Sullivan has some great comments.
Like Sullivan, I’m pessimistic about our future in health care. I feel that we are likely to get some form of socialized medicine. And it will only be after it’s too late to go back that Americans will realize what they’ve lost. The sob stories in Michael Moore’s movies will change from people being denied healthcare by HMOs to *everyone* being denied healthcare by a faceless government agency. Experimental procedures won’t bankrupt you, they just won’t exist.
But my biggest point is on the innovation-killing aspects of “universal health care”. In many ways, the movement to socialize medicine is another of the “fuck the future” policies that are driving me crazy. Budget deficits, open-ended foreign wars, unfunded liabilities. It’s apparently not enought to rob the unborn of all their money. Now, in an effort to get cheap healthcare today, we are going to stifle innovation and invention. At least when our grandchildren are dying of drug-resistant typhoid, we can be grateful that we got numerous erections and lowered cholesterol.
There is no cost in the world greater than opportunity cost. People in socialized medicine systems see the great state apparatus — they do not see the privatized system that could be in its place. People in this country see the great Medicare. They do not see the system of private insurance which would be infinitely superior.
The biggest cost of socialized medicine and price-controlled drugs will be the innovations we *won’t* get, the things that *won’t* be there for our children and grandchildren. Cures to cancer and Alzheimer’s; perfect asepsis; technology to slow or even stop aging; surgeries that are less invasive and painful.
If we stick with the system we have now — perhaps with reforms to get the consumer closer to the spending, rather than futher away — our grandchildren will look back on our present healthcare the way we look at leeches and hacksaws from the 19th century. But socialism will gobble that bright future up. It will stagnate innovation and progress.
Is our healthcare so good right now that we’re ready to stick a fork in it?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the biggest reality on healthcare is how spoiled rotten the American people are. I heard the repugnant Richard Roeper reviewing “Sicko” the other night and he pronounced our healthcare system “a disaster”. Try telling that to people like Sullivan, who are alive because of expensive innovation — or my wife who is controlling her MS with expensive meds.
We spend more money on our cars than we do on our bodies. A history and physical is less than a year’s maintenance on a typical car. You will pay less out-of-pocket for life-saving surgery than you will for a high-end automobile. But it’s still too much for most people.
Whenever people complain about the cost of healthcare (and our insurance just laid out ten grand to bring our daughter into this world), I’m forced to ask:
How much is your life worth?