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INTERNATIONAL: Rationing American style

I don’t approve of health care by anecdote, but there are plenty of loonies on the Canada bashing right who do. And some of them make movies to prove their point. I also think that taking individual stories out of context, compared to using data to describe the actual patterns of care, isn’t that valuable in an intellectual sense. But it sure seems to work in an emotive one.

But let me warn those aspiring Canada-basher film-makers. While you’re out raising your millions, certain pro-single payer groups here have beaten you to it. Apparently the bashers may not know this but there are both people who have problems south of the border, and others with video cameras who’ve met them. I’m awaiting the assurance that this is all the Canadians fault somehow.

The rest of you in the more rarefied crowd at THCB can go back to your regularly scheduled programming.

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John R. GrahamjdMatthew HoltJack LohmanGraham Recent comment authors
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Matthew Holt
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John. You’re right about the numbers and right about what Pauly says, even if you (and he) and I radically disagree about the conclusions he draws about the individual market. The issue is that the current individual market does not function–full stop, period. If you or Pauly disagree I suggest that you both quit your jobs, develop a chronic disease and try to acquire insurance in the individual market. (Google my take on the recent Rand study on THCB as to why they’re methodology was wrong) So for the 80 million if they have a health problem and no health… Read more »

John R. Graham
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Matthew, you state “80 million uninsured for at least 3 months in a 2 year period” but I can equally state that 3/4 of the 46 million uninsured will be insured within 12 months. So, you have significant numbers of people moving in and out of this status: a consequence of employer-sponsored health insurance, not private health insurance. Mark Pauly’s empirical research unambiguously supports the policy of guaranteed-renewable, individually-purchased health insurance – which is the same way the government allows pretty much every other insurance market to operate.

Jack Lohman
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That’s a sad commentary for a compassionate nation, jd. I have always supported free college education to any student in the sciences who maintained grades in the top 10%, regardless of his station in life.
That said, our high costs are not because we have too few physicians and thus inflated salaries. We waste too much on our bureaucratic insurance system and we incentivize physicians to over order tests. We also have massive waste and fraud in the nursing home industry.

jd
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jd

The supply of physicians in the U.S. is most certainly limited. It is limited by admission to medical schools and residencies. These limits are influenced by the medical profession, which functions as a cartel to limit supplies and maximize income. They also come from the Federal government in the form of limits on the subsidies paid to hospitals for residents. Apparently, our fabulous free market, though it produces by far the highest medical costs in the world, can’t pay for residency programs. Hospitals would have to charge at least an additional $11 billion a year to do so. For more,… Read more »

Matthew Holt
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Indeed Jack, Mr Browning is a self-proclaimed rich guy who gives talks on this subject to association of underwriters, brokers and others who’s value add to the system is probably even lower than pundits, bloggers and consultants. And he does that and makes his movies because it’s just what makes him happy–I assume. And he’s right about 43 million being off by 10s of millions. It’s closer to 80 million being uninsured for at least 3 months in a 2 year period. (Essentially 25m are permanently uninsured and another 55m rotate through the process of being uninsured) But as Mr… Read more »

Stuart Browning
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Jack –
You’re off by 10s of millions if you are talking about the truly uninsured. I wouldn’t expect that you would have delved into the veracity of the uninsured propaganda you’re spreading.
I’m not funded by anyone.

Jack Lohman
Guest

And Stuart, I just looked at your website and I hope you will forgive my bluntness. You appear to be very anti-single payer. Are you funded in any way by the insurance or health care industry?

Jack Lohman
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Let me see…. 47 million people without health care is not rationing. I understand now.

Graham
Guest

Stuart–see some uninsured patients first before you start lecturing about what does and does not happen to patients in the US.
The plural of anecdote is not data.

Stuart Browning
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The word “loonie” seems to appear in every post by Mr. Holt in which he discusses those whose ideas are in opposition to his. However, I would suggest that real “looniness” is on display when he suggests that there exists in America rationing of health care that in any way approaches in degree or kind the rationing that is practiced in Canada. That country’s government forcefully limits the *supply* of specialists, ORs, diagnostic machines and devices – this is not done in the U.S. My movie “Two Women” (http://www.onthefencefilms.com/video/twowomen.html) shows the results. A women needing a medical device implanted to… Read more »