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June 27, 2007

The Anti-Universal Coverage Club

Michael Cannon writes, "I have decided it would be fun and educational to keep tally of those who reject the idea that federal or state governments should strive to provide every American with health insurance. ...If you’d like to join the Anti-Universal Coverage Club, let me know by posting something to your own blog, or by emailing me here."

I also think this would be fun and educational to keep track of, and I hope Cato will mount a very large push to get politicians of all stripes to stand up and be counted.

June 27, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

The problem isn't "universal coverage" as a goal, but an obsessive preoccupation with the goal at the expense of others. There are probably many simpler and more cost-effective things the government could do to improve the health and longevity of the population than extend health insurance, most obviously provide stronger incentives to people to adopt healthier lifestyles.

Posted by: JasonR | Jun 27, 2007 1:33:12 PM

Yes the homeless, unemployed, and the insane will obviously do well with a healthy living propaganda campaign!

Posted by: filchyboy | Jun 27, 2007 1:37:30 PM

Hey, maybe John Edwards should work that insanity angle into his stump speech: "I will not rest until every insane American has full health care coverage!"

Posted by: JasonR | Jun 27, 2007 1:51:12 PM

Name one simple, cost-effective healthy lifestyle initiative that Ezra should support but does not because it is incompatible with his support for universal coverage. That is what supporting one thing "at the expense of" another usually means, right? Then again, you did qualify your statement with the word "probably", which probably means you are being disingenuous or have no clue what you're talking about. Probably.

Posted by: Sam L. | Jun 27, 2007 2:05:39 PM

The problem isn't "universal coverage" as a goal, but an obsessive preoccupation with the goal at the expense of others.

You may think that JasonR, but Cannon and the National Review clearly don't. Both state that universal coverage should not be pursued. At all.

Click the links and read it for yourself.

Posted by: Rufus | Jun 27, 2007 2:12:56 PM

Sam L,

You can spend a dollar on promoting healthier living to the general population, or you can spend it on providing someone with health insurance. You can't spend it on both. Every spending decision involves a choice between alternatives. Every dollar you spend on insurance is a dollar you don't have to spend on getting people to eat better, or get more exercise, or quit smoking. The Left's obsession with "insurance" and "coverage" sacrifices many alternative policy choices that may do far more to improve the nation's health and longevity at far lower cost.

Posted by: JasonR | Jun 27, 2007 2:38:26 PM

Stay tune for the JasonR hour.

Posted by: akaison | Jun 27, 2007 2:43:53 PM

As I said before, Jason, we shouldn't try to choose between health promotion and health coverage. They have different but complementary goals, and we can do both.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 27, 2007 2:59:39 PM

But akaison... it's just so hard to resist. I mean, JasonR makes a comment manages to misconstrue both what the conservatives who are the subject of the post think (they are opposed to universal health care at all) AND misconstrue what the Liberal who wrote it thinks (I challenge anyone to find an example of Ezra opposing a simple cost-effective health living proposal), and I'm supposed to let it go? Its like he responded to a different post by a different person about a different subject, and even if he had he'd still be taking a morally egregious position that we should show no compassion for 42 MILLION uninsured Americans.

Restraint is too much to ask.

Posted by: Sam L. | Jun 27, 2007 3:01:10 PM

There are probably many simpler and more cost-effective things the government could do to improve the health and longevity of the population than extend health insurance, most obviously provide stronger incentives to people to adopt healthier lifestyles.

Healthier lifestyles like not being poor?

I bring this up because it is pretty well documented (even WalMart management has had to address this issue) that people of low socio-economic status often have poorer health, poorer nutrition (nutritious food costs money), poorer access to medical care (that costs money too), and (wait for it!) less insurance coverage. And to top it all off, they often live in neighborhoods where it is not safe or possible to engage in outdoor activity, and difficult/expensive to travel to places like fitness centers and recreation areas.

So if you want to advocate the elimination of poverty as a health care strategy that's really very noble, but even Jesus said the poor would be with us always.

Posted by: ShortWoman | Jun 27, 2007 3:07:50 PM

By all means continue- it's hilarious

Posted by: akaison | Jun 27, 2007 3:08:20 PM

sanpete,

As I said before, Jason, we shouldn't try to choose between health promotion and health coverage.

And as I said to you in response, we can't avoid choosing between health promotion and health insurance. Try to understand: we can't spend the same dollar on two different things.

Posted by: JasonR | Jun 27, 2007 3:10:20 PM

Try to understand: we can't spend the same dollar on two different things.

Try to understand: we have more than one dollar.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 27, 2007 3:24:53 PM

Healthier lifestyles like not being poor?

Exactly. Why should the rest of us subsidize health insurance for kids dumb enough to be born into poverty?

What we need to do is spend tax money trying to convince people that it's actually better to not be poor. The stuff you mentioned would be a great part of an educational campaign. Maybe if people could see the real-world effects of being poor, they'd stop making such unhealthy decisions.

Try to understand: we can't spend the same dollar on two different things.

Maybe he wants to spend two dollars. Or fifty cents on one and 50 cents on the other. Or perhaps even some other combination, like 60 cents on health insurance and 40 cents on health promotion.

Though that still doesn't address why you think "health promotion" is going to accomplish anything when people can't afford to go to the doctor. Or when people don't have fresh produce in the stores. Or they're working 2 jobs and don't have time to jog for 30 minutes a day, or whatever else it is that "health promotion" is supposed to be.

Posted by: Stephen | Jun 27, 2007 3:29:56 PM

sanpete,
Try to understand: we have more than one dollar.

Try to understand: We need to choose how to spend every dollar.

stephen,
Though that still doesn't address why you think "health promotion" is going to accomplish anything when people can't afford to go to the doctor.

Is this really unclear to you? Do you really think it's necessary to see a doctor to quit smoking or eat more vegetables?

Posted by: JasonR | Jun 27, 2007 3:43:28 PM

As the communists probably discovered 50 years ago, one well-done brainwashing is enough. But Jason R apparently hadn't heard this and went back for weekly redos (like attendence at AA).

I strongly suspect that Jason R hasn't experienced serious illness close to him with the ill person being uninsured. If he has this experience, I'd sure like to hear his stories about how the patient(s) dealt with the existing system (plus exhortations!). Were the patients praising their blessed-by-non-insurance state?

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jun 27, 2007 3:46:22 PM

And did the pre or post-stroke carrots and peas cure the stroke, Jason R?

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Jun 27, 2007 3:48:15 PM

Try to understand: We need to choose how to spend every dollar.

Try to understand: we'll spend some on each because both are important and neither can take the place of the other. This isn't that complicated.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 27, 2007 3:52:46 PM

Is this really unclear to you? Do you really think it's necessary to see a doctor to quit smoking or eat more vegetables?

No. Do you really think that telling people they need to eat more vegetables is going to make them magically appear in poor urban liquor/convenience stores? Some people just don't have access to the things you do.

As Jim pointed out, carrots and peas don't have much of a track record treating strokes. Or, for that matter, juvenile diabetes, luekemia, various cancers, and the host of other diseases and disorders that have nothing to do with lifestyle. Your insistence upon using tax dollars to pay for a campaign of "Hey you! Be healthier, dumbass!" is really weird. Americans get healthy talk thrown at them all the time. Dieticians and dentists go to schools to tell kids to be healthy. Commercials tell us to be healthy. The government is always telling us to be healthy already. I'm not sure how much more can be done to tell Americans to be healthy.

And I'm not sure how much we really want to do to try and tell people this louder or more often considering this strategy's horrible track record.

Posted by: Stephen | Jun 27, 2007 4:03:10 PM

we'll spend some on each because both are important and neither can take the place of the other.

Of course one can take the place of the other. Preventing an illness from arising in the first place obviously eliminates the need to treat it. And you still don't seem to understand the point about the need to choose how to spend every dollar. Every dollar spent on insurance is a dollar that is not available to spend on promoting healthier lifestyles. There is a abundant evidence that focusing on disease prevention through better living is a more cost-effective use of limited funds than focusing on the expansion of insurance.

Posted by: JasonR | Jun 27, 2007 4:10:36 PM

What about my personal freedom to eat ice cream sandwiches, drink Mt. Dew and sit my ass in front of Fox News for 16 hours a day? I'm American dammit, and no government healthy living czar is gonna tell me what personal freedoms I can't have! That's like communism or something! Personal freedom!

Posted by: Chowchowchow | Jun 27, 2007 4:11:14 PM

Americans get healthy talk thrown at them all the time. Dieticians and dentists go to schools to tell kids to be healthy. Commercials tell us to be healthy. The government is always telling us to be healthy already. I'm not sure how much more can be done to tell Americans to be healthy.

There is obviously a huge number of things the government could do to encourage healthier living. Build more bike paths. Subsidize gym memberships. Raise tobacco taxes. Subsidize fruits and vegetables. Since behavioral patterns seem to contribute around four times as much to premature death as shortfalls in medical care, there is much greater scope for prolonging people's lives through better living than through more health insurance.

Posted by: JasonR | Jun 27, 2007 4:19:41 PM

Of course one can take the place of the other. Preventing an illness from arising in the first place obviously eliminates the need to treat it.

But it doesn't eliminate the need for health care coverage, Jason, it only reduces it in some respects--not all. It's hard for me to tell why you back into corners like this and then refuse to come out.

There is a abundant evidence that focusing on disease prevention through better living is a more cost-effective use of limited funds than focusing on the expansion of insurance.

You're the one continuing to miss the point here. What you say about cost effectiveness may well be true in regard to preventing illness. But that doesn't eliminate the need for affordable health care. And since there is no need to only have one, despite your acting as though there is, we should and will do both.

Posted by: Sanpete | Jun 27, 2007 4:23:15 PM

The government could also clean up the air, especially in urban areas, that has been causing asthma cases to steadily rise for the past decade or more. I'll just sit here holding my breath on that one too. For that matter, all we need to do is eat more carrots and beans and we'll reform the prescription drug industry, stop the soaring cost of malpractice insurance, and stop traffic accidents too!

Jim from Portland: Trust me, you don't need to be uninsured to watch someone's health and finances get broken by a major illness. I had family members on payment plans for years before they finally gave up and declared bankruptcy.

Posted by: Persia | Jun 27, 2007 4:28:45 PM

...it would be fun and educational to keep tally of those who reject the idea that federal or state governments should strive to provide every American with health insurance...

And so it begins: we can tag these people, track their movements, and eventually round them up into camps.

Posted by: brian | Jun 27, 2007 4:41:24 PM

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