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Sunday, September 28, 2008

Irrationality of US Health Care

Wall Street has nearly self-destructed. Predictable, according to Marx. My question, my lamentation--why couldn't it have been the health care insurance industry instead? A show on PBS tonight claimed that the medically uninsured in the US, some 40 million people, cost the economy $130 billion a year in lost productivity--which is more than the cost of insuring them. Health care should not be managed as a for-profit business. Health care is a fundamental human right, not a privilege to be granted the sick based on their ability to pay or the insurance plan of their employer, if any. The Declaration of Independence states that each citizen has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. When you're ill and can't afford to get health care, you have no happiness, your liberty is greatly impaired, and your life, well your life sucks. The Founders did not intend a country that would be populated by thousands of people roaming around on any given day saying, "My life is crap."

3 comments:

kwik-e-trading said...

Healthcare as a "right" doesn't go that far back. It's only a 20th century development. You've got to think more than a few slaves were --
roaming around on any given day saying, "My life is crap." --

But overall, I agree: US healthcare policy is worse than immoral, it is a mistake. We cannot waste 4-5% of GDP on the military and anopther 4-5% on poorly delivered health and expect to maintain a decent standard of living.

Richard McNally said...

Kwik,

Speaking of military spending, have you by any chance watched www.zeitgeistmovie.com? Takes two hours but I can guarantee you that you will be mesmerized. I'd like to know your opinion of the section of the documentary dealing with the Fed.

R

kwik-e-trading said...

I didn't take the time to watch the whole documentary (I'm not too crazy about conspiracy theories), but the part about the Fed seemed relatively OK. The Fed does act primarily in the interest of its constituents- banks. It does seem odd that our money is not directly issued by the US Gov't, but independent central banks are quite common around the world.

The Fed doesn't strike me as a sinister threat. You can buy gold now (since 1971, I think). If you don't want the Fed's notes, there aren't currency controls to prevent you from holding your money in British Pounds, or South African Rands or whatever you like.

The Fed does see rising wages for middle class workers as inflationary-as something that needs to be checked and moderated. At the same time, the Fed has no problem with asset prices skyrocketing. So the Fed does have a pretty strong bias toward helping the owners of assets and against helping wage-earners. But it's not just this single cabal at the Fed, central banks all over the world operate the same way.