Sunday, July 19, 2009

Everybody On!

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President Obama keeps telling us that adding millions of people to the healthcare roles will actually make the total cost less because of increased governmental efficiency. By extension, if we give healthcare to everyone in the whole world, it shouldn't cost us anything at all.


Philip said...

This is probably what he thought after the election :

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

Thanks Philip! Folks, check out the link above - a very funny cartoon strip about Obama, Biden, and Socialism. And it's in color, too. Show-offs...

Suzy said...

The interesting thing is....once everybody climbs on the scale...the scale breaks.

The comic could go on a few extra frames and further demonstrate the health care thing very well.

Philip said...

Are you scared by the ObamaCare, Suzy ?

In case you're not scared enough, here is the creepy page 16 :

Suzy said...

Its pretty scary, but hopefully Congress will see enough sense to keep the bill voted down.

Philip said...

That's right, Suzy. Because "The Obama Agenda Bogs Down" :

Philip said...

The rest of the world runs circles around the bozos in our executive and legislative branches.

The U.S. should be paying close attention to those who have already dabbled in Socialism.

Europe Thumps U.S., Again (First lower taxes, now freer trade.)

Philip said...

Dope N' Change !







Joe Markowitz said...

It is a fact that the developed countries that have universal health care (which is pretty much all of them except the United States) have lower per capita expenditures, and generally have better overall health statistics than the United States. It is also a fact that having so many uninsured does make the system cost more for the rest of us, for two reasons. One is that these people still have to burden emergency rooms and charity hospitals when they get sick and we all pay for that. And two is that these people are not contributing their fair share into the system, which also increases costs for the rest of us.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

Joe, they have lower per capita expenditures because they don't have access to the expensive technologies that Americans have come to rely on. That other countries have better "overall" health statistics has been called into question by the World Health Organization...but there is no question that the US is far and away the best place for treatment of extreme or life-threatening conditions, especially in a timely manner.

However, you're absolutely right that having so many uninsured people drives up overall costs, and causes a glut for emergency rooms. Unfortunately, the Congressional Budget Office says that the proposed changes to the system will increase taxpayer costs by $1.3 trillion over just 10 years.

Shouldn't "reform" intended to bring down costs at least get the CBO's blessing? Currently, the only "savings" being pointed to are those that will be derived from (wait for it...) "government efficiency."

Feel free, to list all of the other business areas in which government does ANYthing better, faster, smarter, or cheaper than the private sector.

Joe Markowitz said...

Medicare has lower administrative costs than almost any private health insurance plan. It covers more people for less money than any private plan possibly could. The same for Social Security. No private pension plan can match the efficiency in terms of the percentage of costs going to administrative expenses, of the Social Security System. And how about the Post Office? Let's compare how much it costs to send a letter by the US Postal Service versus Federal Express or UPS. You can also compare the rates paid and the service given by privately owned utilities to government-owned utilities. In almost all cases, people who are served by public utilities get a much better deal. In general there is almost no service performed by the government, including prisons, schools, roads, or any other function, that could be done cheaper or more efficiently by the private profit-driven sector. If they could do it cheaper, they would bid for government services and taxpayers would save money. But since that almost never happens, that proves that public services, in the areas where it is appropriate for them to operate, almost always out-perform private ones.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

Sorry Joe, the management and staff of Hope n' Change begs to disagree.

"Percentage of costs" is a meaningless figure, often quoted by Paul Krugman (who surely knows better) because the outgoing amounts are so huge.

Regarding Medicare, the government's "efficiency" is such that many doctors won't take Medicare patients, and lose money on every Medicare patient they see. The problem has gotten so bad in Hawaii, Obama's first residence in the US (albeit not where he was born) that the head of the state's medical board calls care "third world."

Social Security? Yeah, that's tremendously efficient...except for the fact that the government spent all the money a long time ago, and is now operating as a Ponzi scheme that would shame Bernie Madoff. If ANY private pension plan was run like Social Security, executives would be doing the "perp walk" on their way to life sentences.

The US Postal Service is a dandy institution - but obviously the free market suggests that a lot of people find Fed Ex and UPS to be a better value ("value" including convenience and confidence). And the Postal Service is not in robust good health; costs are going up, and there is continuing talk about cutting another day of service just to make ends meet.

Schools? Please - tests show that adults with no education degree can give their kids a better education at home in 1/3 the time, and for just the cost of textbooks.

We could go on, but the simple fact is that anyplace the government is offering a better/cheaper deal than the private sector, it's because tax money is pouring in the back door to (more than) make up the difference.