Medicare for All Would be a Disaster for All

 

The Democrats running for president are at it again: they are submitting a completely unrealistic proposal for single-payer health insurance and they aren’t sharing the facts. We must get the word out to everyone that we have to stop this proposal that will take us in a catastrophic direction.

The media, of course, will tell everyone that the public loves the idea of single-payer insurance aka, Medicare for All. Although those running for President have several different plans, none of them would be good for this country. But according to one poll, the public supports the idea :

This month’s KFF Health Tracking Poll continues to find majority support (driven by Democrats and independents) for the federal government doing more to help provide health insurance for more Americans. One way for lawmakers to expand coverage is by broadening the role of public programs. Nearly six in ten (56 percent) favor a national Medicare-for-all plan, but overall net favorability towards such a plan ranges as high as +45 and as low as -44 after people hear common arguments about this proposal.

You can be confident that the Democrats won’t share the shift in support when people learn what single payer will cost them.

When Kamala Harris promoted the idea of eliminating private health insurance, support fell even further:

In the latest survey, when “Medicare for all” supporters were subsequently asked whether they would still back a government health system that eliminated the private insurance market, about 1 in 2 respondents (49 percent) reaffirmed their position, but just over one-fifth — or 22 percent — withdrew their support outright. Another 29 percent said they no longer knew or had no opinion.

So what was the bad news that people were learning?

The first piece of bad news is the potential cost to taxpayers and cuts to providers:

According to Charles Blahous, a scholar at the Mercatus Center, Sanders’ bill would increase federal spending by at least $32 trillion in the first decade — even as it cut payments to providers to Medicare rates, which are 40 percent below those paid by private insurance. Doubling individual and corporate income tax receipts would not be enough to meet that tab.

More taxes would be inevitable. More doctors would likely close their businesses due to the loss of income.

Finally, waiting times for services would also be coming:

The contention that waiting times for health care services would be longer is the most debatable of the bunch, but given the experience of other countries and the probable design of a full-scale single-payer plan, it’s a more than plausible outcome. Government-run health care systems like the ones in the United Kingdom (which is fully socialized) and Canada (a territorial single-payer system) are notorious for having long wait times for services such as cancer treatment.

You may have heard these arguments before, but the general public has not. Although I doubt the mainstream media is paying attention, we have to use social media to get out the word. Too often we complain that people are not being educated, so our government representatives throw up their hands and relinquish their power when they could make a difference. The Republicans must find a way to put a stop to this potential debacle.

The Democrats are fools but they are not stupid. Rest assured that whoever tries to enact Medicare for All will probably not propose it all at once; they may have learned their lessons from the Affordable Care Act. The proposals will probably be made subtly so that initially no one feels the pain. In fact, we could say that the ACA was already the first step. If we let single-payer be enacted, everyone—the public, the providers and even the government—will feel the pain. Reason.com said, in an understatement:

The imaginary version of Medicare for All that entails no disruption or tradeoffs is popular; the reality is not.

Our legislators must stop complaining and actually make a difference.

Published in Healthcare
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There are 32 comments.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  1. Member

    Excellent piece. But I think what really should be emphasized in order to stop this thing are in two areas:

    1. You mentioned the long wait times, which is great. It should be emphasized over and over again. I could get an appointment with any of my doctors quickly. My eye doctor already told me that ever I really needed him, just come in, and he’ll take me first. When I call my dentist I can get an appointment within the week. In other countries it takes months.
    2. I think the really important thing is innovation. It is the reason everyone wants to come here to be treated. AOC and Bernie, and all the usual suspects, hate the profit system. But that is what has enabled innovation. Today, we have things that we never would have dreamed of when I was growing up. I have two stents in me. I might be dead today (as my grandfather passed away in the 60s of a heart attack) were it not for stents. Innovation should be mentioned all the time.

    Medicine is about making people well. Socialized Medicine is a scheme to try and grind everyone down to the same level. Hard-Left folk don’t give a damn about you me; they want egalitarianism. Except for them, of course.

    • #1
    • February 17, 2019, at 3:30 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    George Townsend (View Comment):

    Excellent piece. But I think what really should be emphasized in order to stop this thing are in two areas:

    1. You mentioned the long wait times, which is great. It should be emphasized over and over again. I could get an appointment with any of my doctors quickly. My eye doctor already told me that ever I really needed him, just come in, and he’ll take me first. When I call my dentist I can get an appointment within the week. In other countries it takes months.
    2. I think the really important thing is innovation. It is the reason everyone wants to come here to be treated. AOC and Bernie, and all the usual suspects, hate the profit system. But that is what has enabled innovation. Today, we have things that we never would have dreamed of when I was growing up. I have two stents in me. I might be dead today (as my grandfather passed away in the 60s of a heart attack) were it not for stents. Innovation should be mentioned all the time.

    Medicine is about making people well. Socialized Medicine is a scheme to try and grind everyone down to the same level. Hard-Left folk don’t give a damn about you me; they want egalitarianism. Except for them, of course.

    Excellent points, George! I think we take innovation for granted. We definitely should not! 

    • #2
    • February 17, 2019, at 3:35 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  3. Member

    It won’t be Medicare for all.

    It will be Medicaid for all. And people will not be happy with the result.

    • #3
    • February 17, 2019, at 3:53 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Kozak (View Comment):

    It won’t be Medicare for all.

    It will be Medicaid for all. And people will not be happy with the result.

    I stand corrected. You’re right, @kozak.

    • #4
    • February 17, 2019, at 3:55 PM PDT
    • Like
  5. Inactive

    Seniors already on Medicare will be…or should be…the best weapon against Medicare for all. They should be scared out of their minds that their program is going to be raided, and speak with one loud voice against it. If Republicans can’t accomplish something that easy then they deserve to lose. 

    • #5
    • February 17, 2019, at 7:46 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  6. Member

    If we’re trying to persuade the general public, I think arguing the cost is too abstract for most people.

    So, I prefer to use the personal impact related to availability of service as more likely to bring the effects into real life for more people.

    If you can find a doctor, you will have to spend much more time getting medical services. You will have to wait a long time to get a visit appointment. Unless you live near major medical facilities, you will likely have to travel farther to find a doctor to see you. In the doctor’s office you will be waiting much longer than you do today. If you need tests, you will have to wait weeks or months for them (and it will not matter to the system if you are likely to die or to get much sicker during the interim because everyone else on the waiting list is also at risk of death or declining health).

    Mark Steyn used to (maybe still does) talk about the difference between the experiences of his US employees and his Canadian employees when they had a doctor’s visit. The US employees would make an appointment, go to the appointment, and be done in an hour or two. The Canadian employees would likely spend all day sitting in a queue at a clinic. 

    Medical facilities in the US near the Canadian border (Buffalo, NY, for example) have quite thriving businesses providing testing and diagnostic services to Canadians who would otherwise have to wait weeks or months for their “free” tests. 

    I have read various examples of there being more equipment (particularly diagnostic equipment) in one typical US hospital than there is in an entire province of Canada.

    There are many stories of British hospitals and medical facilities forcing ambulances to wait out on the road because the hospital doesn’t have room for the patient, and if the patient doesn’t enter the building, the wait time in the ambulance doesn’t count against the hospital’s performance statistics. 

    • #6
    • February 17, 2019, at 8:30 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Member

    George Townsend (View Comment):
    I think the really important thing is innovation. It is the reason everyone wants to come here to be treated. AOC and Bernie, and all the usual suspects, hate the profit system. But that is what has enabled innovation. Today, we have things that we never would have dreamed of when I was growing up. I have two stents in me. I might be dead today (as my grandfather passed away in the 60s of a heart attack) were it not for stents. Innovation should be mentioned all the time.

    I like to try to get people to recognize that the vast majority (and it is a vast majority) of medical inventions (or innovations) have been made in the US.

    Getting US drug or device prices down to the marginal cost of production prices other countries pay for US inventions works only for existing drugs and devices. No incentive is left for anyone to create new inventions.

    • #7
    • February 17, 2019, at 8:37 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Member

    Well, what do you expect when the Republicans offer nothing but an unserious set of abstractions to deal with medical costs. A few months ago my wife in the the emergency room for a kidney stone. We were there only 3 hours, which is great, but all they had to offer were time and painkillers. That’s fine too. We didn’t expect a miracle cure. But give the 3 hours and a few oxycodone, we also didn’t expect a $4000.00 bill. We have excellent health insurance so no big deal for us. But my neighbor with 3 kids would be in serious trouble. Look, inflation in medical care is out of control. 30 years ago a CT Scan was about $300 w/o insurance, Try to get that deal today. My first MRI in 1987 ran $1,000. If I went in for the same scan today I’d be looking at least $3500, maybe more. And I’d still be in the tube for an hour.

    This would be a national disgrace, but socialized medicine is inevitable if the Repubs work for nothing but tax cuts, and do nothing to help drive down costs and increase access. We can talk of American healthcare as the best in the world (at this point highly debatable), but while folks with means may come here, millions of everyday citizens risk financial disaster if they go to the hospital. An ambulance ride in my town is at least $1300. If they flip on the light and siren the bill increases to $1500. And as someone who spent his early lawyer days working for some medical providers in collecting bills, they may be the most ruthless creditors out there. Truth is, Catholic hospitals are among the worst.

    The fact is that medical costs are highly resistant to market competition. There are only 141 medical schools and 34 osteopathic schools. Those low numbers keep the supply of doctors low, and salaries high. Try getting the AMA on board for more medical schools and more doctors. Good bloody luck. 

    More difficult, try to get a provider to give you an actual price. A few years ago my insurance company and my provider got into a spitting match over the cost of a procedure. I finally got billed for a substantial some over insurance payment. I tried to get the actual price, but all I got were distortions–from both the hospital and the insurer. I’m still more than a bit suspicious that the hospital billed out a procedure that failed to work. And that it did so fully aware of the failure. But who’s going to investigate?

    The system isn’t just broken, it is corrupt, and no one is going to do anything about it. We’re on track for national healthcare and you can bet the industry will be waiving the pom poms.

    • #8
    • February 17, 2019, at 10:31 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Member

    “Governments impose price controls, in order to try to keep the costs of medical care from absorbing so much of their budgets as to seriously restrict other government functions. Government-paid medical care is thus often an exercise in price control, and it creates situations that been common for centuries in response to price controls on many other goods and services.”

    ”One of the reasons for the political popularity of price controls in general is that part of the costs are concealed—or, at least, are not visible initially when such laws are passed. Price controls are therefore particularly appealing to those who do not think beyond stage one—which can easily be a majority of the voters. Artificially lower prices, create by government order rather than by supply and demand, encourage more use of goods or services, while discouraging the production of those same goods and services. Increased consumption and reduced production mean a shortage. The consequences are both quantitative and qualitative.”

    ”Quality deterioration often accompanies reduced production under price control, whether what is being produced is food, housing, or numerous other goods and services whose prices have been kept artificially low by government fiat. Quality declines because incentives to maintaining quality are lessened by price control.”

    ”Nowhere has quality deterioration been more apparent — or more dangerous — than with price controls on medical care. One way in which the quality of medical care deteriorates is in the amount of time that a doctor spends with a patient. This was most dramatically demonstrated back in the day of the Soviet Union, which has the most completely government controlled medical system”

    Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One, by Thomas Sowell.

    • #9
    • February 17, 2019, at 11:05 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. Member

    “In Britain, the over-use of the government-run National Health Care Service extends beyond the British population, because the free medical treatment it provides attracts immigrants from around the world. These immigrants impose not only financial costs but also the biological costs of the diseases they bring, which can spread to the British population at large.”

    Sowell, pp. 60

    • #10
    • February 17, 2019, at 11:07 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Member

    “When prices no longer ration, something else has to ration, since the underlying scarcity does not go away because the government controls prices or provides things free of charge to the users. One of the alternative ways of rationing is by waiting. While this is common with price controls on many things, waiting for medical care is a more serious problem. In 2001, more than 10,000 people in Britain had waited more than 15 months for surgery. In Canada, a 2004 study showed that the median waiting time for receiving an appointment with a specialist to actually being treated was 15 weeks for ophthalmology and 24 weeks for orthopedic surgery. This does not include the waiting time between being referred to a specialist by a general practitioner and actually getting an appointment with the specialist, these additional waiting times varying by province from 7 weeks in Manitoba to 12 weeks in Prince Edward Island.”

    Sowell, p. 61

    • #11
    • February 17, 2019, at 11:12 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    So, I prefer to use the personal impact related to availability of service as more likely to bring the effects into real life for more people.

    Excellent points, @fullsizetabby. I usually criticize people who expect instant results–we can be really spoiled in this country! But when it comes to healthcare, I want results as quickly as possible–I’m accustomed to it and expect it. These changes will definitely impact service.

    • #12
    • February 18, 2019, at 5:51 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Mike Rapkoch (View Comment):
    More difficult, try to get a provider to give you an actual price. A few years ago my insurance company and my provider got into a spitting match over the cost of a procedure. I finally got billed for a substantial some over insurance payment. I tried to get the actual price, but all I got were distortions–from both the hospital and the insurer. I’m still more than a bit suspicious that the hospital billed out a procedure that failed to work. And that it did so fully aware of the failure. But who’s going to investigate?

    This is unconscionable! I’ve heard this kind of story–we have the right to know the costs of procedures. Not only that, but when we don’t know what things cost, there are those who will use the system for a sniffle. What a mess. And the future sounds pretty dismal. The Republicans have really let us down.

    • #13
    • February 18, 2019, at 5:54 AM PDT
    • Like
  14. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Justin Hertog (View Comment):
    ”Nowhere has quality deterioration been more apparent — or more dangerous — than with price controls on medical care. One way in which the quality of medical care deteriorates is in the amount of time that a doctor spends with a patient. This was most dramatically demonstrated back in the day of the Soviet Union, which has the most completely government controlled medical system”

    Thanks, @justinhertog. I hear complaints from friends all the time about the quality of care and the amount of time a doctor will spend with them. It’s tragic when people are frightened by the system.

    • #14
    • February 18, 2019, at 5:56 AM PDT
    • Like
  15. Lincoln

    Whenever a new Democratic program is floated, the first wave of polling questions on it is inevitably on the level of “How would you like some free stuff?!” It always produces the desired positive affirmation responses, and you have to wait at least until the second wave of polls come out before you get responses based on letting people know the potential downside of all that ‘free’ stuff.

    I’m only surprised we haven’t gotten a similar poll asking simplistic questions about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, and specifically how would everyone like free cash from the Universal Basic Income section?

    • #15
    • February 18, 2019, at 5:59 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Thatcher

    Susan Quinn: More doctors would likely close their businesses due to the loss of income.

    As I’ve stated in other comments, this is what happened to my doctor. Obamacare was the final straw, but he was already on the verge of losing his private practice because he had way too many Medicare and Medicaid patients. The bottom line was the government reimbursements for M&M were always late, and much lower than needed to keep paying his employees.

    Free health care has already been tried in one of our Laboratories of Democracy (forgot which state), and it failed miserably. Even deep blue states have looked at it and balked at the cost.

    This new wave of Dems however, is willing to ignore the cost. Their campaign slogan should be, “Damn bankrupting the country – full speed ahead with inferior health care for all!”

    • #16
    • February 18, 2019, at 6:00 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. Member

    Medicare is awful? Would most Seniors prefer not to have it? Why was it instituted anyway?

    • #17
    • February 18, 2019, at 6:04 AM PDT
    • Like
  18. Member

    I concur with others here that public polling is essentially meaningless when it comes to healthcare reform.

    It’s not just the fact that most people have very little understanding of either how our healthcare works or what they actually would want in a different healthcare system, but also that there is currently no one “Medicare-for-all” proposal. Rather, there are about a dozen proposals that all call themselves “Medicare-for-all”, despite the irony that none of them actually proposes, well, Medicare for all.

    I’d say a better source of public opinion are the preferences revealed over the past few years. For example, despite all the conservative yammering about how much they hate government-controlled medicine, nobody’s taking to the streets to dismantle traditional Medicare – even though the Medicare population skews Republican. In fact, it’s the opposite: Republican politicians use “the Democrats are going to take away your Medicare” as a scare tactic to gin up votes.

    Add to this the fact that most Americans also seem to have made their peace with Obamacare – at least enough that Republican politicians have given up trying to repeal it and Democrats are comfortable embracing it. And Republican politicians are now fully on board with the primary objective of Obamacare, which was to eliminate “pre-existing conditions”.

    So all in all, I’d say revealed public preferences suggest that, at the least, most Americans have no qualms with robust government intrusion into healthcare.

    • #18
    • February 18, 2019, at 6:58 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    I like to try to get people to recognize that the vast majority (and it is a vast majority) of medical inventions (or innovations) have been made in the US.

    And I like to get people like you to recognize that this fact has almost nothing to do with our healthcare system in the US.

    There’s no inherent link between where an innovation is invented and where it will eventually be sold the most. After all, an invention is just a bit of IP that can be transferred anywhere in the world at essentially no cost. Otherwise why is most commercial R&D on antimalarial drugs also being conducted in the US, when there’s no market for them here?

    The reason so much R&D into drugs, medical devices, and procedures occurs in the US has everything to do with our friendlier business climate, attractiveness to top intellectual talent (including the proximity of most of the leading institutions of higher education), and more generous funding opportunities than in most of our peer countries. 

    Those are all factors to be very proud of, but none of them have anything to do with how we deliver healthcare.

    • #19
    • February 18, 2019, at 7:03 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Zafar (View Comment):

    Medicare is awful? Would most Seniors prefer not to have it? Why was it instituted anyway?

    Medicare isn’t awful for seniors, @zafar. But to try to enact it large-scale, as this program would require, would not only overload the system, but doctors would make even less from patient care. It’s a disaster in the making.

    • #20
    • February 18, 2019, at 7:07 AM PDT
    • Like
  21. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Mendel (View Comment):
    Those are all factors to be very proud of, but none of them have anything to do with how we deliver healthcare.

    You make a very good point, @mendel. That makes sense; thanks for clarifying the issue.

    • #21
    • February 18, 2019, at 7:09 AM PDT
    • Like
  22. Member

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Medicare isn’t awful for seniors, @zafar. But to try to enact it large-scale, as this program would require,

    Because I can’t bang this drum enough: “Medicare-for-all” is not actually Medicare for all.

    Bernie Sanders’ proposal goes far, far beyond current Medicare in its generosity (it would cover nearly all procedures 100% with no co-pays or deductibles).

    And there are a bunch of other proposals from various Democrat candidates and think tanks that are also using the “Medicare-for-all” moniker and that propose various flavors of government interference in healthcare. However, none of these resemble anything that a reasonable observer would think of as current Medicare expanded to everyone.

    This is a crucial point because it means that any poll asking people what they think of the concept of “Medicare-for-all” is meaningless, since no candidate so far is actually proposing that concept.

    • #22
    • February 18, 2019, at 7:11 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Lincoln

    Mendel (View Comment):

    I concur with others here that public polling is essentially meaningless when it comes to healthcare reform.

    It’s not just the fact that most people have very little understanding of either how our healthcare works or what they actually would want in a different healthcare system, but also that there is currently no one “Medicare-for-all” proposal. Rather, there are about a dozen proposals that all call themselves “Medicare-for-all”, despite the irony that none of them actually proposes, well, Medicare for all.

    I’d say a better source of public opinion are the preferences revealed over the past few years. For example, despite all the conservative yammering about how much they hate government-controlled medicine, nobody’s taking to the streets to dismantle traditional Medicare – even though the Medicare population skews Republican. In fact, it’s the opposite: Republican politicians use “the Democrats are going to take away your Medicare” as a scare tactic to gin up votes.

    Add to this the fact that most Americans also seem to have made their peace with Obamacare – at least enough that Republican politicians have given up trying to repeal it and Democrats are comfortable embracing it. And Republican politicians are now fully on board with the primary objective of Obamacare, which was to eliminate “pre-existing conditions”.

    So all in all, I’d say revealed public preferences suggest that, at the least, most Americans have no qualms with robust government intrusion into healthcare.

    The rationale behind both Medicare and Medicaid was to give assistance to either people too poor to afford health care or who were no longer working, and might not have the income stream to pay major health care bills. The problem of course, is, like college tuition, giving out money tends to make the cost of things go up, because the money flows freely, and in the case of health care, you end up raising costs that make it less affordable for people with jobs (along with other factors, such as soaring liability insurance rates in many states).

    • #23
    • February 18, 2019, at 7:15 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  24. Member

    Jon1979 (View Comment):
    The rationale behind both Medicare and Medicaid was to give assistance to either people too poor to afford health care or who were no longer working, and might not have the income stream to pay major health care bills. The problem of course, is, like college tuition, giving out money tends to make the cost of things go up,

    Of course, the employer healthcare tax exclusion is also a hidden form of government subsidy and also makes healthcare prices go up. In fact, it probably contributes just as much as Medicaid/Medicare to the cost inflation problem. 

    The difference is that the employer group tax exclusion a) had no meaningful rationale behind it (except allowing companies to circumvent wage controls in WWII) and b) is transparent. For those reasons, I actually perversely prefer Medicaid and Medicare: at least they’re obvious and transparent government-coerced transfers of wealth with defined purposes we can debate.

    The employer group system is obscure enough that most people don’t realize it exists, and complex enough that most people don’t consider it a government subsidy. That means we’re probably never getting rid of it. That’s a good hedge against Berniecare, but a bad hedge against any genuine healthcare market liberalization.

    • #24
    • February 18, 2019, at 7:26 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Member

    Mendel (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    I like to try to get people to recognize that the vast majority (and it is a vast majority) of medical inventions (or innovations) have been made in the US.

    And I like to get people like you to recognize that this fact has almost nothing to do with our healthcare system in the US.

    There’s no inherent link between where an innovation is invented and where it will eventually be sold the most. After all, an invention is just a bit of IP that can be transferred anywhere in the world at essentially no cost. Otherwise why is most commercial R&D on antimalarial drugs also being conducted in the US, when there’s no market for them here?

    The reason so much R&D into drugs, medical devices, and procedures occurs in the US has everything to do with our friendlier business climate, attractiveness to top intellectual talent (including the proximity of most of the leading institutions of higher education), and more generous funding opportunities than in most of our peer countries.

    Those are all factors to be very proud of, but none of them have anything to do with how we deliver healthcare.

    I disagree to some extent, in fact for some of the factors listed. The US’s friendlier business climate is partially represented by a freer market in providing medical care. A freer market in providing medical care is one of many attractions of the US for top intellectual talent. I think innovation tends to occur closest to the customers/users, and so the more proximate access to potential customers/users that exists in a freer market for providing medical care, the greater the opportunities for medical innovation.

    • #25
    • February 18, 2019, at 8:52 AM PDT
    • Like
  26. Member

    One attitude we need to overcome in order to have a rational discussion of how to pay for the delivery of medical care is that, when asked about “medical care,” too many people think only of emergency medical care.

    Emergency medical care is actually a very small proportion of all medical care. Most medical care is either repetitive or is scheduled. Thus, there is time for comparison shopping. Market forces can be used to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of the product (medical care).

    I like to cite laser eye surgery as an example. Medical insurance rarely (if ever) pays for laser eye surgery. Laser eye surgery has gotten much better, and much, much cheaper as providers (and their equipment suppliers) have competed for customers. The lower price makes the procedure available to more people. 

     

    • #26
    • February 18, 2019, at 9:09 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  27. Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Mendel (View Comment):
    This is a crucial point because it means that any poll asking people what they think of the concept of “Medicare-for-all” is meaningless, since no candidate so far is actually proposing that concept.

    But any kind of single payer plan is likely not to be beneficial to the people of this country, @mendel. Sure, the system would benefit from improvements, but these are not likely to be improvements but damaging to healthcare. Regardless of how these things are finally proposed, and they will likely be vague and unenlightening, shouldn’t we be speaking out before it’s too late?

    • #27
    • February 18, 2019, at 9:56 AM PDT
    • Like
  28. Coolidge

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Excellent points, George! I think we take innovation for granted. We definitely should not!

    There was a time when medical innovation came from all over the world. Louis Pasteur as an example was French and would discover processes to preserve milk and other perishables, as well as a cure for rabies and the first effective antibiotic. Joseph Lister is another example who pioneered antiseptics as part of medical care and surgery. Henry Hill Hickman was also English as is credited for the early experimentation in the use of anesthesia in surgery.

    Even as we go into the 20th Century if we look at Nobel Prizes for Medicine. There have been 237 winners since 1901 (winners with multiple countries counted for all countries). 

    98 from the United States (first win in 1933, last in 2018)

    30 from the United Kingdom (1902, 2014)

    19 Germany (incl West Germany) (1901, 2013)

    11 from France (1907, 2011)

    8 from Sweden (1911, 2000)

    7 from Australia (1945, 2009)

    7 from Switzerland (1948, 1996)

    6 from Italy (1906, 2007)

    5 from Denmark (1903, 1984)

    5 from Austria (incl Austria-Hungary) (1914, 1973)

    5 from Japan (1987, 2018)

    4 from Belgium (1919, 1974)

    4 from Canada (1923, 2011)

    3 from The Netherlands (1924, 1973)

    3 from South Africa (1951, 2002)

    2 from India (1902, 1968)

    2 from Russia (1904, 1908)

    2 from Spain (1906, 1959)

    2 from Argentina (1947, 1984)

    2 from Poland (1950, 1977)

    2 from Norway (2014)

    1 from Faeroe Islands (1903)

    1 from Hungary (1937)

    1 from Portugal (1949)

    1 from Brazil (1960)

    1 from New Zealand (1962)

    1 from Finland (1967)

    1 from Romania (1974)

    1 from Venezuela (1980)

    1 from Ireland (2015)

    1 from China (2015)

    Interestingly, the early years are dominated by Europe with the US not winning an award until 1933. The United Kingdom was also interesting as they won about 20 of their 30 awards after the NHS was created.

    I still think it is illustrative that the US has won so many of these awards. Would socializing medicine eliminate innovation? Maybe…and maybe not. What it would do is remove the profit motive of a company getting something to market…which means available to people to actually save lives.

    • #28
    • February 18, 2019, at 11:02 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. Member

    Dbroussa (View Comment):

    Interestingly, the early years are dominated by Europe with the US not winning an award until 1933. The United Kingdom was also interesting as they won about 20 of their 30 awards after the NHS was created.

    I still think it is illustrative that the US has won so many of these awards. Would socializing medicine eliminate innovation? Maybe…and maybe not. What it would do is remove the profit motive of a company getting something to market…which means available to people to actually save lives.

    This is all very interesting, and I thank you for all the data. But I still maintain, absent any real proof to the contrary, that it is profit motive that makes innovation possible. It stands to reason.

    I can’t figure out why any conservative would think otherwise. I admit I have no real data to back up my belief. But why would someone go out of his or her way to invent a better product if he didn’t think he’d make money on it? Unless you buy into the socialist dream that people do things just to serve Mankind.

    • #29
    • February 18, 2019, at 12:00 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Thatcher

    Zafar (View Comment):
    Would most Seniors prefer not to have it?

    Let’s ask them . . .

    My guess is most seniors would prefer keeping a piece of crap that’s better than nothing.

    • #30
    • February 19, 2019, at 5:51 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
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