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Monday, November 16, 2009

Ron Paul on socialized medicine

In Ron Paul's latest Texas Straight Talk weekly column, he writes:

Last Saturday many concerned Americans watched in horror as the House passed the healthcare reform bill.  If this bill makes it through the Senate, it would massively overhaul the way healthcare is delivered in this country.  Today, obviously, we don’t have a perfect system, but this legislation takes all the mistakes we are making with healthcare and makes them worse.  Most of what is wrong with healthcare stems from decades of government intervention and the resulting unintended consequences.  But the government’s prescription for the ills caused by intervention is always more intervention.

You can read Paul's entire column here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on November 16, 2009 | Permalink


And here is where Mr. Paul and I, fail to see eye to eye. Yes, government fucks it up. Yes, it is not as efficient as it could be. But it is still better for everyone. Not everything should be measured in dollars. Still liking Mr. Paul tho, I agree with him on most of the topics he talks about.

Posted by: Steve Bottrell | 2009-11-16 4:58:49 PM

Not everything should be measured in dollars, Steve. But dollars are exactly what Obama is measuring. He thinks he'll save money; he thinks he'll save people from financial ruin. It's all about money, and bad economics, and not about good medicine.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-11-16 5:07:24 PM

I must agree with him on this topic. He is correct that it is government interference that has caused most of the existing problems and that more government interference can only make things worse.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-11-16 5:14:22 PM

"But it is still better for everyone."

Steve, I'm not understanding your comment. What is better for everyone? A completely socialized system?

From the CON laws, to group insurance deductibility, to the FDA, the government is pricing healthcare out of the reach of Americans.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-11-16 5:25:50 PM

Yep, if that's what you want to call it. No one should have to worry about whether they can afford to go to the doctor. Or receive emergency care. It is one of the governments core jobs imo. Care of its Citizens. That doesn't mean I think they should run it, just collect the taxes for it. We could easily afford it as a society, if we weren't pissing it away elsewhere.

Posted by: Steve Bottrell | 2009-11-16 6:46:12 PM

Matthew, I'm not real sure how Obama is proposing to do it, but I'll take the Canadian system, warts and all, over the American system. Insurance companies shouldn't be making health decisions.

Posted by: Steve Bottrell | 2009-11-16 6:49:41 PM

Steve, the problem with "should" and "shouldn't" is it takes the heavy hand of the state to make it a "shall" and "shall not". Since the state's only real power is a monoply on the use of force, I would rather take my chances in the free market.

Posted by: TM | 2009-11-16 8:37:55 PM

@ Steve:

Consider, please, the possibility that the reason "healthcare" IS so expensive is precisely BECAUSE of the state monopoly and lack of true competition, together with a system stacked with perks for Big Pharma and the allopathic Medical Establishment.

WHY does the State restrict the number of people who can be MDs? WHY do they dictate who may and may not offer this or that therapy for what ails you?

Could it at all be related to the same motives that criminalize cannabis?

Steve, as I am sure you can appreciate, most people today can afford to go to a dentist or get most OTC medications; most can afford to get a massage or get eyeglasses or contacts.... because of the relatively free market in these areas of care.

Isn't standard healthcare too important to leave to the restrictionists and monopolists in government?

Wouldn't freeing people from dependency on the State for healthcare result in a more responsible and healthy population?

Posted by: JC | 2009-11-16 8:50:28 PM

You know, it really doesn't matter because Congress is going to do what it wants anyway. Ron Paul is right.

Posted by: Dam | 2009-11-17 5:29:56 AM

"That doesn't mean I think they should run it, just collect the taxes for it."

"Insurance companies shouldn't be making health decisions."

Steve, I'm still not understanding you. Are you suggesting the gov't should be making health decisions? If so, you've contradicted yourself.

The reason insurance companies have so much power in the States is because group health insurance plans are tax deductible while if you pay individually, it's not. It isn't normal to require insurance to pay for a regular visit to the doctor. Insurance should only be for catastrophic events.

And as far as the Canadian system goes, we're free-riding. We get drugs for less while Americans pay more, and we have an outlet for expensive operations (i.e. rich Canadians go south of the border). If American socializes its system, we're going to have a problem (it may or may not be manageable). Then again, once the boomers get older, we'll have a huge problem anyway.

The other problem with providing universal coverage for "free" is that demand goes to infinity. I'd be much more open to a very decentralized system of welfare that tends to the needs of those who really require it while leaving healthcare to the free market.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-11-17 5:59:37 AM

steve said:
"We could easily afford it as a society, if we weren't pissing it away elsewhere"

Exactly. Bring the troops home and minimize the roll of government, and re-allocate those funds on job creation and increasing the standard of living of americans. With more disposible income, more americans would be able to afford essential things such as health care. Free market health care is way more efficient than government run health care. Healthy people should only be paying for sick people if the sick people can't take care of themselves. In this case it's charity. Bring back charity hospitals where no one gets turned away. This way people with minor problems always have the help they need, and people can decide if they want health insurance or face the free market for when major problems occur.

Posted by: EndtheFed | 2009-11-17 7:01:29 AM

Also, when the troops are brought home and government is restored to a reasonable level, there won't be this increasing need to de-value our currency by printing money to cover the bills. This is a contributing problem to the reason health care is so expensive, as well as other things (education etc).

Posted by: EndtheFed | 2009-11-17 7:03:48 AM

If (when) Obama-Care gets through congress we will see a cynically intended, messy, painful transition (as contaminated risk pools drive private insurance rates through the ceiling) to single payer Canadian-style rationed care with laws or regs making it illegal to contract directly with doctors in the US also a la Canada.

I predict that we will see a growth of private clinics clustered on both sides of the 49th parallel designed to exclusively serve customers from the adjacent country. When this becomes illegal through tax treaty or some other perverse measure, they will move off-shore to ships (libertopian floating cities?) or friendly countries as they already exist in Mexico, India and Costa Rica.

IOW, until we sink into a complete totalitarian (likely Islamic) abyss, two-tiered health care will find a way to persist.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-11-17 10:28:04 AM

Charles, No the government should not be in the medical business. I was thinking more of a pool of money, that the government can't access for their own use. Perhaps administered by a board of doctors, removed every 5 or 6 years and replaced with new blood. You would have to have civilian oversight, to make sure no-one is ripping anyone off, or something like that. You are gonna have to forgive me, as I know I'm glossing over stuff, but thats the general idea.
And have you been to the dentist? With out coverage? It ain't pretty. I can't afford any major work, I would have to sell at least my vehicle, which would mean I couldn't work. I am just a small business owner, struggling along. Hopefully, it all gets better (I just opened a few months back) and I can make a decent living at what I love, but if I had to pay tomorrow, I would be in deep shit.
I know there are problems with Canada's health care, which I see as bloated bureaucracy, greed, and stupidity as the main problems, but the idea is good. We just need good people to look after it. Altruistic people. Hard to find, I know.

Posted by: Steve Bottrell | 2009-11-17 8:27:45 PM

Or perhaps Feds idea might work, but I don't have that much faith in humanity to do the right thing. Take a look at the world, you will see what I mean.
In general, we suck. I wouldn't leave humanity alone to watch a sandbox, let alone the planet. Hopefully we get better, and not worse. And as to Johns comment on Islam, perhaps. Sure the hell hope not. Humans will be much better off the second we all say "god? wth is that?" Seriously, religion has to go, for humanity to go forward. Oh well, we will all be dead long before that happens.

Posted by: Steve Bottrell | 2009-11-17 8:36:14 PM


I understand your idea. There are, however, massive problems with this type of centralization. 1. There will be no way for this board to estimate demand. They'll have to rely on doctors to inform them of the demand they perceive. Since it won't be their money, the docs and administrators will overestimate the demand and your program will quickly spriral out of control (we won't even go into the bribes and corruption - think carbon credits in Europe). 2. Pricing. How will this central board price the services in the most optimal way? How will it decide who needs which service? 3. Do you really want, as a taxpayer, to pay for people who can afford healthcare?

I understand your skepticism regarding human nature. I'll have to dig around for studies which show that with lower tax rates comes more charity, but I don't have time to find them right now. But just to be clear, it not the masses that will give more to charity but the newly wealthy (i.e. create more wealth thus more charity). Think Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Furthermore, I used to work for a firm that manages private wealth. Our clients were almost all entrepreneurs. You'd be amazed at how many of them were giving a significant portion of their wealth away to charity. My biggest concern with FED's idea is that the increased charity won't be enough to cover for those who can't afford healthcare.

As for your dentist example, you've outlined a much broader problem in our economy. Inflation. The poor are being decimated by inflation created by our monetary authorities (based both on economic illiteracy and political pressures to pay for deficits). Balancing budgets, completely deregulating the banking sector, and reducing taxes would do three things 1) create more wealth and jobs (hence higher salaries for everyone), 2) stop the inflation madness, and 3) lead to more charity.

I still stick to the decentralization (at the municipal level) idea. I could, however, change my mind more towards FED's thinking if ever we implement what I highlighted in my above paragraph (highly unlikely though) and see that charity would be sufficient to cover the needs of the poor.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-11-18 5:39:49 AM

thanks for this post. I just read about a new product calledClaritin Eye. This is not liquid loratadine for the eye. It is a solution of ketotifen 0.025%, which is exactly the same asZatidor. They are available over-the-counter. Drops can be put in the eye about every 12 hours. To answer a common question: no, samples are not available in doctor's offices, at least not mine.

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