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Prophet 451

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Member since: Wed Jul 27, 2005, 05:10 PM
Number of posts: 9,260

About Me

Opinionated Englishman.

Journal Archives

These Things I Believe

- I BELIEVE that everyone has a right to decent healthcare, regardless of their income or social class.

- I BELIEVE that everyone deserves the right to a decent education, up to and including college. I BELIEVE in equality of opportunity, including the opportunity to return to education later in life.

- I BELIEVE that money brings power and with great power comes great responsibility. I BELIEVE that if you achieve great wealth, you have a responsibility to pay out some of it so someone else gets the chance to do the same. I BELIEVE that taxes are the price we pay for civilization.

- I BELIEVE that being gay is just one more variation in the human condition and as morally neutral as having green eyes or blonde hair. I BELIEVE that love is the joining of two souls and none of us have the right to get in the way of that.

- I BELIEVE that putting human rights to a vote sets a bloody dangerous precedent.

- I BELIEVE that no-one, not begger or king, president or pauper, is above being called to account for their wrongdoings. Fiat justitia, ruat caelum.

- I BELIEVE in a deity but my beliefs do not require you to believe them. I BELIEVE that life would be significantly easier if we just kept our beliefs between ourselves and our chosen deities. I also hope that your chosen faith (or lack thereof) brings you happiness and/or peace.

- I BELIEVE that something is wrong when the democratic republic jails more people than the communist dictatorship.

- I BELIEVE that once you have paid your debt to society, society should give you the chance to turn your life around.

- I BELIEVE that if you cannot work or cannot find work, society has a duty to provide for you. I BELIEVE that a humane society does not let it's citizens starve because of their misfortune.

- I BELIEVE that a just society would execute it's citizens only rarely for the most heinous of crimes and with absolute proof of guilt.

- I BELIEVE that justices should, well, administer justice.

- I BELIEVE that the law should be a protector of the weak, not a tool of the powerful.

- I BELIEVE that it is possible to be both a democracy and a republic.

- I DON'T BELIEVE in evolution. It would be like believing in the milkman. I just accept it.

- I BELIEVE that conservatism, as it currently stands, is detrimental to the USA.

- I BELIEVE that our planet is warming and human activity is the main cause. I BELIEVE we can overcome this obstacle.

- I BELIEVE in the capacity of human imagination and ingenuity to overcome any obstacle.

- I BELIEVE that the liklihood of failure is no excuse for giving up the fight.

- I BELIEVE that the search for truth is it's own justification.

- I BELIEVE in the power of one human spirit to change the world.

Here's a few numbers

Amount spent on the combination of Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance: aprox. $2.3 trillion annually and leaves 30-45 million uninsured.

NHS budget (in US dollars): Slightly over $2000 per citizen, per year. 0 uninsured.

Cost to cover entire US population under NHS model (disounting start-up costs): aprox. $600 billion.

Cost to cover entire US population under French model (accepted as world's best and disounting start-up costs): aprox. $900 billion.

Administrative overhead, private insurance: anything up to 30%

Administrative overhead, NHS: 6.8% (unionised staff with pensions and benefits)

There's also the fact that the insurance company is incentivised to reject your claim while the civil servant doesn't care either way, he gets paid the same regardless. Now, setting up a true, single-payer national healthcare program is a huge expense. But that expense means building hospitals and roads to connect them, buying ambulances and medical equipment with the knock-on effect in those industries, staffing those hospitals with not just doctors but nurses, receptionists, janitors, groundskeepers, maintenence staff, canteen staff and someone to run the newsstand. Yes, it's a lot of money but it satisfies Keynesian principles in that it actively creates jobs and puts money in people's pockets (construction at first, obviously). Those people then go out and spend that money, increasing demand and getting the whole system moving again. Plus, you get a shiney new healthcare system that you only have to pay the (quite modest) upkeep from then on. And the whole bloody mess of patchwork coverage and the drag on employers just disappears.

Now, don't misunderstand me. The NHS is by no means perfect and could be improved in several areas (although I don't trust our current government to do anything other than try and kill the old dear). But this is one area where the US coming to the game late could actually work to your advantage. Different nations have different ways of organising, administering and funding their healthcare systems. If the US is serious about true, universal, single-payer healthcare, it would be relatively easy to establish a commission to study the existing systems around the globe, taking the funding mechanism from this one and the drug approval mechanism from that one; mix-and-matching the best parts while avoiding those that don't work so well until you end up with something quite special and uniquely American.
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