Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Why Capitalism and Health Care Don't Mix

It's pretty basic; our current, private, model of health care is broken. It does not work. Here's why.

Capitalism is usually a pretty decent way to run things, but in the instance of health care it fails miserably.

Let's take a theoretical family. This family gets no health care through their work, so they purchase their own. This is lucky as one of the family members is suddenly diagnosed with cancer and falls into a ton of bills. Their health insurance suddenly is stuck with a very highly costly client- they take out far more in benefits than they pay in, so they are a drain on the system. So the company starts trying to cut costs by only paying the bare minimum treatment. Because of this reduction in quality of service, capitalism says the family should take their business elsewhere- to someone who will provide them with the proper levels of service.

But that's precisely what the health insurance companies want. By going elsewhere the customer actually reduces cost on the system and this encourages more bad behavior. If the customer sticks with the company despite the reduction in service this only provokes further reductions in service in order to compensate for further costs.

In other words, if you really get sick you're out of luck unless you've got a top-notch health plan.

Not all "private" health insurance policies are like this. I suspect the non-profit ones, for example, are a bit different.

So that's the basic argument.

Random other stuff:

A Wisconsin school starts "teaching" creationism. Great, just what the world needs: school-mandated ignorance!

More electoral insanity. This one is pretty over-confident in its predictions (don't tell me who won until all the votes are counted- that goes double if you're trying to argue that all the votes need to be counted before we can say who won...) but raises some decent objections...

And before you wonder, no: i'm not the only one concerned about electoral fraud.

This one takes a decidedly different tone. I like the comic contained within.

And finally: Is it happening here?

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