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How near are we to socialized medicine?

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Could it very likely be only a few years away? The thought is frightening. And what will it look like? Will there be a new tax on everyone to fund it?

Edited by happiness

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Unless a principled right rises in popularity and power, it is inevitable.  I hope the unprincipled right's broken promise to those who rebelled against the left and big government, and the bitter pill of what they had to vote for, will bear fruit and give rise to something .. something better than Gary Johnson.

Socialized medicine will look exactly like the various universal systems throughout the world (e.g. Canada).  Second rate and backward.  You will count on taxes raising by another 33 to 50 percent ending up to a quarter to a third of your tax dollars going to support it.  Doctors will be even less free from regulations to do medicine as they see best, in fact because they are beholden to the government system they will become (essentially) government workers, part of the "public sector".  As medical salaries dwindle (controlled by government), medical services will suffer.  R&D will not be value driven but forced.  It's spirit dead, cutting edge medicine will disappear.  U.S. citizens will look to escape from the US medical system to get treatment in freer countries (New Zealand?) the same way Canadians rely upon US innovations and come to the US as and when needed.  Waiting times for diagnostics and seeing specialists will become unreasonable to the point that lives will be risked due to delays, and emergency room deaths will sky rocket due to the unavailability of beds.  Soon after the medical system is decimated, the pharmaceutical industry will be nationalized in the name of keeping prices "in control".  Drug development will stagnate as the fires of profit is put out in favor of the dull inept motivation of force ... i.e. public funding. 

Truly egalitarian, everyone will be barred from good health care in equal measure.  Individuals will languish and die... for the "good of the people" and in the name of "equality". 

Edited by StrictlyLogical

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8 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

U.S. citizens will look to escape from the US medical system to get treatment in freer countries (New Zealand?) the same way Canadians rely upon US innovations and come to the US as and when needed.

 

If you go further, why would it end at New Zealand? Eventually, they will choose it too, if they haven't already. Unless it becomes so bad that it is clearly and obviously not working well, it will likely spread all over the world. Already I hear "if advanced Europen countries have it, it is good".The problem with it is not obvious, it is not impartially measured. Only people who are in major trouble medically speaking, see the differences in quality of medical care.

We can't evade the truth that most Canadians or UK citizens are not rebelling against it. Most Canadians that I meet are satisfied with it. It is only the ones that have very serious conditions needing innovative solutions that don't like the Canadian System.

The pre-Obamacare failure of the US system was due to regulations that have caused prices to rise and prevention of competition, which made Obamacare attractive. If Obamacare is repealed you still end up with the underlying problem.

There are licensing and anti-competitive issues that are supported by groups using scare tactics. The licensing and regulations regarding educating doctors and approving treatments have artificially driven prices up. For instance, nurses could do many things a doctor does which could bring the price down but legally are prevented. A doctor from another country is prevented from practicing if there are willing clients etc. etc. 

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There are many aspects to "socialized medicine", and while we might be a few years from certain of them, we are not that close to the worst of it. The worst being, that the practice of medicine is completely under the control of the government so that there is no such thing as "private practice", the government determines what level of medical care will be provided, and it is paid for by the government. The resistance to complete socialization of medicine would be enormous if presented as a political goal, so instead, things will change bit by bit.

A first step has already been taken, which is that few people now pay for their own medical expenses, instead we pay for insurance and the insurance company pays the expenses. The cost of medical care becomes an abstraction, having no evident effect on one's own life. Facts that reduce medical costs are not rewarded, and those that increase expenses are not penalized. Instead, your personal costs are the net medical costs of Society As A Whole, divided by the size of society. There have been ways to relate individual facts to cost, whereby one could select less vs. more coverage and opt out of coverage for sex-reassignment etc. Or, pay your own expenses as long as it's below some figure like $8,000 (this is for people who know how to save money). Much of that is now illegal.

Another first step that has been taken is the changing extent to which medical practitioners have any free choice in what they do. For example, for the past 40+ years, it has been illegal to deny emergency medical treatment to a person who cannot pay. Compare that to the situation that does not yet exist in other economic spheres: it is presently legal to deny a person a house if they can't afford it, it is presently legal to deny a person food if they can't afford it, and so on. Additionally, the cost of all medical care goes up because every cotton-pickin' device or substance is subject to onerous and expensive regulatory scrutiny, and somebody has to pay that cost.

I am not at all sanguine about the chances for a roll-back of Obamacare. I doubt very much that it will become legal to charge more for more-expensive patients (analogous to home and car insurance). So the question is, what is likely to be the next step towards medical oblivion? That's hard to predict, but from a political perspective, the most obvious issue is the roughly 10% of uninsured adults. This number can be made near-zero in three ways. First, increase government subsidies to those who can't afford it. Second, stiffen the penalties for the uninsured who can afford it. Third, increase the burden on employers, so that all employers have to provide full medical coverage for any employee.

A third possibility, of course, would be to slowly dial back the level of care (thus the cost). This would not be easy to do at present. The government could not just say "you have to limit the number of heart-bypass surgeries that you do in a year": it does not have that power. But the government could easily give itself that power, by passing a law mandating a restriction in the number of heart-bypass surgeries allowed. Obviously, it would not start with anything so politically charged. It would start by identifying kinds of medical treatment where there wouldn't be a huge outcry at rationing. Most people view political questions in terms of how it will affect them personally in the next year or two: "I'm not gay, I don't care about same-sex marriage", "I don't drive, I don't care about outlawing gas engines". Once the underlying statutory mechanism is installed and made general enough, it is relatively easy to expand the rationing list either by administrative fiat or by minor legislative list-changing (in the same way that Congress periodically adds new drugs to the various schedules of controlled substances).

A fourth possibility, much more remote, is direct regulation of costs. For example, government-set rates for doctor's pay, government-set rates for pharmaceuticals, government-set rates for the sale of equipment. Price controls have not been popular in the US. Price controls are widespread for "basic rights" such as water, gas, electricity, internet and garbage, but this is because those goods are widely provided by a regulatory monopoly. The obvious way to bring prices under control, then, is to first create a regulatory monopoly: all doctors now work for the National Health Service. I believe that, coupled with some empty rhetoric about making medical care more "fair" and uniform, this is the last step necessary to bring about the total collapse of health care in the US.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Closer than we care to admit.  We are running under Fascism Medicine right now.  We have the government regulating who and how healthcare is used.  It is only a simple switch from a government protected cartel of government regulated private companies to a bureaucracy that is the same thing.  At this point your just changing who collects the money and pays kick backs for regulation privileges.       

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1 hour ago, Spiral Architect said:

Closer than we care to admit.  We are running under Fascism Medicine right now.  We have the government regulating who and how healthcare is used.  It is only a simple switch from a government protected cartel of government regulated private companies to a bureaucracy that is the same thing.  At this point your just changing who collects the money and pays kick backs for regulation privileges. 

I thought so too but I saw an article quoted from CNN that was against single payer. A strong case too. I thought CNN was left-leaning. I wonder if when it comes time to make it a reality that the media would come against it.

http://www.pimalp.org/single-payer-health-care-terrible-option-opinion-cnn/

It seems like Fascism attracts the desire for more Fascism in the voter. I don't understand why we didn't socialize medicine by now? Right before Obamacare came into being, the prices were going up by around 30 percent a year which frightened people. That caused a sort of panic to get some sort of control in place, any type seemed better than what was happening.

There has always been a force against socialized medicine, what happened to it?

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On 9/22/2017 at 4:45 AM, StrictlyLogical said:

Unless a principled right rises in popularity and power, it is inevitable.

Nothing in politics is inevitable. Hillary as president was supposed to be inevitable. Even Peikoff and Binswanger supported that socialist scoundrel. Thank goodness we got a president like Trump who, while not always a principled capitalist, is definitely more on the side of freedom than she was. Gun rights, repealing Obamacare, ending the NATO international altruism, the list goes on.

On 9/22/2017 at 2:27 PM, Easy Truth said:

There are licensing and anti-competitive issues that are supported by groups using scare tactics. The licensing and regulations regarding educating doctors and approving treatments have artificially driven prices up. For instance, nurses could do many things a doctor does which could bring the price down but legally are prevented. A doctor from another country is prevented from practicing if there are willing clients etc. etc. 

Bingo. Most of those things were pushed by corporate lobbyists and donors (AKA bribes) to weed out their competition. I try explaining this to people but then they tell me that socialized medicine is the only choice because it removes the motive for crony capitalism. No, socialized medicine is not the only choice. Removing the corrupt politicians and repealing their laws is another choice.

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On 9/27/2017 at 12:35 PM, Easy Truth said:

There has always been a force against socialized medicine, what happened to it?

Fighting Government control is part of a sense of life eroding from portions of our culture, although stubbornly if you watch the news.  People fight but it is obvious that not everyone understands when they claim patriotism or other slogans to fight things like Obamacare (to use an American in process example) 

The basic problem is the same thing that makes people want security in other parts of their lives.  Socialized Medicine is just part of a greater trend in what I would call "Living Insurance".  It's the economic equivalent of Security Theater, brought to you by the same think space that makes fun of Security Theater at your local TSA but doesn't see the same level of unnecessary waste,bureaucracy, or invasion of rights if it is Medicare.   

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