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I had a good conversation about health care at work
It seemed productive and can be replicated. In all candor, I am
not creating new answers or a new approach. Still, perhaps some might
be encouraged by it or find it interesting and helpful.

I pointed out to my supervisor that I became a Democrat in graduate school. My supervisor said that it was okay, as long as I took a moderate approach. She said that health care was a good example. She said that we should have a private / free market approach to health care.

I responded that this was the approach that the Affordable Care Act took.
She said that she thought that the free market would produce better results.
I said that we actually had worse health care outcomes - being 37th according to the World Health Organization and that the best outcomes were generally those produced by countries with Single Payer. I pointed out that this is true because of the large purchasing power of the federal government.

I said that there are some things that only the federal government can do well, when we pool all of our resources together. I asked her to imagine a world in which everyone had their own weapon in order to attempt to defend their own property and country, as individuals. I asked her to imagine if everyone had to individually buy their own roads and parts of roads instead of having a national highway system.

She said that the problem with that is that only a few people would be making the decisions. I pointed out that this is why we have a representative democracy. And, of course, from the consumer point of view, it is difficult to imagine a substantially reduced variety of options as a necessary consequence of a Single Payer system, certainly not regarding medically necessary procedures.

I think that I gave her a lot of things to think about. It was an amicable conversation and it appeared to be productive, moving her closer to understanding why Single Payer is the best choice for health care.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Our Approach is Outlawed In Every Country Beating (9+ / 0-)

    us in health and health care. OUTLAWED.

    We are that radical.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon May 14, 2012 at 09:07:51 PM PDT

  •  why 'market forces' is a shell game (11+ / 0-)

    ("Paging Dr. Krugman, paging Dr. Krugman....can you help with the market forces analysis, please?"

    For two reasons.

    Every individual's health is determined by genes, age, chance events, and to some unquantifiable amount, by making healthy lifestyle and eating choices.

    The premise of "market forces" is that individuals can choose among options, and choose a lower-price option. Well, I can't change my genes or my age or chance events. Which is why the cost of health insurance skyrockets as we age (meaning, the markets are working, since they are pricing age into cost of insurance).

    The secondary premise of "market forces" is that individuals can choose among insurance schemes, and select a lower-price option.

    Individuals have no market power to influence pricing. Only large employers do. Which is why individuals get crammed down with the cost of health insurance.

    Big insurance companies know that if we want insurance, we are captives to our bodies and captives to wanting insurance in the first place.

    Most people understand this intuitively when they pump gas. Car drivers are at the mercy of "market forces."

    Put another way - it's precisely because of market forces that prices for health insurance and cost of care are going up.

    What if we had a cure for cancer? "Health insurers now spend an estimated $80 billion a year on cancer care worldwide, and spending in the US on cancer care is expected to grow 43% just by the end of 2013."

    Diabetes alone accounts for 25% of all Medicare costs. What if we had a cure - meaning, the disease would go away - for diabetes?

    Half the time our veterans seek care at the VA is for pain. Pain accounts for half of all doctor visits. Substance abuse in all its awful forms accounts for 10% of all tax dollars.  

    What if America made it a national priority to "innovate away from opiates to treat pain"? Why are we still using morphine, which is 150-year-old technology, to treat pain?  

    As a nation we will spend $500 billion (yes, that's $500 Billion with a "B") in the next 50 years in direct and indirect costs of caring for our Gulf War, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. What if we invested in cures and treatments to keep them living healthy lives, or could return them to socially and economically productive lives?

  •  That must have felt very rewarding to you! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CuriousBoston, JKTownsend, kareylou

    Congratulations on a temperate and productive conversation.  Just one question...whats this "it's okay (to be a democrat)...as long as you're moderate"?  Can't you be any kind of democrat that you want?

    Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

    by Smoh on Tue May 15, 2012 at 05:14:16 AM PDT

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