Some Chicago Boyz know each other from student days at the University of Chicago. Others are Chicago boys in spirit. The blog name is also intended as a good-humored gesture of admiration for distinguished Chicago School economists and fellow travelers.
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Every western developed nation outside US has socialized medicine. American seniors have socialized medicine (medicare). The whole concept of health insurance is socializing the medicine. You guys are nuts. The image you are showing is the image of private insurance holders who are told “your plan does not cover that”…what a wicked rationing. Open up…learn more. Thing outside your ideological bun.
That other countries have socialized medicine is no argument to implement it here. The poor overall quality of socialized medical care, particularly in the UK and Canada, is a truism. Many people from those and other countries visit the USA for treatment that they cannot get at home, or that they they cannot get in a timely way. Americans do not often visit Canada or the UK for treatment. That we have socialized medicine to an extent, as in Medicare, does not logically or obviously mean that we should increase the extent to which our medicine is socialized. Rather, it should caution us as to how our medical system might degrade in quality and increase in cost if the Medicare paradigm were applied to the rest of the population. Furthermore, your view of private insurance is completely out of touch with reality, a stale cliche. The vast majority of Americans are satisfied with their medical insurance arrangements. Those who are dissatisfied in most cases are able to find alternatives that they prefer. Who would be foolish enough to rely on a government monopoly as the sole supplier of any good or service?
Perhaps, instead of condescendingly offering an ideal of socialized medicine as an alternative to a simpleminded caricature of private insurance, you opened your own mind and learned more about the reality of socialized medicine and the benefits of consumer choice.
Jonathan, you can add Australia to the list of countries with socialised medicine which is causing serious problems. I know two doctors and they endlessly complain about how bad the system is and at least one is about to resign over it. I just hope I don’t get sick… fingers crossed.
This is my first visit to the site.
I was curious to see what “Chicago Boys” might have to say about the current situation.
What I find is a sophomoric, snarky little photo with a disparaging caption completely lacking in any sort of supporting argument. Basically, it’s the sort of thing I would expect from someone like Sarah Palin.
As for Australia, “two doctors” (that’s quite a trend of anecdotal evidence) say their system is having problems. Wow. What a tidal wave of anecdotal evidence.
As for the “poor overall quality” of socialized medicine, let me ask you a question. If the quality of care is so poor, why are no (as in zero) mainstream conservative political parties campaigning to change the system? Why aren’t Tories or the PC party in Canada making this a central political issue?
The answer is that, overall, the medical systems in these countries remain very popular because they are, overall, very effective. Yes, problems exist, but the problems other countries experience don’t include wholesale rationining of care based on economic status such as exists in the good ol’ US of A.
So, it would be political suicide for any mainstream party even to suggest scrapping the “horrible” care provided.
Ergo, it seems like you’re, not to put too fine a point on it, lying.
All of which seems to provide pretty strong evidence that the U of Chi school is, and has been, intellectually bankrupt.
My apologies. I am the “anonymous” commentor above.
I dont get it. I am not saying people who can pay for fancy cadillac insurances should not be able to keep their insurance and no one is suggesting that. But to the tens of millions of Americans who are uninsured and underinsured, socialized medicine would be a great idea. And by the way, people with lots of money come to America to get 5 star health care, lots of them also go to Switzerland – a good model by the way, combination of Public/Private. And there is nothing wrong with that. Good regulated public option competing with private insurance is a good way to go. We pay the most for our healthcare which is no better than other developed western nations. Our medicare recipients are very satisfied and our life expectancy after you reach medicare age is awesome. Socialized medicine is good. Just like interstate highway, great parks, great researches, national defence…some things you trust government more than say walmart or enron or what have you. The notion that just because its government does not mean its all inefficient and just because its private run does not mean its awesome. I can give a million things run privately that simply sucks. As Deng Xiaoping said It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice.
May I offer different explanations to questions that puzzle you?
-if “mainstream political parties” do not make healthcare their central political issue, maybe the reason is they have more urgent problems to solve? Conversely, maybe they do [make healthcare reform their priority] – how many programs of political parties in UK, Canada and Australia you are familiar with? Can you give us an overview? You mentioned Tories and PC – what is the main political issue in their programs if not healthcare? Besides, I see no correlation between “conservatives do not make healthcare their central issue” and “therefore, the socialized healthcare in these countries is not poor”. It simply does not follow. It might be poor as hell, but political parties are not paying attention by any number of reasons (tactical, strategical, simple disinterest, being blind, etc). “Conservative parties”, for conservatives, is not a divine Absolute that is unable to make mistakes by definition, you see. They are composed of politicians more or less removed from the electorate. You project the Progressives’ attitude towards politicians (as if they “know better”) onto conservatives. Wrong.
-your statement “socialized medicine in these countries remain very popular” is not supported by any data. First, let me ask you – are people in the countries with socialized medicine have any alternatives to this system? Apparently, you didn’t experience this system firsthand. As someone who did (I lived in a country with not only socialized, but centrally-planned health care system – an ideal, right?- for 30 years) let me tell you- of course they support it, just like a small bodega owners support the local racketeers: they are given a service they can’t refuse. I have been reading, for 5 years, journals of Israelis who live under modified (compared to Soviet) healthcare system: it sucks big time. Everyone is “covered” there, through something that roughly is translated as “medical credit union”; everyone is required to make contributions, by state law. And the lines to see specialists are months and sometimes years-long. That’s in the country full of Jewish doctors!
I’m not going to touch your wild accusations of “lying” and weird disconnected disqualification of U of Ch School of Economics (are you familiar with the meaning of the word?); that’s beyond ridiculous.
The picture was humorous. Mild and harmless jokes (and it is a mild and harmless joke, is it astroturf day or something) are a perfect part of the democratic tradition.
1. All Western nations are struggling with unfunded mandates….the systems of many western countries with so-called ideal, socialized medicine are not sustainable. We should not import something simply for the sake of aping another country, the proposed system has to work here, in the states, in a country of 300 million people, large, diverse, and complicated. There is no equivalent for what is being proposed, currently, in terms of size or scope. We have no data on this, the only equivalent would be for Brussels to run the whole show of health care throughout the E.U. So, no data on the same scale. That might mean something, that might not.
2. Polls show that, actually, many people are unhappy with their health care in socialized systems, such as Canada, Britain, etc. I’m not going to link, you are adults and you can look for yourselves.
3. I have two anecdotal data points that are interesting: I know two doctors who have practiced in both Australia and the US (teaching hospitals in Melbourne and Boston). In their experience, the quality of care at the top is the best in the States. That is anecdotal, yes, and may not mean much, but it is an interesting discussion point. I also know a third who has practiced in Britain, Sweden, and the states (all big teaching hospitals and in cancer care. Again, she states this is the best place she has worked. Anecdotal and may not mean anything, but interesting……)
4. If this is the level the ‘pro HR3200 or whatever the bill is supposed to be today’ proponents are going to bring to the debate, you ALL are in trouble. The above comments are a very weak sort of ‘game’ to bring.
5. The reason conservatives such as Tories are not going to campaign against things is multifactorial, I believe: culturally, the NHS is a part of the British imagination and it employs an ENORMOUS number of people. Can you say politicized voting bloc?
6. Really, a funny photo is not snark. The above comments are. And unthougtful snark at that. Some of us live and breathe and work this stuff. And we’ve read HR3200. And it stinks.
The “health care crisis” is, in my view, two separate issues:
(1) Poor people can’t afford medicine
(2) Prices are getting so high that normal people can’t afford medicine
(1) is not a crisis, or at least not a new one. It’s always been true at some level. And its solution is straightforward — establish HSA accounts for folks below a certain income level, contribute to them at whatever rate pleases your voters’ conscience, and hence allow poor people to buy insurance / routine care. Done.
(2) is the timely crisis, and solving it requires an understanding of the cause. I am persuaded by this businessman and this doctor that the core problem lies in how health care is paid for: insurance, whether private or public. Without a consumer spending his own money on the highest quality product he can get for the lowest price he can find, the system is doomed to high prices and poor quality.
The interesting thing to me about (2) is that, to my view, the market is already solving the problem. The emergence of HSA/High Deductable approaches to payment, the rise of cash-only practices and concierge-style care — indeed, even extremely affordable concierge-style care — says to me that the market is in the process of responding to a high-cost low-quality product with alternatives. For rich people, sure, at the outset, but the signs are that it won’t stay that way for long.
None of this points to socialized medicine as a solution. Socialized medicine was the problem — the perverse incentives, the bureucracy, the suspicion toward innovation and competition. Socialization of medicine is not necessary for charity, nor is it useful for bringing down prices. The fact that other nations do it is not encouraging either, given that they are having their own related fiscal crises, and their people do not exactly rave about the quality of care–just its sheer existence.
If government wants to help us through this crisis, it should just get out of the way and let the market do its thing. If it really wants to help, it could even get rid of regulations that favor (or even mandate!) the old way of doing things. Either way, the status quo seems to me to be starting to die a natural, economic death–and I judge it doomed unless someone interprets the resulting turbulence as simply unbearable and legislatively tries to “help the industry recover.”
IF the quality of care is so poor?
There’s no way I’m going to a hospital here short of being run over by a truck. I’ll take my chances that my wound/disease/whatever will heal by itself.
Yeah, I live here, I pay for our crappy medical system (I have no choice), and I have to use it if I get sick – I pray I don’t. I also know some people who work within the system and hear some fairly shocking stories which I won’t repeat here.
What do I know? Some random person on the internet who may have never even visited this country is obviously in a fabulous position to dismiss my experiences.
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