Some Thoughts on Health Care

A rather long comment I made to a converstation on Facebook. Thought I would share it (and archive it)… (Sorry for the missing context, but I think the comment stands on it’s own well enough and I don’t want to copy the other commenters in the thread without their permission.)

@Lauren: Yes, there’s no difference between abortion and inadequate health care… That’s exactly the type of well reasoned debating that will help us all get through this.

@Rich: Let’s be clear here – no one views the military budget and health care as a zero sum game. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the nation will sacrifice military funding to fund health care. While it makes a great emotional punch, it adds nothing to the rational debate.

While it’s certainly educational to see what other nations have achieved in their health care systems, it’s folly to assume that because they achieve “statistic X for cost Y” that we can do the same. “Health” is a complex subject and for any given facet could be influenced by cultural, diet, lifestyle, genetics, climate, or a dozen other issues. Ultimately the solution is not to transplant a system from somewhere else but to find a system that will work in the US. Given the size of the US and variety of cultures, climate, & demographics within our borders it is even harder to envision a national system that will be “one size fits all”.

Indeed, a big part of what prevents market competition from keeping prices in check is the fact that ever state currently has their own regulations for health care tailored to their situation. This creates huge barriers to entry that prevent easy implementation of a market-based scheme for health care.

Regarding the “fatcats”, it’s educational to see that non-profit insurance companies and HMOs (yes, they exist) have no had significantly better results in cost control than the for-profit “fatcats”.

@Jacob: First, as I stated above, my point was that after you federalize the $2 trillion health care industry, it will definitely be more than defense. Even with the additional numbers from the war funding, that still holds true.

The reason I stated it was “debatable” was specifically what you quoted. Personally, I expect a nation to spend more on the military than on healthcare during a time of war. Arguments over whether this war is right or wrong on whether we should be spending this type of money to fight terrorism are irrelevant in this context. As I said above, no one considers military and health care to be a zero sum game. No one in the government is saying “let’s stop building tanks so we can buy some more MRI machines”. This is a wonderfully effective emotional argument, but a completely irrelevant one.

@Clint: I agree with you on the issues, although I tend to prefer market-based approaches when they’re likely to work.

People seem to assume that if I disagree with them personally I’m defending the status quo. Please understand that I think things need to change too. But I think the best way to do that is to make considered logical changes, not get swept up into an emotional storm and dash off in the first direction that will make us feel better. (And don’t kid yourselves, if you’re bringing up the cost of the military in the context of health care, you’re an emotion-monger. No offense.)

Facebook App Bullshit


I really get annoyed by the fact that I can’t even look at an app on someone’s profile without granting that app access to my info. I want to read an “Interview” on a friend’s profile, but I can’t see what she answered without adding it to my own page. That’s just viral privacy invasion.

Of course, Facebook’s app platform allows any app to add stories to my newsfeed. So I can’t read anything I want to read, but I get spammed with bullshit about mafia wars, “You friend completed the blah blah blah quiz”, and fantasy farm league.

It’s like the perfect storm of stupidity… but it’s still better than MySpace.