The Instigator
TheLibertarian
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
aaltobartok
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

The US should not have universal or publicly funded health care

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/9/2008 Category: Health
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,188 times Debate No: 1602
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (7)

 

TheLibertarian

Pro

For three reasons, I feel that having universal and publicly funded health care in America would not only be detrimental to our economy and our national beliefs, but it would not be efective, and would only harm Americans:

1. There isn't a single government agency or division that runs efficiently; do we really want an organization that developed the U.S. Tax Code handling something as complex as health care?

2. Like social security, any government benefit eventually is taken as a "right" by the public, meaning that it's politically near impossible to remove or curtail it later on when costs get out of control.

3. Patients aren't likely to curb their drug costs and doctor visits if health care is free; thus, total costs will be several times what they are now.

I would like to begin this debate with a quote by a presonal favorite of mine, ecnomist Milton Friedman "History suggests that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom".

My first point, being that there isn't a single government agency or division that runs efficiently; do we really want an organization that developed the U.S. Tax Code handling something as complex as health care? There isn't a single government office that squeezes efficiency out of every dollar the way the private sector can. How about the U.S. income tax system? When originally implemented, it collected 1 percent from the highest income citizens. Look at it today.
A few years back to government published a "Tax Simplification Guide", and the guide itself was over 1,000 pages long! This is what happens when politicians mess with something that should be simple.Think about the Department of Motor Vehicles. This isn't rocket science--they have to keep track of licenses and basic database information for state residents.
However, the costs to support the department are enormous, and when was the last time you went to the DMV and didn't have to stand in a long line? If it can't handle things this simple, how can we expect the government to handle all the complex nuances of the medical system?

My second point deals with how if we go through with public health care, it will become premanent just like social security turned out to be. Dr. Friedman also once said, "Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program."

Social security was originally put in place to help seniors live the last few years of their lives; however, the retirement age of 65 was set when average life spans were dramatically shorter. Now that people are regular living into their 90s or longer, costs are skyrocketing out of control, making the program unsustainable. Despite the fact that all politicians know the system is heading for bankruptcy in a couple decades, no one is rushing to fix it.

When President Bush tried to re-structure it with private accounts, the Democrats ran a scare campaign about Bush's intention to "take away your social security". Even though he promised no change in benefits, the fact that he was proposing change at all was enough to kill the effort, despite the fact that Democrats offered zero alternative plan to fix it. Despite Republican control of the presidency and both houses, Bush was not even close to having the political support to fix something that has to be fixed ASAP; politicians simply didn't want to risk their re-elections. The same pattern is true with virtually all government spending programs.

Do you think politicians will ever be able to cut education spending or unemployment insurance? Only if they have a political death wish. In time, the same would be true of universal health care spending. As costs skyrocket because of government inefficiency and an aging population, politicians will never be able to re-structure the system, remove benefits, or put private practice options back in the system…that is, unless they want to give up hope of re-election. With record debt levels already in place, we can't afford to put in another "untouchable" spending program, especially one with the capacity to easily pass defense and social security in cost.

And now my third and final point states that patients aren't likely to curb their drug costs and doctor visits if health care is free; thus, total costs will be several times what they are now.

Co-pays and deductibles were put in place because there are medical problems that are more minor annoyances than anything else. Sure, it would be nice if we had the medical staff and resources to treat every ache and pain experienced by an American, but we don't. For example, what if a patient is having trouble sleeping? What if a patient has a minor cold, flu, or headache? There are scores of problems that we wouldn't go to a doctor to solve if he had to pay for it; however, if everything is free, why not go? The result is that doctors must spend more time on non-critical care, and the patients that really need immediate help must wait. In fact, for a number of problems, it's better if no medical care is given whatsoever. The body's immune system is designed to fight off infections and other illnesses. It becomes stronger when it can fight things off on its own. Treating the symptoms can prolong the underlying problem, in addition to the societal side effects such as the growing antibiotic resistance of certain infections.

In closing, by establishing free and universal health-care, we will drastically hurt our economy, everything our nation stands for, and it may also harm our actual health, doing the exact opposite thing it tried to do. Thank you.
aaltobartok

Con

I will first refute your points, then make my own. Throughout the debate I am basing my assertions about universal health care plans on Hillary Clinton's plan; as she is the Democratic front-runner (and Obama's is very similar) it is a good platform for what is actually being proposed. What she proposes, in brief, is this:

1. If you have health insurance now, keep it.
2. If you do not, you can:
- buy private insurance direct from an insurer
- buy private insurance through the government (like what Congress gets)
- apply for a subsidized plan. These will be given need-based.
3. Everyone must have health insurance, and all plans must meet certain standards.

"My first point, being that there isn't a single government agency or division that runs efficiently; do we really want an organization that developed the U.S. Tax Code handling something as complex as health care?" It is easy to find examples of any system that does not run well. In fact, publicly funded health care would sidestep this problem by having the government do needs-based subsidizing for lower-income families. In terms of universal health care, Germany is a good example of what happens when it works right, and they spend much less of their GDP per capita on health care than we do.

"My second point deals with how if we go through with public health care, it will become premanent just like social security turned out to be." It is meant to be permanent, as was Social Security. This is a bit of a non-issue.

"And now my third and final point states that patients aren't likely to curb their drug costs and doctor visits if health care is free; thus, total costs will be several times what they are now." The subsidized private plans that lower-income families will be purchasing will cover doctor's visits, of course - just like every other private health insurance plan that is worth its salt.

"In closing, by establishing free and universal health-care, we will drastically hurt our economy, everything our nation stands for, and it may also harm our actual health, doing the exact opposite thing it tried to do. Thank you." You have failed to prove any of these.

And now, for my points.

1. No industrialized nation except for us lacks some sort of universal health care system. It's a basic right. We are the richest nation in the world, and yet 47 million of us lack any health care.

2. No industrialized nation in the world spends more of its GDP per capita on health care than we do. If socialized medicine is so expensive, than why does the rest of the world spend less? Because hospitals transfer the free emergency room costs onto the medicare plans, because medicare cannot negotiate its drug or hospital costs. With a mandate for health care, there will be fewer costs at the hospital level, because everyone will have health insurance. Period.

3. This is not socialized medicine. A true socialist model is single-payer government, this is blatantly not. This is basic subsidization for those in greatest need. Everyone should be able to have access to quality health insurance.
Debate Round No. 1
TheLibertarian

Pro

TheLibertarian forfeited this round.
aaltobartok

Con

I wanted to go into more specifics about the second point that I made in my first argument (about cost and GDP per capita).

Health technology is radically behind almost every other industry. Most medical records are still kept on paper.

Costs will radically decrease if medical records are electronicized.

The most effective way by far to do this is to have everyone have insurance.

The only way to do that is to subsidize it for those who cannot afford it.

The policy writes itself.
Debate Round No. 2
TheLibertarian

Pro

TheLibertarian forfeited this round.
aaltobartok

Con

TheLibertarian has failed to respond to any of my points or ideas; which are, in brief:

1. No industrialized nation except for us lacks some sort of universal health care system. It's a basic right. We are the richest nation in the world, and yet 47 million of us lack any health care.

2. No industrialized nation in the world spends more of its GDP per capita on health care than we do. If socialized medicine is so expensive, than why does the rest of the world spend less? Because hospitals transfer the free emergency room costs onto the medicare plans, because medicare cannot negotiate its drug or hospital costs. With a mandate for health care, there will be fewer costs at the hospital level, because everyone will have health insurance. Period.

3. This is not socialized medicine. A true socialist model is single-payer government, this is blatantly not. This is basic subsidization for those in greatest need. Everyone should be able to have access to quality health insurance.

Thank you for reading.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Wierdkp326 9 years ago
Wierdkp326
Another debate about universal health care, and it turned into a one sided debate because someone stopped arguing. That's upsetting.
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Vote Placed by Idontcare 9 years ago
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