Friday, June 29, 2007

Why Michael Moore was right

Some folks object to Michael Moore saying that we ought to go to universal single-payer. "There's other ways to achieve universal coverage!" they cry, pointing, for example, at the Swiss model, which incorporates multiple private insurance companies.

The thing is, the Swiss model includes heavily regulated insurance companies that basically operate as arms of the government. It's sorta multi-single-payer coverage, much as in the old Bell System days when the Bell System was so heavily regulated as to basically be just another department of the Federal Government. The problem with retaining the current U.S. insurance industry is that it has proven itself to be utterly corrupt and irredeemable, in my opinion. My mother has worked in the health care industry for close to 40 years now, and has seen the results of the health insurance industry moving from the mutual model to the profit model first-hand. In my opinion, health insurance corporations which are publicly traded should be *OUTLAWED* as a menace to society, no different from cluster bombs and handguns in their ability to kill innocents. Because the moment you become a publicly traded corporation, your first allegiance is not to health care. Your first allegiance is now to your stock holders, who don't care about health care, they just want profit, moh profit, moh profit, and if you don't deny coverage of sick people in order to increase profit, you get fired and people more vicious get hired to replace you.

So retaining private insurance in the primary care business is, in my opinion, unworkable. Our insurance industry has become too corrupt, too wealthy, too willing to bribe Congressmen to do its bidding, for us to put together *any* health insurance scheme that includes them that will actually work at, like, actually providing universal health care. Via their venal behavior over the past two decades they have foregone any seat at the health care table, as far as I'm concerned. Let's just extend Medicare to *everybody*, allow health care insurers to remain as "Medi-gap" providers if they so desire, and otherwise get their venal butts out of our health care.

Medicare. If it's good enough for the prunes, it's good enough for the rest of us. Or do you say we're giving second-rate care to our old people?

- Badtux the Medical Penguin


  1. i had direct contact with the norwegian system of health care. i got deathly ill with pnuemonia while on tour. i was taken to a hospital, treated and nursed, and sent on my way with a supply of medication to take and the direction to see another doctor in two weeks. no charge. no questions about what my citizenship was. all they were concerned about was my illness and treating it.

    i doubt that a system like that would ever take hold here. it would require a complete and total shift of perspective. health care would have to be considered a basic human right and not a commodity to profit from.

    the real bitch of it is that we already have a very twisted system of free access medical care in place. anybody can go to the ER and have their immediate needs treated. we also have a pretty well run and managed total care system in place through the military which would be a good place to start were they ever to try building a system for the rest of the nation.

    this is michael moore's best effort to date. no one can watch the firefighters he takes to cuba and not be moved by the injustice of our current system.

  2. I saw Sicko and absolutely thought it was Michael Moore's best effort.

    Rep. John Conyers has introduced legislation for "Medicare for All," but you hear no hub-bub about it.

    Medicare has worked well for decades; why not expand the "socialized medicine" that we already have in this country?


  3. I have not watch Moore's movie yet but not surprise that there is a lot hidden in that industry ( infact any big industry in the US that put profit ahead of the pride of giving an honourable service to society) to be exposed to the public to see.

    I agree with you that once a insurance corporation adhere to profit first then it is a menace to society.

    I would argue with any business school people that running a business 1st & foremost pirority is not making a profit. Business licence should be given out on the basis that the said product/service is like you put it being "mutually" beneficial to society. Profit margin and accounting is simply just one yardstick out of many tool one can use to monitor growth of a business to turn a profit.

    Since when has buying stock as an investment means to keep up with inflation, turning into a popular belive that buying stock is to get rich overnight?

    You have all the overly smart economist and bussiness guru telling everyone that business main goal is to turn a profit and public traded corp first allegiance is to share holder profit.

    But are they wrong to think that bussiness need to turn a profit? No I say they are not wrong but they have taken the easy way out and ignoring more complex dynamic issues.

    By focusing on what you term "profit model" eventually will destroy the essense of being human which is to give & recieve to one another. The "mutual model" is so much harder to grasp and maintain right inorder to turn a profit. But harder does not mean one should give up. The economist and business people have given up too early and taken an easy way out by focusing on "profit"

  4. I'm with Mixter on this...socialized medicine is where it's at. And the old folks get good care...because they are living longer...hasn't anyone notices all the geezers in their walkers around?

  5. I'm Canadian and have been a user of the public health system all my life. I'm now in my 40s, which means I am starting to have more aches, pains and "health issues" than I did in years past.

    My two cents: the health care debate in the US is badly skewed by the use of the term "socialized medicine". Whenever I hear any discussion of public health insurance in the US media, some pundit, usually a conservative one, will speak menacingly of the evils of "socialized medicine".

    The funny thing is, the term is never defined. It seems to me it is used as a scare tactic, because it implies absence of accountability and democratic control, bureaucracy and inefficiency - in short, Socialism.

    The next time you hear someone in the media use the term "socialized medicine", call in or email the show or newspaper or pundit, and make him or her define "socialized medicine".

    The simple fact is that public health care takes many forms in many countries. Most European countries have a comprehensive, basic public health insurance plan, with optional private care for those who want or can afford it. In the UK, the entire health system including hospitals and clinics, is effectively run directly by the government, (though private care is available for a price). In Canada, single-payer insurance is all that is available - private insurance is unavailable (is this socialized medicine? - no, because hospitals are arms-length from the government, and doctors are self-employed).

    Public health care means different things in different countries. "Socialized medicine" is a meaningless counterargument, in and of itself. And all forms of public health care produce better health care outcomes at cheaper cost than what Americans have now.

  6. You probably know it by now but you got linked today at Crooks and Liars. GOOD FOR YOU :)

  7. One of the side effects to living past fifty years of age is seeing the complete disintegration of health care. Like remembering 19 cents a gallon gas, recounting the pre-insurance actions and the character of health and of doctors is unbelievable to anyone under the age of 30.

    I saw SICKO and it was a shrewd movie. He could have gone too far and alimented a great gob of people. Instead, he did something even more difficult and powerful - he just laid out the corpse for viewing.


  8. argh. spell correction strikes again. alimented? Try alienated. My pardons.

  9. I am a Doctor in the Midwest, I am practally owned by a big heathcare corporation.Pay-raises are rare and usally small. Doctors are fired on a regular basis because they don't make enough money for the corporation. Those that take too much time with the patients don't make enough money. We are constantly instructed how to "up Code" That is to find ways to charge the patients for unnessary procedures and exams.

  10. I'm with you, Badtux. And it's sad to hear how good doctors get the squeeze as well.

  11. I was on the road all day so no, PoP, I didn't know about getting linked at Crooks'n'Liars...

    Just got in, tired, and am going to bed. G'nite!

    -Badtux the Tired Penguin

  12. We should also look to the VA as a model for healthcare delivery. It was a very efficient system for delivery of healthare services prior to the Iraq War. Bush's underfunding, mismanagement, and cronyism have helped destroy what had once been a laughingstock, but, under Clinton, had become a model for excellent healthcare.


Ground rules: Comments that consist solely of insults, fact-free talking points, are off-topic, or simply spam the same argument over and over will be deleted. The penguin is the only one allowed to be an ass here. All viewpoints, however, are welcomed, even if I disagree vehemently with you.

WARNING: You are entitled to create your own arguments, but you are NOT entitled to create your own facts. If you spew scientific denialism, or insist that the sky is purple, or otherwise insist that your made-up universe of pink unicorns and cotton candy trees is "real", well -- expect the banhammer.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.