Saturday, August 1, 2009

Healthcare Profiteers

Is brokering the sale of a kidney really so bad? How is that worse than denying coverage of a medical procedure so you can boost your bottom line?

Some opponents of universal health care will use Canadian patient satisfaction surveys as evidence that they are not happier with their system than we in the U.S. are -- but that's bullshit. This article by Stephan Gohmann from the University of Louisville explains how the different delivery methods skews each groups' perception of quality.

I'll try to explain the gist of that article with an analogy. Say you have two groups of people going to two different lunch cafeterias every day. In one, fries are always available. In the other, sometimes those same fries are available and sometimes they're not. Both groups are likely to rate the quality of the fries (hot enough, salted right, etc.) the same. In fact, the people who have a harder time getting fries might rate them better because they appreciate the opportunity to eat fries when they can. But if you move a diner from the lunchroom with spotty fry service to the lunchroom that always has fries, you can be sure he'll consider that an improvement in his fry situation.

Another rap on single-payer government health care is that it would cost jobs in the health insurance industry. Boo frickin' hoo. Let them change with the times and get new jobs.

I once had a nice career shooting, designing and programming multi-image shows. These were glorified slide shows where 12 or more slide projectors were controlled by a computer and synchronized to a soundtrack. Then lower cost video projection became available and my multi-image career became obsolete. Was there a multi-image lobby out there trying to stop low-cost video projection? Nope. Did I curl up and cry about it? No, I switched to producing and writing video. I changed with the times.

At the end of the 19th century, there were 130,000 horses working the streets of New York. No, they weren't prostitutes -- they were pulling streetcars, delivering milk and so on. That made for a lot of jobs in the horse manure removal industry. Isn't it a shame all those jobs were lost due to the arrival of the automobile? Wouldn't it be a goddamn shame if the health insurance industry became obsolete? I have my doubts.

Okay, got that off my chest. Look for a much funnier episode Monday morning. 'Later.

BTW - if you liked the Intelligent Design episode a few days ago, you might enjoy the script extension over on the Facebook fan page. Are you a Facebook fan yet? No? Why not? It's a great place to stalk other people who share your love of DI.

1 comment:

Red Pill Junkie said...

In the UFO-buff circles there's this story circulating, that Richard Nixon once got to meet an extraterrestrial (while still VP), and that the alien offered to give human kind the cure to most modern ailments, including cancer.

The story goes that Nixon refused this, explaining to the alien that our current economic system depends on death, and that the cure for all those diseases would mean the meltdown of our social fabric.

If I mention this is not because I believe the story; what fascinates me about it is the philosophical connotation of it. Because if you think about it, it's absolutely true: our civilization depends on death to maintain the hierarchical structure of society. You need commodities —medicine among them— to be scarce in order to sustain a status quo.

I didn't say the story was uplifting; only that it was interesting. To me at least.