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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • There's no evidence that universal health care is a good thing; indeed, there is more hard evidence against it than for it, as it tends to screw an economy, hurt jobs, decrease the average quality of care, and thereby lower the overall national "well being."

    In any given economic activity there is an inverse relationship between efficiency and "fairness." This is something that is repeatedly misunderstood and it causes fundamental problems when people try to discuss these issues. Failing to recognize this trade-off means that a core problem is ignored: going to either extreme tends to cause the activity to fail. There are plenty of examples where either too much state control leads to economic stagnation and too little leads to economic anarchy. Both "communistic" (however it's practiced) and "laissez-faire" (however it's practiced) economies tend to have serious problems.

    In reality, well-functioning economies lie somewhere between the two extremes of perfect efficiency and perfect fairness. Universal healthcare tends towards being more fair but it does tend to hurt the efficiency of an economy. However, our Darwinistic "sucks to be you" attitude towards health care causes worse problems because hospitals are legally required to not turn away emergency patients in emergency rooms [msn.com]. In fact, some states have even more stringent requirements on what hospitals are mandated to provide. Once in the door, it's tough to get rid of a patient who may be seriously ill or dying. Thus, the poor still get their health care, but at a far higher cost. This is passed on to others in the forms of higher insurance premiums and is one of the reasons why the US has some of the highest health care expenses in the world.

    If you want to truly appreciate the "efficiency" of not having universal healthcare then you're going to have to tell the homeless mother to lie on the street and die because you won't pay for her and her children's antibiotics for the pneumonia they picked up while sleeping under a bridge. Right now, we have a crippled form of universal health care that still drives up the costs but is frequently even more substandard than "socialized" medicine.

    • Both "communistic" (however it's practiced) and "laissez-faire" (however it's practiced) economies tend to have serious problems.

      But I am not arguing for an extreme. It's a given that the U.S. has socialized medicine today, to some extent; so to say that others do and the U.S. doesn't is to say the U.S. doesn't go all the way. It's the author I was criticizing that was arguing for an extreme.

      I essentially agree with much of what you say, though I think I would come down more on the side of laissez-fair