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US Health Care
03-10-2015, 01:12 AM (This post was last modified: 03-10-2015 01:46 AM by Anax.)
Post: #21
RE: US Health Care
Quote: I'm not a massive fan of systems that can't deal with edge cases, which tends to happen when their foundation is ideology rather than factual evidence. The fact you simply have to resort to "hoping" that poorer people's healthcare will be provided for would seem to be a pretty big problem with your proposal?

Hardly. Society does not consist of just the poor. Middle- and upper-class exist too. Looking at the issue through tunnel-vision with one group or another as the sole beneficiary is problematic as it excludes all others. Which method benefits everyone the most? Slashing off the rich's excess and giving to the poor? Or not unnecessarily impeding anyone with yet more rules and regulations?

I start with liberty, not control. You don't force good by fiat; you have to let people choose good of their own accord, so I'm going to grow defensive over this on that principle alone. Look to the free-market, Westernized economies of today (U.S., U.K., Canada, Israel, Australia), and the radically socailized, wealth-redistribution failed systems of the past (U.S.S.R., Maoist China, Cuba, Nazi Germany), for all the factual proof you need.

EDIT: I'm aware the U.K., Canada, and Israel utilize universal healthcare. U.K. and Canada have economies strong enough and people moral enough to get away with it (I don't question Canada's legislative decisions because they actually balance their budget). Israel has both of those, plus lives in a perpetual state of survival being surrounded by larger countries wanting them dead; failure is literally not an option and their focus is set on foreign matters. If that part of the world ever grows peaceful, I'd be very interested in seeing how the Israelis tackle domestic issues.

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03-10-2015, 07:48 AM
Post: #22
RE: US Health Care
(03-10-2015 01:12 AM)Anax Wrote:  I start with liberty, not control. You don't force good by fiat; you have to let people choose good of their own accord, so I'm going to grow defensive over this on that principle alone.

Why do we have criminal and civil laws?

(03-10-2015 01:12 AM)Anax Wrote:  Look to the free-market, Westernized economies of today (U.S., U.K., Canada, Israel, Australia), and the radically socailized, wealth-redistribution failed systems of the past (U.S.S.R., Maoist China, Cuba, Nazi Germany), for all the factual proof you need.

Cuba I can't speak much on because I know dick all about Latin American history, but you can't rely on the USSR, Red China or Nazi Germany for examples of "radically socialized wealth-redistributing" systems. For the first two, you can look at the Holodomor and the Great Leap Forward as examples: both of those led to the deaths of millions of peasants and farmers due to famine. What you should take away from both of those statements is that not only were there still peasants and farmers, but also their subsistence could be taken away by exhausting their natural resources. In neither of the communist states did they ever come close to becoming "welfare states." Yes, they both had welfare organs, but considering both were basically pre-Industrial societies before their respective revolutions, it was difficult to distribute it over their huge countries. As much as I keep hearing this excuse from people, there was no massive redistribution of the wealth in either the Soviet Union or China.

Nazi Germany wasn't much different. They had a social welfare body, but its uses didn't develop much more than the current US Department of Health. A lot of focus was put on child care and health, but there was still no redistribution of wealth. Hitler wasn't stupid; he knew he needed rich people to tax to fuel his war machine. So unless you had Jewish blood after 1933, or were a gypsie or black after 1935, you kept your property. And if you did? Then your property was seized and put back into the coffers of the Nazi Party.

There are some countries that have high tax rates and poor economies (Spain, Albania, Greece) and some that have high tax rates and kick ass economies (most of the Nordic states, Italy, Japan), but there's no country right now that's redistributing wealth. You can be rich in any country. All of the ones I mentioned are free-market economies. The only command economy I can think of off the top of my head is China, and they're number two.

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03-10-2015, 10:43 AM (This post was last modified: 03-10-2015 10:44 AM by Chrome.)
Post: #23
RE: US Health Care
Quote:Hardly. Society does not consist of just the poor. Middle- and upper-class exist too. Looking at the issue through tunnel-vision with one group or another as the sole beneficiary is problematic as it excludes all others.

Which would be a problem if that's what I was doing.

It's not about one group being the sole beneficiary, it's about whether you consider everyone having affordable access to healthcare to be a worthwhile goal, and what is the best approach to achieving same. Again, I repeat, if a system can't deal with edge cases, then I don't think it's a very robust system.

Quote:Which method benefits everyone the most? Slashing off the rich's excess and giving to the poor?

I'm prepared to accept being levied at source for the benefit of a healthcare system which everyone has access to. I'm also prepared to accept that it has a disproportionate impact on well-educated, skilled people for whom higher taxes represent a large cost in opportunity. However, not everyone is well-educated or skilled, and further, not everyone can be (as desirable as it would be). I don't believe that simply hoping that charity will fill the gap is an acceptable solution.

Quote:Or not unnecessarily impeding anyone with yet more rules and regulations?

Not every rule or regulation is an unnecessary impediment.

Quote:I start with liberty, not control.

So do I. I just don't believe in a simplistic form of liberty which unconditionally gives people and businesses the opportunity to do ruinous things, damage people's lives and waste social and economic resources cleaning up the mess later, when it's completely avoidable. Choice is not ipso facto a good thing.

Quote:You don't force good by fiat; you have to let people choose good of their own accord, so I'm going to grow defensive over this on that principle alone.

That's fine and dandy, but if your "principle" isn't providing people, particularly those with, say, disabilities or other circumstances over which they have no control, with affordable healthcare or enough to eat, then I'm probably going to challenge it. Or to put it another way, if I was on the street starving, I think I'd prefer actual food rather than a lecture on how great the free market is, while I wait for the imaginary "charity" libertarians always invoke to explain away the gaps their systems inherently have.

Quote:Look to the free-market, Westernized economies of today (U.S., U.K., Canada, Israel, Australia), and the radically socailized, wealth-redistribution failed systems of the past (U.S.S.R., Maoist China, Cuba, Nazi Germany), for all the factual proof you need.

Factual proof I need of what? Who is suggesting communism, corporate statism or rabid state authoritarianism? The successful countries you list are largely different flavours of social democracy. I'm a social democrat. In the absence of a better solution or society being proposed (and I'm *very* open to convincing given all the flaws of the current system), I'm happy to continue tinkering around with what we have.
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03-10-2015, 11:10 AM
Post: #24
RE: US Health Care
Quote:Why do we have criminal and civil laws?

Those are negative laws, beginning with inherent total freedom and curbing back on certain actions that infringe on the rights of others. They are extensions of protecting individual rights that only the collective level can accomplish. Opposed to that are positive laws, where rights must be enumerated in legislation, else they are assumed to not exist.

-----

Quote:Choice is not ipso facto a good thing.

Chrome, this is where we diverge. I don't think we can reconcile our different viewpoints with that in the way. I did read the rest of your post, but I think that quote sums it up succinctly and illustrates the fundamental difference in worldview.

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03-10-2015, 12:56 PM
Post: #25
RE: US Health Care
(03-10-2015 11:10 AM)Anax Wrote:  
Quote:Choice is not ipso facto a good thing.

Chrome, this is where we diverge. I don't think we can reconcile our different viewpoints with that in the way. I did read the rest of your post, but I think that quote sums it up succinctly and illustrates the fundamental difference in worldview.

Then justify it. If you disagree with him, give him reasons. Why do you believe it's inherently, fundamentally, no exceptions a good thing? If your excuse is "worldview" with no reasoning to back it up, then you aren't arguing from reason.

Why do you have the worldview that you do? Is there anything that could change or develop your worldview, including new evidence? Jeez man, I have a worldview too but sometimes they're irrational and unrealistic and you gotta rethink it.

Chances are, if you're reading this, it's after reading a ridiculously long post by me, something harshly phrased or confrontational, and/or me being stupid. I want to apologize for my above post, and end this signature with a quote of wisdom to soothe your soul.

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03-10-2015, 02:05 PM
Post: #26
RE: US Health Care
(03-10-2015 11:10 AM)Anax Wrote:  
Quote:Choice is not ipso facto a good thing.
Chrome, this is where we diverge. I don't think we can reconcile our different viewpoints with that in the way. I did read the rest of your post, but I think that quote sums it up succinctly and illustrates the fundamental difference in worldview.

Explain how.

You yourself have acknowledged that no one ought have the choice do whatever they want, so I don't see why you feel that's so inconsistent with what I have said.

Quote:Those are negative laws, beginning with inherent total freedom and curbing back on certain actions that infringe on the rights of others.

Sure, but figuring out exactly what constitutes an infringement of one's rights can be very complicated and grey. This is why the balancing of rights is such a fuzzy, messy, politically-charged issue and cannot be distilled to simplistic axioms.

Also, how should disabled people who can't work and don't have wealthy family pay for their healthcare if the state, or a government does not support them?
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03-10-2015, 09:14 PM
Post: #27
RE: US Health Care

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03-11-2015, 03:08 PM
Post: #28
RE: US Health Care
(03-10-2015 09:14 PM)Anax Wrote:  Where have I said that?

Quote:Those are negative laws, beginning with inherent total freedom and curbing back on certain actions that infringe on the rights of others. They are extensions of protecting individual rights that only the collective level can accomplish.

Quote:I do not know. Note, however, that my absence of an answer from privatization does not mean that one doesn't exist. Jumping to a conclusion and holding fast to it is problematic all on its own.

Well then your system can't handle a large class of edge cases and therefore it's not a system I see as desirable or credible. In the real world, there are disabled and poorer people who actually exist and need better than "I'm sure we'll figure something out after we've taken your protections away".

Quote:In a nutshell, that's what I ascribe to. I think we should be asking if healthcare is a right, and if so, if it should be subsidized or otherwise supplied by taxpayers' dollars.

I think the question is what outcomes do you wish to see for the healthcare system and what is the way of delivering them that gives the optimal mix of access, efficiency, quality, fiscal sustainability and political acceptability? Of course, the underlying assumption is that I accept being taxed for things, and do not take exception to government compulsion to pay levies, in the absence of better method of ensuring consistent, broad contributions. If you don't accept that we should have to pay taxes, whatever the case, then you obviously won't accept a solution which involves government.

My problem with health insurance is it is a fundamentally inconsistent market. Imagine a completely open-market. If I start my health insurance business, the way I make the most profit is by selling to people who are healthy and unlikely to need my services. I sell them a low cost, low cover package and they're dandy with it.

However, when people who aren't fortunate enough to be healthy, fresh and young come to me, and I can't or won't offer them the cover they actually need, they are forced to turn to someone who will. Inevitably they will be charged a higher premium as they are less healthy, need more cover and a more likely to make use of it. Further, with all the healthy people in my company, they don't have a plentiful supply of healthy people to balance out the unhealthy. The cost of the cover then tends to the cost of the actual treatment, with a vanishing delta.

In short, there is a natural internal contradiction in this market even without considering corruption or collusion or cartels. People are not actually rewarded for "being responsible", they're rewarded for being lucky enough to not have cancer or be old. There is no incentive for the young and healthy to purchase insurance from a more expensive provider when they don't need it, even if it is ultimately to their disadvantage. Instead they are rewarded for going for the least cover option, making insurance unaffordable for older, sick etc. people, and in turn for themselves when they're older/sick. The ultimate result is sub-optimal outcomes for most players in the system.
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03-11-2015, 07:53 PM
Post: #29
RE: US Health Care
I said that choice was ipso facto a good thing no matter what. Certain choices are bad and contradict the idea of individual freedom because they infringe on others' right to choice. I hope we can move past those semantics because otherwise the premise is self-defeating and there would again be no reason for us to continue.

Quote: -after we've taken your protections away".

What protections? There were none to begin with. They are not inherent, especially the case if healthcare isn't a right, so they're extras or additions at best.

You sound like you're suggesting a utilitarian argument, one that benefits a majority and not any minorities. I'd prefer one that benefits all minorities and the majority, down to the individual. This is social democracy's flaw: you account for most, but never all. All the universal solutions purportedly benefit everyone with healthcare, but at the cost of the property (tax money) of some. A slippery slope that is.

I ask if healthcare is a right because it must be protected if it is one. Life, liberty, and property are all protected by collective force because they are rights inherent to individuals. They deserve to retain what they own, who they are, and their freedom to change. That's why we have a national defense, police officers, and recognize the right to bear arms.

If it's not a right, healthcare cannot command any special status or subsidy. Doesn't matter how many other public subsidies currently exist that probably shouldn't. As noble as providing healthcare is, publicly funding it just cracks open the door to abuse of tax dollars. It's legislatively inconsistent.

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03-11-2015, 09:06 PM
Post: #30
RE: US Health Care
(03-11-2015 07:53 PM)Anax Wrote:  What protections? There were none to begin with. They are not inherent, especially the case if healthcare isn't a right, so they're extras or additions at best.

You sound like you're suggesting a utilitarian argument, one that benefits a majority and not any minorities. I'd prefer one that benefits all minorities and the majority, down to the individual. This is social democracy's flaw: you account for most, but never all. All the universal solutions purportedly benefit everyone with healthcare, but at the cost of the property (tax money) of some. A slippery slope that is.

I ask if healthcare is a right because it must be protected if it is one. Life, liberty, and property are all protected by collective force because they are rights inherent to individuals. They deserve to retain what they own, who they are, and their freedom to change. That's why we have a national defense, police officers, and recognize the right to bear arms.

If it's not a right, healthcare cannot command any special status or subsidy. Doesn't matter how many other public subsidies currently exist that probably shouldn't. As noble as providing healthcare is, publicly funding it just cracks open the door to abuse of tax dollars. It's legislatively inconsistent.

What minorities are you referring to? Who's the majority? Can you explain how the current healthcare benefits "all" minorities (again, who). It's completely unclear what you mean by this.

You keep referring to your question of "is it a right or a privilege?" but again, unclear why you're asking this. Most of us as far as I can see think it's someone's right to have affordable healthcare, so if it was a right in the US, surely the argument would be to change it to a universal system? I can only gather from you just said that you mean "is the current US healthcare system a right?", if so then ... no. I'm presuming that's not what you meant.

"If it's not a right, healthcare cannot command any special status or subsidy." It's not clear a) why you're saying this and b) what it means, you really need to elaborate on what you just said.

Most importantly, you didn't answer Chrome's main question, what is your goal for the healthcare system, what outcome do you want?
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03-11-2015, 09:51 PM
Post: #31
RE: US Health Care
(03-11-2015 07:53 PM)Anax Wrote:  What protections? There were none to begin with. They are not inherent, especially the case if healthcare isn't a right, so they're extras or additions at best.

At the moment, if you are poor or disabled, in most first world countries there are protections provided to you, by the state, paid for with tax money to put a floor under you, or provide a "safety net". These are actual real protections, which really exist, for real people. Whether they're inherent or not isn't going to be much comfort when you take them away. Though, of course, I don't believe any rights are "inherent" in the sense you mean. More on that later...

Quote:You sound like you're suggesting a utilitarian argument, one that benefits a majority and not any minorities.

It only sounds like that if you parse it through an ideological lens.

Quote:I'd prefer one that benefits all minorities and the majority, down to the individual.

I have literally no idea what this means.

Quote:This is social democracy's flaw: you account for most, but never all. All the universal solutions purportedly benefit everyone with healthcare, but at the cost of the property (tax money) of some. A slippery slope that is.

A slippery slope to what? Social democracy is a mucky compromise between a lot of competing interests that essentially leaves no one too unhappy.

Quote:I ask if healthcare is a right because it must be protected if it is one. Life, liberty, and property are all protected by collective force because they are rights inherent to individuals. They deserve to retain what they own, who they are, and their freedom to change. That's why we have a national defense, police officers, and recognize the right to bear arms.

What if I don't want to pay for a national defence and police officers? Therein lies the rub. You have at the heart of your ideology the idea of private property being a sacrosanct "natural right". One that is inherent. But of course, there is no such natural right. In the natural world, there are only resources and nothing stopping me from taking them if I need them - if I have sufficient force at my disposal. The notion of mutually accepted exclusivity is one that has to be formulated and asserted. The "god-given" or "inherent" stuff is just guff.

For me, therefore, there is no ideological impediment to the notion of taxation, since it relies on the equally artificial concept of property rights to have any meaning. There are clearly people who require healthcare, that can not be debated. In the absence of an absolutist view of private property there is no reason to suggest that that "common good" should always be outweighed by private interests. To put it another way: ideology is a useful way to determine the outcomes you wish to see, but I see little sense in being ideological about the tools we use to realise those goals.

I am comfortable with a conception of private property rights that can accommodate resource distribution based on need, where required. Yes this means the confiscation of private property but I'm okay with that because my personal political calculus does not require the sanctity and supremacy of private property to be axiomatic.

Quote:If it's not a right, healthcare cannot command any special status or subsidy. Doesn't matter how many other public subsidies currently exist that probably shouldn't. As noble as providing healthcare is, publicly funding it just cracks open the door to abuse of tax dollars. It's legislatively inconsistent.

I'm willing to accept that providing a safety net with abuse is better than not providing one. What would be even better, is providing a safety net without the abuse. The first two options do not share an exclusivity constraint.
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03-12-2015, 12:04 AM
Post: #32
RE: US Health Care
Quote:What minorities are you referring to? Who's the majority? Can you explain how the current healthcare benefits "all" minorities (again, who). It's completely unclear what you mean by this.

You keep referring to your question of "is it a right or a privilege?" but again, unclear why you're asking this. Most of us as far as I can see think it's someone's right to have affordable healthcare, so if it was a right in the US, surely the argument would be to change it to a universal system? I can only gather from you just said that you mean "is the current US healthcare system a right?", if so then ... no. I'm presuming that's not what you meant.

"If it's not a right, healthcare cannot command any special status or subsidy." It's not clear a) why you're saying this and b) what it means, you really need to elaborate on what you just said.

Most importantly, you didn't answer Chrome's main question, what is your goal for the healthcare system, what outcome do you want?

It's not exactly a matter of "benefiting" so much as "not choosing sides." Our current (previous?) system did exactly that, through licensure and corporatism. Subsidies weren't blind and universal; benefactors were picked and chosen. The very idea of exemptions is contrary to the free market.

"The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities." - Ayn Rand

Chrome hadn't answered my question if healthcare is an inherent right or not. Thus, I didn't answer his.

-----

Quote:What if I don't want to pay for a national defence and police officers?

You can leave. But there's a reason 100% of the rafts are heading from Cuba to Florida and not the other way around; and why a couple moving from San Diego to Ireland doesn't fear for their lives like a family trying to cross the border out of North Korea.

Quote:What would be even better, is providing a safety net without the abuse.

You can't change the human nature of others.

Quote:I am comfortable with a conception of private property rights that can accommodate resource distribution based on need, where required.

There's the catch.... Y'all think there's abuse now? Y'all think corporations abused health insurance before? Who determines that "need?" Who determines "where required?" How is that not dubious and relativistic and hopeful to the core?

-----

Eagle, heads up, 'cause this is the imperative crux of our competing arguments. Chrome's essentially recommended universal healthcare on the condition that the right people are in control who can determine the right solutions to problems so as to benefit the most people; whereas I suggest that we allow people to regulate themselves, and we each choose to help others if they so volunteer. "What works" in hands of power too easily transforms into "what I want." If you believe that the ends justify the means, and that human rights are not naturally and eternally inherent, then there's no reason to not attempt a universal system when your party has the power. Rights become as malleable as laws, able to be generated quickly like legislation. Healthcare will be a right when it suits us; it can cease to be a right when it does not suit us. The majority takes precedence over the individual. Any individual.

Laws cannot force good. Laws should not have goals. Law is the continual deterrent to injustice caused and infringement committed. There is no endgame or objective to achieve. So long as human nature is imperfect, fallen, and sinful, negative laws will have to exist to deter the infringement of rights on others. People will disobey good laws as well as bad laws.

That's why I think this won't work. And the soft socialisms that it is seen to succeed are running on borrowed time, powered by the literal blood, sweat, and tears of men and women in U.S. uniform, projecting their national defense through international alliances and treaties onto the rest of the free world. If Japan, Sweden, Norway, or possibly even South Korea didn't have our military invisibly protecting them, they'd think twice about slashing defense for their cozy social programs.

....Which still leaves Israel the odd one out as it's a hub of scientific, military, technological, and economic progress. In a perpetual war zone. I'm always intrigued by this tiny, little nation. X-D

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03-12-2015, 05:02 AM
Post: #33
RE: US Health Care
Anax, you keep getting mired in abstractions that are, quite frankly, irrelevant. Healthcare reform is by and large a very straight forward issue: How do we make our healthcare system better so that people aren't avoiding going to the doctor or going bankrupt from their medical care? Absolutely no one is questioning whether or not we need a healthcare system. That's no more a cogent argument than questioning whether or not humans have a common ancestor with apes.

As far as the issue of whether or not it's a "right," there's probably not gonna be an answer that's going to satisfy you, because in the US we don't even respect the Lockean three core rights: life, liberty and property. If the government can deprive you of a "right" then it ceases to be a "right" and becomes a "privilege." In the US, the government can take away your life, they can take away your liberty, and they can take away your property. If you're a convicted felon, you can lose your "right" to vote. If you can't drive well, they can take away your "right" to movement. And yet, even if you are incarcerated, the government can't take away your "right" to certain programs like unemployment, Medicare or social security. So unless you're using some metaphysical (read: bullshit) definition of what a "right" is, those social programs are more of a "right" than your own life, liberty or property. You might say that that's not fair and that's not right. That may not be the way the Austrians want it to be, but that is the way that it is, and it is fruitless to argue that "well that's not the system I want" when that's the system that every industrialized society in the 21st century is predicated upon.

So I'm sorry, but I have to reject your arguments on "whether healthcare is a right" as pointless. No real good can be derived from arguing that the solution to fixing a system isn't as efficient as it ought to be is to abolish it. It's chasing windmills, and it helps no one.

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03-12-2015, 06:45 PM
Post: #34
RE: US Health Care

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