Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind

May 31, 2007

Socialization of Medicine

Filed under: politics — codesmithy @ 6:20 am

From the arguments I used for the Fire Fighters, it is the natural conclusion that I would also be for the socialization of medicine. Not because of any intrinsic charity on my part, but rather because our medical system refuses to deny services to those unable to pay (unlike the Fire Department in Gilbert, Arizona) in many cases.

In short, those that don’t pay for medical benefits are able to receive them at the cost of those that do. Some people blame the insurance companies, medical equipment companies, the doctors, etc. That is not the way I see it. Medical costs sky rocket because, in effect, we are paying for emergency care for the poor. It taxes the system in such a way that hospitals have to shift costs of those that won’t pay on to those that can pay. It is a rather precarious situation to be in since as costs rise, the number of people that are able to pay decreases, meaning an ever increasing burden is placed on those “doing the right thing.”

Another part of the problem is the legal system, the potential of huge cash settlements in medical malpractice sets up an incentive for lawyers (so called Ambulance Chasers) to aggressively pursue legal action. Juries or judges typically find sympathy for apparent victims, resulting in large cash rewards, even it the doctor provided the best medical care to his/her ability. That cost is eventually passed on to other patients of the hospital. Note, I’m not saying that all malpractice is baseless, rather the system is weighted towards the victims.

Another aspect of it is drug companies, who through successful legislation have been able to extend their rights and profits.

The government is the only one with the authority to ensure everyone pays, fixes the legal system, and can control drug costs.  This is because the government is directly responsible for the laws that are causing some of the symptoms in the first place.  Limiting malpractice pay-outs is a start, however, the concern is that we would be unable to adequately compensate those that were victims of gross negligence.  Instead, what I would suggest is a state elected panel of doctors and a set of federal guidelines that govern how much someone should receive for a given malpractice case (after guilt has been assigned).  It would be up to the panels discretion to pay more or less than the federal guidelines for a given case.  For those that argue about the loss of jobs or the increase in taxes, your point is moot, we already pay for the freeloaders.  The choices are to cut them off, or make sure everyone pays.  If you are for the cut off option, that is fine, but I just don’t think it could survive politically, especially media reports about poor people being denied medical care.   As a matter of social policy, we need to get the poor out of only seeking medical attention if it is an emergency and towards a health maintenance approach, where problems are cheaper to treat.  Unfortunately, that means socialization.

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2 Comments »

  1. […] In the interest of actually promoting the general welfare.  It does occasionally make sense to socialize a service.  Fire departments, and police protection are good examples.  As I previously argued, medical care also seems to fit the criteria. […]

    Pingback by CNN, Moore and Bush « Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind — July 11, 2007 @ 9:03 am

  2. […] I’ve looked at why health-care should be socialized before.  Although, the other aspect that should be considered is the bureaucracy that exists to keep payouts of insurance companies down.  I understand that there is a lot of gray area between preventing abuse and denying people care that they have honestly payed for.  As “Sicko” demonstrated, people are dead today because of those very issues. […]

    Pingback by A Few Thoughts on “Sicko” « Esoteric Dissertations from a One-Track Mind — August 5, 2007 @ 10:21 am


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