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Letters by a modern St. Ferdinand III about cults

Plenty of cults exist - every cult has its 'religious dogma', its idols, its 'prophets', its 'science', its 'proof' and its intolerant liturgy of demands.  Cults everywhere:  Islam, the State, the cult of Gay and Queer, Marxism, Darwin and Evolution, 'Science', Globaloneywarming, Changing Climate, Abortion....a nice variety for the human-hater, amoral, anti-rationalist to choose from.  It is so much fun mocking them isn't it ?

Tempus Fugit Memento Mori - Time Flies Remember Death 

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Monday, August 27, 2007

‘Sicko’ – Michael Moore’s Autobiography?

Socialised health care is just simply not the answer.

by StFerdIII



Comedian – Crockumentary maker Michael Moore is a strange man. In his zeal to promote crude anti–Americanism; sneering socialism; crass populism and lazy–fair welfarism; he ventures beyond the factual, to the ludicrous. Like his other films, Sicko! is deformed propaganda, designed to please Marxist American – haters, but divorced from reality. Socialized medicine, and Moore’s angry humor, offer no solutions for what ails a poor and ineffective health system.

Sicko! is full of errors and factual lies. I could barely watch the parade of Moore-ian fantasy without becoming physically ill. According to Moore, all aspects of U.S. health–care are bad. Only the national programs of Canada of Europe offer hope. This might surprise the families of the 20,000 Canadians who die each year in the socialist health system that Moore so deeply covets. Or it might shock most Britons and Europeans who are forcing politicians to privatize their national health systems to provide timely and better quality care. Accuracy is not Moore’s goal however – making money through shock therapy is.

Besides being dumb, there are two factual problems with Sicko! First the U.S. health care system has nothing to do with free – markets. Second, nationalized industries do not provide consumer – choice, access or efficiencies. Putting bureaucrats in charge of anything is going to guarantee only problems.

Moore fails to reveal some simple facts. First, U.S. governments account for 55% of all U.S. health care spending – and they firmly regulate the rest (the O.E.C.D average is about 70%). The delta of U.S. direct government health spends against that of Euro-like system spend is not that significant. The 45% of U.S. health expenditure that is supposedly ‘private’ is in reality, heavily controlled by government. Over 1000 regulations exist in every state managing and monitoring all facets of health – care. Individual consumer power is non – existent.

Absurdly in the U.S. consumers cannot take their health – care across jobs, or states. As a product health – care insurance is not portable, nor flexible. This is because in the U.S. system the government has inserted insurance firms between providers and consumers. Since consumers have no powers, they are at the mercy of insurance companies who all too regularly deny treatment, raise premiums or engage in outright extortion. Such a system of empowering insurance providers at the expense of the individual makes no sense.

The same problem exists with socialized health – care, a point Moore declines to highlight. In a nationalized system the consumer has no power, little access and almost no choice. Bureaucrats decide on resource allocation, who gets treated and when, and what technologies and infrastructure (if any) get built. Price points supply and demand and consumer preferences, don’t exist. A simple example - try finding a family doctor in Toronto as a new habitant of the 'world class' conurbation. Good luck with that. Without a GP you can't get access to specialist treatment, and your best option is probably taking the highway down to New York State and paying for fast and focused care. It is all well and good for the Marxists to whine about equality of care - until someone is lying in agony unable with acondition that cannot be treated due to resource minimalisation and lack of choice.

The only benefit in a socialized system is that general tax revenues cover all Medicare costs. But this is a canard. Canada and the E.U. have punishing tax levels – in part to fund (and buy votes) socialized medicine. The average Canadian earning $100,000 or more will pay about $8,000 towards his or her health tax, regardless of system usage. In the U.S. for a family of 4, the same income level would pay about $ 6,000 in health premiums.

Moore makes an obvious point that 40 million Americans are uninsured and this constitutes a grave threat to many U.S. families. The simpleton solution – socialize everything and provide government guarantees – is not convincingly done. The U.S. spends 15% of its G.O.P on health – care. Under Moore’s plan this level would certainly rise especially to cover the 40 million uninsured. How would this be paid for?, Higher taxes, more debt, other welfare cuts? Moore does not say. He also does not tell you that of the 40 million or so uninsured, 15 million are illegal, 15 or so million choose not to be covered, and about 10 million are too poor to afford coverage - but these 10 million are guaranteed health care when needed, as dictated by various state and federal laws. So is the real uninsured problem 40 or 10 million ?

Why not make the current U.S. system better before radically changing it? This seems more sensible. For instance the Cato institute calculates that $169 billion per year is paid to health care regulators and the FDA , by carious levels of government. This is 10% of all health care costs, and 20% of all consumer related costs. Surely there are reforms which can be implemented to reform such a huge drain on the U.S. economy.

Tort and legal reforms are also necessary. Whole areas of the U.S. are devoid of clinics and specialists thanks to lawsuits and excessive litigation and legislation. The average doctor in Chicago needs to pay $250,000 per annum in legal insurance premiums. These costs of course get passed on to consumers.

And that word ‘consumers’ is the key one. Even in old Europe governments recognize the need to expand private care and consumer choice. In Holland, France and Sweden private systems run parallel to state systems. Those who are poor or desire to be enrolled in the state system do so. Those with means and motivation to register with a private provider (without a government managed insurer in between), while also paying taxes to the state system, are free to do so as well.

Without consumer power embedded in portability, choice and supplier transparency, no health system will be effective. Moore’s fantasy that government knows best and that price – points and supply and demand interaction can be ignored is ignorant and dangerous. Sure the U.S. health system needs reform – but Moore’s Sicko! does not provide any intelligent ideas.

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