Health Care 'Stimulus'

The rhetoric about "stimulus" gets more head-spinning every day. As I note in my Galen Institute post today, folks like Heritage's Robert Book have picked up on the insanity of spending more (taxpayer) money where we're supposed to be reducing costs in health care.

Interestingly, we're not the only nation trying to spend our way out of an economic downturn in this area. China has announced it will provide universal health care for all 1.3 billion of its people.

A Chinese study showed "that in government-sponsored health insurance areas, people are spending more" -- and they see this as a good thing!

So, more government financing should strengthen the economy... and raise health care costs, too?

Those who are commenting on the stimulus should call attention to this disconnect in logic.

While you're at it, spread word far and wide about this scary language from the House on comparative effectiveness -- two long words that mean government could decide which drugs and treatments are acceptable. Here you go:

"By knowing what works best and presenting this information more broadly to patients and health care professionals, those items, procedures, and interventions that are most effective to prevent, control, and treat health conditions will be utilized, while those that are found to be less effective and, in some cases, more expensive, will no longer be prescribed."

This is part of the "stimulus."

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dude, that last paragraph.

is already being implemented by insurance companies, who will pay doctors more if they use STANDARD care, aka research-tested.

or so they say. I am more skeptical of corporations than government, because government has a mandate to help the people, whereas corporations will be sued if they do not create maximum profit (or bought out, which amoutns to the same thing)

Let me think about this

GDP = C + I + G + (X - M)

where C is household consumption

and I is private investment

and G is government spending

and X is exports

and M is imports.

 

Household consumption is down due to debt load.  Private investment is down due to a crisis of confidence.

What do you have left? Government spending and the trade imbalance.

 

GDP = C + I + G + (X - M)

The gov't spending has to produce something.

Private investment is down due to a crisis of confidence because the government has screwed up the markets -- rewarding failure, punishing good judgment, threatening taxes on success, and throwing trillions of dollars at problems that are going to happen anyway only now at a much higher cost.

Private money is much smarter than gov't money.

Not quite so

Private money is much smarter than gov't money.

The gov't wasn't filling its oil reserves when the price shot up to $140/bbl.

Private investment just got burned bad, so they're trying to make up for it now by being doubly cautious.

On the other hand, the fall in oil prices does help the trade imbalance. 

at $140 a barrel

the fair price for gas would have been about $5-6 a gallon. The refineries wanted to sell their product, which they had to make anyhow (refining oil creates high-profit and low-profit stuff), so they sold under cost. Now they are making it up.

Your free market at work.

Infrastructure is worth paying for

"A pessimist knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing."

It costs money to build infrastructure like roads and the internet, to name government projects that benefit the economy.  If you believe (like 90% of thinking economists) that now is the time to spend, why not spend on something that will be useful in the long run? 

 

Increase Capacitance

(quoting from Dr. Brin, who has over twenty innovative suggestions for the Obama admin)

"Adding some capacitance to the power grid would be a big deal, too. The reason our current grid can't support more than about 10% wind power is because it's an LRC circuit with no C. The reason power failures can cascade out of control: same deal. The current system is very brittle. A power grid with distributed capacitance could, for example, go into a "safe mode" where all the interconnects were severed either regionally, locally, or even down the the neighborhood level, and run independently for a few minutes (or even hours) while the problem is sorted out. The ability to break up the grid for even a few seconds would make it a lot less vulnerable to spikes, EMP, sabotage, etc. Why not pay property owners to house an ultracapacitor or battery bank, the same way cell phone companies pay for towers? For serious storage, you can even go to hydrolysis and fuel cells, although that's more hazardous and requires more infrastructure....

Said it before, but I will

Said it before, but I will say it again. If you do not recognize a problem, you cannot solve it. If you identify a problem, you cannot come up with the best solution if you constrain yourself by ideology… (or something like that)

Think health care as widget factory, and compare it to factories in Sweden, Canada, Germany, France etc. A wise manager would be analyzing his competition, trying to identify innovation, sources of waste, quality control, etc.

There is no argument. The widget provided in the US is more expensive, is defective in its results (health care outcomes), and excludes between 1/6 to 1/7 of our population when compared to the foreign widget factories. On a demographic bases, more than half the Hispanic population, and more than a third of the black population are unable to afford this widget.

The “widget consumer” assuredly is not in position to completely understand the components that make up a functioning widget. The widget (health care system) has too many interacting components. But, one component does stand out, our reliance on Insurance Companies as the control panel for the widget

.It turns out that the control panel of the US widget has a bit of “Hal” in it, success of the widgets mission is not uppermost in it mind. Its interest is not in our health, but in making money. And it will go at great length to make money. An abbreviated list would include denial of contracted benefits, fiddling with the reimbursement system, instituting strange pre-existing conditions such as pregnancy, etc. It is not without reason that the American Cancer Association has stated that the next great advance in cancer cure will come from universal health care (paraphrased).

If we analyze sister Amy Menefee's gotcha:

By knowing what works best and presenting this information more broadly to patients and health care professionals, those items, procedures, and interventions that are most effective to prevent, control, and treat health conditions will be utilized, while those that are found to be less effective and, in some cases, more expensive, will no longer be prescribed." It will lead any sentient being to a realization that health care reform that increases effectiveness and decreases less effective treatments will cost less

. A penny saved, is a penny earned. Or something like that, It has to due with the concept of disposable income, a topic for future discussion... 

 

 

 

Widgets?!

The widget provided in the US is more expensive, is defective in its results (health care outcomes), and excludes between 1/6 to 1/7 of our population when compared to the foreign widget factories. On a demographic bases, more than half the Hispanic population, and more than a third of the black population are unable to afford this widget.

You can always tell when someone doesn't know, understand, or care about the real issues associated with health care reform because they spout the above talking points.

nu, so tell me sherlock

what are the people pushing for universal health care? fools? or are they whipcrack smart entrepreneurs? Cause from who I know, it's the latter.

The Chinese study

"A Chinese study showed "that in government-sponsored health insurance areas, people are spending more" -- and they see this as a good thing!" 

The way you word it implies that their study found that people are spending more on health when there is government-sponsored health insurance.

What they found was that people in China were saving aggressively to help cover un-insured medical costs, rather than spending as consumers in the economy. Their hope is that if there is government-sponsored health insurance, their citizens will not feel so compelled to save every cent and instead buy things.

Even the US thinks consumers spending more is "a good thing".

what are the people pushing

what are the people pushing for universal health care? fools?

YES! Exactly.

or are they whipcrack smart entrepreneurs? Cause from who I know, it's the latter.

Then you know whipcrack smart entrepreneurs who are fools.

 

I guess that makes you an entrepreneur.

any businessman who's ever had to pay $1000K per month per employee (or more) for health insurance, and then have to compete against his tank-making competition in Japan, where they don't have to pay that, could school your behind on competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

Trust me, I know more than a few. and yeah, they're smarter than you are.

Jeesh!

We are paying so much because of government intervention not because of its lack. Just recent real life examples of the failures of government's attempts at universal health care in the U.S. are Massachusettes and Hawaii, where costs exploded without any significant benefit. Now expand those to a national scale. Imagine Obama's current debt explosion plan times 3 (or more).

"If you think health care is expensive now, wait 'til it's 'free.'"

                                                                                P.J. O'Rourke

 

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