"I challenge anyone to show me people dying on the streets because they don’t have health insurance"

An economist promotes less, not more, government in health care:

Some of our politicians hold up the Canadian and British nationalized health care systems as models for us. You can bet that should we ever have such a system, they would exempt themselves from what the rest of us would have to endure.

There’s a cure for our health care problems. That cure is not to demand more government but less government. I challenge anyone to identify a problem with health care in America that is not caused or aggravated by federal, state and local governments.

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  • Val Jones, MD

    A government managed universal healthcare system will result in reduced consumer choice, poorer quality and safety of care, and decreased physician autonomy. My latest blog post explains why I think this is true: https://www.revolutionhealth.com/blogs/valjonesmd/why-i-worry-about-a-g-2327

  • Anonymous

    As a health care consumer who is a small business owner I would like to know if any of the doctors who posted to this list had a chance to read Paul Krugman’s 16 Feb column in the New York Times this week? http://nytimes.com

    Having been directly affected by the billions spent on denial management by insurance companies our company is in a position where uneven cash flows are putting us at risk — we must borrow money at times to make sure that our health insurance is not terminated. The premiums are astronomical. The pre-condition clauses in our policy make it seem likely that our insurance company has no intention of making good on future claims.

    Do you really believe that market forces have the ability to deliver health care to us? There are roughly 47 million currently uninsured people in the United States and that number is not declining.

    Wouldn’t it be wise as doctors to band together with consumers of health care to craft a plan to deliver medical care directly through an affiliated group of doctors and hospitals? Why is there such a reluctance on the part of doctors to see themselves as small business owners too?

    For far too long doctors have leaned towards weighing in on the side of big business and free-market policy wonks.

  • shadowfax

    I’ll take this challenge. I see the uninsured come in EVERY DAY with the heart attacks, strokes, and other catastrophic sequelae of lack of access to health care.

    No, most of them don’t die in the street — they die in the hospital, at great expense to society. But they do die.

    I’ll run some real stories over at Movin’ Meat, and I’ll make sure to cc Walter E. Williams copies.

  • scalpel

    If an uninsured person comes in with a heart attack, we’ll activate the cath lab just as fast as we would for the insured. He will have the same Cardiologist and go to the same ICU as the banker with Blue Cross.

    If an uninsured illegal immigrant comes in with cholecystitis, we’ll arrange for an admission and have her gallbladder taken out the same day. She’ll get the same expensive IV antibiotics and go to the same surgical floor as the businesswoman with Aetna.

    If the poor want primary care, there are clinics all around the city. Plenty of insured folks drink, smoke, skip meds, and don’t follow up too.

    Crisis? The only crisis is that the insured are getting screwed.

  • Anonymous

    In Louisiana we have universal healthcare availability through a system of state owned and operated charity hospitals scattered all over the state. It isn’t “universal coverage” only because it is done by direct government services rather than insurance.

    Even so, the state is still at the bottom in health of the population.

    Healthcare coverage is not equal to healthcare and health has little to do with either. All of shadowfaxes other patients are going to die also, as am I and as is he. The primary determinant of when is luck and lifestyle rather than medical therapy.

    Poor people always have been sicker than middle class people and always will be. Many are poor because they already have chronic medical conditions. Many others are poor because of behavioral patterns of pleasure seeking, disregard for long-term consequences and impulsivity–which take as great a toll on health as it does on fiances.

  • Anonymous

    Scalpel, Cool! Can I come to your ER each month and get my monthly supply of BP meds? Or, do I need to have a stroke first? Can I also come each month and get my insulin for that month or do I need to be in a coma?

    You live in a tunnel!

  • scalpel

    You can sign up with the county indigent healthcare system and get your meds priced according to your income at any of the several clinics around town. You can get three free medications per month on Medicaid.

    Or you can give up smoking and drinking and illegal drugs and use that money to buy your prescriptions (and be healthier too!)

    What a deal!

  • Anonymous

    You have a major attitude problem. You actually believe this stuff you type. Everyone who cant buy medications are not addicted to something. I know that information must cramp your style, but maybe growing up is overdue?

    As for medicaid, You embarrass yourself by what you say. Not everyone can get medicaid and Im certain you know that. Most of the working poor DO NOT get medicaid so you just keep living and believing the way you do if thats what it takes to make your day easier, and allows you to keep right on hating the people who you claim you want to help.

  • Anonymous

    Most of the poor that don’t have medicaid have not applied for it, not because they aren’t eligible.

  • Cathy

    anon 2:24..Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Dr. Hebert just did a good post about this several days ago.

  • Anonymous

    “Scalpel, Cool! Can I come to your ER each month and get my monthly supply of BP meds? Or, do I need to have a stroke first? Can I also come each month and get my insulin for that month or do I need to be in a coma?

    You live in a tunnel!”

    Actually, you live in a world of ignorance.

    Medical care in this country is available to anyone that needs it regardless of means. You can now even go to Walmart and buy generic medications for pennies.

    “Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Dr. Hebert just did a good post about this several days ago.”

    Yes, it is not always the case, but it is clear that of the 47 million “uninsured” 1/3 are eligible for medicaid but have not signed up for one reason or another. Additionally, another 1/3 can afford an HDHP but have chosen not to purchase one. The final 1/3, or approx 15 million people, need some help and this can be achieved with a government funded voucher program to assist them to purchase an HDHP. Using this approach, 100% of Americans can be covered with minimal cost. The HDHPs with such a plan need to be true bare bones catastrophic coverage stripped of all the ludicrous state mandates piled on by the various lobbyists (ie chiropractic, mental health, massage, IVF, etc).

  • Anonymous

    Bad medicine kills many more people than lack of insurance.
    Why don’t we focus on that first?

    IOM (2004): 18,000 unnecessary deaths are attributable to lack of health coverage every year.

    IOM (1999): medical errors caused up to 98,000 deaths annually and should be considered a national epidemic.

    HealthGrades (2004): using same criteria as IOM (AHRQ data): An average of 195,000 people in the U.S. died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002.

  • DBR

    “An average of 195,000 people in the U.S. died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002″

    Well! If this is true (and that’s a big “if,” but, for the sake of argument, let’s say it is…), then we can save almost 200,000 lives a year by closing all the hospitals – and without those evil doctors killing 98,000 more (since there won’t be hospitals for them to malpractice in) that’s almost 300,000 lives each year!

    I vote for closing all the hospitals – after all, nothing should be more important than saving lives…

  • Happyman

    I echo scalpel. “self pay” ie. no-pay patients show up in community hospitals every day for everything from a pregnancy test, to running out of insulin, to acute myocardial infarction in every community across america. Hospitals cannot turn anyone away – they must treat regardless of pay, even if it means admitting to the ICU, thrombolysis, MRI & expensive scans etc. Uninsureds’ costs to hospitals and medical staff are simply absorbed, with resultant increased fees for patients with medicare and private insurance.

    Now with medicare fee cutbacks (which most private insurers parallel) and increased oversight & regulation, hospitals are barely staying afloat.

    Also “voluntary” medical staff must take “service” call to care for those from whom we will never be reimbursed (even on xmas or new years eve at 11:50pm) in order to remain on the hospital staff, something we NEED in order to have part of our malpractice coverage.

    The system definitely doesn’t work, but uninsured patients aren’t getting screwed – everyone else is.

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