Tuesday, July 21, 2009
  One bit of logic on health reform

Polistra has frequently stated the plain and simple truth: Follow France. Simply duplicate the French single-payer system. Costs half as much, gives better results. No further discussion is needed. For that matter, the Australian system would do just as well.

But since we're incapable of doing anything proper or useful, since Obama is taking the worst of both worlds with more cost than savings, with even more profit to Big Pharma and Big Insurance than the current setup, we're stuck as usual in the standard nonsensical "debate" between the standard two teams of zombies trying to defend the indefensible. As usual in American politics, our "reforms" only lead to more complication and faster collapse.

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I'm constantly frustrated that the brand-D side isn't pushing for genuine reform, isn't using all available arguments to make the point, isn't countering the tired old nonsense with plain facts.

One argument that could be knocked down easily: Brand-R constantly says "People come here from other countries to get superior medical care. Americans don't go to other countries for medical care. This one-way flow proves our system is the best."

This may be numerically true but it proves nothing.

Fact is, other countries do a vastly better job for all but the richest citizens. Their richest people can afford to hop in the private Gulfstream and zip off to Mayo for the best liposuction.

America does a wonderful job for the richest and a shitty job for the lower half. Those who are badly served by the American system can't afford to wander the world in search of better service, so they don't show up as the opposite side of this equation.

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Later: Kudos to CNN's Rick Sanchez for breaking out of the Zombie Jamboree and locating some actual facts. His interview with the former Canadian health minister yesterday covered this territory, even the same language about rich folks zipping off to Mayo. He totally exploded the standard brand-R line about rationing. But he didn't quite reach my basic logical point.

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Later still: Another question I'd like to see answered, not quite related but worth writing while I'm thinking of it.

Why does individual medical coverage cost dramatically more than corporate group coverage? If corporations did most of the work this would make sense, but they generally don't. I know this because I used to work as an office manager. We didn't select the employees for health, and we didn't filter or process the claims; we just mailed them to Equitable.

The insurance companies say it's because the group pools the risk, but this doesn't make sense either. The entire purpose of the insurance company itself is to pool all of the risks. Employers don't "pre-pool" anything. The concept is meaningless.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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