Friday, August 28, 2009

Privatize the Fire Department! It's the American Way!

If you think a free market privately-owned for-profit health care system is the way to go, then why not a privatized road system? Why do we allow the government to compete with the private schools? And surely we should also adopt this system for the fire department:

HT: Southern Beale


  1. Anonymous6:09 AM

    And persuasive.
    A Pal

  2. I sense that you mean it rhetorically, but yes, let's consider privatizing roads.

    Now to follow the video narrator's logic, essential things should be government-run. Such as health care.

    Something even more important than health care is food. You need to eat everyday, but you don't necessarily need medicine or medical attention every day. So we should nationalize/socialize the food distribution system in the US. Right?

    The video is filled with too many fallacious presuppositions and conclusion to address in full. But a few that I spotted:

    1. Government bureaucracies are efficient, private companies are not.

    2. Government bureaucracies are accountable, private companies are not.

    3. Government will be able to add money to the pool without taking it away from anyone.

    4. You'd have to pay for private (health or fire) insurance, but public (health or fire) insurance would be free. Somehow.

    5. Goverment bureauracies won't try to weasel out of paying you money or providing services, but private companies will.

    6. "Free for everyone" = "paid for by our taxes".

    7. Government agencies do not "skim money off the top".

    There's another problem that this video, and all other voices for health care socialization that I have heard so far haven't addressed: the Constitution prohibits it. That's a major problem that advocates need to talk about.

  3. "So we should nationalize/socialize the food distribution system in the US. Right?"

    The distribution has not been socialized, but some access to food has, if you liken food stamps to medicare in being basic services to the poor and are calling medicare "socialized". I've heard so many things labeled "socialized" in the health care discussion I'm unsure what people mean when they use the word. We already have medicare, public health clinics and other health insurance provided by the government so that the figure I've heard is that about 40% of Americans are already covered by a government plan of some sort.

    Medicare and private insurance have a great disparity in the monetary efficiency with which they provide services. I have seen figures that differ, but I haven't seen anyone disagree that insurance company overhead is much larger because of its nature. I've seen compensation figures for insurance company execs in the millions.

    Private companies are private for-profit companies; they _are_ accountable.

    My understanding is that everything gets paid for one way or the other, and we can pay for inefficient emergency room care for the uninsured who don't get any preventative care with our taxes, or we can find a more efficient means of getting access to basic medical care to everybody. It's not free, but we are already paying for health care for the poor.

    "Goverment bureauracies won't try to weasel out of paying you money or providing services, but private companies will."

    It's not a matter of weaseling out. It's a matter of the current system being based on motives that end up with the problems we currently have of denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, rescission, inability to bargain for drug prices, increasingly higher costs,.... I heard a doctor at a recent town hall meeting say that some insurance companies he deals with have a policy of denying 5% of all claims. The current system is in need of repair.

    I think that promoting the common welfare could allow for provision of basic health care as a right in the same way that access to a public school system is now considered a right. My tax dollars go to support local public schools that my children have never used. I don't begrudge that.

    I think you could fairly and without argument call Britain's system "socialized" medicine, and I'm not in favor of that, but there's got to be a better way than how we're doing it now.

  4. Anonymous6:13 PM

    I promised myself not to get into the health insurance / health care debate but... Oh, what the heck... I've got nothing better to do.

    1). If you drink alcohol, use tobacco products &/or abuse drugs (both the illegal & prescription kinds), then you deserve whatever health problems you eventually have.

    2). Everyone has 30 - 60 minutes that they can exercise EVERY DAY. Are you exercising at a moderate to heavy rate for that time? Then you deserve whatever health problems you eventually have.

    3). Everyone can save enough money to go to their primary care physician (PCP) twice per year for a check-up, their dentist twice per year for a check-up & their optometrist twice per year for a check-up. Otherwise, you deserve whatever health problems you get.

    4). Everyone can adjust their schedules to sleep 6 - 8 hours per day (some people need less then 8 hours but most of us do). Otherwise, you deserve whatever health problems you get.

    5). Everyone can slow their driving speed down by 5 MPH or down to the speed limit (whichever comes first); Everyone can speak confidentially to a law enforcement officer if they know someone who has or is presently engaged in committing a felony act; Everyone can avoid spending money on lottery paraphenalia; Everyone can allot 1 hour per week towards reviewing their finances.

    If everyone did the above, people would be healthier & wealthier. Our society would be cleaner & more efficient.

    Everything can be improved but, before we attempt to improve others, perhaps we ought to attempt to improve ourselves first & then find out if we need to improve other things.

    Health care / health insurance reform will only work if people utilize it. All this talk is meaningless if people don't utilize the health system already in place & attempt to live a healthly lifestyle.

  5. "you deserve whatever health problems you eventually have."

    I don't feel the same way on this point.

    But, even if I were to concede the point that people who decline to take proper care of their health deserve what they get, what about the children of those folks, stuck in an unhealthy environment with parents who, for whatever reason, do not take adequate care of them?

    Or what about the poor parents whose child is born with a serious genetic abnormality that, while not fatal, requires intensive and life-long treatment, including regular meds and hospitalizations, and whose insurance mazes out in the first few years of life?

    Or what about the person who meets with a devastating accident or disease through no fault of their own?

    "Everything can be improved but, before we attempt to improve others..."

    My concern isn't really to improve other people, and I agree each of us could probably do with a bit of personal improvement. To me, it seems obvious the current system doesn't work, and _that's_ what I'd like to see improved.

  6. Here's an excellent, point by point video rebuttal to the above video.

  7. "and spouting abject nonsense on youtube" LOL! Don't they know that one of the primary uses of youtube is "spouting abject nonsense"?

    Thanks for the link. It is an interesting rebuttal. He sounds like he thinks the current system is fine just like it is. It's not. It needs some change. It doesn't have to be "socialized" (whatever is meant by that) to be improved to work better for the poor sap who just wants to buy insurance but has a pre-existing condition or who thought they were covered only to be victimized by rescission or who can't buy insurance even if they could afford it, etc. He is clearly opposed to reform in this area, and I think this area is a particular problem.

    He sounds like he would get rid of the public school system. I don't buy the non-Constitutional point (I won't call it an argument, because he doesn't argue it, he just mentions it).

    The government already pays for "those services" (food, clothing, shelter) for the poor: food stamps, welfare, subsidized housing). And the government provides subsidies for certain industries/products.

    If we vote for taxation to pay for services, then we've chosen taxation. (And the choice to vote for representatives who then vote for increased taxes is how our Republic works.) The choice to vote for a system paid for by taxes is more of a choice than many have under our current health care system, where many are rejected for health insurance at any price. "Private market" does not equal "choice".

    Interesting objection he has to citizens contacting the government for relief from oppressions by insurance companies whose wrongs are well-documented, while he defends the companies when they bring their much greater resources to bear against the citizens. Of _course_ the insurance companies don't want change. They're doing quite well at our expense (literally) under the current system.

    Profits are _not_ essential. Many a non-profit is doing quite well.

    "Profits prevent the misallocation of resources in the economy"??? lol

    That list of problems he says occurs anywhere health care reform has been tried is just not true. I posted a video a while back of a man who went to several countries and did interviews and research about their systems. The problems differ depending on the system. All the systems are not alike.

    I do agree with his bit about efficiency. And the bit about employer-based health insurance. And the fact that things paid for with tax dollars aren't free.

    And I'm not _insisting_ on socialized (whatever they mean by that) health care; I just don't particularly object to it. I'd settle for reform of the current system so that what I see as the current abuses are remedied.

  8. I'm awfully pressed for time, so I'll just address one point:

    He sounds like he would get rid of the public school system. I don't buy the non-Constitutional point (I won't call it an argument, because he doesn't argue it, he just mentions it).

    Obama's health care proposal is unconstitutional because the Constitution does not authorize the federal government to regulate health care.

  9. But the government _does_ regulate health care. And pays for it, too. Because the government is already doing it, it seems pointless to argue that expansion of the program is unconstitutional.

    And I _make_ time to play online. I find it's fun and relieves stress. And I find such fun stuff out there. I first heard that men never walked on the moon and that the world would end in 2012 online. I just can't resist!

  10. The federal government does indeed do many unconstitutional things: Social Security, Medicare, the Departments of Education, Health & Human Services, Housing & Urban Development, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment of the Humanities, and the Smithsonian Institution, just to name a few off of the top of my head. But I don't think a past history of infidelity to the Constitution by the federal government excuses continuing and expanding that infidelity.