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November 10, 2005

Economic Blinders

Read this post of Kevin's.  Tyler reminds me of a guy on a roadtrip, navigating by map, who runs into an unexpected mountain and decides that the terrain, not the directions, must be at fault.

November 10, 2005 | Permalink

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Comments

Dude, you might want to have a chat with Bigg Media Matt about this stuff too...

Posted by: tatere | Nov 10, 2005 3:40:30 PM

But every developed country except the United States has a national health insurance plan, right?

When I was a child, my parents would ask me why I did something that was questionable and I would answer that other kids were doing it, too. Their answer was, "Well, if Billy jumped off a cliff, would you do that too?"
And that leads to the conclusion "It's good enough for Europe, it's good enough for us!" that the loony left always uses.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Nov 10, 2005 4:44:38 PM

Of course, jumping off a bridge is bad. And national health insurance, as the evidence proves, is very good. The question, of course, is when Fred gets sick, does he forego antibiotics because that's what all the other sick kids are taking?

Guess so.

Posted by: Ezra | Nov 10, 2005 4:57:06 PM

Except, Fred, that the point is that it really works for those other countries, despite its violation of "every economic law known to mankind."

Y'know, Kevin's post was only a couple sentences long. Could it have taken that much effort to actually read it, Fred?

Posted by: Iron Lungfish | Nov 10, 2005 4:58:22 PM

Could it have taken that much effort to actually read it, Fred?

And where do you think I got the quote? (DOH!!)

Could it have taken that much effort to actually read my post, fishlung?

Posted by: Fred Jones | Nov 10, 2005 5:45:53 PM

It certainly caused my eyes to bleed.

Posted by: Kimmitt | Nov 10, 2005 7:36:31 PM

Could it have taken that much effort to actually read my post, fishlung?

And when I read your post, I actually read the entire thing. Which is why if you read all of Kevin's post - all whopping four sentences of it - you would have noted that his point wasn't merely that "every developed country except the United States has a national health insurance plan," but that "they mostly seem to work pretty well." In fact, Kevin makes this point in the next sentence after the one you quoted, so it's not exactly like you'd have to slog through a Dostoyevsky-length tome to get at his point.

So once again, could it have been that difficult to read four whole sentences, er... Jonesfred?

Posted by: Iron Lungfish | Nov 10, 2005 8:17:28 PM

I was already mystified as to why Kevin bothered to link to that. Some people have ideological blinders on -- this is news? I am further mystified that you bothered to link to him. Kevin disagrees with some other guy (and yes, has the facts on his side, which he doesn't go into any detail on*). This is news?

*I understand that it's easy to locate this detail. I've read your own lengthy comparisons. Now goddammit that was blogging! Kevin's and this post are just filler.

Posted by: Allen K. | Nov 10, 2005 8:34:09 PM

I respect Tyler Cowen, who halfway thru Kevin's comments posted that he had been misquoted and misinterpreted. I plan on revisiting the issue later tonight.

Tyler can be wrong, but he is not an idiot ideologue, tho he has one sharing his blog.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Nov 10, 2005 9:28:00 PM

Tyler Cowen

Tyler Cowen has opened comments on his blog. The comments are marginally better that the ones at Kevin's, many at Tyler's ask: "What the heck were you trying to say, Tyler?"

Some deal with comparing healthcare systems

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Nov 10, 2005 10:51:58 PM

Bob,'
I don't think Tyler was misquoted and misinterpereted as much as trying to weasle out of an untenable statement by pointing to one clause Kevin overlooked and trying to make it the whole issue.

To wit, his original statement bears the term 'single-payer' which Kevin Drum did not notice in his response. Tyler has taken the opportunity to proclaim himself misunderstood. In addition, he has disingenuously taken 'single payer' to mean that the government must pay for every dollar of all the medical care and declared that of all the countries in the world, only Canada, Cuba and North Korea had it.

What utter rot. Joseph Heath's excellent comment over at MR said it best: "Single-payer is typically used to refer to an arrangement in which the government exercises a monopoly in market for primary health insurance and is therefore NOT involved in health care delivery." Put it this way...if your government is paying for your basic health services, you're not going to pay anybody else to do it. Top-up insurance and small fees for procedures extracted out-of-pocket to discourage overconsumption does not change the essential single-payer nature of the system, even if the government is not paying every single dollar.

Posted by: Battlepanda | Nov 11, 2005 7:33:35 AM

What Battle Panda said. And as Matt Yglesias noted, the Dem platform calls for national, universal healthcare - it says nothing about single-payer, and no major Dem candidate in the last decade or so has advocated single-payer.

Posted by: Iron Lungfish | Nov 11, 2005 8:43:49 AM

Which is a shame, as multi-payer systems like what Germany have now (and what we have, for that matter) are horridly inefficient.

Posted by: Battlepanda | Nov 11, 2005 10:37:16 AM

"they mostly seem to work pretty well."

And at what cost? If efficiency is the *ONLY* consideration, you might have a point. Of course, then you would have to apply the same simgle-mindedness to other issues as well such as schools. With this myopic outlook, it would just make sense to have the federal government fund and run the nations schools, wouldn't it?
It that really smart to put the schools at risk for government indoctination? And with health care, is it smart to place the financing of such a nessesity in the hands of a single payer and/or the federal government? Of course not.
You see, efficiency is great and it's certainly a problem to be addressed, but you are attempting surgery with a meat cleaver.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Nov 11, 2005 10:39:24 AM

Except that fear of "government indoctrination" plays no role in assessing whether or not a system violates "every economic law known to mankind" as Tyler claims. Efficiency, however, does.

Nor can I see how the government can "indoctrinate" anyone through providing insurance to everyone. Does Blue Cross/Blue Shield "indoctrinate" its customers? For that matter, would local or private schools "indoctrinate" schoolchildren any more than the Department of Education would? Your fears are wholly irrational, as always.

Posted by: Iron Lungfish | Nov 11, 2005 12:26:26 PM

Great!
Hey with your line of 'reasoning', we could get all of our strategic materials from just one vendor and save a LOT of money.
There is a reason why we don't. Access to them is just too important not to have multiple streams of access.

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