The Instigator
Paradigm_Lost
Pro (for)
Losing
22 Points
The Contender
Tatarize
Con (against)
Winning
33 Points

Socialized medicine is an abysmal failure

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/18/2008 Category: Health
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,531 times Debate No: 4085
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (17)

 

Paradigm_Lost

Pro

We've all heard it before -- socialized medicine is "free" healthcare! Common sense will prevail in this debate, and common sense tells us that nothing in this world is free, LEAST of all, socialized medicine. There are no free lunches. Somebody has to pay, somebody always pays.

I will allow CON to make their claim why society should transition over to socialized medicine before I begin my excoriation.
Tatarize

Con

While socialized medicine is certainly not free and is paid for by taxes it is anything but an abysmal failure. In fact, most of the modern westernized countries the United States is the only one with a non-socialized program.

http://www.kff.org...

The United States pays upwards of $7,000 (the above chart is two years old) per person for heathcare. For this price of nearly $5,000 more per person we receive very little in the way of care not even making the chart for health received.

We pay way more than other countries for way less. We pay triple what Canada does for far less care.
http://www.consumeraffairs.com...

Your only complaint thus far is that it isn't free which is obviously accurate. However the costs could be significantly reduced by going to a medical program controlled by the government. The average administration costs for private programs is about 30% whereas the administration costs for Medicare is 2%. If one wishes to advocate that such programs are not capitalistic they are free to do so. I don't think people should be getting rich screwing over sick people.

It may not be free but it is cheaper, moreover it's better as we can judge by every reliable metric for health among the wealthy industrialized countries.
Debate Round No. 1
Paradigm_Lost

Pro

Thank you for accepting the debate. It looks promising.

I first want to declare that I am by no means satisfied with the current health care situation in America. But then, I'm really not happy with any other health care situation anywhere else in the world either -- including the much touted Canada and England. Here is why:

It's amazing how much under reporting of the problems of European and Canadian health care is going on in America when report after report in their own country shows the growing dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs. Please choose from scores of articles on the subject.

England: http://www.liberty-page.com...

Canada: http://www.liberty-page.com...

If you took the time to read any of the articles, what stands out rather prominently is the sheer lack of care -- the abysmal care that I speak of. People are not being treated by the droves. Why is this happening? It's very simple really. I will list the problems as they exist today.

1. Not enough care: Quite simply, these countries economy do not enough the funding to take on the astronomical costs associated with health care without jeopardizing or detracting from funding for other important programs like military or critical infrastructure.

2. Staff being payed disparaging wages in order to increase care: Doctors and nurses in many European countries have had to suffer serious cutbacks in their pay because the government has to ration care for the supplies and surgeries themselves which invariably leads to inferior care of the patient. Ration care? At most with insurance, you have to pay a nominal co-pay, yet have virtually unlimited access to care at a much lower rate.

3. Inferior care because of lack of enterprise: Supply and demand rule markets and drive prices. The reason American has been so successful for many decades, and why China has finally started becoming successful, is due to capitalist enterprising. Competition is what drives better technology. Why is this? It's because one company has to come out with the very best product in order to make it sell effectively, which is both good for the consumer and the merchant. In a socialist setting, there is NO incentive to quality care. None whatsoever! In fact, it runs in to the very same problem its Big Brother, Communism, ran in to -- more mouths to feed, more patients to care for, means that everyone suffers from the top down. So dead countrymen begins to look like a good place to start in fixing their problems.

5. Free health care my a**: Free... That's what they say. They call it "free." There is absolutely nothing free about free health care. These services are payed by the taxpayers of that country. And like any welfare state, the hard working, healthy people pay for the sick, lame, and lazy -- the very people Stalin, Lenin, and Mao had to destroy in order to make the facade seem feasible. Benefits that exceed the amount of $170 billion costs the public up to $340 billion.

http://www.cato.org...

There is nothing free about these systems. Over HALF of the income of workers in Sweden is taxed. That's an enormous amount. And think about it: How much of that money is actually going to be utilized by the average citizen? Hardly a dime. Most of the money goes to the socially lecherous who don't work, so that you get to pay that free health care. Remember: The only people that truly benefit from free health care are the unemployed, because for them, and only for them, is it truly free.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

In closing, I leave you with one more link that I trust will leave an indelible impression on all who view it. For the benefit of all the readers, I would implore you to watch this short clip, as it elucidates my argument succinctly. Feel free to view the entire series. It is really fascinating.
Tatarize

Con

I'm not saying that the socialized programs of other countries are perfect just that they aren't an abysmal failure. There are certainly pros and cons to any program. The cons in our system is that many people are uninsured and many more are constantly treated poorly by the insurance companies which make massive amounts of money off screwing over sick people. If you're ill and do not have insurance, you're going to go bankrupt or die. You can't get insurance and you can't afford care. For non-critical care people have to wait a couple months. I'm not sure what your definition of "abysmal failure" is but I don't think that exactly qualifies.

It is actually over-reported how problematic they are, they wait in lines a couple months for a hip replacement. We let people die for three times as much!

The United State System:
- Pros:
The United States has some of the best health care in the world. If you're rich.

- Cons:
Most people aren't rich.
Sick people get screwed over.
Insurance companies increase costs across the board.
It costs three times as much.

Socialized medicine:
- Pros:
Costs are kept low.
Covers all citizens.

- Cons:
You sometimes need to wait a bit for non-critical services.

Yeah, if you keep millions of people from having access to services you can get access to those services faster... assuming you can get access at all. You see some "amazing under reporting" when, in fact, actual surveys of satisfaction show that they are quite happy with their services and you're just cherry picking some nonsense from right wing news sources.

Yeah, there are certain things which the US has a major edge in. We have more MRI machines than anybody else, though the for most things even a normal old X-ray works fine. We often use a lot of fancy stuff when even a family doctor could do right by you in about ten minutes for most problems.

1. You argue that they don't give enough care. However at least they have care. Our system suffers from a problem of giving people no care and letting them die. Letting problems fester until they need to go to the ER after it's too late.

2. At most with insurance... if you can get insurance. There's a rather major caveat with our system. Many people don't have insurance and can't get insurance. And you don't have virtually unlimited access to care. Apparently somebody hasn't read their information.

3. America has been quite successful. Competition does drive the creation of better technology. However, that's not what we have. Insurance makes money but selling insurance. The care they give all comes out of the bottom line. It is in the insurance companies best interests to take your money and give you no care whatsoever. If raising bogus claims for a couple months gives you a couple months more to die and forgo that quarter million dollar surgery they are inclined to do it. In fact, according to a number of company insiders... it's company policy. Furthermore, the aspect you cite as good and capitalistic still exists! The technology innovation isn't going to stagnate in a socialized system, because the socialized system isn't producing medical technology. If you invent a new machine which can easily and successfully predict heart problems better than an EKG then you can still sell it. They emphasis of our capitalism in the system isn't getting the cheapest care for the people because everybody has insurance. They are already getting their money whether you're sick or not, to maximize profits they need to minimize care.

Now, what if rather than rely on insurance we simply cover the care directly. Insurance companies make money from people who might get sick. They are best helped by finding the people least likely to get sick and making them pay their money forever and never getting sick or using any services. As well as dropping anybody who is already sick. There's no actual capitalistic forces pushing down the prices and pulling up the services. They just want to do the least they can.

5 (my numbers are reflecting my opponent's numbers and he skipped 4, not I). Yes, the health care is being paid for by taxes rather than being produced magically for kicks. The services are being paid for by the people.

The problem with this argument is that it lacks nuance. You could pay almost nothing in taxes and receive nothing in services. No roads, no fire department, no police, no military, no health care... nothing. You could also pay a nice chunk in taxes and pretty well cover everything you'd need to the point where every cent you earn can be spent on luxuries. Let's say that rather than having a highway system we simply have a large system of toll roads. Sure, you aren't pay the money in taxes but you're paying it in tolls (and then some because toll road systems are making a large profit). Then the fact that you are paying little in taxes for the project is of little concern to you. Similarly look at the current medical system. We pay huge amounts to the insurance companies as well as paid by employers. Medical costs are astronomically high and we're paying roughly three times as much Canada or other socialized systems. Now, consider that about 16% of US medical costs go to health care.

http://www.parapundit.com...

If we were to change the current system we have but change all the insurance company fees and call them taxes then our taxes would skyrocket from the 26.8 (your wikipedia link) to 44.8% (26.8% + 16%). This would put us just above France as #5 on the list. This is without changing anything at all. Just calling the healthcare costs taxes makes us pay as much as France in taxes. You know how much France pays for medical? 10.8% of GDP.

http://www.soulcast.com...

They rate as having the best medical care in the world and pay 60% as much as we do. Simply taking any program whatsoever, even if completely needed, under the auspices of government is going to make the taxes look exceedingly high as any money they take is taxes, even if we pay more for the private program. The end result is you're going to get the same service and pay less money for it... but because that money is paid to the government the program is terrible and evil? The end result is you keep more of your money and it is a bad thing.

-----------------------------------------------

This debate topic is not that the US system is good or even that the US system is not an abysmal failure itself. The topic only refers to universal health care programs by pretty much all the rich westernized countries in the world and the question as to whether or not those are abysmal failures. So far, my opponent has pointed out that they result in increased taxes and longer lines.

1) Taxes are the funds we pay the government. Yes, the healthcare would be paid for by the government out of our taxes dollars. But, in reality this isn't any different than having the healthcare paid for by the insurance companies out of our insurance dollars. Save the massive difference that the government wouldn't be making massive amounts of profits and would be giving services exactly equal to the money taken in.

2) There are lines for non-critical services. It's true, there are lines for non-critical services. These are, however, non-critical services. As much as they would like getting you in for surgery the same week you come in, sometimes it can take a couple months. We pay about 60% more than France which has the best healthcare in the world. So, if we simply tossed some excess money at the problem of lines it would go away. I mean, we're tossing a lot more money than other countries at healthcare and getting screwed over... certainly we could fix these problems as well.

Abysmal failure? I don't think so.
Debate Round No. 2
Paradigm_Lost

Pro

I just wanted to thank my opponent for taking the debate. I am looking forward to the reply and any future debates we might have.

"The cons in our system is that many people are uninsured and many more are constantly treated poorly by the insurance companies which make massive amounts of money off screwing over sick people."

While I am no friend of insurance companies for many reasons, this is a gross exaggeration. First and foremost, what makes for a failsafe are the checks and balances system. What do I mean? Insurance companies, like all businesses, compete with one another for your business. It is in their best interests to provide the very best coverage for the lowest amount possible, otherwise they will lose your business. Aside from which, also like any other business, they are held liable by contractual agreement to pay for the coverage both advertised and purchased by a client. To breech that contract is career suicide for the company due to litigation costs which end up being more costly than it would simply to provide the coverage promised.

"If you're ill and do not have insurance, you're going to go bankrupt or die."

This is not true. There are homeless people out there who choose that lifestyle because it is the least amount of responsibility possible. When I was in the health care industry, we never turned down any one seeking medical care, which cost the hospital and their insurance providers a small fortune. And when I say we provided them care, this was for quite a few people were seen in my emergency room, literally, every night. A free meal, a warm and free place to sleep off the hangover, and then they were right back out the door to do it all over again. They were never turned away, even in spite of me having to fight them, have them throw food, urine, and feces at me, etc, etc. Good times.

"The United State System:
- Pros: The United States has some of the best health care in the world. If you're rich."

Nonsense. I'm dirt poor and have insurance. Provided, I'm in the military again right now, and that is given to me for free, however when I was not, I was able to have insurance. Here is where the two systems are backwards. Insurance companies expect you to pay for minor things through, say, a $100 dollar deductible. But if you need critical surgery, you can have that almost as instantly as the problem was diagnosed. With the socialist system, they will pay for these little visits no problem, saving you a measly $60 bucks, but you may NEVER get a chance to have that critical surgery because you will die before you can even be seen! So which is worse? A deductible or death?

And what is the truth about the uninsured in America, by and large?

http://www.freemarketcure.com...

"what if rather than rely on insurance we simply cover the care directly."

Because its TOO costly! There is overwhelming evidence of this... Plus, you end up paying far more in taxes for something you probably will never need, rather than paying a nominal fee for something you may never need. If they are rationing medical care, there is a problem. Your plan proposes to offer WELFARE, while a non-socialist system offers HEALTH CARE.

I don't expect the government to pamper me from cradle to grave, and neither did the founding fathers. If you want less government intrusion, then stop voting for Big Government.

A must read: http://www.cato.org...

What are some solutions? The undesirable aspects of the current system are not the result of the free market, but rather are the outcome of decades of governmental intervention in the health-care industry. Elimination of that intervention would shift power and responsibility from impersonal bureaucracies to consumers. The resulting free market, characterized by prudent consumers spending their own money, would control costs and let the American people have the kind of medical care they want.

"Some "reforms" go even further in the wrong direction and call for a Canadian-type system, which would make the government the sole health insurer in the land. But the results of the Canadian system are exactly what we would expect of government control. Bureaucratic planning has created shortages, rationing, and long lines for service. For example, Canada has 11 heart surgery facilities, one for every 2.3 million people. In the United States there are 793 facilities, one for every 300,000. The wait for a coronary-bypass operation can last from four months to a year in Canada. Bureaucratic strangulation has also prompted a significant number of doctors to emigrate or take early retirement. The system has failed to even control health-care costs; the growth in spending for Canada and the United States is almost the same."

Source: http://www.amatecon.com...

"Consider the recent British controversy over a cancer patient who tried to get an appointment with a specialist, only to have it canceled—48 times. More than 1 million Britons must wait for some type of care, with 200,000 in line for longer than six months. In France, the supply of doctors is so limited that during an August 2003 heat wave—when many doctors were on vacation and hospitals were stretched beyond capacity—15,000 elderly citizens died. Across Europe, state–of–the–art drugs aren't available. And so on.

Single–payer systems—confronting dirty hospitals, long waiting lists and substandard treatment—are starting to crack, however. Canadian newspapers are filled with stories of people frustrated by long delays for care. Many Canadians, determined to get the care they need, have begun looking not to lotteries—but to markets."

Source: http://www.manhattan-institute.org...

Over, and over, and over again, we see huge flaws in the system which would be VASTLY worse in the United States because of the size of the population. Canada doesn't even have 1/3 the population the United States does. And considering that because America is a capitalist society, THIS is the only reason why so much revenue exists in this country. Taking away trillions of dollars in privatized medicine and dumping it in to a government already well over a trillion dollars in debt is ludicrous and foolhardy, to say the least. The United States citizens would suffer tremendously under the socialist system, as if we needed any more undeniable facts pointing to it's abject failure in other countries.

In closing, socialized medicine does not work. It's no different than looking at USPS versus FedEx. Privatized business' run more efficiently because they have vested interests. And that makes for better quality. The same principle applies to health care, and really, why would we expect anything less? Communism, and its little brother, socialism, have proven with unimpeachable evidence, that their system ends as an abysmal failure.

For these reasons, vote PRO!
Tatarize

Con

The US system is far from perfect and even the good parts are often complete crap. We are however discussing as a topic socialized medicine.

You make good arguments that I am being overzealous in pointing out the wrong with the US system but then you turn around and argue that socialized medicine will save you 60 bucks and kill you. You are sometimes asked to wait for non-critical surgery. They aren't going to put you on a waiting list to save your life. If you need a hip replaced and are simply in a bit of pain until then they might make you wait, but for critical surgery you don't.

We pay three times as much as Canada and you're saying that single payer is "too costly"? Then to add an even less cogent statements to your already pretty long list you note that you'll end up paying for the services even if you don't use them. What the hell do you suppose insurance is? Welfare is a specific program whereas universal healthcare is still healthcare. Even if you don't ever need the fire department you still pay for it. Are you going to argue that it's welfare for pyros?

Universal healthcare isn't about being pampered it's about getting a critical service that everybody needs. I'm against the government doing anything with luxuries or to an extent giving money directly to people. Healthcare is simply something everybody uses and uses fairly equally (or very well might).

I'm opposed to government intrusion and Big government, it's one of the reasons why I vote democratic. Every time a republican gets into office the government starts spying on the citizens and the government explodes. Outside of Clinton (the only Democratic Administration I've known) it's been all debt building government growing Republicans.

The problems with the health-care industry is largely that it's a profit industry and sick people will pay whatever you ask. There's very little government intrusion in the health-care industry. Should I pay 200,000 dollars I don't have or let my daughter die? Let's weigh the pros and cons.

In Canada you can get health insurance to cover some additional stuff if you want or get faster services if need be. It simply isn't often worthwhile. But that would allow for some benefits across the board.

Paying a third as much for healthcare isn't required. We could pay half as much and get better quality healthcare. Typically though that's enough to cover what they need to cover. Canadians aren't dropping dead due to lack of care. Americans, however, are.

The US government is 10 trillion dollars in debt. We haven't been only a trillion in debt since Reagan tripled the national debt.

----------------------

We pay three times as much for less in the way of services. If you're already sick you can't get insurance and without insurance you can't get care. Insurance providers will happily drop you for any number of bogus reasons and promptly reject claims. The majority of US doctors favor switching over to a universal healthcare program and those westernized countries with universal care (read all of them but us) are quite happy with their care.

Some services have a waiting list if those services can wait. We could pay a bit more and overcome that issue if need be. However nothing you've said comes to proving the point required by the topic. Socialized medicine is not an abysmal failure. It has some pros and some cons. That isn't an abysmal failure in anybody's book.

We have one of the worst healthcare systems imaginable whereas all of the best systems are socialized. That seems to be counter-indicative of the topic.

Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Paradigm_Lost 8 years ago
Paradigm_Lost
"When I was in the health care industry, we never turned down any one seeking medical care, which cost the hospital and their insurance providers a small fortune."

I'll give you a for instance: For people in health care they are bound by a law referred to as "duty to act." You and I are not subject to that law because we are protected by the Good Samaritans Act. Most ambulance companies these days, for instance, are privatized. Many ambulance companies are going out of business because they are picking up people who don't have insurance. That means the insurance company who insures the ambulance company, or the ambulance company themselves, have to pay. In essence they are being extorted by people who refuse to work.

A diabetic attack and intoxication look very similar. Medics, by law in most places in the US, have to treat street drunks as if they were diabetics and take them to the hospital. These people are not insured, yet they are treated without any serious expectation of repayment.

My reason for mentioning it was to counter my opponents assertion that in the US if you have no insurance that you are left to die. That isn't true.
Posted by Ragnar_Rahl 8 years ago
Ragnar_Rahl
"In fact, most of the modern westernized countries the United States is the only one with a non-socialized program.
"

Wrong. It has a partially socialized program. This is a cause of a lot of problems, because the parts that aren't socialized have the added burden of being the engine to prop up not only our system but all the other one's as well.

"Yes, the healthcare would be paid for by the government out of our taxes dollars. But, in reality this isn't any different than having the healthcare paid for by the insurance companies out of our insurance dollars."

True to a certain extent. It is not different than paying for it by the PRESENT insurance system, because the present insurance system is under state control (it is officially "private" but the laws dictate specifically what insurance types can and must be offered, and subsidized banks prop up the companies that go into it, etc.). It is however different from paying for free market insurance, because a. there is no force, b. frankly no insurance company would be stupid enough to offer such an inefficient structure of insurance as the current one if it weren't legally required to do so in order to operate. Indeed, prior to laws dictating otherwise, insurance only covered highly unusual, expensive situations, and thus the bulk of health care costs were out-of-pocket (causing health care to actually be economized). Inflated health care costs exist because the healthy are required to subsidize the unhealthy (both through insurance companies and through the fact that emergency rooms are a slave to anyone who comes regardless of ability to pay, etc.)

I will not of course be voting on this debate :D
Posted by brittwaller 8 years ago
brittwaller
Well-argued, guys. It's always a pleasure to read a debate between two of the more eloquent debaters on the site.

I am, however, curious about what you said here, paradigm: "When I was in the health care industry, we never turned down any one seeking medical care, which cost the hospital and their insurance providers a small fortune."

While this is true in the vast majority of cases, is it not sometimes the insurance companies' own fault? Take my example: I was in the restaurant industry for some time, so I paid for insurance and got a <cough> fair deal. But I have epilepsy and have had it all of my life. The provider covered my first hospitalization, but afterward cut me off from coverage as that was a "pre-existing condition." I continued to work for a while, even though my condition gradually grew worse, and eventually had to go into the hospital again for some time. Wouldn't it have been at least somewhat better for the insurance company to still cover me, and have me pay for the coverage instead of completely denying it, so that something could be paid to the hospital on my second go-around? Now there is little possibility that the hospitals will get anything for their treatment, and it is no mean amount.
Posted by Tatarize 8 years ago
Tatarize
Anti-capitalistic my gosh! While my house is burning I should have a long talk about a payment plan with the fire chief before they get to work.

Similarly, when I come into the ER with a bullet hole I should have to argue about payment right there. I mean that is the system we'd have without the anti-capitalistic laws requiring that they treat me enough that I don't die before then asking for payment. They usually end up taking a lot of losses that way anyhow.
Posted by MaxHayslip 8 years ago
MaxHayslip
Well done, I'd love to debate you again but I completely agree with your stance.

Socialized Medicine is anti-capitalistic.
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