Jeannie raised the question of socialized health care a couple days ago, and Bones sent me a link to a recent Michael Moore blog on the big three automakers. (Although I guess we’re going to have to stop calling them that, since they are turning into the little three, since they keep churning out massive size pick ups and SUV’s that no one wants to buy.)
Now don’t get me wrong: I love my Vipers, ‘Vette and Challenger, as a card-carrying Detroit muscle car aficionado. But I don’t have to make a choice between filling up my tank and buying groceries, as millions of people do today. Ford, GM and Chrysler has been completely oblivious to the market and continued to run their companies like a drunken sailor on shore leave. Now they think the government should shovel them billions of dollars of taxpayer money to prop up their bad management decisions.
Michael Moore (who really does mean well) has a different idea. He thinks the U.S. government should just buy all three! How frightening. Just think about the bureaucracy, waste, and fraud of the government now, and then imagine them building the cars you drive your children to school in.
Then take it to health care. Imagine your mother or grandfather needing open heart surgery and trusting it to the same people that bring you the post office and drivers license renewal agency.
Socialism health sounds great. But if you’ve ever been to the countries that provide it, you’d see why anyone with the means to do so leaves those countries to get anything serious done. Sure I’d love to have Hillary pay for my doctor visits and Obama to handle my mortgage. But the price you pay in the end is far from free.
We’re going to have to start putting Bob Burg on the payroll soon, as he has contributed so many great insights to the blog and the Rants. He’s actually a sales trainer, but a brilliant guy and true critical thinker. Today I’m including an article he wrote about a year ago that was published in “The Atlasphere,” which is a great publication you should subscribe to if you want to learn more about Objectivism and the Libertarian philosophy. http://www.theatlasphere.com/ Enjoy what he has to say on health care.
Check Your Health Care Premises
By Bob Burg
Perhaps the greatest gift I received from reading Ayn Rand was an admonition that has helped me think clearly and logically whenever I felt the heat of emotion carrying me to a faulty conclusion. And that was:
“Check your premises.”
In other words, things don’t happen in a vacuum. Typically, not only is there a reason for something, but that something happened further back than the emotional decision point. So, first, check your premises; go back to the beginning and make sure you are basing your solutions on that correct premise.
Case in point: Universal Health Care is now the big topic of the day. The mainstream democratic politicians are totally for it, and even republican politicians are getting there. Heck; former Republican Governor Romney instituted a forced (er, I’m sorry; a much nicer word is “mandatory”) state-run healthcare system in Massachusetts as did Republican Governor Schwarzenegger in California.
Michael Moore’s newest movie, “Sicko” will soon be playing in theatres throughout the country. Most likely he’ll introduce us to Americans who have no health care insurance and are being left to suffer, or worse; to die.
And, you know what? When I see those people onscreen I will feel terrible. My heart will break for them. Indeed, like many others, I’ll ask myself why – in this most abundant of nations – should we have anyone without healthcare? But, before I go running to our federal government to set things right for us . . . I’ll check my premises.
Before asking government to be the solution to our “ills” (something they’ve proven not to be proficient at in most areas), I’ll first ask, “why are we in this position in the first place?”
Well, I know how what most politicians, what Michael Moore, and, unfortunately, what most Americans would answer: “The Free Enterprise System has let us down.”
The reason I know this is because I hear it constantly. I only wish that before people – especially those of high influence – would utter these conclusions, that they would first take Ms. Rand’s advice and check their premises.
So, is it the Free Enterprise System that destroyed our health care system?
Let’s take a quick look back about 50 or so years ago. At that time, our U.S. healthcare system was basically market-driven. What were the results? Well, let’s see; practically all Americans who wanted health insurance had it. It was affordable. Doctor’s offices weren’t reminiscent of Grand Central Station. In fact, doctors actually were known to make house calls. People who were less fortunate financially could always find a doctor or hospital that allowed them to pay via sliding scale. And, hospitals? Well, if you recall, practically every major city had at least one charity hospital.
Was anyone ever left out in the cold? Unfortunately, yes. Utopia – even in our great country – has never been an option. However, when it came to our Healthcare system, it was pretty darn close. Certainly more so than at any other place and time in history before or since.
And, then, a funny thing happened on the way to our healthcare system breakdown . . .
Government got involved. Really involved. I mean, really, really involved. As usual, they decided they knew more about how the market operates than . . . the market.
So, between excessive regulation of private health insurance, coverage mandates, lack of price competition for medical services, Medicare, Medicaid, government-forced reliance on third-party payers, more rules, more regulations, more taxes, etc. we have been driven into a system in which far too many American families go without any kind of health coverage because they simply cannot afford it.
Was this government’s purpose? Surely not. It’s just what they do. They take either non-existent, slight problems, or even legitimate problems, and they turn them into national disasters.
So, now, government is being asked to come to the rescue, and they will gladly oblige. Just listen to Hillary, Barak, Edwards, Romney and others. They all have the solution to your healthcare woes.
Irony Break: putting this into healthcare vernacular, could we not say that government has broken our legs and is now being asked to fix them? Hmmm, they’ll probably then say, “See, if it wasn’t for us, you wouldn’t be able to walk.”
The point: Free Enterprise did not give us our current “Sicko” healthcare system; government intervention did.
Now, let’s look at the solution of Universal Healthcare. Basically, this means that Americans would be taxed even more than they currently are, however, at least everyone would have coverage and access to “free”* health care.
Except that what I just said is not completely true. In fact, it’s far from true. Note the italicized word, “Access.” Actually, what people will have is access to a waiting list. They will have access to having a bureaucrat who doesn’t know or love them deciding if the ill they (or their children) are suffering rates a visit to the doctor, an operation or treatment of any kind. There is nothing “conspiracy theory-ish” about this. We know it’s true because we see it regularly within those countries that have Universal Health Care.
There is a huge difference between access to a list and access to actual health care!
In a recent column in the Los Angeles Times, Michael Tanner and Michael Cannon wrote:
“Simply saying that people have health insurance is meaningless. Many countries provide universal insurance but deny critical procedures to patients who need them. Britain’s Department of Health reported in 2006 that at any given time, nearly 900,000 Britons are waiting for admission to National Health Service hospitals and shortages force the cancellation of more than 50,000 operations each year. In Sweden, the wait for heart surgery can be as long as 25 weeks, and the average wait for hip replacement surgery is more than a year. Many of these individuals suffer chronic pain, and judging by the numbers, some will probably die awaiting treatment. In a 2005 ruling of the Canadian Supreme Court, Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin wrote that ‘access to a waiting list is not access to healthcare.’”
Interestingly enough, in Canada, where by law they cannot pay for private medical treatment, the only option for those who either must have an operation or die is often to travel to America.
Of course, once our system is as socialistic as is theirs, that will no longer be an option for them.
Speaking of our friendly neighbors to the north, a very key point is that Canada is currently looking at massive changes in their system because, while the citizens are in an uproar due to long waiting lists, the costs of the system are completely out of control.
Question: is this really what we want? Are we so anxious to blame a not-guilty party – The Free Enterprise System – that we will actually throw away still another freedom; the freedom to care for ourselves and our loved ones the way we see fit; not the way some faceless bureaucrat sees fit? Do we want our children getting the same expert and loving medical care as did our wounded vets at Walter Reed and similar government-run hospitals?
And, would we really rather see everyone suffer through Universal Healthcare (except the politicians, of course – they’ll never have to wait on some list) instead of helping everyone by getting the market driven (and very healthy) health care system back?
The solution is actually quite simple. Get the government out of our healthcare system and let the free marketplace, private charity and loving-kindness do what it once did; provide us with a healthcare system that really works.
Please, everyone; don’t buy into this government and politically-based nonsense. And, don’t buy into Michael Moore; as well intentioned as he probably is.
Please don’t let emotions make this decision for you.
Instead, check your premises.
*The word, “free” was in quotation marks because nothing is free; you’ll be paying more for your own healthcare as well as for those who couldn’t otherwise afford. Yes, more for your own because it will be run in the typical governmental fashion of high waste, where approximately 70-75 percent out of every dollar will go to administer the system rather than to health care itself. This percentage of waste is within the norm for all government programs.
Excellent article. Couldn't agree more. And to add to the high administration costs and the large waste is the theft and scamming of the system that goes on. I grew up in a poor neighborhood where thanks to government intervention they created "Medicaid Mills", that stole millions form the system. I also worked in the US post office for 5 years and believe me you don't want the government running anything. Check your premise indeed and look at the reality not your emotional need to feel good and do good.
Socialized Healthcare? Wasn't Hiilary supposed to take care of that during Bill's first term? I laughed when I heard it then & I laugh now..You know why? One word RESPONSABILITY!!!!
There are 2 many people with their hands in the cookie jar
1)you've got people who do not want to to take responsibility for their own health and do absolutely nothing to be healthy. When they start to get sick they want the magic pill and their "health insurance" to foot the bill.
If my car breaks down my auto insurance company doesn't pay to fixit so it's in my best intersest to take care of my car! Why do people feel someone else should be responsible for their health?
2) you've got the pharmaceutical comapnies (who grease the hands/pockets of their puppets in Washington.) DOes anybpdy notice that none of the pharmaceuticcal companies are asking to be bailed out. Why is it these companies are ok while the rest of the country is tanking? HMMMM? Could be that every medication that is marketed is marketed for LIFETIME USE. That is once you start taking it you have to take it for the rest of your life. Better living thru chemistry..the American way.
3) You've got lawyers encouraging people to sue, sue , sue. What the hell..Sue for 5 Million. The insurance companies know it's gonna cost them time and $ to go to court so they'll throw us something (I know I have a friend who is an attorney for the insurance company). SHe says in most cases they know they would win if they went to court but it costs the company more to litigate so most of the time they settle. Don't u think the plaintiff's attorneys know this?
As a result doctors have to pay exorbitant malpractice fees. So they bill more. It's a vicious merry-go round. .
4) You've got doctors overbilling. How many times have u heard the patient say that the doctor was with them for 2 minutes and when they got the bill it was hundreds of dollars. Listen, I'm a doctor but when u receive a license it doesn't give you the right to rip people off. What about FAir exchange.?
So there you ahve it. It ws my position when Hillary claimed she was going to handle it initially & it is still my position today that HEALTHCARE in this country will never be rectified until you get all of the parties to accept responsability for THEIR ROLES in the mess.
I don't know about you but I'm not depending on anyone to take care of my health (or my finances) but......ME!!!!!!
I agree- the govt. running healthcare is scary.
But here's my question... if it was SO great back during free market times, then why did it change? People MUST have wanted something to change- what was it?
The biggest secret is your own mind... I suggest reading The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot for example... We created everything with our own mind and thus we can heal everything with our own mind... Mind is all there is - everything else is illusion...
And yes - this planet IS being manipulated by a ruling elite... However - no one HAS to participate in their games...
"KNOWING is what is truth. Belief is blind and faulty. Faith is judgmental. Only having a "KNOWING" is the ultimate source of truth." Stewart Swerdlow
"But here’s my question… if it was SO great back during free market times, then why did it change? People MUST have wanted something to change- what was it?"
In my opinion...It wasn't that people changed. It the situation they have found themselves in.
To me this economic dilemma isn't that hard to understand. As I see it, it's about the accumulation "stuff". Specifically but not entirely, technology stuff.
In the 80's under Reagan, when this economy really started to rock and roll, you had the introduction of the VCR and the portable camcorder. You also had the introduction of cell phones and large screen TV's. The 80's also saw a technology shift (delivery medium) from 8 track tapes to cassettes. Which caused the need for new stereophonic equipment. Cable TV became the standard over the old antennae. The list goes on and on! This fueled the economy and kept us on a upward trend despite periodic hiccups in the economy as a whole.
Then came the 90's. We saw cell phones get smaller and cheaper. The musical delivery system went from cassettes to CD's and almost simultaneously... Video tapes to DVD's.
But the "mac daddy" of all changes was the introduction of the personal computer and it's side-kick.... the internet (thank you Al Gore). Now, you can give me all the crap in the world that the internet bubble was artificial. But the fact remains that it pumped billions into the economy and made fortunes for many, many people. Heck, even the comic book industry was BOOMING during the 90's... it's completely flat today. Guess you can only see so many new hero's in tights before it get's old.
Also notice each era had it's own musical style. The 60's and 70's speak for themselves... then we had that AWESOME 80's music with leg warmers and big hair... ahhh what a decade (biased view). Then the 90's came with and equal dose of grunge and heavy metal. Does this play into the economy? Of course! Music sales, musical equipment sales (you needed that new dime bag guitar and amp that had the shred metal setting if you wanted to play that music properly!), clothing styles based upon those niches. etc.
The 90's also saw what many consider to be the "real" birth of MLM. With giants like Herbalife and Nu Skin pioneering new paths started by Shaklee and Amway.
Today, what new music do we see that is not dictated by the current winner of American Idol? What new technology? MP3's are a respectable newcomer, but have not become the standard the way CD's did. Look around? The first decade of the new millennium is almost over and you really can't find too many defining things about it... it's sad.
Today people have all the neat stuff they accumulated during the last few decades. People are burnt out. There simply isn't that much new stuff. Nothing really new to buy. As a result, I think people are getting back to simpler joys in life and are just tired of keeping up with the Jones and trying to play "Charlie Sheen" one more time in the stock market.
The BIG new houses everyone wanted in the last few decades have been more of a curse than a blessing. People are finding out that a good nights sleep far outweighs the "coolness" of having a huge house (with no furniture) and an equally huge mortgage (with the obligatory balloon).
Also, compound these observations with the biggest tragedy that has ever hit American shores (9/11) and you can see why we are in the state we are in. Things have been on a slow downward spiral now for 8 years since that happened. It really did change the world in a negative way.
This economy does not need more bail outs. This economy needs new ideas. Fresh products that have NEVER been seen before. Not rehash of old ones. We need ways of earning a living. New vistas and new challenges. Not socialism and not hand-outs.
Do we need Change?... You bet we do... but not the kind of change that has been touted over the last year in the presidential race.
I agree- the govt. running healthcare is scary.
But here’s my question… if it was SO great back during free market times, then why did it change? People MUST have wanted something to change- what was it?
BOB: There are two reasons why it changed. The first is that government is always growing. It doesn't need a reason. By the very nature of the beast, it grows. It is a parasite on the host (at times, even a well-meaning parasite) but by the very nature of a parasite, it grows . . . unless checked very carefully. This is why our Founders encouraged us to continue to fight to keep government small. Of course, that didn't happen, and we now have a raging bureaucratic monster for a government.
Now, the specific (beginning) reason for the healthcare change: Back in the mid-1960's, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a "War on Poverty." According to Johnson, "In two years, poverty, as we know it, will be eradicated." (to paraphrase Dr. Phil . . . "so, how's that workin' for ya'?).
Along with his program to do away with poverty, Johnson also began a deconstructing of our mainly free-market healthcare system. After all, government knows best. For the results, read my article that Randy posted). Medicare and it's huge financial disaster - of course, is just one result. Many others too numerous to go into here.
Bones, my suggestion (assuming you really do care about the answers - which I assume is the case) and not just defending your position, is that you read several really good books:
1. Healing Our World by Dr. Mary Ruwart (www.ruwart.com) you can download her entire previous edition for free.
2. The Great Libertarian Offer by Harry Brown
3. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Haslett
4. The Capitalist Manifesto by Andrew Bernstein.
With best regards,
With all respect, I don't understand what any of what you wrote above has to do with the government encroaching into our health care system.
It's really important to understand the differences between causes and symptoms.
With best regards,
P.S. I'll try and stay out of the converation from here on in, as I don't want to overstep my bounds. This is not my blog. I appreciate Randy running my above article.
Hey Bob (Burg)
Please don't stay out of the conversation. This is what "critical thinking" is all about, and you have a lot to offer. I now have 4 new books to add to my reading list to learn from. I also expect that Gage is enjoying the activity...and we can all trust him to let you know if you are saying too much.
I am still reeling some as I read the heated responses my question brought about.
FYI- I do take active responsibility for my health and as a cash customer for 2 decades now, I have never looked for gov't handout to my healthcare.
But, I am getting older, ie. new health issues to stay on top of, and self employed, and every year we have to figure out if it's financially worth it to have insurance or not, who to go with, what gets covered and what doesn't etc etc.....
Having lived in and interacted with many people from socialized medicine countries, (many stories both pro and con) I was curious what Randy would say. Mostly, I want an easier system and get confused by the way it stands today. (I am sure I am not the only one)
This has been an ongoing conversation for years in my home. So, thanks for the history lesson and the perspectives. It's been educational and great food for thought. Keep it coming and thank you.
PS. I have never seen Sicko.
Thank you, Jeanne,
That was very kind of you to say.
You stated, "Now they think the government should shovel them billions of dollars of taxpayer money to prop up their bad management decisions" in reference to the Big Three.
One Premise that has bothered me about the discussions in the media (and the previous statement) is the Management vs. Labor finger-pointing/fault-finding (and it is usually Government that is doing the finger-pointing!).
If you accept the premise that Government Intervention is at fault, Management cannot be held liable for "bad management decisions."
Nobody in Management has the balls to state the obvious - that Government Interference is the cause, and that Management was (at least partially) INCAPABLE of making proper decisions in this goop we call a "Mixed Market."
When Labor negotiates "legacy" concessions that give a janitor more residual income (in terms of years compensated) than a patent holder, what the hell do they expect is going to happen. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
I was able to watch a few minutes of the Big Three Groveling (er, Senate Hearings), and as an Objectivist I cannot help but think that the CEOs of these companies (and the Banking Industry) saw this coming decades ago, and with their hands tied, are simply playing the part of the Courier "bringing the bad news."
How else can you explain the Golden Parachutes?!
As Capitalists, I believe they knew their businesses were doomed in a mixed economy, and are only going through the motions in the hearings as fiduciaries for their Boards and Stockholders.
Hi Bob, (great name BTW)
You know what???.... You're right! LOL
I actually thought the same thing after I posted the reply. I apologize for having a "flash of brilliance" that I was only too eager to post.
But the fact is that "the promise" of socialized health care all dovetails what is happening with the economy at the moment. After all. If a large segment of people were truly prosperous, they wouldn't all be clamoring for it would they?
Again, sorry for getting off track... I'll just go back to getting more "Endless Referrals"...;P
Let's look at something else real quick. Does anyone ever consider what we are doing to ourselves? I'll be the bad guy if have to be. Most Americans are so freaking fat and lazy. How many billions and billions are spent on sick care? Problems that could easily be prevented by eating just a little bit better and exercising.
I own several businesses all related to the fitness industry. Do you know why our marketing always pushes "look better naked? Because health doesn't sell - at all! We have to hide people's medicine in their apple sauce, so to speak.
Why do you think Acai Berry diet pills are all over the Internet these days? Two reasons:
1) People are delusional and lazy.
2) Because the Hoodia pills they were taking didn't work and now they have moved on to this latest BS.
I'm all for prosperity. I have no shame in saying I love money. But at what point do we get fed up with the scum bag marketers who just flat out lie to people?
Kind of expanding on the previous comment by Jim Labadie. There has been research into vitamins and supplements to find out some horrifying and sickening information. Your supplements might not be what you think they are.
It turns out that when vitamin makers say that their products are “natural” or made from “organic materials”, it may mean that the foundational or base formulas are derived from: coal, tar, petroleum by-products, animal by-products, waste and fecal matter, ground rocks, stones, shells, and metals!
Yes, these are all natural and not from a laboratory, but still, would you like to ingest fecal matter and rocks every morning? Even worse, the coatings or shells of the vitamins/ supplements are usually made from starch, wheat, cellulose, soy, lactose and other “natural” ingredients.
These vitamins SHOULD be made from raw vegetables and actual minerals. They should be food-derived and organic for your body to recognize and assimilate the ingredients properly.
Sometimes, they use a base for the vitamins that is created by boiling coal in carbolic and sulfuric acids. According to the United States Pharmacopoeia, if an item appears similar under microscopic analysis, then it is considered the same, no matter what the derivation. So, to the US government, if an item comes from fresh vegetables, it is also the same as if the company made it from toxic minerals or by boiling down dead animal carcasses with cartilage and feet.
B-12 vitamins are often made from activated sewage sludge, which is mostly fecal matter. The sludge also contains PCBs, mercury, nervous system depressants, respiratory irritants, carcinogens and other acids.
Some of the Vitamin D capsules are made from radiated oil, Vitamin C from acids that destroy the intestinal lining and Vitamin E comes from the waste products of Eastman-Kodak! Many minerals in supplements come from dirt that is extracted from building excavations that are activated with pig digestive enzymes so that it can be digested!
Next time, check and even demand an explanation as to where the ingredients actually come from. It might not be what you think or something they even dare to talk about...
Hi Bob (you're right...you have a cool name) 🙂
You wrote: "But the fact is that “the promise” of socialized health care all dovetails what is happening with the economy at the moment. After all. If a large segment of people were truly prosperous, they wouldn’t all be clamoring for it would they?
My response: The call for socialized medicine has been going on for years, well before the present state of the economy. But, more than that, it already IS mainly socialized, based on how much control government has over it. And, as pointed out in the original article, to the degree government has run it...that's the degree it has become so expensive and ineffective. That's not "philosophy" I'm talking; that's simply numbers. And, we see every day how it has manifested.
Regarding your next point, "If a large segment of people were truly prosperous, they wouldn’t all be clamoring for it would they?"
First, if government had not encroached on the overall free enterprise system to the event it has, we'd have much greater prosperity across the board.
But, in direct answer to your question, the primise you have, Bob, is that socialized medicine is better for people than the "current" free market system of medicine. But, remember, WE DON'T currently have a free market health care system. It's been all-but-ruined by government intervention (please refer to original article).
The cure to this is to free up the health care system and make it market-driven, as it was, when we had our wonderful health care system.
There are many ways to do this beyond the scope of these blog comments but I'd encourage you and anyone else to make a full and complete study of market-based healthcare and see how and why it is the best system for all . . . especially for the poor.
Thank you again for your thoughtful comments.
Great post Randy. I agree 100%.
Government sponsored anything is usually a demonstration of wasted resources.
I agree with you guys - good to see some people thinking and being "different".
Really two steps to a healthy Health Care System:
1. Keep the government out of it for all the reaons you have stated above.
2. Take responsibility for yourself and follow principles of real health: eat as close to the ground as possible (nearly raw, lightly steamed), as "clean" as possible (organic, but be careful and know your grower), stay positive. We could go on but I do that on my own site and won't bore you all here! And, oh, by the way, stay out of the Doctor's office!
I would love to see then what a free market health system would look like. I remember when my husband needed stiches a few years ago, we called a number of hospitals to see if they could quote their emergency room fee to us. No one could.
Here's another kicker...I recently did research for the best doctor in town to check out a health concern. When I asked them what the price was of the tests I wanted, I was told that they only take patients with insurance.
So, I went to my home/car insurance company and applied for their Health Insurance. They however will not cover anything considered a pre-existing condition for a year.
So, now the choices become... lie to the insurance company...lie to the doctor... have the doctor lie to the insurance company... find another doctor or another insurance company or wait a year...tricky.
All I want, is to go to the doctor I choose, have them run the test I want and write a check for their services. Or if I am going to invest in insurance to have them cover the services I want. It seems simple enough.
I assume this wouldn't be such a convoluted issue in a true free market system.
I have always been an advocate of "Taking back control of your Healthcare. This leads to an important question, we have to ask ourselves. What lifestyle changes are we will to do that will improve the quality of life so we can have optimum health and wellness? If we choose to stay addicted to the government drug of dependency we deserved the healthcare crisis we are facing. If we are ready to go cold turkey and kick the habit by changing the food we eat, drinking more water, exercising, deep breathing, getting adequate sleep, finding time to relax and change your mindset to focuses on health and wellness instead of disease and illness is what frees you from the government healthcare addiction. When you have arrived at this level of consciousness you will have discovered the secret of the elite who are not all affected by this health crisis...Health Is Wealth and Wealth Is Health and it is your birthright to have both and never have to choose one or the other.
WOW GOOD STUFF! Too bad it's hopefully not too late since this system is coming down the pipe, the only free cheese is in the mouse trap