Sunday, January 08, 2006

Medical Tough Love

In an interesting piece in Slate, economist Steven E. Landsburg argues that it wasn't wrong when a Florida hospital unplugged a poor woman from a ventilator when she couldn't pay her medical bills even though she later died. "Economic considerations are the basis of true compassion," he wrote. According to Mr. Landsburg, if the woman had been offered the choice between buying "ventilator insurance" and buying food, she would probably have chosen food, therefore why should society be stuck with her medical bill? I couldn't agree more. I think this is an idea that should be expanded and may even solve our health care crisis. Imagine if instead of having to buy insurance for diseases we will never get, we bought insurance only for diseases we might get. Think of the savings. For example, I have been vaccinated for polio so it's unlikely I'll ever get polio. Right now my insurance premiums go to pay for other people who do get polio, who really should have gotten vaccinated. Is that fair? Why should I pay for expensive drugs for gay people who get AIDS? A much better system would be to have insurance companies sell insurance for different diseases individually. For example, I could elect to buy cancer insurance or heart disease insurance but pass on Avian Flu insurance. The money I might have spent on buying Avian flu insurance that I would never use could go to buying an Ipod or something else I might need. Of course, if I did get Avian flu, a hospital would be perfectly within its rights to turn me away, but that's the risk I took. This kind of a la carte insurance could be applied across the entire industry. Someone in the Midwest, for example, wouldn't want to pay for tsunami insurance, but someone living on the coast might. If people want to live on the coast, that's fine, but they should pay for the risk they assume and not expect other people to pay for it. Instead of buying just car insurance people could buy "rear-end-collision insurance" and "drunk-driver insurance" and "brakes-giving-out insurance."

I must say, Mr. Landsburg was very brave to write this article considering that the media and academia are controlled by liberals who might not like what he has to say. Liberals can be pretty vindicative and no doubt some might think he should be fired from Slate or lose his teaching job at the University of Rochester. Hopefully, he will not suffer economically for it because it would be a tragedy if someday he ended up in the hospital and was unable to pay his bills. But I'm sure if that happened, he wouldn't want to be a burden on the rest of us.

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Roger Sizemore said...

Is this blog some sort of satire, or are you serious?

Jon Swift said...

I'm not from Texas so I don't see how you could call me a Texas dumbass.

Jeremy said...

I was thinking the same thing. Jon..are you in fact retarded or trying to be funny. The line between the two is often blurred in life, so I'm asking the question seriously.

I have to assume the former, and made a quick blog about your site on mine. All I can say is wow.

Jeremy said...

I'm sorry..I read the rest of the site. You're not retarded. You're actually extremely funny. I kinda wish you were a conservative so I could update my thesis, "conservatives are fucking morons" on my own free time. Sorry about the mix up!

Anonymous said...

Dear Joe Dumass,
Your not just a Dumbass but a silly smartass Dumbass. I'm not sure if you're going to understand what I mean but don't really have the time to explain. Plus, my Dad always told me, "Don't ever argue with an idiot because no one can tell who the idiot is!"
PS Is Jeremy also a Dumass, like a brother or cousin?

Anonymous said...

You are great. Caught you on a Kos open thread. Good work.

Anonymous said...

Challenge: who was the historical Jonathan Swift? Does anybody in America know their own or other countries' histories anymore? Speaking of Dumbasses.

Who wrote this: "Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither?"

Have the humility to learn a factoid or two before you go off. Those of you who think you know it all (tyrannical neo-cons) are very annoying to those of us who do.

Good work, "Jon!" Be a thorn in the side of the ignorant.

Anonymous said...

Alas, satire is lost on most people these days. As a great defender of our Canadian healthcare system I appreciate your Swiftian take on selfish Americans. I feel for those tenderheaded readers who missed not only the allusion to Swift in your name but also the fact that the majority of your post above is quoted material (not your own words). Perhaps if North Americans spent more time reading and less time watching American Idol we wouldn't find ourselves in this terrible mess (i.e., the increasing divide between rich and poor, a capitalist healthcare system, a culture of widespread and systematic racism, two terms of a war mongering, idiot president, etc, etc , etc). If only it was all a reality television show.

Anonymous said...

This can not be for real. This blog is some sort of satire, right?
You can't be serious

Roger Sizemore said...

You are the bomb.
I hadn't checked back on you because it slipped my mind.
I see.
Great stuff.
Frightening times when so many have to ask if you're serious.

best shop for your said...

No doubt, the chap is totally fair.

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