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Old 07-04-2007, 07:12 PM   #241
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Also, it isn't a God given right that everyone should have free health care. At least that is what I believe. If you have a job and are helping out society, you can get healthcare. But if you aren't doing anything and being lazy, why should I spend my hard-earned for you to get treatment to lose weight?
This is how you think it is? Son, you've either lived a privileged life, or you have a lot to learn.
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Old 07-04-2007, 07:17 PM   #242
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No, the post office should be making money no matter what, for it is a monopoly in its system. It has no competition, therefore it has nothing to lose.
Fed EX, UPS, DHL compete for a big portion of their work, where have you been?

I can't even remember the last time I used the USPS.

The point is you are comparing an apple to an orange.
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Old 07-04-2007, 07:18 PM   #243
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Originally posted by struckpx


Yes, unfortunately, we have a larger ethnicity mix, so our age variance differentiates. Plus w/ about 270 million more people, you would think it would vary greatly as well.
You have a larger ethnicity mix than... ? Btw, I find it sad that you consider it unfortunate that the US has a diverse ethnic make-up.

Ever heard of a statistical principle called regression to the mean?

Again, this argument doesn't wash.
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Old 07-04-2007, 07:19 PM   #244
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This is how you think it is? Son, you've either lived a privileged life, or you have a lot to learn.
I just looked at his age, so it's probably a little bit of both. Not having lived out in the real world can really distort one's view of the healthcare system.
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Old 07-04-2007, 07:20 PM   #245
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Originally posted by struckpx


If you aren't American, how can you know the ins and outs of our health care system personally? That lowers the level of argument.

Also, it isn't a God given right that everyone should have free health care. At least that is what I believe. If you have a job and are helping out society, you can get healthcare. But if you aren't doing anything and being lazy, why should I spend my hard-earned for you to get treatment to lose weight?
Did God tell you this in one of your conversations with him?
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Old 07-04-2007, 07:21 PM   #246
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


I just looked at his age, so it's probably a little bit of both. Not having lived out in the real world can really distort one's view of the healthcare system.
True. Sometimes (not always) it takes life experience to gain compassion and empathy.
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Old 07-05-2007, 04:58 PM   #247
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A compromise proposal of sorts...or just wishful thinking?
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He's got the indictment of health care right, but not the fix

By Austan Goolsbee
slate.com, July 1, 2007


Michael Moore's shtick cracks me up. As entertainment, most of his movies are great fun. In Sicko, though, he goes beyond his usual ranting. After spending the first half of the movie railing against the American health-care system, he actually puts forward a policy prescription. Moore thinks the United States should adopt a free, single-payer, national health system like Canada, the United Kingdom, France, or Cuba—socialized medicine, in the words of his critics.

So, how does the movie stand up on policy grounds? Moore is right in his indictment of the American health-care system, but overhasty in his readiness to blow it up.

Moore begins by blaming the profit motives of health-insurance companies for the main ills of U.S. health care. While it's easy for free-market types (and I consider myself one of them, mind you) to dismiss his critique of a profit motive, in the case of health care he isn't so far out there. He has a bead on one of the classic examples that economists use of market failure. If you set up a market-based health system, allowing insurance companies to pick and choose who and what they will cover, you give them overwhelming incentives to dump, deny, avoid and neglect the sick people. And when you operate the system mainly through employers (as we do), you impose intense costs on U.S. industry and you ensure that the pool of people without insurance tends to include the unhealthiest, costliest cases around. Economists call this "adverse selection" and when there is too much adverse selection—when the health of the people in the uninsured pool is extremely different from the average person in the country—the market may fail completely. Insurance companies may just deny people coverage entirely.

This is a problem at the core of our health care woes. Moore finds scores of examples—people with tumors, heart problems, lost limbs and digits, you name it. And in each case the insurance company finds a way to deny paying for people's illness even though the people actually have health insurance. He also shows people who simply cannot get insurance because they have pre-existing conditions, are too heavy, are too light, and on and on. Without any rules against cream-skimming, the insurance companies have every incentive to keep dumping the sick people—often retroactively, after they become sick. Moore shows the insurance companies literally giving bonuses to the reviewing doctors who deny the most claims. If you can pay premiums to your insurance company for 30 years and then they can just drop you when you have a stroke, the system is seriously broken.

So first half, so good. Moore's public policy indictment is pretty much on target. And it's easy to buy his thesis that it persists because of the massive political contributions by insurance and drug companies. His telling evidence: The 14 congressional aides who left to become lobbyists following the recent Medicare changes; the $100 million spent to defeat President Bill Clinton's reform proposal in 1993; former Rep. Billy Tauzin's jump from helping to move the prescription drug bill through Congress to heading a major lobbyist drug company association, at a salary of $2 million a year. Addressing cream-skimming is at the heart of every responsible program for U.S. health-care reform, in states like Massachusetts and proposals from presidential candidates John Edwards and Barack Obama (to whom I'm an economic adviser). These plans take aim at "pooling," for example, by allowing insurance companies to insure an entire state or region as a whole in exchange for serving everyone in that pool—no dropping, no denials, no shenanigans. The insurance companies get the certainty that the group they insure has the same level of health problems as the general population; they give up the cream-skimming.

For Moore, though, the answer is not reform of the current system. It is having the government run it all. He sets out on a worldwide tour to show us how great a single-payer system is in countries that have it. And here's where his policy prescription goes into overdrive. At the most simplistic level, giving free health care to everyone costs a lot of money. Especially since people tend to use things more frequently when they are free. Let's say the universal and free coverage part cost an additional $200 billion a year. How do you pay for it? This is the vexing question for single payer. Most advocates counter that health costs in single-payer countries are dramatically lower than in the U.S. private-care system. Switching to a U.K.-like single-payer system would cost a great deal of money initially, but if it would eventually get our costs down to U.K. levels, we could afford it.

But that's a big question mark. The U.S. system differs for a lot of reasons, and the insurance industry is only one of them. Our doctors are paid substantially more than British docs, for example. To get costs down to a comparable level, a single-payer system in the United States would have to seriously cut doctors' pay. Moore seems to anticipate this critique and thus interviews a doctor in the U.K. who makes $200,000 a year and drives an Audi. But this time the anecdote is at odds with the data.

Nor do these countries have the same costs associated with malpractice lawsuits that we do. A single-payer system here would have to also include some truly major rearrangment of the tort system to bring those costs down. You would also need to dramatically slash drug prices. Moore takes some neglected 9/11 workers to Cuba, and an inhaler that cost them $100 in the U.S. costs 5 cents there. The price differences are also present, to a less extreme degree, in Canada and the United Kingdom. The problem is that these places get cheap drugs only because they are free-riding off the massive profits made in the American market. If our government required medicine here to be sold at no more than the lowest price charged abroad, the drug companies would drive the costs up in the other markets rather than reduce them here.

Each of these caveats is important. But the main problem with Moore's policy solution is that a national health system wouldn't fix one of our health care system's main flaws—one that people really hate—the denial of service. It just changes who decides, so that the government makes the call. In one heart-wrenching case in the movie, a woman whose husband has kidney cancer is told by the insurance people that they won't allow an experimental treatment that might save his life. But that scene would likely play out just the same way in a nationalized health system. In those systems, cost-effectiveness decisions get made all the time. Care is rationed. That's what happens if you offer something for free—you have to make rules about who is allowed to get it. So, you forbid smokers from having heart bypasses, or, in a more recent debate in the U.K. about a new hay fever medicine, you just say the medicine is too expensive to be used.

In Sicko, Moore tries to skirt the issue of rationing by going to a Canadian emergency room and finding that people have only had to wait there for 20 minutes. But that's not the relevant comparison, of course. The emergency room is less crowded in places where everyone has health care. The question is what happens for the vast majority of expensive procedures that you don't go to the emergency room for. And for those, patients in single-payer countries tend to wait much longer than in the U.S. and can easily be told that they can't have a particular treatment at all. So, to do as Moore wants in the United States, you would need to do more than just overcome the insurance industry. You would need to cut the salaries of doctors, reform the legal system, enrage our allies by causing their prescription drug costs to escalate, and accustom patients to a central decision-maker authorized to determine what procedures they are and are not allowed to get. Unless every one of these changes comes together, Moore's new system would end up costing an enormous amount of money.

You can see, then, why many reformers (like Edwards and Obama; Hillary Clinton hasn't gotten as comprehensive yet) argue that we should start by fixing the most glaring problems of our system without junking it and starting over. We could use pooling to move away from the dump-and-deny insurance we have now. We could reward doctors for doing a good job, the way they do in the United Kingdom. We could focus more on preventing sickness, the way they do in Cuba, to reduce the number of illnesses. These step-by-step changes would go a long way to alleviating the most damning problems with the U.S. system.
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Old 07-05-2007, 05:01 PM   #248
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Quote:
Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


Fed EX, UPS, DHL compete for a big portion of their work, where have you been?

I can't even remember the last time I used the USPS.

The point is you are comparing an apple to an orange.
So you use Fed Ex to mail a letter?
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Old 07-05-2007, 05:15 PM   #249
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So you use Fed Ex to mail a letter?
I don't mail letters, most people don't, the art of the letter is dead. Even invitations have gone majority e-vite.

Are you still trying? Face it man, it was a poor comparison.
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:01 PM   #250
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Originally posted by VintagePunk


True. Sometimes (not always) it takes life experience to gain compassion and empathy.
I would say many things are best learned through life experience.


Through life experience I have changed many of my opinions / beliefs.
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Old 07-05-2007, 06:42 PM   #251
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I just saw the film. It was excellent. A much more serious film overall than his previous ones and though there were some amusing parts, I think he's best when letting other people tell the story. I have to think about it some more before adding to this discussion further.
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Old 07-05-2007, 07:29 PM   #252
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Holy smokes! If Fox liked it, Moore is onto something.
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:30 PM   #253
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I seems like most of you would find the movie less believeable if Fox likes it.
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:36 PM   #254
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


I don't mail letters, most people don't, the art of the letter is dead. Even invitations have gone majority e-vite.

Are you still trying? Face it man, it was a poor comparison.
Why would I want too? You would just make me and my arguments feel like shit anyway. Congratulations.
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:38 PM   #255
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I seems like most of you would find the movie less believeable if Fox like it.
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