Monday, December 14, 2009


You know what I've been fascinated about recently? No, it's not women, or guns, or any of the usual (while I do find them occupying an extraordinarily large amount of my mind-space, they aren't the topic at hand.).

Mob rule, politics, and the Obama Administration.


Most of my friends can tell you I'm NOT an Obama fan, which seems to be something of a rare breed among people of my demographic, if my Facebook on election night was any indication. I'm not qualified at all to give a measured opinion on how the administration is doing these days, and to say that I'm unbiased would be a joke, but I will say this: I have eyes, I have ears, and I use them.

I've been reading my way through the news these days, on both the (many) left-leaning newsgroups and the (much fewer) rightist newsies(or rather, newsie, singular, which Obama says isn't a real news outlet anyway).

The hot debate right now is the health care bill(or as many call it, Obamacare). I agree that health care reform is necessary, especially with the number of uninsured and the high costs we pay now(or your employers pay, whichever. Personally, I'm one of the uninsured people, but unlike most, I can afford it.). It makes plenty of sense that we (the country) need to get this thing sorted out right the fuck now(now being a subjective time period, starting somewhere last year and ending maybe 4-5 years from now), since we also have another imminent "unprecedented" "crisis" in the form of Social Security stepping up to the batter's plate.

But the way the whole Obamacare bill is going rubs me the wrong way(cat reference, ha!). It talks of creating a government program(which already freaks me out) that will cost us 2.5 TRILLION DOLLARS to START. I thought the whole idea of this health care thing was to reduce costs and decrease the nation debt. Okay, maybe not the decrease the national debt part, since Obama's "spend our way out of the recession" thing already cost us...uh, I forgot.

But it must not be too much, because he said he'll have cut the national deficit in half by the end of his first term.


So this government run health insurance thing, does it make any sense to you? Because I don't get it. It's like, I dunno, a basketball game, where the ref is also a player. But it must make sense to lots of people, since they keep pointing out how effective the Canadian health care system is. And really, people say prescription drugs are too expensive, and how for-profit health care is "disgusting." Maybe it's cause, I dunno, the US funds most of the medical innovation in the world?

Hey, here's an idea. Supposedly, capitalism made America great. Why don't we not bring more government into health care. Let's make it more privatized instead?

It worked for laser eye surgery, didn't it?

Should this health care bill pass, in ten years, if the public option isn't the only option, and we aren't even more ridiculously in debt because of it, imma eat my boot(the old one, after boiling). That is, if I'm not in jail because of it.

In other news:

I should get back to my finals studies now.


michaelmhuynh said...

I don't know why no one realizes that there are problems with the Canadian healthcare system too.

-The wait time to see a Doctor for ANYTHING is usually months long.
-There are a shortage of Doctors since what they get paid is not much, compared to say, the U.S.
-Its not free, Canucks pay for it through their income taxes.

Though those problems might not be so bad in the U.S. if there are still other healthcare providers.

Ray said...

The whole health care debate is really a debate about how much we as a nation and we as a society is willing to pay for a fundamental social safety net that most of the other industrialized nations (and even China) has. The whole argument of private versus public health care is really moot, because the so called "private" insurance companies already get a large portion of their funding from the Federal government as part of assistance and medicare programs. In addition, the "private" sector is a oligarchy of less than 10 major insurance companies with monopolies in certain states.

In essence, health insurance as a whole is nothing but society pooling its money together to bare the risks of individuals in order to dissipate the amount of risk an individual might face. This might make very little sense to the capitalists who have very short sighted cost-benefit analysis. The risk that an individual might contract a deadly and expensive to cure disease is relatively low in probability but high in consequence. However, over long period of time, the low probability (i.e. frequency) becomes irrelevant and given a large population, the risk of contracting a deadly disease is almost guaranteed. Thus, with our current health care costs, an individual will most likely go bankrupt if he or she has less than 200k in savings and 1 million in credit. Once bankrupt, this individual will most likely no longer contribute to society or the nation, costing the rest of society 2-5 million depending on the level of education and skills the individual has. None of this directly translate to tax dollars per say, but it costs society as a whole to give birth, shelter, and train individuals before they can become productive and contribute back to society. If the individual was to become disabled before retirement, then the number of years that the individual didn't contribute before reaching retirement will be a cost to society. In addition, bankruptcy directly transfer all remaining individual debt to society.

Ray said...

So what will a public health care system do? The main objective is to cut costs, but this is tricky. How does one promote cheaper costs to society, but maintain quality of care? It is almost impossible unless you have a system (i.e. China) that can oppress all health care costs including wages for doctors, medicine costs, hospital costs, and medical research costs. This is why Cuba and Mexico actually have some of the best free health care systems in the world. (Surprised? Nah! They have great doctors, but not the multi-million dollar equipment.) However, public health care does get rid of health care profitability that private health care can't and won't do. This savings will translate directly to social wealth. The risk of public health care is if it becomes costly due to governance burdens (i.e. inefficient bureaucracies or corruption). But that depends more on the competence of the public servants who works for the bureaucracy.

So where does the fear come from? Well the whole argument about freedom is moot. You technically have no freedom from paying for health care one way or another. If someone goes bankrupt due to lack of health insurance, the costs are passed on to the rest of society, i.e. you. If some hospital shuts down due to lack of funding from the state, the increase risk of the uncontrolled spread of disease gets passed on to the rest of society, i.e. you. If you don't buy health insurance and contract a deadly disease, but don't seek treatment, the loss of tax dollars generated from your future productivity is passed on to the rest of society, i.e. everyone else. So, where does the fear come from? I don't know. It is illogical and highly propagandized that somehow we can just reform malpractice laws and cut costs on a broad basis. Health care can only become more costly as society grows in size and sophistication. But then again, we could always break down as a society and go back to the dark ages, when health care costs to the rest of society only matters when there is a Plague. In all other cases, if you have cancer and can't afford a real doctor...well too bad, that's capitalism bitch!