The above is a one-hour debate on health care alternatives, including Medicare for all. To be clear, I support MFA, and understand that Bernie Sanders, controlled opposition, is put in place to prevent it from ever coming to be.
As always, I don’t expect that you will take time from your schedule, busy or otherwise, to listen to something just because I did. So I am going to summarize this hour-log podcast.
Aside: I was drawn to Heartland Institute because I regard their work on the climate change hoax to be top-notch. They have assembled both scientists and science to counter every alarmist bell rung the Chicken Little crowd. They have also seen through the ruse, understanding that climate change is a false front, a green curtain behind which lurks dictators who want to control every aspect of our lives.
However, I get goose bumps as I listen to or view some of their other work. They are “free market” advocates as a solution to every problem, presuming that such a thing even exists and would be effective if allowed to flourish. I was dismayed that, at Heartland’s Thirteenth International Conference on Climate Change this year, they allowed time to Montana’s Jennifer Fielder, an advocate for transfer of Federal lands to the various states, a recipe for privatization. She says such a plan only allows more access, oblivious to the fact that access to federal lands is ubiquitous, rarely denied. I was invovled in that battle back in the 90s, and came up with the catchphrase “Keep Public Lands in Public Hands,” which turned out to be effective. It has been stolen and used by others, to this day. (It was not copyrighted.)
Enough about that. I dabble with Heartland on the Climate Change side, but otherwise am not trucking with them.
The debate above between Talgo and Gronemeyer is civil and respectful, as all debates should be. I wish they had brought forth someone with a broader point of view than Gronemeyer, who missed many opportunities, but I don’t think that was intentional. Heartland seems to be comprised of sincere and honest people. Very few have the courage to take a stage with a sharp and well-versed opponent, and she did it, so kudos.
Here are Talgo’s major points – I am tempted to say that as he spoke he was sitting beside a Kool Aid dispenser, but I don’t use the expression “drinking the Kool Aid” since I did my work on Jonestown, finding it to be fake. That’s too bad, as it is a useful expression.
My rebuttal is in italics.
Medicare for All is a “government takeover of the health care system. It is a reimbursement system for hospitals and doctors. Medicare as it exists now allows free choice of doctors and hospitals. It does not require pre-approval of procedures. Medicare sometimes balks on a charge as duplicative or, for various reasons, not covered, but when that happens it is the doctor or hospital, and not the patient, that suffers.
Government intervention in the health care system has created all the problems we experience. Do you remember the “preexisting conditions” regime where millions of people were denied health care? That came about because of insurance companies. When one company decided not to cover people with a certain condition, all other had to follow due to adverse selection. The high cost of health care is due to many factors, but one is that insurance companies only pay a portion of bills, which results in doctors and hospitals doubling, even tripling their charges just to get what they need, and endless cycle. Another factor is high overhead, as doctors and hospitals must hire staff just to sort through various companies’ forms, coverages, hoops and bureaucrats. Talgo’s statement is wrong.
Auto insurance works because it is a free market approach, while health insurance is not. Auto insurance indeed works, and it does not hurt that government mandates coverage. But it works because claims are infrequent in terms of the number of drivers and vehicles. That insurance model indeed works, as the minimal individual burden is shared to cover catastrophic events for a few. I tend to agree that health insurance, if we must have it, should be catastrophic coverage, while we rely on ourselves or associations for minor matters. It might work better if government mandated universal coverage, as it does in Switzerland, which uses private insurance and controls costs while covering everyone.
Medicare for All is a wealth distribution plan where the rich pay for the poor and working classes. Talgo needs to take a look at where government revenues come from … the shared burden of FICA and income tax in effect places a similar burden (in terms of percentage) on all who work. Those who do not work for wages only pay the equivalent of what workers pay as they enter the highest brackets. And let’s not even get into the matter of the ability to create money, the illusions of deficits and national debt. This post is already long.
Government is bureaucrats, private sector not. I tend to agree that bureaucrats are like Lilliputians, and that we have too many of them. Honoré de Balzac referred to bureaucracy as the “giant power welded by pygmies.” Private insurance companies are crawling with them. I argued to no avail with Humana about a surgical tooth extraction they refused to cover (shortly before dumping Humana), and was told that were it a true surgical procedure, Humana would have had to approve it in advance. In other words, a clown with a business degree is looking over the shoulder of doctor. Not that I honor doctors. That’s another story.
Obamacare was a takeover of the health case sector by government. I need to get caught up here, as there have been court decisions, and I sense that the private mandate is gone now, but Obamacare was written, shepherded and passed by Liz Fowler, a Wellpoint executive who fronted for the insurance companies that pushed it through. It was a disaster, to be true, with its exclusions, and MOOPS (max-out-of-pockets) (currently $15,800 for a family) and higher premiums and people running and hiding rather than seeking coverage. The insurance industry did that to us using its tool, Barack Obama.
Due to Trump, the VA is referring people to doctors and clinics and hospitals outside the VA system. VA has always done that. It makes sense to rent someone else’s expensive and rarely used specialist or equipment rather than purchase it.
Medicare for All will cost $30 trillion in the coming ten years. There are a number of studies on this matter. But this much is certain: We currently pay $3.5 trillion annually. Over ten years, that is $35 trillion. Is the $30 trillion number Talgo uses merely an assumption that all health care costs become tax expenditures? I cannot see it any other way. It flies, however, in the face of real expenditures in countries that have “single payer,” which is what MFA is. Canada’s system, which covers everyone up there, costs 60% per capita of what we pay even as we exclude 30 million people. I am sensing sensational scare tactics here. MFA should, over time, reduce health care expenditures per capita.
Monopolies lead to high costs and poor service. I tend to agree, and think that Talgo is not seeing that our health insurance industry is in effect a monopoly, or oligopoly, but I repeat myself. Indeed prices are out of hand. Service is an open question, as I’ve never experience bad service on the health care end, just in the insurance products we must purchase.
Here is one point made by Gronemeyer: The best health care begins at 65. That has been my experience.
Not discussed here: The American way of health care with its unnecessary and invasive, even abusive procedures; holistic and dietary alternatives to doctors and hospitals, the vaccination regime, the PSA. Zika, and AIDS and other hoaxes; cancer and its treatments … I am not oblivious to any of this and welcome comments from others more schooled in these matters than me.
The Talgo/Gronemeyer exchange was courteous and each person is sincere and intelligent. I only wish Gronemeyer was better on her feet, and that Talgo would get away from the free market sugary drink dispenser.