Saturday, August 8, 2009

Very Interesting...

Check out this blog post covering a protest in Denver on August 6th when Nancy Pelosi came to tour a medical clinic for the homeless. Be sure to read the whole thing.

Thanks Paula!

7 comments:

BLBeamer said...

what blog post? is there a link?

BLBeamer said...

Thanks for adding the link.

Shafiq said...

The culture wars disappoint me. Too much shouting and not enough working together to find a solution acceptable to all.

I'm not too familiar with US healthcare reform so I wanted to ask this question: Is there any particular reason why there can't be a state based solution?

Where conservative states can have a more free-market solution and liberal states have a more liberal leaning one?

Maybe the problem with US healthcare is that the US is too big for healthcare to be run nationally?

BLBeamer said...

Hi, Shafiq - We have several versions of federal government based health care now:

1) the Veterans Administration. Available to veterans only.
2) the Public Health Service
3) Medicare. This is largely for all citizens age 65 and over.
4) Medicaid. This is for low income folks and has a means test.

Many states have systems of their own, too. In fact many large counties have systems, also.

There are many other reasons why so many Americans oppose national run health care, but the one you mentioned - the sheer size and diversity of the US - is not insignificant.

Steve B said...

So, the anti-Health care types are "astro-turfers" and angry mobs. But the Pro-free folks who show up with professionally printed signs and bullhorns, being bussed from event to event, are just a bunch of concerned citizens.

Got it.

Shafiq said...

BLBeamer,

Thanks for the links. From what you've said and from the research I've done, it seems 50 state based healthcare systems are better than one federally run one. A couple of things do need to change (in my opinion):

1) The skewed incentives that lead to Doctors getting paid more for prescribing tests that are unnecessary.

2) Employer-based insurance provisions, which from what I can see burden some businesses to the verge of bankruptcy. I also read somewhere that such a system was only meant to be temporary.

3) Some way of getting the uninsured, insured. These people usually end up going to the hospital very late, pushing up costs and then not paying. This raises everyone else's insurance premium.

Doing nothing however, is not an option. As the US (and Western Europe) ages, healthcare costs will continue to rise. Seeing as the US already spends 16% of its GDP on healthcare, further rises would be disastrous.

Steve B,

No, I think the author of the post thought of it as the other way round.

BLBeamer said...

Shafiq - I agree with you to an extent but differ with you on some particulars.

1) One of the incentives you alluded to is the high risk of crippling liability litigation. This gives doctors the incentive to order more tests than they might ordinarily, in order to protect themselves from being sued. There are others, certainly.

2) I'm not sure what you are alluding to here.

3) I think it is helpful to not confuse health insurance for health care. Many people do not have the former, but are able to get the latter. And many folks who have insurance are dissatisfied with the health care they receive. I am one of those happy individuals who has both and is satisfied.

It is almost a truism that if there are perverse incentives, and dysfunctional markets, a government entity is in the vicinity. This is no less true in the US in regards to health care.