and I do not want single-payer health care. In fact, the government is already spending too much on health care in this country (approximately 40 cents out of every dollar spent on health care).
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  7. #27
    Senior Member statuesquechica's Avatar
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    ^I am always amazed at how people will act against their own best interest. Costs are so high because the system is inefficient...why not look to other countries that do health care better?
    I've looked at life from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It's life's illusions I recall
    I really don't know life at all

    Joni Mitchell

  8. #28
    Order Now! pure_mercury's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by statuesquechica View Post
    ^I am always amazed at how people will act against their own best interest. Costs are so high because the system is inefficient...why not look to other countries that do health care better?

    I don't believe it is in my best interest. We haven't had a free market in health care in a long time, and I'd much rather try that. The most dynamic parts of the American health system are the ones that are less government-directed. I read somewhere that there are more MRI units in the state of Washington (population 6 million or so) than in the entirety of Canada (population 33 million or so). We lead the world in pharmaceutical breakthroughs, as well, despite the 8-10 years and tens of millions of dollars it takes to get a new major drug through FDA approval. I would never argue that our current system is efficient, but it's not very free.

    And I won't be without health insurance for long, either.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

  9. #29
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pure_mercury View Post
    I currently do not have health insurance, and I do not want single-payer health care. In fact, the government is already spending too much on health care in this country (approximately 40 cents out of every dollar spent on health care).
    The politicians are not good with numbers either.
    But they have aides.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildcat View Post
    The politicians are not good with numbers either.
    But they have aides.
    Their aides aid them in lying to the voters.
    Who wants to try a bottle of merc's "Extroversion Olive Oil?"

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