[ExI] Health system, again

Tom Nowell nebathenemi at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Apr 9 20:53:20 UTC 2008

Lee Corbin wrote

>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

As someone working in the life insurance industry who
knows a little about claims, there's a corollary to
In any system of market-based insurance fund for
health care, there will always be some pencil pusher
employed by the management to decline your perfectly
justified claim in order to boost corporate profits.

 To be fair, it's very difficult for any of us to save
up enough cash to cover the cost of the more expensive
surgeries or cancer treatments. In parts of the world
with medical facilities but few insurance schemes or
government health plans, people have to rely on the
family as mutual support network. 
 Government-funded schemes take our taxes and spread
them around according to some government planner's
ideas. Insurance schemes take customers, charge them a
premium according to their risk, turn away those most
likely to need very expensive treatment or exclude
their conditions that will need the expensive
treatment, and then fund the rest as best they can.
 Overall, we have to pool our funds and share out our
risks as best we can. With our current technology, we
can't afford EVERYTHING, so there has to be SOME
rationing in every system. 
 I'm sure some of our libertarian friends will tell
you the alternative of free-market pay-as-you go would
work, or that you can sue the insurance company if it
won't pay your claim. While in theory this works, in
the world we live in you need to pay the hospital
bills as best you can, as they don't extend credit
much. If you have cancer and can't get the cash
up-front for payment, then you may have to go without
treatment while the legal battle for your treatment
goes on, and you might die in the meantime. There are
plenty of examples of people in the US engaged in
legal battles for payment, which keep going up to
higher courts, all the while the poor schmuck who
needs the cash to rebuild their lives is stuck

One of my biggest hopes for our transhuman future is
AI delivering expert medical advice cheaply and
biotech offering good treatments at low cost, so we
can afford really good health care for all with
minimal rationing.


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