[ExI] Health system, again

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Wed Apr 9 11:48:04 UTC 2008

On 09/04/2008, Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:

> Yes, it's an extremely perverse use of the word "insurance" as
>  a euphemism for "national or tax-funded health care system".
>  (Hmm, I guess that is the phrase I should use since the "s"
>  word arouses sensitivities in many.)

Why, exactly? Because it's compulsory? There are all sorts of
commercial situations where (private) insurance is compulsory; for
example, if you are the owner of a unit in an apartment building.

> Oh, it's a difficult choice, all right. In any system of national,
>  tax-funded medical care, there will end up being bureaucrats
>  who make the hard decisions about who gets what expensive
>  treatments. Do you really expect the son of a senator to be
>  treated with the same lack of deference a typical semiretired
>  software engineer would be?  There is a record of a certain
>  baseball player---I forget who---who was put at the head of
>  the list for some state or federally funded medical treatment
>  a few years back. You'll never root out that kind of corruption.

I guess it's possible, but the same sort of thing can happen if you're
trying to book a restaurant table. In my personal experience over 16
years in the Australian public health system something like this has
happened once, when hospital management requested that a relative of a
famous person be reassessed after he was rejected for admission. He
was reassessed and rejected for admission again. That was the end of
it, apart from the anger of the clinicians involved at the perceived
interference by management in a clinical decision.

>  I say let the contracts be written, literal, and binding (and
>  strongly enforced by the government) between those who
>  legitimately want insurance for whatever they're afraid of.
>  And if you are unlucky enough to be born with a condition
>  that *predictably* at age 40 will start to require $100,000
>  or $10,000,000 treatments each month to overcome, well,
>  better then to have been of economic utility to other
>  people and have become rich.

This is where universal insurance has an advantage, even if it is
contracted out to a private insurer. The agreement is to insure the
entire population of citizens, come what may.

BTW, there aren't any treatments costing $10,000,000 a month that have
gone through any of the usual studies to show that they are of
benefit, since there is no incentive for anyone to do such studies.

Stathis Papaioannou

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list