18 Sep 2009

Right-Wingers for Government Health Insurance?

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Jeff Tucker alerts us to this Paul Craig Roberts piece where he declares:

What the US needs is a single-payer not-for-profit health system that pays doctors and nurses sufficiently that they will undertake the arduous training and accept the stress and risks of dealing with illness and diseases.

Now maybe you think I’m taking PCR out of context. Here’s more:

A private health care system worked in the days before expensive medical technology, malpractice suits, high costs of bureaucracy associated with third-party payers and heavy investment in combating fraud, and pressure on insurance companies from Wall Street to improve “shareholder returns.”

Despite the rise in premiums, payments to health care providers, such as doctors, appear to be falling along with coverage to policy holders. The system is no longer functional and no longer makes sense. Health care has become an incidental rather than primary purpose of the health care system. Health care plays second fiddle to insurance company profits and salaries to bureaucrats engaged in fraud prevention and discovery. There is no point in denying coverage to one-sixth of the population in the name of saving a nonexistent private free market health care system.

The only way to reduce the cost of health care is to take the profit and paperwork out of health care.

To be perfectly honest, I have no idea what PCR is actually saying in this article. Is he “for” government health insurance / care? I don’t know. I can’t see how you’re going to get a single-payer without some serious coercion from the feds, but naturally PCR doesn’t focus too much on that; he just explains why everybody else opining on this topic is immoral and/or dumb. His arguments in this piece are similar to the debates we had over outsourcing.

Bob: Yes Dr. Roberts, I get it, you don’t think Ricardo’s argument about comparative advantage still holds in a world with mobile capital. OK, so are you saying you are for tariffs or capital controls?

PCR: No I never said that.

Bob: OK then what are you saying?

PCR: I’m saying Bush is in bed with multinational corporations who are screwing workers in the name of profits.

Bob: Okaaay, but is your newfound thinking on free trade causing you to change any of your policy recommendations? Now that the standard argument for free trade is shattered, what do you want to do about it?

PCR: I want to keep writing articles explaining how evil George Bush is, and how stupid libertarians are for thinking we have free trade.

And check out this:

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