Friday, July 27, 2007


More about Universal Health Care 2

My conservative friends and I have a continuing debate by e-mail about such notions as Universal Health Care. Here is a recent e-mail from one of them:


I agree with you that both Parties are obsessed with policies affecting
small numbers of people, and they do so without much concern for
principle. I think this is a result of the era of scientific polling, which allows small groups of one-issue voters to be identified and subsequently catered to as a means of winning a narrow election. The nonsense of pushing up corn prices by mandating ethanol is a prime example. Politicians are tripping over themselves trying to buy votes in Iowa, even though ethanol makes no sense in terms of energy independence or reducing pollution, and it raises overall food costs significantly for everyone. Immigration policy is another example.

Both parties are trying to get a marginal number of Latino votes by totally ignoring border security.Insofar as the Democratic Party is dominated by Liberals, they do favor imposing national solutions as the preferred mechanism for solving problems. Perhaps 10% of the population has a problem paying for health care, so the solution proposed is to put 100% of the population under the control of the government. When the solution is universal, it will tend to benefit by lack of comparison to better alternatives.The current lot of
politicians are so bad, it seems to me that a third party would have a better chance than any time in the past century.


My response was that I don't believe the ten percent figure R cited. I haven't seen any data on the fraction of Americans that have problems paying for health care; if such data exist, I suspect the number is greater than ten percent. The data I have seen is that public opinion polls show that more than half of the population favors some form of Universal Health Care, whether it's a Canadian-style single-payer, a subsidy to enable everyone to buy a good health insurance plan, or a National Health Service, such as what Britain adopted after WW-2. Because UHC is so popular with the public, I have to believe that a lot more than ten percent of the public is worried about whether medical expenses can be paid. In our system, in spite of what R and other conservatives assert, if medical expenses can't be paid, they won't be delivered. Getting emergency medical treatment at hospital emergency rooms is not a substitute for good medical care, a fact that the public recognizes even if R doesn't.

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