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How to Cure Health Care (Milton Friedman Plan)
Hoover Digest ^ | Milton Friedman

Posted on 11/19/2006 4:24:42 PM PST by John Lenin

Since the end of World War II, the provision of medical care in the United States and other advanced countries has displayed three major features: first, rapid advances in the science of medicine; second, large increases in spending, both in terms of inflation-adjusted dollars per person and the fraction of national income spent on medical care; and third, rising dissatisfaction with the delivery of medical care, on the part of both consumers of medical care and physicians and other suppliers of medical care.

Ilustration by Taylor Jones for the Hoover Digest.

Rapid technological advances have occurred repeatedly since the Industrial Revolution—in agriculture, steam engines, railroads, telephones, electricity, automobiles, radio, television, and, most recently, computers and telecommunication. The other two features seem unique to medicine. It is true that spending initially increased after nonmedical technical advances, but the fraction of national income spent did not increase dramatically after the initial phase of widespread acceptance. On the contrary, technological development lowered cost, so that the fraction of national income spent on food, transportation, communication, and much more has gone down, releasing resources to produce new products or services. Similarly, there seems no counterpart in these other areas to the rising dissatisfaction with the delivery of medical care.

International Comparison

These developments in medicine have been worldwide. By their very nature, scientific advances know no geographic boundaries. Data on spending are readily available for 29 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. In every one, medical spending has gone up significantly both in inflation-adjusted dollars per person and as a fraction of national income. In 1997, the United States spent 14 percent of gross domestic product on medical care, the highest of any OECD country. Germany was a distant second at 11 percent; Turkey was the lowest at 4 percent.

A key difference between medical care and the other technological revolutions is the role of government. In other technological revolutions, the initiative, financing, production, and distribution were primarily private, though government sometimes played a supporting or regulatory role. In medical care, government has come to play a leading role in financing, producing, and delivering medical service. Direct government spending on health care exceeds 75 percent of total health spending for 15 OECD countries. The United States is next to the lowest of the 29 countries, at 46 percent. In addition, some governments indirectly subsidize medical care through favorable tax treatment. For the United States, such subsidization raises the fraction of health spending financed directly or indirectly by government to more than 50 percent.

What are countries getting for the money they are spending on medical care? What is the relation between input and output? Spending on medical care provides a reasonably good measure of input, but, unfortunately, there is no remotely satisfactory objective measure of output.

Ultimately, the purpose of this article is to examine the situation in the United States. I have mentioned the data on the OECD countries primarily to document the two (related?) respects in which the United States is exceptional: we spend a higher percentage of national income on medical care (and more per capita) than any other OECD country, and our government finances a smaller fraction of that spending than all countries except Korea.

Why Third-Party Payment?

Two simple observations are key to explaining both the high level of spending on medical care and the dissatisfaction with that spending. The first is that most payments to physicians or hospitals or other caregivers for medical care are made not by the patient but by a third party—an insurance company or employer or governmental body. The second is that nobody spends somebody else’s money as wisely or as frugally as he spends his own. These statements apply equally to other OECD countries. They do not by themselves explain why the United States spends so much more than other countries.

No third party is involved when we shop at a supermarket. We pay the supermarket clerk directly: the same for gasoline for our car, clothes for our back, and so on down the line. Why, by contrast, are most medical payments made by third parties? The answer for the United States begins with the fact that medical care expenditures are exempt from the income tax if, and only if, medical care is provided by the employer. If an employee pays directly for medical care, the expenditure comes out of the employee’s after-tax income. If the employer pays for the employee’s medical care, the expenditure is treated as a tax-deductible expense for the employer and is not included as part of the employee’s income subject to income tax. That strong incentive explains why most consumers get their medical care through their employers or their spouses’ or their parents’ employer. In the next place, the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965 made the government a third-party payer for persons and medical care covered by those measures.

We are headed toward completely socialized medicine—and, if we take indirect tax subsidies into account, we’re already halfway there.

We have become so accustomed to employer-provided medical care that we regard it as part of the natural order. Yet it is thoroughly illogical. Why single out medical care? Food is more essential to life than medical care. Why not exempt the cost of food from taxes if provided by the employer? Why not return to the much-reviled company store when workers were in effect paid in kind rather than in cash?

The revival of the company store for medicine has less to do with logic than pure chance. It is a wonderful example of how one bad government policy leads to another. During World War II, the government financed much wartime spending by printing money while, at the same time, imposing wage and price controls. The resulting repressed inflation produced shortages of many goods and services, including labor. Firms competing to acquire labor at government-controlled wages started to offer medical care as a fringe benefit. That benefit proved particularly attractive to workers and spread rapidly.

Initially, employers did not report the value of the fringe benefit to the Internal Revenue Service as part of their workers’ wages. It took some time before the IRS realized what was going on. When it did, it issued regulations requiring employers to include the value of medical care as part of reported employees’ wages. By this time, workers had become accustomed to the tax exemption of that particular fringe benefit and made a big fuss. Congress responded by legislating that medical care provided by employers should be tax-exempt.

Effect of Third-Party Payment on Medical Costs

The tax exemption of employer-provided medical care has two different effects, both of which raise health costs. First, it leads employees to rely on their employer, rather than themselves, to make arrangements for medical care. Yet employees are likely to do a better job of monitoring medical care providers—because it is in their own interest—than is the employer or the insurance company or companies designated by the employer. Second, it leads employees to take a larger fraction of their total remuneration in the form of medical care than they would if spending on medical care had the same tax status as other expenditures.

If the tax exemption were removed, employees could bargain with their employers for higher take-home pay in lieu of medical care and provide for their own medical care either by dealing directly with medical care providers or by purchasing medical insurance. Removal of the tax exemption would enable governments to reduce the tax rate on income while raising the same total revenue. This hidden subsidy for medical care, currently more than $100 billion a year, is not included in reported figures on government health spending.

Extending the tax exemption to all medical care—as in the current limited provision for medical savings accounts and the proposals to make such accounts more widely available—would reduce reliance on third-party payment. But, by extending the hidden subsidy to all medical care expenditures, it would increase the tendency of employees to take a larger portion of their remuneration in the form of medical care. (I discuss medical savings accounts more fully in the conclusion.)

Expressed as a fraction of national income, Americans spent a mind-boggling 17 percent of the national income on medical care in 1997. No other country in the world approaches that level of spending as a fraction of national income, no matter how its medical care is organized.

Enactment of Medicare and Medicaid provided a direct subsidy for medical care. The cost grew much more rapidly than originally estimated—as the cost of any handout invariably does. Legislation cannot repeal the nonlegislated law of demand and supply: the lower the price, the greater the quantity demanded; at a zero price, the quantity demanded becomes infinite. Some method of rationing must be substituted for price, which invariably means administrative rationing.

A look at the data is instructive. The effect of tax exemption and the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid on rising medical costs from 1946 to now is clear. According to my estimates, the two together accounted for nearly 60 percent of the total increase in cost. Tax exemption alone accounted for one-third of the increase in cost; Medicare and Medicaid, one-quarter.

Now consider a different breakdown of the cost of medical care: between the part paid directly by the government and the part paid privately. Government’s share went from an eighth of the total in 1919 to a quarter in 1965 to nearly half in 1997. The rise in the government’s share has been accompanied by centralization of spending—away from state and local governments to the federal government. We are headed toward completely socialized medicine and are already halfway there, if, in addition to direct costs, we include indirect tax subsidies.

Expressed as a fraction of national income, spending on medical care went from 3 percent of the national income in 1919 to 4.5 percent in 1946 to 7 percent in 1965 to a mind-boggling 17 percent in 1997. No other country in the world approaches that level of spending as a fraction of national income no matter how its medical care is organized. The changing role of medical care in the U.S. economy is truly breathtaking. To illustrate, in 1946, seven times as much was spent on food, beverages, and tobacco as on medical care; in 1996, 50 years later, more was spent on medical care than on food, beverages, and tobacco.

The Changing Meaning of Insurance

Employer financing of medical care has caused the term insurance to acquire a rather different meaning in medicine than in most other contexts. We generally rely on insurance to protect us against events that are highly unlikely to occur but that involve large losses if they do occur—major catastrophes, not minor, regularly recurring expenses. We insure our houses against loss from fire, not against the cost of having to cut the lawn. We insure our cars against liability to others or major damage, not against having to pay for gasoline. Yet in medicine, it has become common to rely on insurance to pay for regular medical examinations and often for prescriptions.

This is partly a question of the size of the deductible and the copayment, but it goes beyond that. "Without medical insurance" and "without access to medical care" have come to be treated as nearly synonymous. Moreover, the states and the federal government have increasingly specified the coverage of insurance for medical care to a detail not common in other areas. The effect has been to raise the cost of insurance and to limit the options open to individuals. Many, if not most, of the "medically uninsured" are persons who for one reason or another do not have access to employer-provided medical care and are unable or unwilling to pay the cost of the only kinds of insurance contracts available to them.

If the tax exemption for employer-provided medical care and Medicare and Medicaid had never been enacted, the insurance market for medical care would probably have developed as other insurance markets have. The typical form of medical insurance would have been catastrophic insurance (i.e., insurance with a very high deductible).

The Black Hole of Bureaucratization

Third-party payment has required the bureaucratization of medical care and, in the process, has changed the character of the relation between physicians (or other caregivers) and patients. A medical transaction is not simply between a caregiver and a patient; it has to be approved as "covered" by a bureaucrat and the appropriate payment authorized. The patient—the recipient of the medical care—has little or no incentive to be concerned about the cost since it’s somebody else’s money. The caregiver has become, in effect, an employee of the insurance company or, in the case of Medicare and Medicaid, of the government. The patient is no longer the one, and the only one, the caregiver has to serve. An inescapable result is that the interest of the patient is often in direct conflict with the interest of the caregiver’s ultimate employer. That has been manifest in public dissatisfaction with the increasingly impersonal character of medical care.

Some years ago, the British physician Max Gammon, after an extensive study of the British system of socialized medicine, formulated what he called "the theory of bureaucratic displacement." He observed that in "a bureaucratic system . . . increase in expenditure will be matched by fall in production. . . . Such systems will act rather like ‘black holes,’ in the economic universe, simultaneously sucking in resources, and shrinking in terms of ‘emitted production.’" Gammon’s observations for the British system have their exact parallel in the partly socialized U.S. medical system. Here, too, input has been going up sharply relative to output. This tendency can be documented particularly clearly for hospitals, thanks to the availability of high-quality data for a long period.

The data document a drastic decline in output over the past half century. From 1946 to 1996, the number of beds per 1,000 population fell by more than 60 percent; the fraction of beds occupied, by more than 20 percent. In sharp contrast, input skyrocketed. Hospital personnel per occupied bed multiplied ninefold, and cost per patient day, adjusted for inflation, an astounding fortyfold, from $30 in 1946 to $1,200 in 1996. A major engine of these changes was the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. A mild rise in input was turned into a meteoric rise; a mild fall in output, into a rapid decline. Hospital days per person per year were cut by two-thirds, from three days in 1946 to an average of less than a day by 1996.

Taken by itself, the decline in hospital days is evidence of progress in medical science. A healthy population needs less hospitalization, and advances in science and medical technology have reduced the length of hospital stays and increased outpatient surgery. Progress in medical science may well explain most of the decline in output; it does not explain much, if any, of the rise in input per unit of output. True, medical machines have become more complex. However, in other areas where there has been great technical progress—whether it be agriculture or telephones or steel or automobiles or aviation or, most recently,computers and the Internet—progress has led to a reduc- tion, not an increase, in cost per unit of output. Why is medicine an exception? Gammon’s law, not medical miracles, was clearly at work. The provision of medical care as an untaxed fringe benefit by employers, and then the federal government’s assumption of responsibility for hospital and medical care of the elderly and the poor, provided a fresh pool of money. And there was no shortage of takers. Growing costs, in turn, led to more regulation of hospitals and medical care, further increasing administrative costs and leading to the bureaucratization that is so prominent a feature of medical care today.

So much for input. What about output? What have we gotten in return for quadrupling the share of the nation’s income spent on medical care?

I have already referred to one component of output—days of hospital care per person per year. That has gone down from three days in 1946 to less than one in 1996. Insofar as the reduction reflects the improvements in medicine, it clearly is a good thing. However, it also reflects the pressure to keep hospital stays short in order to keep down cost. That this is not a good thing is clear from protests by patients, widespread enough to have led Congress to mandate minimum stays for some medical procedures.

The output of the medical care industry that we are interested in is its contribution to better health. How can we measure better health in a reasonably objective way that is not greatly influenced by other factors?

The least bad measure that I have been able to come up with is length of life, though that too is seriously contaminated by other factors—improvements in diet, housing, clothing, and so on generated by greater affluence, better garbage collection and disposal, the provision of purer water, and other governmental public health measures.

Expected longevity went from 47 years in 1900 to 68 years in 1950, a truly remarkable rise. From 1950 on, expected longevity continued to increase but at a much slower rate, reaching 76 years in 1997. For our purposes, it is of fundamental importance that, whatever its source, the increase in longevity did not have any systematic relation to spending on medical care as a fraction of income.

On the evidence to date, it is hard to see that we have gotten much for quadrupling the share of the nation’s income spent on medical care other than bureaucratization and widespread dissatisfaction with the economic organization of medical care.

The United States versus Other Countries

Our steady movement toward reliance on third-party payment no doubt explains the extraordinary rise in spending on medical care in the United States. However, other advanced countries also rely on third-party payment, many or most of them to an even greater extent than we do. What explains our higher level of spending?

I must confess that despite much thought and scouring of the literature, I have no satisfactory answer. One clue is my estimate that if the pre–World War II system had continued—that is, if tax exemption and Medicare and Medicaid had never been enacted—expenditures on medical care would have amounted to less than half the current level, which would have put us near the bottom of the OECD list rather than at the top.

In terms of holding down cost, one-payer directly administered government systems, such as exist in Canada and Great Britain, have a real advantage over our mixed system. As the direct purchaser of all or nearly all medical services, they are in a monopoly position in hiring physicians and can hold down their remuneration, so that physicians earn much less in those countries than in the United States. In addition, they can ration care more directly—at the cost of long waiting lists and much dissatisfaction.

In addition, once the whole population is covered, there is little political incentive to increase spending on medical care. Once the bulk of costs have been taken over by government, as they have in most of the other OECD countries, the politician does not have the carrot of increased services with which to attract new voters, so attention turns to holding down costs.

An additional factor is the tax treatment of private expenditures on medical care. In most countries, any private expenditure comes out of after-tax income. It does in the United States also, unless the medical care is provided by the employer. For this reason, the bulk of medical care is provided through employers, and private expenditures on medical care are decidedly higher than they would be if medical care, like food, clothing, and other consumer goods, had to be financed out of posttax income. It is consistent with this view that Germany, the country second to the United States in the fraction of income spent on medical care, has a system in which the employer plays a central role in the provision of medical care and in which, so far as I have been able to determine, half of the cost comes out of pretax income and half out of posttax income.

Our mixed system has many advantages in accessibility and quality of medical care, but it has produced a higher level of cost than would result from either wholly individual choice or wholly collective choice.

Conclusion: Medical Savings Accounts and Beyond

The high cost and inequitable character of our medical care system are the direct result of our steady movement toward reliance on third-party payment. A cure requires reversing course, reprivatizing medical care by eliminating most third-party payment, and restoring the role of insurance to providing protection against major medical catastrophes.

The ideal way to do that would be to reverse past actions: repeal the tax exemption of employer-provided medical care; terminate Medicare and Medicaid; deregulate most insurance; and restrict the role of the government, preferably state and local rather than federal, to financing care for the hard cases. However, the vested interests that have grown up around the existing system, and the tyranny of the status quo, clearly make that solution not feasible politically. Yet it is worth stating the ideal as a guide to judging whether proposed incremental changes are in the right direction.

Most changes made in the final decade of the twentieth century were in the wrong direction. Despite rejection of the sweeping socialization of medicine proposed by Hillary Clinton, subsequent incremental changes have expanded the role of government, increased regulation of medical practice, and further constrained the terms of medical insurance, thereby raising its cost and increasing the fraction of individuals who choose or are forced to go without insurance.

There is one exception, which, though minor in current scope, is pregnant of future possibilities. The Kassebaum-Kennedy Bill, passed in 1996 after lengthy and acrimonious debate, included a narrowly limited four-year pilot program authorizing medical savings accounts. A medical savings account enables individuals to deposit tax-free funds in an account usable only for medical expense, provided they have a high-deductible insurance policy that limits the maximum out-of-pocket expense. As noted earlier, it eliminates third-party payment except for major medical expenses and is thus a movement very much in the right direction. By extending tax exemption to all medical expenses whether paid by the employer or not, it eliminates the present bias in favor of employer-provided medical care. That too is a move in the right direction. However, the extension of tax exemption increases the bias in favor of medical care compared to other household expenditures. This effect would tend to increase the implicit government subsidy for medical care, which would be a step in the wrong direction.

Before this pilot project, a number of large companies (e.g., Quaker Oats, Forbes, Golden Rule Insurance Company) had offered their employees the choice of a medical savings account instead of the usual low-deductible employer-provided insurance policy. In each case, the employer purchased a high-deductible major medical insurance policy for the employee and deposited a stated sum, generally about half of the deductible, in a medical savings account for the employee. That sum could be used by the employee for medical care. Any part not used during the year was the property of the employee and had to be included in taxable income. Despite the loss of the tax exemption, this alternative has generally been very popular with both employers and employees. It has reduced costs for the employer and empowered the employee, eliminating much third-party payment.

Medical savings accounts offer one way to resolve the growing financial and administrative problems of Medicare and Medicaid. It seems clear from private experience that a program along these lines would be less expensive and bureaucratic than the current system and more satisfactory to the participants. In effect, it would be a way to voucherize Medicare and Medicaid. It would enable participants to spend their own money on themselves for routine medical care and medical problems, rather than having to go through HMOs and insurance companies, while at the same time providing protection against medical catastrophes.

A more radical reform would, first, end both Medicare and Medicaid, at least for new entrants, and replace them by providing every family in the United States with catastrophic insurance (i.e., a major medical policy with a high deductible). Second, it would end tax exemption of employer-provided medical care. And, third, it would remove the restrictive regulations that are now imposed on medical insurance—hard to justify with universal catastrophic insurance.

This reform would solve the problem of the currently medically uninsured, eliminate most of the bureaucratic structure, free medical practitioners from an increasingly heavy burden of paperwork and regulation, and lead many employers and employees to convert employer-provided medical care into a higher cash wage. The taxpayer would save money because total government costs would plummet. The family would be relieved of one of its major concerns—the possibility of being impoverished by a major medical catastrophe—and most could readily finance the remaining medical costs. Families would once again have an incentive to monitor the providers of medical care and to establish the kind of personal relations with them that were once customary. The demonstrated efficiency of private enterprise would have a chance to improve the quality and lower the cost of medical care. The first question asked of a patient entering a hospital might once again become "What’s wrong?" not "What’s your insurance?"


A longer version of this essay appeared in Public Interest, winter 2001.

Available from the Hoover Press is To America’s Health: A Proposal to Reform the Food and Drug Administration, by Henry I. Miller. Also available is The Essence of Friedman, edited by Kurt R. Leube. To order, call 800-935-2882.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial
KEYWORDS: health; healthcare; insurance; miltonfriedman
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He has the right idea about getting rid of insurance for routine medical procedures and having insurance only cover catastrophic care. I think the government could help by subsidizing loans to pay off medical care that is not covered by catastrophic insurance. Doctors will be happier to not have to do all the paperwork and they get their money immediately.
1 posted on 11/19/2006 4:24:45 PM PST by John Lenin
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To: John Lenin

Just think the time your doctor could spend with you if he wasn't bogged down in the paperwork nightmare. He might be able to have an actual conversation with you. This is a win-win situation.


2 posted on 11/19/2006 4:28:45 PM PST by Cate
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To: John Lenin

I might add routine vaccinations and other public health initiatives to that financed by the government.


3 posted on 11/19/2006 4:32:57 PM PST by sono ("Improvise, Adapt, Overcome" - Gunnery Sgt Thomas "Gunny" Highway)
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To: John Lenin

We're headed for fiscal disaster regarding entitlements anyway. The question is, when will we wake up to the fact. Almost no one is talking about it now.


4 posted on 11/19/2006 4:42:09 PM PST by popdonnelly
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To: John Lenin

The argument is that if it doesn't cover the small things, the small things will go untreated until they turn into big things and cost even more to resolve.

A vicious circle...


5 posted on 11/19/2006 4:46:02 PM PST by DB
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To: John Lenin

I am dead serious - Let Wal-Mart get into it. They will show us how it's done. They will insist on discipline from vendors and more importantly discipline from the customers just as they do now. by the way I have a mom and pop store and we pay 800 a month and have a $5000 deductible and we are glad to have it, although we would like some relief.


6 posted on 11/19/2006 4:46:53 PM PST by HChampagne (I am not an AARP member and never will be.)
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Comment #7 Removed by Moderator

To: DB
The system we have now is so screwed up it needs to be scrapped. There are no mechanisms to keep the costs down, just the opposite, regulation, lawsuits, and hypochondriac's make the costs go through the roof. I know people who go to the Dr for hangnail's, that's no joke, if you don't have to pay for it it's no skin off your back.
8 posted on 11/19/2006 4:52:57 PM PST by John Lenin (The most dangerous place for a child in America is indeed in its mother's womb)
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To: John Lenin
I was actually looking at a place that charges a flat $39 fee to see a doctor and doesn't accept insurance, just cash, checks, and major credit cards - Quickhealth. I was going to go in there this week as all I need is to get a generic prescription written.

The health insurance plan that I'm using has a high deductible that I haven't used for the last 2 years. Using this place could help cut down on the paperwork involved.

9 posted on 11/19/2006 4:58:09 PM PST by glorgau
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To: John Lenin

Some clear thinking by Milton Friedman on the health care industry. Unforutunately, half the population is economically illiterate, and much of the other half is misinformed, so clear thinking has little chance to prevail.


10 posted on 11/19/2006 5:09:01 PM PST by RussP
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To: BartMan1

ping


11 posted on 11/19/2006 5:21:53 PM PST by IncPen (When Al Gore Finished the Internet, he Invented Global Warming)
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To: John Lenin

My local hospital has, at last count, more computer geeks than doctors. Mind you, this is for a regional care hospital, which doesn't do advanced care such as organ transplants or research, etc.

I went in there for chest pains. Nevermind that I got them from pulling muscles in exercise, I was treated by a mindless bureaucratic list of "to-do's" for 24 hours, most of which were to make sure that no one got sued should I actually fall over dead in the next 24 hours. I told the CEO of the hospital that I hoped she and her staff would, at sometime in their life, to through a 24-hour stay like mine, so they would at least start practicing medicine again.



12 posted on 11/19/2006 5:28:09 PM PST by TWohlford
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To: John Lenin

bookmark for later reading


13 posted on 11/19/2006 6:01:35 PM PST by GOP Poet
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To: GOP Poet

ping


14 posted on 11/19/2006 6:10:27 PM PST by Chickensoup (If you don't go to the holy war, the holy war will come to you.)
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To: John Lenin

Precisely.

Having worked in the health insurance industry and in the physician/provider services, that makes so much sense.

Unfortunately, the general public has no clue and will lend no support for this simple solution. Remember the Medicare Catastrophic debacle.

Routine medical care should be an individual's responsibility, but it's not. Catastrophic health insurance is comparable to auto insurance (which is mandatory) but it's not.

Too bad.


15 posted on 11/19/2006 6:13:12 PM PST by sodpoodle (I have no idea how I got here - but I like it and I plan to stay.)
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To: sodpoodle

I play around with insurance. I think I have a solution to this problem and everyone benefits.

At the age of 21 instead of you giving your money to the government for health care, you buy a Universal Life insurance policy for the minimum death benefit. For 45 years you put in money tax deductible. At 65, you now can start taking out money for health care benefits, tax free.

You will have close to 3/4 of a million put away for health care. Now if you are older, you can opt to do the same thing for more money.

Let the government take out less in taxes and enable us to do this.


16 posted on 11/19/2006 6:31:33 PM PST by EQAndyBuzz (I thank the RNC for freeing me to vote my values rather then political party. It is liberating!)
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To: sodpoodle

Whenever there is an option for Americans to take care of themselves, the DemonRats will convince them time and again that they are too stupid to handle such things and only they, through massive government programs that they control, is THEE only choice. How many times have we been told that when government control of our lives is taken away, the mean private sector will leave everyone dead.


17 posted on 11/19/2006 6:55:01 PM PST by moonman (`)
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To: sono

The best way to correct the problem starts with those who make the laws. Insist that our elected crooks in Washington must abide with those rule that are for the voters who put them there, to do what is right and fair for us, not have a different set of rules, which they make, for themselves and that the taxpayers pay for.


18 posted on 11/19/2006 7:12:04 PM PST by chiefqc
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save


19 posted on 11/19/2006 7:14:59 PM PST by krunkygirl
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To: annie laurie

Ping to self


20 posted on 11/19/2006 7:17:16 PM PST by annie laurie (All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost)
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To: chiefqc

Tax medical benefits and allow all to have a blanket deduction of $20,000 to replace all current deductions.


21 posted on 11/19/2006 7:20:10 PM PST by Tribune7
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To: John Lenin
Why is Dr. Friedman not addressing another "catastrophic" reason for the unraveling of affordable medical care: the '60's & 70's legal/judicial philosophy change to essentially no standard required to prove personal risk or responsibility, leading to out-of-control multimillion-dollar malpractice lawsuit awards, which skyrocketed medical insurance premiums and in turn, hospital and doctor fees? This is when I saw the huge turning point in this whole medical cost issue that led quickly to the affordability crisis we continue to face.
22 posted on 11/19/2006 7:26:05 PM PST by Jim 0216
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To: Jim 0216

90% of politicians are lawyers, the fix is in ...


23 posted on 11/19/2006 7:32:15 PM PST by John Lenin (The most dangerous place for a child in America is indeed in its mother's womb)
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To: John Lenin
I think it would be a great plan if the people you were dealing with were responsible humans, they're not.

How Will you deal with the millions on medicaid? Give them the cash in their welfare check? They would just spend it and still demand free medical care.

Rats can't win without promising to steal from productive people to give to the lazy slugs.

2008 the RATS will run on National healthcare and they will win. By 2010 you can be looking forward to paying the taxes to cover that mess.

Unless all the laws that say nobody can be turned away from hospital care are repealed it is coming and I see no way to stop it.
24 posted on 11/19/2006 8:47:54 PM PST by Beagle8U (Angry voters tend to make poor choices politically.....Unfortunately we all have to live with them.)
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To: John Lenin

.


25 posted on 11/19/2006 8:50:26 PM PST by justrepublican (Screaming like a keynote speaker at a Wellstone memorial.........!)
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To: Beagle8U
2008 the RATS will run on National healthcare and they will win.

Want to bet?
26 posted on 11/19/2006 9:07:23 PM PST by John Lenin (The most dangerous place for a child in America is indeed in its mother's womb)
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To: John Lenin

BTTT


27 posted on 11/19/2006 9:54:49 PM PST by PGalt
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To: John Lenin

bump, great read.

btw, some compilations on Canadian and British HC:

http://www.neoperspectives.com/canadahealthcare.htm
http://www.neoperspectives.com/britishhealthcare.htm


28 posted on 11/19/2006 10:24:46 PM PST by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/optimism_nov8th.htm)
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To: John Lenin

I'll take the pay raise. Get employers out of the insurance scam.


29 posted on 11/19/2006 10:26:12 PM PST by endthematrix ("If it's not the Crusades, it's the cartoons.")
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To: John Lenin

The GOP might get it first.


30 posted on 11/19/2006 10:26:52 PM PST by endthematrix ("If it's not the Crusades, it's the cartoons.")
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To: John Lenin

Hillary-Care to Have Another Go

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) said Democrats she will focus on reviving her plan for comprehensive socialized medicine. The former first lady led her husband’s unsuccessful attempt to nationalize health care in 1993.

The plan is modeled after the nation’s public school system. Each person would be assigned to a medical clinic based on where they live. The Department of Health and Human Services would allocate staff, supplies and equipment to each clinic based on enrollment. Clinic boundaries will be adjusted periodically to ensure equality among the various districts. If necessary, individuals may be bused to other medical districts if necessary to achieve racial and ethnic balance. People could petition for permission to enroll outside their assigned district. DHHS would be authorized to permit these out-of-district enrollments so long as they do not lead to racial or ethnic imbalances.

As in Canada, private medical treatment would be outlawed. Both medical personnel and patients caught engaging in “medicine-for-hire” transactions would face fines and possible prison sentences.

“Health care is coming back,” Clinton boasted, adding, “It may be a bad dream for some, but it’s my dream for America.”

read more...

http://www.azconservative.org/Semmens1.htm


31 posted on 11/19/2006 10:30:08 PM PST by John Semmens
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To: endthematrix

Changing the status quo is a third rail. Good luck.


32 posted on 11/19/2006 11:21:32 PM PST by John Lenin (The most dangerous place for a child in America is indeed in its mother's womb)
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To: John Lenin
And the pharma lobbyists...
33 posted on 11/19/2006 11:24:26 PM PST by endthematrix ("If it's not the Crusades, it's the cartoons.")
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To: John Lenin

Won't happen. The people who make laws are lawyers, not doctors.


34 posted on 11/20/2006 4:22:18 AM PST by wastoute
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To: John Lenin

Would really like to ping this to everyone. Reading and understanding this (and the true concepts of the free market) should be required for all Freepers.


35 posted on 11/20/2006 4:29:36 AM PST by PjhCPA (Who will be the next Ronald Reagan? We'd better find him. SOON!!!)
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To: John Semmens

PJ O'Rourke has a great paraphrase of Friedman

There are four ways people spend money:

1. You spend your money on yourself. You're motivated to get the thing you want most at the best price. This is the way middle-aged men haggle with Porsche dealers.

2. You spend your money on other people. You still want a bargain, but you're less interested in pleasing the recipient of your largesse. This is why children get underwear at Christmas.

3. You spend other people's money on yourself. You get what you want but price no longer matters. The second wives who ride around with the middle-aged men in the Porsches do this kind of spending at Neiman Marcus.

4. You spend other people's money on other people. And in this case, who gives a s**t?

Note # 4 is ALL Government spending....


36 posted on 11/20/2006 4:30:31 AM PST by Kozak (Anti Shahada: " There is no God named Allah, and Muhammed is his False Prophet")
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To: John Lenin
No, I don't want to bet. I just see it coming.

Even if we get a Republican President I think it will be a long time before we get the Congress back.

There are too many people without insurance, or their employers have started making them pay a large percentage of what they do have.

If they are paying $400-500 a month for something that they were getting free 10 years ago you'll have a hard time explaining the economics of why they are better off without gov. healthcare.

Even the unions and business are pushing for it now.

Explain how you will convince people that they should pay for their own healthcare when all their life they never have?

I think it will trash the economy but I don't see how you'll stop it now.
37 posted on 11/20/2006 4:45:40 AM PST by Beagle8U (Angry voters tend to make poor choices politically.....Unfortunately we all have to live with them.)
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To: John Lenin; Abram; albertp; AlexandriaDuke; Alexander Rubin; Allosaurs_r_us; Americanwolf; ...
Libertarian ping! To be added or removed from my ping list freepmail me or post a message here.
38 posted on 11/20/2006 6:16:04 AM PST by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/optimism_nov8th.htm)
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To: neverdem

FYI


39 posted on 11/20/2006 6:21:52 AM PST by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/optimism_nov8th.htm)
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To: Beagle8U
Explain how you will convince people that they should pay for their own health care when all their life they never have?

Are you really as dim as you appear to be? Right now your employer pays for your health care, with national health care You are going to pay for it instead of your employer with a 17-21% payroll tax or some other made up tax that will equal 17-21% of your pay. The only ones who will be getting it Free are the people already getting it Free, the poor, the elderly. You really are a dimwit if you think the cost is going to be passed on to only the Jon Carry's of this country.
40 posted on 11/20/2006 10:01:26 AM PST by John Lenin (The most dangerous place for a child in America is indeed in its mother's womb)
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To: John Lenin

Before you run off on a nut about someone being a dimwit perhaps you should reread my posts?

I never said I was for it, not even close!


41 posted on 11/20/2006 10:29:37 AM PST by Beagle8U (Angry voters tend to make poor choices politically.....Unfortunately we all have to live with them.)
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To: Beagle8U
Explain how you will convince people that they should pay for their own healthcare when all their life they never have?

Explain to me how people who have been getting their health care for free or almost free from their employer are going to buy into a new 17-21% payroll tax? This is why health care reform is a third rail just like social security reform is a third rail. Hitlery got slammed down so hard on Free health care once people found out that to pay for it they were going to get hit with an additional 17% payroll tax that the RATS lost control of the congress.
42 posted on 11/20/2006 10:40:15 AM PST by John Lenin (The most dangerous place for a child in America is indeed in its mother's womb)
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To: John Lenin
We are on the same side on this issue. But you have to understand that we are talking about voters that claim no deductions so they can get a big tax refund. I have tried for years to explain the stupidity of that to no avail.

The RATS that push it through will lie about the cost and who will be paying it. They will pass it off as a tax shift to business. Which anyone with common sense knows gets passed back to consumers in prices.

Unfortunately the people that voted the RATS into office don't have common sense.
43 posted on 11/20/2006 11:10:22 AM PST by Beagle8U (Angry voters tend to make poor choices politically.....Unfortunately we all have to live with them.)
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To: Beagle8U

17-19% payroll tax was the cost back in 93, helathcare has been going up double digit rate hikes per year ever since, the new payroll tax will be in the 19-21% range now. And it will be a crime to not buy a policy and try to opt out. Free health care sounds good until you get the bill to pay for it.


44 posted on 11/20/2006 11:16:29 AM PST by John Lenin (The most dangerous place for a child in America is indeed in its mother's womb)
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To: John Lenin

Again, you are dealing with morons that think getting their own money back in a tax refund is "free" gov. money.


45 posted on 11/20/2006 11:29:49 AM PST by Beagle8U (Angry voters tend to make poor choices politically.....Unfortunately we all have to live with them.)
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To: Beagle8U
I don't think it's possible to enact national health care without throwing out our current tax system and starting over. Romney just enacted the plan that the Feds are going to try to pass off on the rest of us in Mass, of course he will not be around for the fallout from his policy and instead the GOP is going to back him for the Presidency. I've about had it with both parties and will be looking for an alternative.
46 posted on 11/20/2006 11:43:17 AM PST by John Lenin (The most dangerous place for a child in America is indeed in its mother's womb)
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To: Beagle8U


There is something really, really wrong with this picture, guess what it is?

We are being scammed from both sides ....
47 posted on 11/20/2006 11:48:47 AM PST by John Lenin (The most dangerous place for a child in America is indeed in its mother's womb)
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To: John Lenin
Its definitely a mess and about to get much worse. Millions of boomers a set to retire soon. The company paid insurance they thought they would get for life is going broke.

Once retired they pay very little in taxes so they don't care who is taxed to pay for it. The Grey Panthers will vote for all kinds of social programs and make sure nobody gets elected that will reform SS.

SS will likely have the max cap removed and then they will make it "needs based" when that don't fix the problem.

Those that payed the most into the system may wind up getting nothing back from FDR's pyramid scheme.
48 posted on 11/20/2006 12:03:11 PM PST by Beagle8U (Angry voters tend to make poor choices politically.....Unfortunately we all have to live with them.)
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To: Beagle8U

The Patriot Act is going to end up being used on natural born US citizens once the sheet hit the fan over what the pols have in store for us.


49 posted on 11/20/2006 12:09:22 PM PST by John Lenin (The most dangerous place for a child in America is indeed in its mother's womb)
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To: glorgau
Report.

Just went to QuickHealth today. No appointment, walked in and they said 3 people were in front of me, come back in 30 minutes. Came back at said time and talked to a doctor for 15 minutes, got two prescriptions, a kidney function blood test, and was out the door in under 30 minutes for $68 cash total. No bills, no paperwork (save the prescriptions) .

Went and filled the generic prescriptions at Target with a $10 off coupon for "new prescription" and walked out that door for $9 total.

This is how health care should operate.

50 posted on 11/20/2006 1:19:27 PM PST by glorgau
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