[ExI] Health system, again

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Fri Apr 4 16:51:36 UTC 2008

At 10:35 AM 4/4/2008 -0500, I quoted Krugman:

>Elizabeth Edwards has cancer. John McCain has had
>cancer in the past. Last weekend, Mrs. Edwards
>bluntly pointed out that neither of them would be
>able to get insurance under Mr. McCain's health care plan.[...]
>As Mrs. Edwards pointed out, the McCain health
>plan would do nothing to prevent insurance
>companies from denying coverage to those, like
>her and Mr. McCain, who have pre-existing medical conditions.

Barbara Lamar points out to me that <"Insurance" is not really 
insurance if the event it's expected to protect against already has a 
probability of 1.>

True. The part of the quoted sentences to place emphasis on is 
"health care plan" or system rather than "insurance" which is a 
mechanism.  If everyone is covered from conception or birth on, 
nobody (yet) knows what maladies will arise for any individual.

Many here will assert that it is unjust to burden the healthy and 
young with costs imposed by the sick and elderly. I suppose the only 
response is that values other than justice are also embraced by most 
humans. There is also the prudential consideration that none of us 
can be certain of remaining healthy or avoiding costly injury. What's 
more, for epidemiological reasons, everyone's health is improved by 
making sure as few people as possible get and remain sick.

Does this mean those whose choices predictably *make* them sick or 
damaged get a free handout at the expense of the rest? I certainly 
resent that as well, but there might be subtle cost-benefit 
calculations that produce non-intuitive minimax solutions.

Damien Broderick

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