I Think I'll Be Scratching My Head Till the Day We All Go Bankrupt with Our Non-Socialized Medicine

Friday, August 12, 2011

There are lots of things in life I don't understand, and the more I try to understand them, the more perplexed and frustrated I become.

"Mental progress seems to elude me," I said to my wife the other night.

"You're just realizing that?" she replied.

I was thinking once again of the world's-most-expensive health care system, which we happen to have in the U.S.A, and of how we pay for health care, and of how other nations seem to have their health care acts together more than we do.

I had just read a column by Ezra Klein on the Bloomberg news service, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2011-08-11/in-washington-gridlock-is-more-costly... and was furiously scratching my head.

Klein wrote, "If the U.S. simply had the per-person health-care costs of Switzerland, which hosts the second-most-expensive health-care system in the world, we would spend $3,000 less per person and save about $900 billion a year. Assuming we need to reduce deficits by about $4 trillion over the next 10 years, those savings would do the heavy lifting with about $5 trillion to spare."

We can't have a health care system like Switzerland's, however, even though it would wipe out our federal budget deficit and almost certainly improve our economy in myriad ways, because Switzerland is in Europe, and Europeans have socialized medicine. We can't act like Europeans because we do everything better than Europeans, and we hate socialism. Yeah, we're Americans.
Socialism leads to the destruction of freedom, as we have seen not only in all those European countries, but also in other countries that have socialized medicine, such as Israel, Japan and Canada.

A columnist in the Boston Herald, Holly Robichaud, struck this chord earlier this week when putting the knock on some folks who had the crazy idea of organizing and participating in a conference on single-payer health care at Framingham State University, including State Rep. Tom Sannicandro of Ashland and State Senator Jamie Eldridge of Acton.

"What do Beacon Hill politicians do on summer vacation?" wrote Robichaud. "They hold a meeting to talk strategy on how to implement single-payer health care, more commonly known as socialized medicine, or postal care. 'Exploring the Single-Payer Option,' a conference last week at Framingham State University, brought together local postalized health-care enthusiasts to plot how they can foist it on us."

Robichaud added, "It is not enough that we have Obamneycare, now they want a full takeover of health care."

Here's what I don't understand, though:

All of the Europeans, Canadians, Japanese and Israelis that I have ever met or done business with do not seem to be terribly burdened and/or disadvantaged by their socialized medical systems. Nor do they seem to have lost their personal liberties under the yoke of these systems.

None of these folks has ever asserted to me that his respective health care system is perfect. No system is perfect.

But maybe, just maybe, these are systems that work better for the vast majority of their citizens than does the system in our country, while having the distinct advantage of being less expensive.
I also don't understand how you can stop so many otherwise reasonable people in this country from even considering a single-payer health care system for all citizens (like we already have for the elderly in Medicare) simply by labelling it "socialized medicine" or "postal care."

And I don't understand our apparent willingness to bankrupt this nation through excessive and unsustainable spending on health care under our system rather than consider an alternative like the one used in Switzerland or Japan or Israel or Canada, or a mixture thereof.


In a recent press release on the appointment of a new member of the board of directors of a quasi-public development agency, the Patrick administration described the appointee as a "serial entrepreneur."

That term always tickles me, evoking as it does the image of a robotic overachiever locked in a pattern of selling one business and immediately starting another. ("Stop me before I incorporate again!")

I can't help but think of these serial entrepreneurs as free-ranging nuisances, barging endlessly into loan officers' cubicles all across the U.S.A., eyes afire, to demand million-dollar loans, Stat!

Serial is an adjective for killers and adulterers, not the calm, intelligent, buttoned-down folks produced by our graduate schools of business.

I also don't like how "serial entrepreneur" manages to flatter the subject by setting him apart from your average, garden-variety entrepreneur, who may only be involved in two or three successful businesses over the course of his lifetime, the slacker.

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