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Laika

The Case for Private Health Care

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In the UK, the National Health Service has a sort of cult-like status and immunity from criticism. The principle that healthcare should be publicly owned and free at the point of need is not really questioned at all. If a politician said you should privatise the NHS in public, it may come across as a "flat-earther" to a Brit. The UK Libertarian Party appears to share this view and won't touch the issue of privatising the NHS either.  

I think as far as the brits are concerned, this is partly because healthcare is such a sensitive area as we all will need it at some point, and we are all going to die- so having the NHS there ready, waiting for when the time comes, perhaps makes it more reassuring that when we die it will not be complicated by how much money we have. There are some "positive externalities" from it too as if you are priced out of the market and simply too poor to afford healthcare, you may miss out on vaccinations that offer protection from preventable diseases and so make it easier for them to spread. In a way, its also nice to know that there is some "progress" in healthcare standards and that the government can ensure that the next generation doesn't suffer from diseases that may have existed in the past. no-one wants to be told their kid is going to die from a disease that's curable and its "your fault" for not being able to pay for it. that just doesn't sound even remotely civilised or humane. 

That's definitely not the case in the US as the fury over "Obama Care"/The Affordable Care Act shows even as Republicans scramble to try and repeal it.  I'm guessing the view is defined in relation to the fear of government and the power of life and death (e.g. Sarah Palin's "death panels") but I'm not really sure. 

Making sure everyone is healthy as an obligation for the government and instituting public health care as a social and economic right would (it appear) be self-evidently a good thing. It may be something that as a brit I'm just too used to in order to see the other side of the argument. I'm guessing Objectivists won't support public healthcare and would privatise the NHS. Am I right on this? why would you do it and what do you think the benifits of doing so would be?

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18 hours ago, Laika said:

I'm guessing Objectivists won't support public healthcare and would privatise the NHS. Am I right on this? why would you do it and what do you think the benifits of doing so would be?

Why don't you go thru the exercise of presenting the Objectivist case against public health care?

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2 hours ago, New Buddha said:

Why don't you go thru the exercise of presenting the Objectivist case against public health care?

because if I want to be an objectivist in real life, I'd (probably) have to be prepared to support private health care as a voluntary exchange based on the market. it is far easier to criticise something than to support something (especially with abstract principles), as the latter involves commitment and risk of failure, discovering the limits of our understanding and reason or making a mistake. supporting something is a much better reflection of productivity and integrity as you have to create.

I could criticise capitalism all day, but that doesn't make the alternative good does it? :D 

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Privatizing a government agency isn't an answer, as I think it'd create worse problems by nature of a mandated relationship of state and government. The transition would itself be decided by the government, with government assets, to some favored company of the state. I would rather a system where there is private control at all levels. Even if a person cannot afford care, in principle, non-profit organizations can help. I know, charitable giving is not itself a solution to all ills, but if there is no other way to get care, you ought to show that you're worth helping.

The main idea is that voluntary action is the best means for health care to work. An economist knows the details. Since it is part of our nature to make our own decisions, and to reason out what we do, a system using that as a standard will be the best type of society. In general, this is true, better quality of life and even medicine. Medical treatments get cheaper, as people find it necessary to demonstrate and share an incredible value. Yes, profit is in there, but even on an investor level, getting a return at all requires others getting that value. If a company purposely raises the price so only rich people afford it, so fewer units need to be sold, that may easily create motvation to create alternatives.

Part of the issue isn't care per se. It will be things like questionable IP practices and laws, the FDA (or other regulators), and insurance companies that are resistant to providing long-term care so their service sucks. We'd need a model or method to make something like MRI scans cheaper. Too bad most people only answer that with a public system.

 

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On 7/14/2017 at 4:00 AM, Laika said:

It may be something that as a brit I'm just too used to in order to see the other side of the argument.

One does not have to visualize/imagine a healthcare system that is fairly free-market. Many countries -- e.g. India -- have systems like that. And,  "OMG! Surely I don't want Indian healthcare" misses the crucial point. Indian healthcare -- or even Bangladeshi, if you like -- is bad for the same reason everything is lesser there: average wealth. Given that average wealth, the system -- mostly private -- works very well. If Indians had 6 times their per capita income (becoming similar to Britain) it is easy to see their healthcare could be the envy of the world because of its structure.

(The U.S. may be worse than U.K. in some ways because almost all of healthcare is government directed in some way, but has a structure of being private.)

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