Thought of the day

For-profit health care is one of the major moral crimes in modern America.

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14 Responses

  1. So in this evaluation you are including the production of modern medicines, medical devices, treatments, hospitals, as well as pay to doctors, nurses, and medical staff?

  2. Modern private health care insurance is one of the major moral crimes in modern America. For-profit health care: not so much of a problem.

    Don’t forget, health care insurance actually provides NO health care.

  3. Don’t forget, the current healthcare law provides no health care.

    But it will cause healthcare to cost more.

  4. But it will cause healthcare to cost more.

    For some, yes, for others, no, it will cost less.

  5. I am not sure for whom you will think healthcare costs will be less; some will have insurance who didn’t before (and technically, everyone one will be forced to have insurance) but as healthcare costs inevitably rise, it isn’t going to be less for some and not others.

  6. Health care costs will go down for some, because it goes up for others.

    Let us say that health care paperwork is one of the great moral crimes of this century, for it eats up resources and inflates costs; and it is made necessary by government regulation regardless of the intentions of the reformer.

  7. Hey, I’m all on board for considering bureaucratic paperwork a great moral crime.

  8. For-profit health care means that insurance companies make money off people at their most vulnerable. It also means that health insurance companies can, and have, denied people life-saving treatment to help their bottom line. It may be legal but it’s unethical, immoral and frankly downright evil. The USA is the only country in the developed world that *doesn’t* have a health service for its people. If you still think that a system that lets Americans die is a good thing and continue to defend it, that leads to the question: How moral are you?

  9. Actually doctors, lawyers, and everyone in the insurance industry makes money off of ‘hurting’ people.

    Hell, farmers are evil too – imagine how vulnerable starving people are; I can’t believe they sell something as essential as food for profit. Obviously the only truly good people in the world are government bureaucrats who only lose money at every venture they undertake.

    Then again, Obama and the Democrats are forcing everyone to buy health insurance from the insurance industry, so what does that make them?

  10. > Actually doctors, lawyers, and everyone in the insurance industry makes money off of ‘hurting’ people.

    I didn’t say they made money from hurting people. I said that they make money from people when they’re at their most vulnerable, i.e. when they’re sick and need medical help. Very different things.

    > Hell, farmers are evil too – imagine how vulnerable starving people are; I can’t believe they sell something as essential as food for profit. Obviously the only truly good people in the world are government bureaucrats who only lose money at every venture they undertake.

    Exaggeration and misrepresentation. Did you assume that because I say that a for-profit health system is wrong, that I think that all for-profit business is wrong? I don’t believe that, and I didn’t say it. To get back to the point (that a for-profit health system is immoral), placing the public health system under the control of businesses whose primary driver is profit rather than the health and well-being of the people who need medical treatment is immoral, and there are way too many horror stories that bear that out – people turned away from hospitals because they have no proof of insurance, or bad credit (some even being driven away to other hospitals in taxis); emergency rooms treating serious cases only as far as necessary to make the patients stable then discharging them; and as I hinted earlier, insurance company physicians receiving bonuses for finding reasons to deny treatment, sometimes life-saving treatment. In other words, a money-counting pen-pusher can decide that you will die to save his business a bit of cash. Would you call that moral behaviour?

    > Then again, Obama and the Democrats are forcing everyone to buy health insurance from the insurance industry, so what does that make them?

    I don’t know; what does it make them? I’m not in the position of having to buy my own insurance – my employer takes care of that, and I’ve been told that nothing will change. I don’t know anyone else that’s in that position either and as such I wouldn’t speculate on how it impacts those affected or how they feel about it. Do you? If not, then anything you have to say about it is also speculation and guesswork – and as such, basically worthless.

  11. I didn’t say they made money from hurting people. I said that they make money from people when they’re at their most vulnerable, i.e. when they’re sick and need medical help. Very different things.

    I didn’t say that either; I said they made their money off of hurting people, as in if people weren’t hurting some way, or vulnerable, the professions would be unnessecary. I know the ‘insurance companies are evil’ meme is necessary to sell an agenda, but the reality is they provide a needed service or they wouldn’t exist – replacing them with Federal bureaucrats isn’t going to make the lives of hurting people any easier.

    Exaggeration and misrepresentation. Did you assume that because I say that a for-profit health system is wrong, that I think that all for-profit business is wrong? I don’t believe that, and I didn’t say it. To get back to the point (that a for-profit health system is immoral), placing the public health system under the control of businesses whose primary driver is profit rather than the health and well-being of the people who need medical treatment is immoral, and there are way too many horror stories that bear that out – people turned away from hospitals because they have no proof of insurance, or bad credit (some even being driven away to other hospitals in taxis); emergency rooms treating serious cases only as far as necessary to make the patients stable then discharging them; and as I hinted earlier, insurance company physicians receiving bonuses for finding reasons to deny treatment, sometimes life-saving treatment. In other words, a money-counting pen-pusher can decide that you will die to save his business a bit of cash. Would you call that moral behaviour?

    I think the problem with your analysis is that it is confusing the limitations of a system with evil moral intent. The reality is medical care is a limited resource – having it run by a government bureaucracy isn’t going to change that, and there are a lot of indicators that it may be worse. The reality is with more people in a system where cost doesn’t now drive any choices, the limited healthcare resource will have to seek more cost savings – and that will in part mean limiting care. Of course, when that happens for some reason liberals won’t see the Federal Bureaucracy as being ‘evil’, but needing more taxpayer dollars.

    I don’t know; what does it make them? I’m not in the position of having to buy my own insurance – my employer takes care of that, and I’ve been told that nothing will change. I don’t know anyone else that’s in that position either and as such I wouldn’t speculate on how it impacts those affected or how they feel about it. Do you? If not, then anything you have to say about it is also speculation and guesswork – and as such, basically worthless.

    I am asking you to make a judgment – If insurance companies are evil, and the Federal Government is forcing people to give them money, does not that in turn make the Federal Government evil? If so, why then should we trust it with running our healthcare industry?

  12. Lester,

    Even doctors have bills to pay. Even doctors have kids to raise, mortgages to pay. Even doctors have retirements to plan for and unforseen emergencies to save for. Even doctors have lives to life, and life costs money.

    And doctors, just like other people, enjoy their comforts. Or would you rather all physicians lived as ascetics, crawling out of their caves to minister to the ill?

    Even then…

    Even then you have the cost of providing health care itself. The cost of the medicines, the cost of the equipment. The cost of the physical plant where the care is administered. The cost of the staff and the cost of the paperwork your insurance insists upon. Paperwork that cuts into the time the doctor has to see patients and keep up with his medicine.

    Do a search on “doc in a box” some time and see what you come up with. Note that the idea was first proposed to provide affordable health care for the poor. There are people who prefer paying cash for their treatment because it’s cheaper. That should tell you something about some people’s feelings about health insurance and subsidized health care.

  13. I didn’t say that either; I said they made their money off of hurting people, as in if people weren’t hurting some way, or vulnerable, the professions would be unnessecary. I know the ‘insurance companies are evil’ meme is necessary to sell an agenda, but the reality is they provide a needed service or they wouldn’t exist – replacing them with Federal bureaucrats isn’t going to make the lives of hurting people any easier.

    Ok, I misunderstood your wording. However I would say that that while the insurance companies provide a needed service, that service doesn’t need to be provided by insurance companies. For example, look at the NHS in the UK. (I’m simplifying for brevity here but this is the gist.) You pay your National Insurance much as you would a tax (it used to be around 5¼%) and that goes to Government and funds the health service (i.e. pays for the hospitals, doctors, equipment, drugs, whatever). Then when you need to see your doctor, or go to hospital, you don’t need to pay for treatment because it’s already been paid for (by you and every other taxpayer); if you need a prescription you pay a fixed charge, which used to be five or six pounds (it’s free for pensioners). No insurance company required. That’s not to say there aren’t insurance companies – there are private hospitals and doctors providing services outside the NHS, and they bill like businesses, and there are insurance plans for those that prefer the private medical services – but that side of medicine is completely optional.

    As far as ‘making the lives of people who are hurting’ easier or not, I’d say that when you’re sick enough to need a hospital, not having to worry about a medical bill that means selling your car or moving to a smaller house or filing bankruptcy, would make life a tad easier.

    I think the problem with your analysis is that it is confusing the limitations of a system with evil moral intent. The reality is medical care is a limited resource – having it run by a government bureaucracy isn’t going to change that, and there are a lot of indicators that it may be worse. The reality is with more people in a system where cost doesn’t now drive any choices, the limited healthcare resource will have to seek more cost savings – and that will in part mean limiting care. Of course, when that happens for some reason liberals won’t see the Federal Bureaucracy as being ‘evil’, but needing more taxpayer dollars.

    Although I used the word ‘evil’ in an earlier comment I wasn’t implying evil intent. What I’m saying is that a for-profit health business must balance their responsibilities between making money and serving sick people; if that balance is such that those people are deliberately given substandard treatment to maximize profit, that’s immoral. If the balance is so far out of whack that patients are allowed to die to save the business money, that’s evil.

    I am asking you to make a judgment – If insurance companies are evil, and the Federal Government is forcing people to give them money, does not that in turn make the Federal Government evil? If so, why then should we trust it with running our healthcare industry?

    The current system has been entrenched since the 60s, maybe earlier. It’s unrealistic to expect Government to simply pull the rug out from under insurance companies – but what it can do is to regulate what the industry can do so that they act better in the interests of the users of the health system (that is, potentially every American citizen). So to answer your question – (1) insurance companies aren’t necessarily ‘evil’, but their profit motive is at odds with providing the best service to those with limited income, bad credit etc. and can lead do questionable practices; (2) forcing people to pay for insurance doesn’t make the government evil, either; (3) I’d trust this government with my family’s healthcare more than I would most insurance companies; the last time I looked they didn’t have shareholders to think about.

  14. Ok, I misunderstood your wording. However I would say that that while the insurance companies provide a needed service, that service doesn’t need to be provided by insurance companies. For example, look at the NHS in the UK. (I’m simplifying for brevity here but this is the gist.) You pay your National Insurance much as you would a tax (it used to be around 5¼%) and that goes to Government and funds the health service (i.e. pays for the hospitals, doctors, equipment, drugs, whatever). Then when you need to see your doctor, or go to hospital, you don’t need to pay for treatment because it’s already been paid for (by you and every other taxpayer); if you need a prescription you pay a fixed charge, which used to be five or six pounds (it’s free for pensioners). No insurance company required. That’s not to say there aren’t insurance companies – there are private hospitals and doctors providing services outside the NHS, and they bill like businesses, and there are insurance plans for those that prefer the private medical services – but that side of medicine is completely optional.

    Well this of course is different than your original premise that insurance companies are “unethical, immoral and frankly downright evil.” because they ‘make money off people at their most vulnerable.”. Now you seem to be saying that the existence of insurance companies is acceptable (!?) as long as a government agency does most of the work of insurance companies. I am going to throw a wrench in this a bit by saying the provision of health insurance itself is a necessary evil in that the risk of not being able to cover catastrophic illness or injury is too great. And as you seem not to have a problem with insurance itself (only private insurance) you seem to agree on this point.

    So the difference to me really comes down to what I would call ‘motive’. You see private insurance as ‘evil’ because the motive might be profit, and you see the government as not being motivated by profit, and thus more selfless in it’s provision of healthcare. My approach is all together different – I don’t fear a profit motive, because as I have mentioned previously, most of the necessities in our life are already provided by entities with a profit motive – food, housing, clothing, other forms of insurance, etc. So that in and of itself isn’t evil. And I would also say that limiting what or who can be covered is not in and of itself necessarily evil. I mean would you expect an insurance company to cover damages to a house that had already burned to the ground before the owner bought the insurance? Pay for car repairs that occurred before the insurance was purchased? Of course not. So some limitations are part of doing business – this isn’t to say there shouldn’t be some form of recourse in those instances, but dismantling the private insurance industry isn’t where to start.

    Also, there are other evils that one should fear – job loss from eliminating private sector jobs, increased bureaucracy and limiting healthcare resources from overburdening our healthcare system, empowering an increasingly centralized government and causing it to be ever more intrusive into our daily lives, and of course, greatly increasing a horrible national debt which stands around $12 trillion, and for which we have up to $100 trillion outstanding unfunded liabilities which are crouching in the wings. I simply don’t share your confidence that the public alternative will change the landscape of actual health in America all that much, and I see that there are many burdensome difficulties that it presents.

    Although I used the word ‘evil’ in an earlier comment I wasn’t implying evil intent. What I’m saying is that a for-profit health business must balance their responsibilities between making money and serving sick people; if that balance is such that those people are deliberately given substandard treatment to maximize profit, that’s immoral. If the balance is so far out of whack that patients are allowed to die to save the business money, that’s evil.

    Sure, and I don’t disagree that would be wrong, though I question that it really happens all that frequently, and I question whether those in the government’s care won’t be ‘allowed to die’ as it were for all together different reasons– mainly the reality that healthcare will need to be rationed if nothing is driving it’s expansion and efficiency.

    The current system has been entrenched since the 60s, maybe earlier. It’s unrealistic to expect Government to simply pull the rug out from under insurance companies – but what it can do is to regulate what the industry can do so that they act better in the interests of the users of the health system (that is, potentially every American citizen). So to answer your question – (1) insurance companies aren’t necessarily ‘evil’, but their profit motive is at odds with providing the best service to those with limited income, bad credit etc. and can lead do questionable practices; (2) forcing people to pay for insurance doesn’t make the government evil, either; (3) I’d trust this government with my family’s healthcare more than I would most insurance companies; the last time I looked they didn’t have shareholders to think about.

    Well this then is perhaps the crux of the difference in our view; viewing currently existing Federal bureaucratic systems gives me no hope whatsoever that the government is to be trusted in respect to giving flexible, capable, and cost effective solutions to healthcare, and much evidence to suggest that the systems the government creates tend to be non-responsive and almost immediately lose money, costing the taxpayer literally trillions of dollars. We are have all been coerced into being shareholders now, we just can’t say anything when the ‘company’ drives us into bankruptcy.

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