Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Public Healthcare?

A friend recently sent me an article to read about public health care.
Names and e-mail addresses have been deleted, but otherwise the exchange is
presented without edits. The link to the article is at the bottom. My
analysis is cursory and actual research is limited. Feel free to dissect my
analysis, as it is incomplete and I would enjoy a more full discussion on
this issue.

-----Original Message-----
From: (CarbonDate)
Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 8:34 AM
To: xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx
Subject: RE: Public Healthcare?

One point I'll concede is that I fail to see how a public option would
actually address the real cost of health care, which is the real problem, as
opposed to simply easing the burden on consumers. I like the public option
where people buy into Medicare (which doesn't appear to be the Obama plan,
but oh well) because of its potential to bridge the gap for people between
jobs (which there are a lot of these days), provide an affordable
alternative for people who don't qualify for Medicaid, and provide a new
revenue source for Medicare without raising taxes.

That said, I would like to discuss the article further. A couple of points:

1) The out-of-pocket expenditure change isn't something that happened in a
vacuum. There's a reason for it. That the article doesn't discuss the
reason leads me to believe that it's inconvenient for the point the author
is trying to make. Could it be that out-of-pocket health care is no longer
something average Americans can afford, where as it was back in 1970?

2) "Only 35%"? In nine years? Am I the only one that thinks that's a
rather sizable increase?

3) Comparing the rise of out-of-pocket costs to the rise in total Medicare
expenses is apples and oranges, and in any case, the reason is easy to
deduct: Medicare likely has a lower deductible than most private insurance
plans. That's just speculation, of course.

4) "From a policy perspective, this would suggest that the key to lowering
costs is to let consumers control more of their own resources - that when
they have the freedom and incentive to pursue value, they know how to keep
costs down."

Translation: "Let them eat cake." You're right, the article does speak for

Seriously, is he suggesting that all health care be paid for out of pocket?
Who can actually afford that?

5) I do have a problem with an author citing his own "study" as an
authoritative source. At a minimum, he should explain where he compiled his
numbers from. The fact that the study was published by the Pacific Research
Institute (of which he is a senior fellow) doesn't really lend it any
additional credibility; this is an agenda-driven group. I'm not saying the
numbers are necessarily inaccurate, but it's not a scientific study. They
found a way to make the numbers work in their favor, and even then they have
to concede that out-of-pocket health care costs have risen 35% over the last
nine years.


A former senior speechwriter in the Bush administration is, of course, free
to write articles about health care and can even contribute constructively
to the discussion, but he shouldn't cite himself as his source, especially
since a layman like me can easily point out that he's a political animal,
not a public health care expert.

But at least you know I read the article ;).

-----Original Message-----
From: xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx
Sent: Wednesday, June 24, 2009 2:01 AM
To: xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx
Cc: xxxxxx@xxxxx.xxx
Subject: Public Healthcare?


This article speaks for itself.

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