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Fighting The Good Fight
Dr. Paul Hsieh is fighting against socialized medicine in his home state of Colorado.Posted by Rand Simberg at April 11, 2007 07:27 AM
"fighting against socialized medicine"
How many more idiotic references to "socialized" medicine will the right inflict on the world until one of these geniuses looks up the word "socialism"?Posted by Brian Swiderski at April 11, 2007 10:52 AM
Socialism: Any of various theories or systems of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned collectively or by a centralized government that often plans and controls the economy.
In this case, fighting against government provided health care. Theoretically, you should be against it too Brian, with 22 members of a council being "special-interests" and only 2 doctors on that panel, you should be shrieking "NO FAIR!"Posted by Mac at April 11, 2007 11:09 AM
Hey Mac, BS didn't say he had a clue what the word meant.Posted by Leland at April 11, 2007 11:23 AM
Yeah, well, I just had a lesson in the difference between socialized medicine and real medicine that you pay for.
SO had a mammogram three years ago, while a student, at one of the LA County (a/k/a free) clinics. Seems like a good deal, right? Free health care! Except the next routine mammo, at a good private facility after she got a real job, turned up a malignant mass. Which, given its rate of growth (very slow, luckily) seems certain to have been there earlier. What's the difference? You could tell by the way the specialists acted. At the one place, the emphasis was on training interns, providing a feel-good public service, figuring out how to cadge more money from the state. At the other, the emphasis was on saving patients lives, because everyone's job in a place with no access to the government tit depends critically on satisfying the customer.
In this world you get what you pay for. Free health care isn't worth what you pay for it -- it's better than that -- but God help you if it's your only choice.Posted by Carl Pham at April 11, 2007 12:01 PM
I spent 14 years in the military and had my fill with government controlled health care. If anyone honestly thinks the government can do a better job of running health care, how about they examine the VA, the military health care system, Medicare and Medicaid to see how well they function. How about this - let the government prove they can truly run an effective health care program (call it a big pilot project) before letting them take over everything. They've only had 40 years of practice running Medicare (into the ground). Maybe in another 40 years or so, they'll learn how to do the job. Until then, no thanks.
As someone once noted, "If you think healthcare is expensive, just wait and see what happens when it becomes 'free.'"Posted by Larry J at April 11, 2007 12:29 PM
Hey Mac, BS didn't say he had a clue what the word meant.
Yeah, but I'm a genius, like he requested!Posted by Mac at April 11, 2007 01:23 PM
"It is precisely the attempts by the governments in Canada and Great Britain (or states like Tennessee) to guarantee universal "cradle-to-grave" coverage that has led to the runaway costs and inadequate health care in those places."
"Socialized medicine" works pretty well in Sweden; it ain't free, but costs/year are capped, and everybody gets coverage.
The costs aren't runaway and the health care isn't inadequate...and for those who want better/more (and can afford to pay for it), the option always exists to go get it.Posted by at April 11, 2007 01:23 PM
" " says: The costs aren't runaway and the health care isn't inadequate
And how many people do they serve?Posted by Mac at April 11, 2007 01:37 PM
Now there's a ringing endorsement.Posted by MJ at April 11, 2007 02:21 PM
"Socialized medicine" works pretty well in Sweden
You think? Based on what? Rumor? Propaganda from the MSM?
Notice this bit from the first piece:
After the Swedish welfare state came into its own the effects on the economy were quickly felt. In 1970 Sweden had the fourth highest GDP per capita among developed countries with income about 6% above the OECD average. By 1997 it was at fifteenth place with an average GDP per capita 14% below average (excluding Turkey and Mexico, two OECD members that were developing countries). From number 4 Sweden dropped to the bottom-third.
Gosh, sounds great, huh?
Notice this from the second piece:
For decades, Stockholm relied on an underperforming civic health service monopoly characterized by long waiting lists, chronic overspending and flagging quality. Since the experiment [in privatizing health care] began, virtually every sector of Stockholm’s health system has undergone some form of privatization.
Most importantly, it has drastically reduced waiting times for treatment by increasing the number of patients being served. For example, as the figure shows, at St. Göran’s: The average wait for heart surgery is two weeks, compared to 15 - 25 weeks in Sweden’s average public sector hospital. The average wait for hip replacement surgery is 10 weeks, compared to more than a year in the average public hospital. No longer hampered by public system restraints, St. Göran’s is now treating an average of 100,000 more patients each year than it did as a public hospital - but using fewer resources.
Maybe even the Swedes are not so thrilled with the Swedish system anymore?Posted by Carl Pham at April 11, 2007 04:27 PM
"You think? Based on what? Rumor? Propaganda from the MSM"
Er...no, from having lived there. From having participated. From having been married to a Swede and through thousands of conversations with satisfied Swedes who wonder what the hell we're doing over here. Howzat?!
Now, what are your "credentials"?
Try not to disparage the very "propoganda" you cite in support of your arguments. It ain't MSM, but it's media nonetheless.
"Notice this bit from the first piece:"
Gee, for some reason I thouht we were talking about medicine. How come I don't see that in there? Great argument! (caveat: I didn't say socialism was great, I said the Swedish health system worked, for those who need it and use it.)
"From...the second piece"
At least you're on topic here. But your source is suspect. Of course NCPA would sh$t on any form of socialized medicine. Market forces rule! More money for doctors. Patients? Let them eat cake! I will note, however, that they cite EU pressure to reduce taxes as a driving force behind privatization, rather than ipso facto cruddy health care.
Instead of keyboard proselytizing, why not go and find out for yourself, first-hand? Oh yeah, you don't need to, you've got the INTERNET to form your conclusions for you.Posted by Andy at April 11, 2007 04:56 PM
Actually, may I point out that my eldest child was born in Ottawa Canada some ten plus years ago and we were absolutely delighted with the care both the mom and the newborn received. It was a full five days (a few complications) before anyone even asked us about how we were paying for the birth etc..
I know it's just one sample, but I think a lot of what passes for sh$tty Canadian healthcare stories is mythical. Granted they would help themselves if they could at least institute a minimum user fee to keep the hypochondriacs out of doctors offices to cust costs.
And yes, if you had lots of money, there is no place better to fix you up than here. But, for the average guy off the street? I honestly think the Canadian system remains the better choice.
Well, Andy, unless you posted anonymously the first time, I wasn't talking to you. But thanks for the anecdotal evidence anyway. If anecdotal evidence was worth jack, I'd say you had a point. As it is, you're just one point among the dataset. You and your friends aren't a trend all by yourself. I might as well say that because I personally (and a few friends) walked around freely after dark on Chicago's South Side for two years, and nothing bad happened, that all those stories of high crime and misery in that region must be bunk.
What does socialized medicine have to do with the size of Sweden's welfare state? Are you serious? What do you think the government of Sweden is spending 50% of Sweden's GDP on? Elementary schools and prisons? Ha ha.
Hence I think it's perfectly fair to ask what effect the advent of Sweden's vast welfare state -- including socialized medicine as an important and major component -- has had on the Swedish economy. And the hard, cold numbers in the first article (from a Swedish economist) say it ain't looking good. That trumps any handful of "but it worked for me" anecdotes.
But your source is suspect. Of course NCPA would sh$t on any form of socialized medicine...
Dude, they stated facts in the article, and I reprinted 'em above. Do you dispute the facts? On what basis? If you don't dispute the facts, what does it matter whether the source has an agenda or not? If the Devil says the Sun rises in the East, that doesn't make it any more or less true. This is merely a tiresome ad hominem attack. Reminds me of the MSM complaint that bloggers couldn't be accurate and professional because they were, you know, doing it in their basement in their pajamas. It's the kind of attack you make when you can't argue with the evidence.
Now if you've got some Sweden-wide statistical evidence that nationalized health care is working better than I think, I'd be glad to hear it. I've got no dog in this fight per se -- I don't work in the industry -- and I'd love to get my health care for less and better. But all my adult experience, unlike yours, suggests to me that government-supervised health care might be just fine when you're young and healthy (it doesn't take much competence to give out immunizations or deliver a healthy baby), but a complete disaster when you're past age 40 or so.Posted by Carl Pham at April 11, 2007 06:52 PM
Carl, that must explain the higher life expectancy here as compared to Sweden.Posted by Offside at April 11, 2007 07:57 PM
This is my point of view as a norwegian. I'm sick and tired of "liberals" of all sorts trying to use scandinavian countries as some glorified example be it in relation to socialized healthcare or other things. It's annoying because their "Utopia Borealis" simply doesn't exist.
I don't mind paying a certain amount of taxes (even in what oil makes the second richest country in the world) in order to solve problems but I do mind paying taxes that contribute to a problem.
The morass of inefficiencies, incompetence, and undue bureaucratization bred by the current system (especially in Norway and Sweden, I don't have enough specifics to say the same of Denmark or the nordic countries like Finland and Iceland even though I have no reason to suspect they're doing all that much better*) makes sure that a lot of voters are increasingly dissatisfied. There is one norwegian political party in particular that wants to change it and they're the party with the most substantial growth during the last ten years.
I'll add the somewhat recent changes to libertarian/conservative governments in Sweden and Denmark as further indications of what most people actually living in scandinavia think.
* Iceland is a very small country (about three hundred thousand inhabitats in 2006) and thus has a much larger inherent transparancy. I would not be all that surprised if this makes them have less pronounced problems since I believe size to be an important and largely ignored factor in relation to political systems.Posted by Habitat Hermit at April 11, 2007 08:17 PM
Offside: "that must explain the higher life expectancy here as compared to Sweden."
This is irony, I suppose: life expectancy here is less than in Sweden.
However, before ascribing this to an inferior health care system, one ought to note that life expectancy in the USA differs widely by ethnic, cultural, and economic group. And before ascribing _that_ to better medical care acquired for money, note that "White populations living _below_ the median incomes in northern states have the best level of health among whites". (http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-09-11-life-expectancy_x.htm)
This may be _slightly_ relevant, because Sweden is a northern state with median income well below USA median....
"The longest living group ... consists of 10.4 million Asians, with an average life expectancy of 85, says the study in the journal PloS Medicine." That's 4 years longer than in Sweden -but of course Swedes aren't Asian.
Ideally, they ought to be compared with Swedish-Americans of similar income level and similar lifestyle. I don't have such statistics at hand
"Seems like a good deal, right? Free health care! Except the next routine mammo, at a good private facility after she got a real job, turned up a malignant mass. Which, given its rate of growth (very slow, luckily) seems certain to have been there earlier. What's the difference?"
And you don't think private hospitals make these types of mistakes? I believe there should be a certain amount of health care available to every American. I'd love to gut the Pentagon for the funds.Posted by X at April 11, 2007 11:13 PM
Shoot, Carl, I sure did post anonymously! Sometimes I forget to put my name on there. Yeah, that was me.
"If anecdotal evidence was worth jack, I'd say you had a point. As it is, you're just one point among the dataset. You and your friends aren't a trend all by yourself."
Boots on the ground. Lots of them. Just like, you know, how boots on the ground from Iraq provides that anecdotal evidence that tells us everyting be ok, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. (sorry, couldn't help it. Not trying to change the subject).
"Hence I think it's perfectly fair to ask what effect the advent of Sweden's vast welfare state -- including socialized medicine as an important and major component -- has had on the Swedish economy."
If we were talking about socialism in general, or even the Swedish economy specifically, I'd agree. But we weren't; we were talking about the efficacy (not efficiency, efficacy) of health care. It works for people who need it. And who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford it.
"It's the kind of attack you make when you can't argue with the evidence."
Evidence based on statistics, by an org with an agenda. And you know what they say about statistics. I'll take my anecdotal evidence, thanks.
"But all my adult experience, unlike yours, suggests to me that government-supervised health care might be just fine when you're young and healthy (it doesn't take much competence to give out immunizations or deliver a healthy baby), but a complete disaster when you're past age 40 or so."
I'll assume that your statement about my adult experience is a response to my statement that I lived in Sweden. I can't otherwise fathom how you would know much about my adult experiences. So, while it SOUNDS like an insult, I'll not take it as such. But your point, I think, is valid; indeed, most of the folks I interacted with were young (in my age group...well....THEN), with young children. My [then] wife's elderly parents and relatives had no complaints, but that's a small dataset, and Swedes tend to be generally healthier than we here in the US anyway.
Posted by Andy at April 12, 2007 06:02 AM
I'm half-Danish (cinnamon I think) but the health care may work, but again, the population in respect to the US is dramatically different. Besides, when government runs health care, they'll soon start teling you if you're sick or not.
My wife has a friend who's husband is a cardiologist, they live in a small house with old beat up cars, because he's still paying enormous school fees plus even more outrageous insurance fees. So the idea that all Doctors are rich is bunk too, at least when they start out. A little bit of luck and longevity could show you some cash.Posted by Mac at April 12, 2007 06:45 AM
"they live in a small house with old beat up cars, because he's still paying enormous school fees plus even more outrageous insurance fees."
I suspect he's in the minority (with the housing), but this is certainly an issue that needs work; there's probably not much to be done about the cost of medical school, but malpractice insurance is out of control and needs to be addressed. Perhaps by euthanizing all of the idiots who file frivolous lawsuits because their mammary gland enhancement didn't go exactly as planned (not that I'm necessarily against mammary gland enhancement, you understand).Posted by Andy at April 12, 2007 07:01 AM
And you don't think private hospitals make these types of mistakes?
It is not of issue of whether it is possible. The issue is how probable. A private hospital is far less likely to make such a mistake than a public one. There are very fine Doctors and Nurses who work at County run hospitals. However, most of them will tell you that the work load is greater and the supplies are fewer.
In the world of medical care, when you have to make life or death decisions with very scarce resources, then you enter a triage mode. People are sorted into: the near death with no hope (make them comfortable), the severity of trauma (1st priority), the contagious sick (quaranteen them), the mild trauma or sick (they can wait), and then the routine checkup (no time for them).
Because of quantity of experience, a county hospital is one of the best places to go for severe trauma related injuries. They will take you fairly quick, and they can patch you up very fast. Everything else, you should go to a private hospital. Don't just agree with me, go ask a Doctor.Posted by Leland at April 12, 2007 07:08 AM
As costs inevitably spiral upward
Why is the US paying more as a percentage of GDP for less cover than other countries then? Just wondering...
Signed on with a US doctor yesterday for my wife, we've a reasonably good insurance with my work, or so I'm told. Compared to getting access to an NHS doctor the process was pretty painful, her contraception pescription expensive and under our cover she can only get a month at a time unless you reach a separate agreement with the insurance company... none of which was explained up front.
There is certainly a belief in the US that the health care is amazing. As an outsider trying to use it for the first time I'm not over whelmed. And, before anyone asks, I'm not a huge NHS fan either which is probably the most socialist of all first world medical services. OTOH it is one of the cheapest in terms of % GDP.Posted by Dave at April 12, 2007 02:56 PM
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