I Missed the Memo

But apparently there has been a consenesus reached, as reported by the NY Times, that we need universal health insurance from the government. It's just a matter of how to implement it. Eyes-rolling-in-the-back-of-your-head-right-before-it-explodes quote:

Dr. Himmelstein, an associate professor at the Harvard Medical School, advocates a fairly sweeping overhaul of health care in America by moving to a single-payer system run by the government. The nation, he said, can no longer afford the costs of bureaucracy in the American system.

Update: Trapper has more.

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I have a proposal. We can

I have a proposal. We can run a generational experiment,and everyone agrees to abide by a majority vote -- at the end of the generation -- that will decide what to do with the U.S. health care system: either nationalize or go free market. No backsies.

We already have, in place, a government-run (less wasteful, less costly) national health care system. It's called the VA.

I propose that for one generation, all Americans, at age 21,are required to make a choice --a choice that cannot be reversed until the end of the experiment. You can choose either:

1. High-deductible, high quality, private health insurance that can be paid, as much as possible, through tax-exempt Medical Savings Accounts; you run the risk of insurance payments going up (or down) according to market mechanisms, which would be normalized as much as possible; but choice and quality are up to you -- pay for what you want.


2. You can go into the VA system for nothing; but, you can't complain, you have no options, you must use your local VA, and YOU TAKE WHAT YOU GET.

This way the guys from Harvard and The Times and everyone else who sincerely believe that the government can do health care better, less expensively, and more efficiently, can have it their way. Not only will they get the health care they believe is BETTER, they will be able to --by actually using the system -- pave the way for the changes they see fit,in the future. It's a chance, for them, to prove us wrong and to be a part of history.

But everyone agrees to abide by the vote after one generation. Forever. A Constitutional Amendment forever.

Which team do you want to be on, and how do you think the voting will go?

This experiment would end the entire health care debate forever. There would never be another question (and how soon before Dr. Himmelstein would be begging us to let him back into OUR system --"Nope. Sorry Himmy...in the end, just make a vote your kids and grandchildren can live with").

Besides, it would be worth the entire scheme just to see Teddy Kennedy sitting in the waiting room with six other deranged hoboes waiting to have his varices sclerosed except the sterilizer broke so the endoscopes can't be cleaned and the next VA is 175 miles away but there was a budget shortfall and they can't provide transportation until next week and anyway the three docs in the state who do variceal sclerosis are starting vacation tomorrow and...oops! What's that? Hematemesis??

I actually thought about

I actually thought about this over the weekend. There is one very big problem. The constitution is no longer binding. There would be no way to keep the two systems seperate. But theoretically that's exactly right.

CodeBlue, Why bother having


Why bother having a vote after one generation? Why not let people choose which system they wish to participate in - those who want health care socialism get health care socialism and those who want health care capitalism get health care capitalism. Those who want to change their decision later may be able to do so, perhaps by paying some sort of transition cost. No need to abide by a majority vote - everyone gets to abide by their own individual choice.

My fantasy proposal makes me

My fantasy proposal makes me happy because I can close my eyes and watch the "nationalizers" squirming as they have to choose the VA care (that they KNOW is a nightmare) just to stay consistent with their own ivory tower proscriptions...you see, if nationalized care happens in the USUAL way, these guys know full well they will still get the best care and move to the front of the line -- like they do NOW [Bill Clinton-->Columbia Presbyterian in a FLASH!]-- because they're SPECIAL; but in my scenario, they have to sidle in at the trough with the rest of us farm animals.

And the vote, for me, is very important because it means WE AND OUR CHILDREN WILL NEVER HAVE TO FIGHT THIS IDIOTIC FIGHT any more. I want even the mention of nationalized care legislated out of existence. I want it removed from the dictionaries. It will become a myth that, eventually, will enter the intellectual realm of gargoyles and Basilisks("Daddy, [pointing to the drawing in the book] what is that horrible creature?" ... "It isn't real, Sally. It's a myth. A fantasy. Don't worry, it can't hurt you.")

And the reason my plan HAS to work is that although the Himmelsteins et al may be able to abide their own self sacrifice for principle,they will never vote to force their precious offspring permanently and irrevocably into the ten-level medical Inferno they've had to endure (especially if they got something BAD).

Finally, I just love telling people who were insistently, dangerously, and illogically wrong I TOLD YOU SO (character flaw), which I would do regularly and insistently, while basking in the luxury of my expensive, on-demand, personalized, high-tech health care that I would enjoy paying for almost as much as I would enjoy living.

Ok, new rule: I need to

Ok, new rule: I need to begin peppering my comments with more emoticons. :idea:

Undoubtedly a majority vote

Undoubtedly a majority vote on national health care followed by compulsory enforcement of the "choice" is exactly what DC intends to do. What's not to "take seriously"?

Bad consequences? Anyone out there think for one millisecond that Ted Kennedy is going to be waiting in some medical bread-line?

just answering the question,

just answering the question, dude.

Because socialism only

Because socialism only "works" by forcing participation. If you allow exit, it collapses on itself much more quickly.

Well, duh, Trent, but that's

Well, duh, Trent, but that's why I ask. Is there any good reason to make these sorts of decisions by majority vote rather than opt-in/opt-out?

Guys, I think you are taking

I think you are taking Codeblue's comment way too seriously. He knows what the result will be and wants it out in the open for all too see.

Another glitch in this

Another glitch in this thought experiment is that we have no idea what a free market, capitalist system would look like. It does not exist and has never existed in recent America. So it would be hard to present it as a choice against "socialized" medicine.

I just like to ask the

I just like to ask the socialized healthcare proponents if they think that medical care will be more or less available after doctors unionize.

"And the vote, for me, is

"And the vote, for me, is very important because it means WE AND OUR CHILDREN WILL NEVER HAVE TO FIGHT THIS IDIOTIC FIGHT any more. I want even the mention of nationalized care legislated out of existence."

Look around you, man: we're sitting at the bottom of over two hundred years of trying to vote away the natural consequences of democracy. Voting isn't going to help us - it's what got us here.

About the opt in/opt out

About the opt in/opt out idea- I was tossing around the socialized medicine debate with a friend (keep in mind, one who thinks that health care is just different somehow than other economic goods). We were talking about some version of the first proposal- a choice between public and private health care systems. After thinking about it a bit, she realized that you really couldn't have socialized medicine and still let the free market exist, because people would undermine the socialist system by exiting to the free market, and bidding for health care services on the free market might drive up the prices that the socialized system would have to pay for those services, and make them less available to clients of the socialized system. The thing is, this didn't convert her to free market health care. That's the worrisome thing: that people will realize you really can't have socialized and free market systems in coexistence, so they'll decide we just need to go totally socialized.

"The nation, he said, can no

"The nation, he said, can no longer afford the costs of bureaucracy in the American system."

HAHA!!! Is this for real? The same federal gummint which gave us wonderful innovations such as "The War On Poverty" and "The War On Drugs" (both of which did exactly the opposite of their objectives) is going to take over healthcare so that it can eliminate the costs of bureaucracy....

Need I say more......

Yes! Give this thing two years to run and a patient wont be able to wipe is own ass without filling out a federal form.


Harvard Should Sue David

Harvard Should Sue
David Himmelstein, Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School for making such a mockery of their institution. In this NY Times article Himmelstein is quoted as advocating ...a fairly sweeping overhaul of health care in America by moving to a single-...