An Interesting (?) Exchange on Health Care

Recently a friend of mine posted the following on Facebook with the following caption: “He says Vladimir Lenin, founder of Communism in Russia, believed socialized medicine was the key to a socialist government”.

To which I added the following:

At the other end of the Soviet Union, the health care system–such as it was–was a place of corruption and inefficiency. It was widely known and practiced to bribe the doctor to get something done. Another reason why the USSR collapsed?

To which one of his left-wing friends came back as follows:

That May be what Lenin believed but it does not make it true. And There is a pesky fact which gets in the way here. Every developed OECD nation (decidedly not socialist in economic form) has a form of health care or universal insurance scheme. And a final pesky fact: Obama care is a Market based system where private insurance companies supply the insurance coverage. How is that socialist? Just curious. Don and Mr. Carson need to do a bit of reading.

And I, seldom at a loss for comeback, returned fire as follows:

No, Don doesn’t, at least not on this subject.

My statement is factual re the late years of the USSR, and you can’t deny it. Life expectancy was going in reverse, to boot, and the health care system (along with their appalling environmental record) was part of the problem.

As far as the difference between Obamacare and nationalised health care in the rest of the world, the difference is simple.

In most of the world, the minimal objective of universal health care is crappy, mediocre health care at 10% of GDP.

The end result of Obamacare (assuming the system doesn’t get completely nationalised along the way) will be crappy, mediocre healthcare at 18% of GDP. This is progress? Not only that, other systems are a lot simpler: you pay a tax, you get health care, instead of this Byzantine…system we’re getting saddled with.

Lowering the GDP portion will leave people more money to travel elsewhere when they need medical procedures in an expeditious fashion. That’s common practice in the rest of the world.

I’ve drawn some analogies between the old USSR and our “new” health care system here.  But the truth of the matter is that the “Affordable Care Act” is the worst of both worlds: it’s neither a real market solution nor a good universal coverage one.

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