Since most of the commenters to this blog (including my Dad) are left-wing extremists, I figured I’d better immediately share this view from the other end of the political spectrum that just landed in my email inbox:
Dear Dubious Capitalist:
I just wanted to tell you that for a professional writer, your smarmy, trying too-hard-to-be-clever, sound byte style of writing is extremely hard to read, let alone understand. I can’t believe how much Time has changed. Once Henry Luce was gone, the magazine started a 180 degree turn. It is now unrecognizable, and the “blogs” attached to it are ridiculous. On a specific point, health care, it is obvious you don’t have much experience with this very complex issue, and neither does Ron Wyden, whose opinion on the subject you admire. If you think a socialist heath care system is the answer, you are wrong. It’s OK for skinned knees and bee bites, but once you have a serious illness, your quality of care will be greatly diminished from what we receive today. Of course, most people who are well off financially will be able to buy their way out of the system. But everyone else will suffer the lowest common denominator health care.
Very truly yours,
Someone Who Knows More Than You About Healthcare.
I find the whole Henry Luce thing amusing, given that the early Time magazine was mocked for its trying too-hard-to-be-clever, sound byte style of writing. But whatever: I was liveblogging a speech, and Someone Who Knows is certainly right that I was being superficial and glib.
As for the substance:
(A) I don’t know if Wyden’s plan is actually workable, but also don’t think it’s really socialist. (And hey, what’s so wrong about being sociable?) It mostly involves setting some ground rules and then letting the various parts of the health-care industry work things out amongst themselves.
(B) I was under the impression that one of the biggest problems with the U.S. health-care system is that we spend too much money helping people with serious diseases and not enough on primary and preventative care. Someone Who Knows appears to be saying that socialized medicine would fix that misallocation of resources. Or am I reading that wrong?
(C) A system that guarantees lowest-common-denominator health-care to all–as long as the denominator is not too low–and then allows the affluent to buy a higher level of care if they so desire (which is how things work in Australia and the U.K., if I understand correctly) would be a dramatic improvement over what we’ve got in the U.S. right now.