Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Let the Government Run Healthcare? Yeah, now there is a good idea!

It seems like once a day when I am bombarded with someone saying that we should have government run health care because the government can do it better than it is done privately usually by saying they can foster competition which makes the assumption that the government can do it cheaper. Really? This coming from the same entity famous for the $200 hammer? Here are some of the more compelling reasons of which I can think, that I plan on bringing up the next time I hear the words that the government can do it better.

1. The Internal Revenue Service - The entire purpose of this organization is to raise revenues to finance our government and the easiest way they have found to do this is with our current tax code that is tens of thousands of pages long and growing. It is written in such a manner that even a rocket scientist can't understand it and so full of loopholes that it couldn't even be used to hold a basket of balls.

2. Social Security - This program was set up because the government could do a better job managing our retirement than we could and yet it is set to go bust in 2041 by some estimates.

3. Medicare - Like Social Security, this government run program is slated to go bust in 2020. Already this program is upside down meaning that benefits are already exceeding program income.

4. Department of Education - The United States was first in the world twenty years ago but now we are ninth among industrialized nations when comparing adults with high school diplomas. If you compare math knowledge, we are 24th, in science, 31rst.

5. Prohibition - When we proved to irresponsible to drink, the government took over this part of our lives too and succeeded brilliantly until it finally ended only 13 years later.

6. Iraq - I just read where the incoming college freshman has never known a time when we weren't in Iraq.

7. Fanny Mae/Freddie Mac - I think the economy speaks for itself.

8. FEMA - It's role according to it's own website it to prepare for, prevent, mitigate the effects of, respond to and recover from all domestic disasters. To rebut this, one only has to say "New Orleans" or my favorite, "You're doing a heck of a job Brownie."

9. Army Corps of Engineers - Single handedly destroying are salmon industry and allowing the west to build huge cities in the 'great American desert' by promising them water based upon averages taken during historically wet times.

10. Bureau of Land Management - an agency to provide cheap grazing to a few select ranchers and thus subsidizing western beef production.

11. Bureau of Reclamation - a department which had to try multiple times to get people to build in the previously mentioned 'Great American Desert' by giving huge tracts of land away to those willing to irrigate it with help from the Army Corps of Engineers. Only trouble is that long-term irrigation causes salt to build up and thus destroying the arid land even further. Not to worry, Secretary Salazar just threw $11.1 Million in grants towards the Colorado River Basinwide Salinity Control Program. Is the whole they are digging getting deeper?

12. Intelligence FBI/CIA - We now know that we knew about Pearl Harbor before it happened and we knew about the hijackers before 9/11 and yet we were powerless to stop either. So what do we do, create a bigger government program called Homeland Security.

13. NASA - An institute that some people call 'Legalized Theft.' After almost three decades of maintaining a reusable shuttle, we are almost rid of that boondoggle that got built only because the government went against all the experts and said they could do reusable cheaper.

These are off the top of my head and looking at the list of government run departments and programs, there are literally thousands out there that are probably worse run than these. Unless you disagree and think that the government has done a better job at running these examples than the private sector could, how can you possibly feel a government run health care is better than what we have? Yes I will agree that reform is necessary but letting the government get their hands on it is the LAST thing we should do.

I'll close with this little gem said by Ronald Regan. "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!"


R. Sherman said...

No arguments from me.


Murf said...

According to a coworker, we already have government run health care - Medicaid. Funny that it is also part of the reason health care costs have risen since they underpay doctors and hospitals which makes the private ones have to charge more.

The Real Mother Hen said...

There is a place on earth where govt runs everything, from world-class education to world-class healthcare. The place is called Singapore. Actually many of the European govts run everything too, but let's not talk about all the successful examples. Coincidentally, I read this morning that US ranks 28th on Internet Services (not govt run) but the govt-run broadband service in Singapore ranks 2nd in the world. Is govt intervention all bad? Perhaps not. There are plenty of successful examples out there, in other countries, for all to see.

sage said...

I'm having problems posting...

The cynic in me thinks the only thing worst than government provided health care is health care rationed by an oligarchy of private companies with near-monopolistic control over the system. We got to do something, I'm not sure what but keeping our current system is crazy. Why do we spend a higher percentage of our GNP on health care than other developed countries and have less benefits (no improvement in quality of life or life expectacy)?

Ed Abbey said...

R. Sherman - I thought I would get more arguments in general but so far, I haven't.

Murf - Medicaid is but one example of why are health care is so amuck. Lack of tort reforms another. I'm sure I could do an entire blog on reasons and perhaps should.

Mother Hen - Having never been to Singapore, I'll take your word for it. But one reason I could see possibly effecting why Singapore is a success is simply the size of governments. Almost any authorative body is more efficient when it is smaller.

Sage - I've always been in favor of tort reform when it comes to medicine. For a doctor in Iowa to practice on their own, their malpractice insurance annual PREMIUM is just shy of $1 million. That's a lot of charging just to recover that one expense.

All, I have a quote from Patrick Henry that I forgot to include in the post. It is, "The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people. Rather, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."

Perhaps the time has come.

Vince said...

Governments do certain things very well indeed. Finite things, like wars, also simple black/white things like regulation, they never do something ongoing well. And this simply because they do not focus on outcomes or results. The politicos think the establishment of an system IS the outcome. While they never ask what is the motivational force or even if there is one. The why is someone going to do this day in day out.

Ed Abbey said...

Vince - Indeed!

R. Sherman said...

I note that everyone believes that a)prices for health care services are too high and b) it's because the providers are making huge profits. For example, people believe that insurance companies are evil because they make "immorally high" profits.

Aside from the question of what is a "moral" profit, in truth, profits for the insurance industry are between the three to five percent range with only a couple of company's between five and ten percent and only one (AFLAC) above ten.

Is ten percent too high? Furniture stores make more. Most retailers make on the order of 50 to 100 percent on items sold.


Ed Abbey said...

R. Sherman - A very good point! If I had to pin point the reason health care is so expensive, I would say it because it isn't run as a business for profit. Whenever you don't have to justify the bottom line on a regular basis, mostly seen in our government, things tend to run a muck very quick. That is one reason I voted for Ross Perot back in the day.

Ed Abbey said...

That should have read "biggest" reason. Lack of tort reform that I mentioned before is another reason.

Beau said...

So many truths across all the comments and thoughts. Makes your head spin. Singapore... I've been there many times. Most fascinated with the law (now finally repealed) that made it illegal to chew gum there. And others... I prefer not to live in a regimented society. Free doesn't mean being controlled. Neither does it mean living under the dictates of a government that believes it knows best. Great article at the WSJ titled Obama's Health Rationer-in-Chief. Both the article and the comments are very insightful.

PhilippinesPhil said...

Only one commenter seemingly "for" gov't run health care, the Singapore commenter. (By the way, after 27 yrs military, I ADORE regimented! An example of the opposite of Singapore is the Philippines, and you KNOW how unregimentedly dysfunctional that place is.) Interesting. Ed, I thought you had more readers that leaned to the left. What happened, did you scare 'em all off? Anyway, folks who voted for this guy knew that we were going to get this thing. He ran hard on it, but he's always been big on scope and small on detail. So here we go.

Three Score and Ten or more said...

I have written my own feelings on this subject a number of times in a variety of places. Suffice it to say that I agree with you on all points, though, in my heart, I know that we could do better. Tort reform is a start. Medicaid-- I had a pharmacist friend attempt suicide because Medicaid was bankrupting him. (Obviously a number of other pharmacists have done Okay.)

PhilippinesPhil said...

My brother is a pharmacist. He also was sued frivolously. After months and months the suit was thrown out, but the experience was traumatic. Litigation lawyers are all destined for their own special place in hell...