Health Care and Logic

Sad to say I expect this misuse of logic from CNN. But I do not expect to see Matthew Yglesias use it to buttress his argument:

CNN's SiCKO analysis concludes:

France . . . Canada . . . cheap . . . but does their health care suck? Well:

Like Moore, we also found that more money does not equal better care. Both the French and Canadian systems rank in the Top 10 of the world's best health-care systems, according to the World Health Organization. The United States comes in at No. 37. The rankings are based on general health of the population, access, patient satisfaction and how the care's paid for.

So, okay, it's not that hard to figure out. France and Canada both have two difference systems of health care delivery both of which are cheaper than the US system and both of which are more effective.

Let me repeat the key sentence with emphasis added:

The rankings are based on general health of the population, access, patient satisfaction and how the care's paid for.

Matthew - isn't that assuming your conclusion?

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As a french, I have to

As a french, I have to testify that our healthcare system is absolutely horrendous. It's perpetually bankrupt, to the tune of 12 billion euros a year which us taxpayers have to hand over and over and over again, it reimburses less and less of the common health costs as time passes, it is an overbloated bureaucracy that wastes millions and gets defrauded of some more millions regularly, and it faces tightening budget constraints that cost lives (145 people were over-irradiated in Maybecause the medical staff couldn't afford a french translation of the operating manual that came with their gamma ray machine, dozens of them have died already).

Also, public hospitals here are overcrowded and underequipped. In other words, now that the state cannot keep borrowing more and more money to feed the monster bureaucracy, we're starting to fall along the same slope the canadian healthcare system already slipped down with its permanent penury of healthcare.

But then, this is no surprise for a system that was imposed by force in 1945 by communists, built upon the remains of formerly private mutual insurances that used to function perfectly for almost a century until war-criminal Philippe Pétain nationalised them in the 40s during the german occupation.

The only healthcare that is truly free is the lack of any healthcare. Unfortunately that's what we're quickly getting to with our system, except it is actually costing us lots of lives and half of our salaries in the process.

Just so you know: this inept system of healthcare costs me 1500 euros a month, so instead of earning 3200 euros a month, I earn 1700 only. People who make minimum wage, instead of earning 1650 euros a month, earn only 970. I hear that in the Netherlands they have a better coverage that reimburses everything for roughly 100 euros a month.

Side note:

I read that there is a report floating the media which touts our Sécurité Sociale's "low" management costs, citing a figure of 1.9% compared to US' 7.5%, and using it as an argument in favor of central, monopolist healthcare.

That's a load of crud, to tell it straight. First, the real figure is between 3 and 8% depending on whom you ask. Second, this is not surprise that the percentage spent in transaction costs will be lower when the total budget is so vastly over-inflated as it is in France: 7.5% of a million is a lot less than 3% of a billion. What you will NEVER read in those newspapers is the absolute management cost per insured person, because that number would make you feel dizzy. According to my own maths, it's half higher in France than in the US, meaning the oh so efficient monopoly healthcare we "enjoy" is actually 150% as wastefull as that found in the US.

Lastly, I have a hard time Micheal Moore can make people see our healthcare system as a model when it let 15 000 elderly people die of heat just a few years ago.

A number of weeks ago, the Swiss got to vote over the very question of whether they should unify their health insurances into a single entity much like ours. Needless to say, having the terrible french example to look at has deterred them.

Something doesn't add up

So based on reading your comment I'm wonder how these statistics are possible? 

The United States spends more than 15 percent of its GDP on health care -- no other nation even comes close to that number. France spends about 11 percent, and Canadians spend 10 percent.

Have you perhaps rolled health care in with other expenditures?



Careful your focus on that bit does not imply that the rest of the sentence is okay. The general health of the population has only a limited causal relationship with the health system per se. "Access" is meaningless without a more specific statement of how that is measured (it's an easily politicizable measure). "Patient satisfaction" is almost meaningless; patient perception is a meaningful measure only if patients are in a position to compare and therefore to know whether what they are getting is truly up to snuff, which they generally are not if the comparison is between different countries. So the number is, on its face, close to worthless in every respect. In fact, at first glance it's worse than worthless: it's a meaningless number which masquerades as a meaningful number and which therefore can mislead, just as a confident-sounding false prediction of tomorrow's weather can be worse than an "I don't know".

It depends, of course, on

It depends, of course, on whether CNN's phrase "how the care's paid for" refers to the idea that (get out the holy water, guys!) the rich should pay more for their health care than the poor do. A shocking idea, I know; but for some reason it seems very persistent in human thought (for as long as there have been humans, or at any rate humans who aren't Ayn Randian sociopaths).

Aha, identify the fallacies

Wow. I counted at least eight fallacies. That's pretty impressive.

  • The "many people agree with me" fallacy.
  • The "people have believed this for a long time" fallacy.
  • The "it's natural to believe" fallacy.
  • The "you are scum" fallacy.
  • The "it never occurred to you before you dimwit" fallacy.
  • The "you are a a religious halfwit" fallacy.
  • The "I'm completely ignoring the point of what I'm pretending to reply to" fallacy.
  • The "I'm giving a dishonest description of the point of contention" fallacy.



The rich do pay more

The rich generally do pay more for their healh care, food, housing, etc.   Now that that's been solved can we move on?