Saturday, July 5, 2008

Healthcare follies

I am getting ready to leave for my final summer trip to Las Vegas, where it will be appearing with a host of conservative luminaries, such as Ron Paul, Bob Barr, Steve Forbes, Christopher Hitchens, and Dinesh D'Souza. I will be in two debates beginning next Thursday. David Himmelstein and I will be debating single-payer with John Mackey, the head of Whole Foods and John Goodman, the man who invented health savings accounts. Here is what I whipped up today. I would very much appreciate any comments.

The second debate will concern the nature of freedom. There, I will be debating John Mackey again and two others whom I do not know. I will call for help again on that one is in his I get something prepared. Here is my paper.

Here is the website for the conference.


yoshi said...

Dinesh D'Souza is a conservative luminary? That's news to me. Following his writings the only conclusion I have come up with is the the guy is delusional.

Michael Perelman said...

I have never read the bloke, I am happy to say. I think that the right considers him a luminary.

FSK said...

A proper discussion of healthcare should include the effect of State licensing requirements. The AMA and the State collude to restrict the supply of doctors. By restricting the supply of doctors, this guarantees that doctor salaries will be high. This leads to the current ridiculous situation, where a doctor's visit costs $100+ and you only see the doctor for a few minutes.

The idea that "State licensing requirements improve the quality of healthcare" is nonsense and propaganda. Before State licensing requirements for doctors, there was fierce competition for doctors, keeping down salaries and costs. The AMA lobbied for State regulation of doctors, and the result is the current mess.

Robert D Feinman said...

You might want to scan these two sites for nuggets:

The first is run by a health beat reporter who covers the big issues of finance and over-treatment.

The second is run by a doctor who focuses on how "continuing medical education" (CME) sessions are used as a way to give payola to doctors. He also discusses (nearly) useless drugs from time to time.

Venkat Rao said...

Healthcare should include the effect of State licensing requirements.

Anonymous said...

Don't introduce your presentation with an effort to be distinct from "socialized" medicine. That term is a red herring with no justification in the debate. The central issue is health care funding. How can the publilc be best served in regards to their financing their health care needs?
The financial issue has nothing to do with the quality of the medical providers, or how the patient interacts with those providers. Any relationship between the financing of an individual's health care and how that care is carried out is tangential to the central issue of cost coverage and containment. Defending your thesis against the red herring of socialized medicine is coounter productive.

The quality of health care and its over-all costs is an industry issue in combination with government oversite. Medical care seems extremely costly relative to out comes when compared with other nation's health care services. What this country may be doiong wrong is a distinct queation from how we provide for the availability of good health care to the general population. The third party billing aspect should be examined to determine its contribution to these costs. Are administrative costs of this system out of whack?

Focus on the advantages of a one-party payer system. Data regarding the absence of any beneficial financial effect from the current system of multiple competing insurers would be of value. But remember to focus on the fact that which ever system works best we still will end up with the same doctors and hospitals
and the same access. You're only discussing how it gets paid for so that the greatest number of patients can receive the best quality of service regardless of their personal financial circumstances.

Myrtle Blackwood said...

I enjoyed reading this paper. So many good arguments in one hit.

As you say, Michael, when it comes to health care (and other stuff) much of the time irrational choices are made. When you're sick, well, my observation is that illness makes you even less rational; and not just with mental illness.

Two of the most depressing symptoms of being markedly elderly are increasing bouts of sickness combined with loss of insight.