Charity & Healthcare
This is a reply to Avicenna's comment about healthcare http://www.rationalresponders.com/comment/reply/30598/363306?quote=1#comment-form
I thought I would start a new thread rather than derail that one since this issue can quickly take up a significant number of posts.
I completely and utterly disagree. The problem with charity is that it never is enough. You cannot run the best healthcare possible on a charitable basis and healthcare is best applied universally.
Then why don't you give more? I agree, charities today do not get enough. This is a function of taxes, I personally would donate substantially more if my tax rate were cut in half because when I have excess money I do one of two things; either I invest in a business or I give it to charity. It is also a function of our culture. Many Americans don't give to charity because they expect the government to take care of it. I understand we are a long way from being able to do away with the current welfare system. I understand it would be cruel to eliminate medicare/medicaid overnight. But those programs are going bankrupt, they don't work and something needs to be done. I would rather see us move in a direction towards freedom and charity rather than forced centralization.
It actually becomes cheaper (government still needs to run emergency services and ambulances unless you want a situation where rival ambulances simply refuse to cater to regions or provide inferior services) for the government to run a socialised medical system rather than a purely capitalist one. And the biggest charitable organisations on earth that provide healthcare include religion. Guess how easy it is to get an abortion in a catholic hospital? All you are doing is trying to save money by trading in quality for the assumption that if you ignore it, it will go away. Put it this way...
My main concern is not saving money. You are wrong, but that is irrelevant. Even if you could prove that government supplying healthcare is cheaper I would still be against it. I am against using force to take from one person for the purposes of redistributing it to another. Period. I don't think it is healthy for society to allow its citizens to use government to take from one another. As Vastet pointed out, there is a lot of the rich redistributing government to themselves. It really is inevitable that when you allow redistribution, those who can bribe politicians will get more of it than those who really need it. Slavery is cheaper than hiring workers, that doesn't make it desirable.
You couldn't afford the skills of a doctor. The 99% cannot. Doctors are insanely skilled workers who demand high salaries for a reason. High skill, high stress and high risk. All this would do is force hospitals to take on inferior staff. It's the equivalent of saving money by hiring a midwife rather than an obstetrician (the mortality rates for obstetricians is mindblowingly low. Most midwife themed hospitals operate under an obstetrician who responds to emergencies. Without one the midwife mortality rate skyrockets courtesy of difficult births)
What do you think is happening now? Look at any hospitals budget, most are available online, and you will find that millions of dollars are lost every year by treating medicare patients because the government doesn't pay the bill. When you look at hospitals that specialize in charity care like Shriners, St. Judes etc. you will find that they raise substantial sums, pay their doctors well and are known to provide excellent care regardless of an individuals income. Some hospitals are starting to outright refuse to treat medicare patients because they simply can't afford it. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703436504574640711655886136.html
I want you to name a charity that can separate 3700 dollars a year per person in the entire USA (it's the rough cost of universal healthcare if the USA adopts a French Model). It sound expensive... Until you realise that the USA currently spends 7500 dollars a year because people are poor and use ER services to treat conditions for free rather than forking out money for treatment early on. I mean can you name a single charity that people would be willing to donate 7500 dollars a year per person to?
I am willing to donate more than that. I am attempting to persuade my fellow citizens that they should as well. I think it is disgusting that the average American only donates 3% of their income. I don't care if you make $10,000 or $100,000,000 if you are only donating 3% you really ought to reevaluate.
With a charity, you run things at the bare minimum. I leave cancer patients to die in India... It's simply not worth saving them... Not when the money can go to saving thousands of kids from starvation. In charity, the money goes to those who can be saved the easiest. Your choice is one cancer patient or a thousand children get ORS... The math is simple. The choice is horrid. Healthcare should not be about such mathematics. Not when we have money.
Show me one person in the US who has been refused cancer treatment because they couldn't pay. Many people go bankrupt, but they do get treatment. The healthcare debate in America is almost solely a financial one, people are not left to die in the street because they can't afford medical care.
Now you do have a little bit of a point in that preventative care can save a lot of money. But what are you going to do? Force people to go to the doctor? Force people to live healthy lifestyles? From a solely financial point of view, that would make sense. To me, the liberty to live your life as you want to is far more important that saving a dollar. When someone else is paying for your medical care, suddenly they have strong grounds to make demands on you and force you to do A,B & C. Most Americans can easily afford a few hundred dollars to get regular screenings and an annual physical. Most Americans pay more than that for cell phones and cable television. They choose not to, it is a bad choice, but I don't think it is my right to use government to force them to make good choices.
The entire joke is that socialised medicine works so cheaply because of collective bargaining and prevention. A mammogram is around $40 a year but an early breast cancer detection can be treated for a couple of thousand dollars. Someone dying of breast cancer would utilise hundreds of thousands of dollars. Likewise a simple infection costs around a 150 dollars to treat (including physician time). Self treating and having it go wrong then showing up may require thousands of dollars. All this adds up to a fair amount of money that charity simply cannot match. You would SAVE Money. The best medical system in the world is French. Great life expectancy, great infant mortality. Indicates quality of technology and availability. And it's half the cost of yours.
Then why is France going broke? If you are going to do it, it isn't cheap. Probably one of the better models to follow would be Australia, which on my understanding provides cheap/free health services to everyone. But they also have a substantially higher tax rate on everyone. I would rather give more to charity than filter even more of my money through a government that is corrupt.
It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.-H.L. Mencken