Whose rhinoplasty am I funding this week?

The above title is misleading. I am not an American and have no wish to fund anyone’s rhinoplasty this week, but seeing everyone’s anger and angst compelled me to write about this debate, which is not as black and white as partisan politics made it out to be:

National Heathcare leads to long lines.

True and false. There are stories (anecdotes, fear mongering) about long waits for health-care services. Currently, 25% of Americans wait 6 or more days for an appointment with their primary-care physician, as opposed to 15% of Britons, 13% of Germans, 10% of Australians and just 3% of New Zealanders. Still a sweeping generalization cannot be made about these countries with strong public-health care: 2/3 of Canadians had to wait longer than six days, and they too have a national health care system.

Only 26 percent of Americans and Canadians reported being able see their doctor on the day they called, compared with 60 percent in the Netherlands and 48 percent in Britain according to the Commonwealth Fund. However, specialized care is a different story: 8 percent of Americans have to wait four months or more for specialized procedure, and 62 percent wait less than a month. In Britain, 41 percent of patients have to wait four months or more. All these stats are not reflections of private or public healthcare system, but of the disparity in earnings between physicians and specialists in North America. In the U.S., there is already a shortage of primary-care doctors, which means this Obamacare can put another strain on primary-care.

Massachusetts healthcare system works, so can we apply it to the entire nation?

No. It does work, but lamely. The Bay State’s system is a brainchild of Senator Ted Kennedy and his 20-year campaign for healthcare. It is based on the Swiss model, perhaps the most integrated private-public healthcare co-pay systems in the entire world. The government uses regulations and subsidies to ensure that everyone is covered: everyone is mandated to buy insurance, insurers can’t discriminate based on medical history or pre-existing conditions, and lower-income citizens get government help in paying for their policies. However, the system is very costly.

Current prevailing health insurance in America (employer-assisted coverage) is already like Massachusetts model (actually, it was vice versa). Middle-income families are not being covered, and people who lost their jobs during the recession lost their insurance too.

Will socialism ever work?

Not in America. Healthcare-socialism connections (or connection) stop at the fact that the government will take over the entire healthcare system. Obamacare will not lead to this, but in Scandinavian countries, at least, the public healthcare systems make up the major portion of the healthcare coverage. There, even the hospitals are publicly owned institutions. It is one of the milestones of a social welfare state to provide a government-run healthcare system to its citizens.  The system worked in those Scandinavian countries because of a selection entry-and-exit model. America with its freedom to move within states and bad immigration problem will never embrace socialism.

Yes, in Scandinavia, it work thanks to the citizens who pay 50%-60% income and property taxes–another aspect of a welfare state. The state makes everything in life (from milk to education services) subsidized and therefore makes it impossible to immigrate from or emigrate to the said country. Emigration laws were tight and a person has so much to lose by leaving his society. That was the premise of socialism (and some futuristically-imagined self-sustaining societies); people hail this as a novel, revolutionary and even reactionary idea. No, it isn’t. Socialism is the bastard son of feudalism, where manor lord oversees every aspects of his peasants’ lives (birth, education, employment, marriage, health, infirmity, death); it is hard to leave because he owns you. In modern socialism, instead of literal droit de seigneur, the state figuratively rapes you.

Will this lead to dead panels?

No, but maybe in the future. Somewhere, William F. Buckley Jnr. is smiling. In 2007 novel on babyboomers, Boomsday, Bill’s son, Christopher wrote about a bunch of politicos spinning euthanasia as ‘voluntary transitioning’, and providing incentives (tax breaks for golf carts and segways) so that these 65 and older take government’s ‘voluntary transition’ pill. No. Obamacare won’t lead to this, but if Obamacare were to be successful, the dependence of the system can eventually lead to so-called dead-panels.

In England, a treatment is only approved if it adds the value of one additional year (which was valued around 30,000 pounds). If you are a penniless 80-year old depending on government-subsidized pills, what will happen if the government (or a new doctor) deems it should not be giving out pills to you anymore. It is not an unreasonable fear, but considering that if you are a penniless 80-year old under the current system, you will die anyway so why not trust the government for once. The worst it can lead to is … bad teeth.

Or certain bad body parts for that matter. The classic stereotype, the British bad teeth, comes from the expensive and inaccessible dental care under their NHS system. This combined with indifference (of 60 million Britons, only 14 million are entitled to dental care, and only 7% of the eligible people actually apply for the care), lead to the horrific dental appearance. The same goes for every body part (eyes, ears, etc.) not entirely covered by the public health care.

Everyone can use and abuse health-care statistics.

True, for all kinds of statistics. Don’t trust me; go on and read here. Read here about NHS in Britain.

(To be continued…)


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