Mailvox: BS on health care

The Baseball Savant writes about his experience in medical school:

I think I’ve mentioned to you before that I’m in medical school and one of the great ideas of the school I attend is a class we have to take called “Health Policy & Economics”. Now being part of the VOXOLOGISTI, I figure from your writings I’ve already forgotten more about economics than the current Ph.D in econ trying to teach us about how health care should work.

Typically, they aren’t as abashed when it comes to saying we need to live under socialism and the world would be a better place if the Lizard Queen would have had her health care plan implemented the first time around, and I wanted to get your thoughts on it.

Specifically, can you tell us what is wrong with health care? Can you give light on what the problems are and then what needs to be fixed? Huge problems that we face as conservatives in the class is bringing up the point that health care isn’t a guaranteed right and that you can’t help everyone out.

A question that overrides for me as a Christian is that I feel like when you look at the works of Jesus Christ, a lot of the examples are of Christ healing people and that being a powerful witness to non-believers. I agree with pretty much everything you are saying in regards to school and what not, but I also feel like the Lord has called me to be a physician and there isn’t much I can do with that either. I think you can understand that proposistion. My thinking is that do you feel at some level that it’s the church’s fault for not providing time, money, and service for the poor in regards to health care and that is why the lousy government is stepping in? That sounds like a statement you will shred to pieces and I’m sure that it is in regards to the government will try and get in anywhere it can regardless of how well the people can prevent it, but I hope you can see what I’m saying.

A lot of me feels like a free market economy is best, but a lot of docs I talk to tell me that typically they would agree, but that medicine is a different type of goods and service that can’t be looked at in the same way you would automobiles or computers. WHat are you thoughts on that? Do you feel like medicine is a different service or that it can be considered the same as everything else?

Another thing I was thinking about is that the problem of physicians seeming greedy came up and that is why people don’t like doctors and why people want our salaries to decrease. I had a hard time with that because Robert Bork in Slouching Towards Gomorrah sort of says the opposite in that the public at large doesn’t particularly care for doctors making money because of greed and/or jealousy, but the public is more than willing to indulge a singer, actor, or athlete a ton of money because they feel that they are “gifted” and basically just hit the lottery. Do you feel that way about docs? I might be biased becuase I’m med school and a lot of my friends are med school and are doctors already but I think we all work furiously hard and try to do our best. The decisions we make are incredible on a day to day basis and it seems that should be rewarded. The Ph.D in econ and some of the docs vehemently disagreed with that saying that we should be willing to work for nothing because we are serving society at large and keeping the most people healthy is good for everyone because it keeps up the workforce or something to that degree.

I don’t know exactly what I’m asking, but I do know that you know a helluva lot more about it than I do and can probably infer a lot more answers to the questions I’m not answering. I know there are many aspects to this and if you don’t have time or think this is silly then that’s fine too. I completely understand.

Just for fun, the Ph.D in economics is a 50ish woman who is single and has cats! It was amazing when she was telling us a little bit about herself! Also, the docs they have to come in and talk to us are always women too so I think we are royally getting screwed and there is never a difference of opinion from socialized medicine.

There is only one fundamental problem with health care. There is little connection between the individual who pays for the service and the services received. From this, all the other ills spread.

The Great Conceit of socialism is that relevant information can be dictated. It can’t, because no single mind, artificial or natural, can hope to comprehend all of the input variables, let alone correctly assign the ideal values for those variables anywhere nearly as efficiently as the dynamism of the market.

The problems we see in health care are the direct result with interferences with that constantly-evolving dynamism. Too few nurses here, too high prices there, too much waiting here, empty buildings there. As the European examples show, the more centralized control that is exerted, the worse the problem gets. Artificially forcing down prices always reduces supply, thus everyone in England is entitled to the same horrible lack of health care… except of course those who can afford to fly to Switzerland or the United States.

Thus the pursuit of equality and fairness renders an even greater inequality. This is why I am a staunch opponent of equality in all its forms. Equality is the great destroyer of excellence, and its worst depradations ravage the weakest, not the strongest.

The idea that medicine is a “different type of goods and service” is a profoundly stupid statement. One can no more define away subservience to the law of supply and demand than to the law of gravity; it is at least possible ignore the latter in certain situations.

While one can certainly declare oneself a non-oxygen breather and physically present oneself from breathing oxygen, one cannot expect to survive the situation. As a doctor-in training, the Baseball Savant is better equipped than most to describe the inevitable results in detail.