Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Some Informative Films on US Healthcare and Statist Versus Free Market Alternatives

Misdiagnosing the problems, and the myths of America's Uninsured

Would Obamacare Kill Medical Innovation?

As health care reform inches closer to reality, a massively important question becomes even more pressing: Will ObamaCare kill the sorts of medical innovation that makes the United States the leader in bringing new treatments, technology, and procedures to market?

"America is the only industrialized nation that doesn't have a national health plan," says Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), former Gov. Howard Dean (D-Vt.), and countless others who want the United States government to guarantee health coverage to all.

Protesters at a recent rally in downtown Los Angeles demanded universal coverage. They told Reason.tv that America is a cruel land where profits come before people.

"It's disgusting!" said one woman. "There should be no profits in health care!" What about those who argue that profits drive medical innovation? "I think that's kind of sick," declared another protester, who wants the U.S. to be more like Canada, where government policy keeps drug prices, and drug company profits, lower than in America.

Many regard the profit motive as cruel, but might it actually produce compassionate results? After all, America has generated vastly more medical innovations than other nations. Included in the long list is the innovation that saved the life of Dave Christensen, construction supervisor, husband, and father. After being diagnosed with cancer, Christensen was lucky enough to be given a then-experimental drug that probably wouldn't have been developed or brought to market in any other country in the world.

If America follows the lead of the rest of the world and clamps down on profits in health care, who will make tomorrow's wonder drugs?

"Drug companies that take big risks may make big profits," says Reason.tv's Nick Gillespie, who hosts the video. "But I say, Good for them. If they're saving lives, I hope they make a killing."

Uninsured in America

Uninsured in America examines the conventional wisdom that 45 million Americans cannot get health insurance and consequently do not have access to health care.

How To Fix America's Health Insurance Crisis: get Some!

reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie isn’t making a run for the White House, but he knows how to get coverage to at least half of the 45 million Americans who need it. And while Barack Obama and John McCain argue about who’s got the best health care plan, each ignores the simplest solution. Call it the Gillespie Plan: If you want health insurance, get some.

“Of people currently classified as uninsured, a conservative estimate says about 45 percent of them would be able to get health insurance right now if they wanted it,” says economist Glen Whitman. That estimate comes from a study headed by a Johns Hopkins University researcher, which separates those who could get insurance into one of two categories: Those who earn enough money to buy it, and those who qualify for existing government programs.

So how about some real straight talk for a change? If we separate those who can’t get coverage from those who can, we can focus more on helping the needy. “So if you can get coverage,” says Gillespie, “don’t wait for Washington. Go on out and get some.”

Statist Alternatives in Other Countries


The Lemon

The Lemon demonstrates how single-payer health care systems have a lot in common with the failed economic systems of Soviet-era eastern Europe.

A Short Course in Brain Surgery

A Short Course in Brain Surgery highlights the plight of an Ontario man with a cancerous brain tumor who crossed the border to the U.S. to get the medical care that is rationed in his home country.

Two Women

Two Women serves as a cautionary lesson about a politicized health care system where politicians and bureaucrats determine medical priorities.

A True Tale of Canadian Health Care: Why some canadians need to go to the U.S. for sugery

Many advocates of health-care reform are admirers of Canada's state-run, no-opt-out, single-payer system. Indeed, in 2003, President Barack Obama voiced enthusiasm for such a health-care program.

Proponents of Canadian-style health care should meet Cheryl Baxter, a Canadian citizen who waited years for hip-replacement surgery, only to be told that her operation would not happen any time soon. Instead of waiting, Baxter did what an increasing number of Canadians are doing: She flew to a clinic in the United States, paid out of pocket, and had a life-altering surgery in a matter of weeks rather than years.

Baxter's experience doesn't just throw damning light on Canadian health care. The sort of clinic she went to in Oklahoma suggests a different way of delivering health care in the United States, too: A simple fee-for-service model in which providers openly advertise their prices, service, and reputation. Rather than a frustrating, complicated mess of intermediaries such as employers and insurance companies, U.S. health-care reformers should think about bringing medicine into line with the same dynamics that help deliver great service at great prices throughout most other parts of the economy.

While Canadian health care is certainly cheaper than its U.S. counterpart (health care spending in Canada is about 10 percent of GDP versus 16 percent in the United States), it is not necessarily better or more equitable. As a recent National Bureau of Economic Research comparison concluded, "Americans are more likely to report that they are fully satisfied with the health services they have received and to rank the quality of care as excellent." Not only do Americans have far greater access to basic diagnostic tools ranging from mammograms to CT scans, the researchers found "the health-income gradient is actually more prominent in Canada than in the U.S." That is, wealthy Canadians receive far better care compared to low-income Canadians than rich Americans versus poor Americans.

"A True Tale of Canadian Health Care" was produced by Dan Hayes and Peter Suderman. Interviews were filmed by Alex Manning and the segment is hosted and scripted by Nick Gillespie. Approximately 5.11 minutes.

The United Kingdom

Operation Health Freedom - Daniel Hannan


A Red-Ink Train Wreck: The real cost of government-run health care

This CF&P Foundation video explains why healthcare proposals in Washington will result in bloated government and higher deficits. This mini-documentary exposes the pervasive inaccuracy of congressional forecasts and succinctly lists 12 reasons why Obamacare will be a budget buster. For more information: www.freedomandprosperity.org


How American healthcare killed my Father

American health care kills. And it's because markets for health care services are grossly distorted. That's the assessment of businessman David Goldhill, whose father died of a hospital acquired infection. Goldhill wrote up what he discovered subsequently in an article for the Atlantic Monthly entitled, "How American Health Care Killed My Father. One of the key problems in American health care, he says, is that the consumer of health care services or products is rarely paying directly.

Don't Copy Europe's Mistakes: Less Government Is the Right Way to Fix Healthcare

In this CF&P Foundation video, Eline van den Broek explains that government interference is driving up healthcare costs in America and warns that European style health "reform" will make the situation even worse. Based on what has happened in Europe, she explains that universal health coverage is not the same as universal healthcare, that insurance mandates mean more government control, and that price controls simply do not work. More Information: www.freedomandprosperity.org

Operation Health Freedom - Judge Napolitano

How To Fix Health Care: Lasik surgery for the medical debate

Make no mistake about it. Health care reform is coming. But what's the best way to fix our health care system, which is an inefficient, complicated mess of private actors, third-party payers, public subsidies, and innumerable state and federal regulations? Should we place our faith in the government or in the free market?

ObamaCare supporters argue that the answer lies in more government—more subsidies, more regulations, a law mandating individuals buy health-insurance coverage and, of course, more taxes to pay for it all.

The alternative is to base reforms on what works in the other five-sixths of the U.S. economy, where choice and competition increase quality and drive down prices over time.

Can a market-based health care system work? We can begin to answer this question by looking at Lasik, a medical procedure that's not covered by health insurance. And has gotten better—and cheaper—over time.

"How to Fix Health Care" proposes three simple reforms that will put us on a path to a health-care system that's better, more affordable, and more accessible. And get this—these market-based reforms can be implemented without creating new government programs or raising taxes.

John Mackey's Concious Capitalism

When he started his first organic food store in Austin, Texas in 1978, Whole Foods Market CEO and co-founder John Mackey had no idea that he would eventually usher in not just a revolution in how we shop but what we buy. If you dig being able to buy dozens of types of once-exotic apples, or cheese, or wine, or soaps, or countless other items, you can thank Mackey in part for helping to create cathedrals of commerce that have vastly enriched our day-to-day lives and vastly expanded our palates. (Full disclosure: Mackey has contributed to Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes this website.)

In August, Mackey became one of the most controversial businessmen in America when he penned an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal outlining his company's free-market-oriented health care system and offering eight concrete reforms that would reduce costs and improve access. Noting that health care is not "a right" as that term is properly understood, Mackey forcefully argued that increasing government intervention into health care is precisely the wrong thing to do: "The last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment."

The response from the left to Mackey's op-ed was swift: Advocates of single-payer health care, union activists, and others called for protests at and boycotts of Whole Foods, despite the fact that the company provides affordable and well-regarded coverage to its employees.

As a cutting-edge entrepreneur who is comfortable quoting astrological signs and Ludwig von Mises, who practices veganism and sells some of the best meat in America, and who chases profits and is an outspoken advocate of charitable giving, Mackey confounds conventional political categories. As an advocate of what he calls "conscious capitalism," Mackey is that rarest of businessman: an articulate and passionate defender of free enterprise and free individuals.

In late September, Mackey sat down with Reason's Matt Welch and Nick Gillespie to talk about health care reform, corporate social responsibility (on which Mackey has written for Reason), why government interventions rarely achieve their goals, and how Mackey came to his unstinting belief in free markets.

Natural Food Fight: Whole Foods and Health Care

In August, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey argued in the pages of the Wall Street Journal that the solution to America's health care crisis was to be found in "less government control and more individual empowerment." His own company's unique health care plan, Mackey wrote, covers 90 percent of employees, costs less than health insurance plans, aned provides a "very high degree of worker satisfaction." But for the sin of not supporting a government take over of health care, labor unions and left-wing activists called for a boycott of Whole Foods, claiming that Mackey's solutions were unworkable and his employees were unhappy.

Reason.tv talked to protesters, Mackey, and employees about "the Whole Foods alternative to ObamaCare."

Saving The Health of The Nation: An introduction to health savings accounts

From the Stockholm Network


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such atrociously biased arguments...

4:55 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

Biased in favour of whom? Against whom?

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In favour of the anti-universal healthcare movement. Sure Mary in Ontario might be unable to get private healthcare but this isn't an argument for no government intervention in healthcare only an argument against the government banning maket alternatives. Also whilst a small minority may have to go to the US for an operation, just think how many millions of Americans would benefit if the Canadian system was implemented. Everyone knows Cato and their evil affiliates (reason magazine,mises institute) are paid by big corporations to protect their profits.

2:53 AM  
Blogger Richard said...

In favour of the anti-universal healthcare movement.

There is no such thing. Universal healthcare is achieved when everybody has access to healthcare they need. What these people oppose is greater state intervention in the provision of healthcare, whilst it is merely an presumption on your behalf that greater state intervention in healthcare will lead to universal healthcare. We do not have universal healthcare, for instance, here in the UK: There are plenty of reports of a "postcode lottery" in the provision of services, for instance or age discrimination, and there is evidence that middle class professionals get more from the NHS than the poor. Likewise, it is also a fact that the state education system benefits the non-poor more than the poor - the non-poor get the better schools. Meanwhile we do have universal clothing provision, or food provision, wherein everybody has access to food and clothes, but these are not provided by a state, but by private companies for a profit.

Sure Mary in Ontario might be unable to get private healthcare but this isn't an argument for no government intervention in healthcare only an argument against the government banning maket alternatives.

Firstly, you are ignoring the possibility that state provision might croud out private alternatives by means of unfair competition (private companies cannot subsidise costs by threatening to lock people up unless they give more money, hence unfair competition).

Secondly, the film was not about her being unable to get private healthcare in Canada. She only went looking for private treatment because she was looking for public provision in Canada, and the Canadian system failed to provide it to her (within three years). Private companies in the US were willing and able to provide her with the treatment she needed, when she needed it; the Canadian state system was not.

Also whilst a small minority may have to go to the US for an operation, just think how many millions of Americans would benefit if the Canadian system was implemented.

Many fewer than if the US had a free market in healthcare, it would appear.

Everyone knows Cato and their evil affiliates (reason magazine,mises institute) are paid by big corporations to protect their profits.

First of all, if this is meant to be an argument that their conclusions are therefore wrong, then you have committed a basic logical fallacy: Ad hominen.

Second, not all the films were from Reason or Cato, and none were from the Mises Institute (who are more likely to be opponents of Cato than affiliates). Some were from "Free Market Cure," which declare "No funding has been received by the principals of Free Market Cure from the health insurance industry or the health care industry for the production of this website or for the production of the films featured here."

And lastly, you have things obviously back to front, since big business in the medical insurance and pharmeceutical industries support Obama's refomrs, so yours is plainly the pro-corporate elite position! The evidence:





10:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone experience anything about the easy google profit kit? I discovered a lot of advertisements around it. I also found a site that is supposedly a review of the program, but the whole thing seems kind of sketchy to me. However, the cost is low so I’m going to go ahead and try it out, unless any of you have experience with this system first hand?


6:17 AM  

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