The Instigator
IndependentTruth
Pro (for)
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The Contender
Logical-Master
Con (against)
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The United States should adopt Universal Healthcare

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/26/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,035 times Debate No: 78133
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
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IndependentTruth

Pro

Restarting this debate because my opponent forfeited the last one.

1st round is for accepting the debate
2nd round is to argue points
3rd round is for rebuttals
4th round is for further rebuttals and closing statements


Definitions:

Universal Healthcare:

Universal health care, sometimes referred to as universal health coverage, universal coverage, or universal care, usually refers to a health care system which provides health care and financial protection to all citizens of a particular country. It is organized around providing a specified package of benefits to all members of a society with the end goal of providing financial risk protection, improved access to health services, and improved health outcomes.
Logical-Master

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
IndependentTruth

Pro

Thank you Con, I look forward to an interesting debate.

In my argument, I'd like to lay out the multitudes of ways in which a Universal Health Care system, which we can see in countries like the United Kingdom, Sweden, Japan, and pretty much every other industrialized nation in the world, is superior to the health care system we have at this time or at any time before.

C1: More people get more affordable coverage

As it stands right now, 12.9% of the United States' population is uninsured. [1] The main reason for this surprisingly high number? According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, "In 2013, 61% of uninsured adults said the main reason they were uninsured was because the cost was too high or because they had lost their job." The simple fact is that people don't have the money to pay for the extremely high costs of health care in America. Staggeringly. medical bankruptcies account for 57.1% of all bankruptcies in the U.S., and a 2013 study estimated that 56 million Americans would have trouble paying their medical bills. [2] As it stands, the United States pays $2.9 trillion a year on health care.



The solution to this problem is Universal Health Care. A study done by Health affairs analyzed 26,000 low income individuals before and after enrollment in a community health program in Richmond. After three years, total costs per capita dropped from $8,899 to $4,569 with concurrent drops in the number of ER visits (25%) and increased primary care visits (50%). [3] The reason for this is quite simply - prevention. When a patient has no health insurance and suffers a serious injury, a hospital is required to treat that person whether or not they can pay their medical bills - this is the cause of the extremely large number of medical bankruptcies we see in the United States. By providing government subsidised healthcare to those who are unable to buy it on their own, money is actually saved through a decrease in medical debt and ER visits. Additionally, a detailed analysis of the Universal Health Care system implemented in Taiwan in 1995 concluded that "Taiwan’s single-payer NHI system enabled Taiwan to manage health spending inflation and that the resulting savings largely offset the incremental cost of covering the previously uninsured. Under the NHI, the Taiwanese have more equal access to health care, greater financial risk protection, and equity in health care financing...Evidence from the first half-decade of universal coverage in Taiwan suggests that overall costs do not rise because of increased use of services." [4] As the study concluded, the protection given by Universal Health Care completely offsets any cost of subsiding insurance for those without coverage, and provides financial risk protection and equity in health care financing. More people are covered and the government doesn't lose any money. It's a win-win.

C2: Universal Health Care saves and prolongs lives

According to a 2009 study from Harvard researchers, "lack of health insurance is associated with as many as 44,789 deaths per year," which translates into a 40% increased risk of death among the uninsured. [5] Another study found that more than 13,000 deaths occur each year just in the 55-64 year old age group due to lack of health insurance coverage. [6] A 2011 Commonweath Fund study found that due to a lack of timely and effective health care, the United States ranked at the bottom of a list of 16 rich nations in terms of preventable mortality. [7] In Italy, Spain, France, Australia, Israel, and Norway, all countries with a right to health care, people live two to three years longer than people in the United States. If we look at countries that have implemented a universal care system as oppossed to the United States, we can see that their healthcare is ranked drastically higher in almost every aspect, including health care quality, access, efficiency, equity, as well as indicators of healthy lives such as infant mortality.



Additionally, a study done by the OECD found that the United States ranks 42nd in life expectancy, behind almost every other industrialized nation the world, despite paying more money in health coverage per capita then all of them. In comparison to countries that have implemented Universal Health Care, the United States definitely falls far, far behind.




C3: Universal Health Care benefits economic productivity

A Mar. 2012 study by researchers at the Universities of Colorado and Pennsylvania showed that workers with health insurance miss an average of 4.7 fewer work days than employees without health insurance. [8] According to an Institute of Medicine report, the US economy loses $65-$130 billion annually as a result of diminished worker productivity, due to poor health and premature deaths, among the uninsured. [9] Universal Health Care gives workers the ability to treat small problems before they become big, and as research has shown, reduces sick days and increases worker productivity.

Additionally, a study from the Council of Economic Advisers found that health care reform would benefit the economy in multitudes of ways:
  • "Slowing the growth rate of health care costs will prevent disastrous increases in the Federal budget deficit."
  • "Expanding health insurance coverage to the uninsured would increase net economic well-being by roughly $100 billion a year, which is roughly two-thirds of a percent of GDP."
  • "Reform would likely increase labor supply, remove unnecessary barriers to job mobility, and help to "level the playing field" between large and small businesses." [10]
The evidence points to the fact that the lower health insurance costs and the more people who are health and covered, the better an economy performs.

C4: Universal Health Care creates jobs

Health care in America as is costs more than 17% percent of the GDP. Most of that money -- about 54 percent -- comes from the private sector. That's $1.13 trillion dollars that American companies are spending on health care each and every year. This is more than the national budgets of France, Canada and the UK combined.



With a universal health care system, companies would keep that money and would have a healthier and more productive work force, along with other economic benefits. For example, job lock occurs when people stay at their current job solely for the health care benefits paid by their employers. One study showed that, in California alone, in 2002 job lock affected 179,000 people, with $772 million in foregone productivity. [11]

Not only does universal health care stimulate industry, but it creates massive amounts of jobs in the health care sector. The growth in jobs produced through the health care industry has been astonishing in recent years, adding 2.6 million jobs. [12]




Conclusion:

Universal Health Care has innumerable benefits over our current health care system. These being:

  • Providing more people with insurance coverage
  • Lowering public and private spending on healthcare
  • Increasing economic productivity through preventative coverage and removing unnecessary barriers to job mobility
  • Increasing societal health and life span
  • Saving lives
  • Creating jobs in the health care sector
  • Lowering the federal deficit
Sources:

http://kff.org... [1]

http://www.nerdwallet.com... [2]

http://www.truth-out.org...[3]

http://content.healthaffairs.org... [4]

Andrew P. Wilper, Steffie Woolhandler, Karen E. Lasser, and Danny McCormick, et al., "Health Insurance and Mortality in US Adults," American Journal of Public Health, Dec. 2009 [5]

J. Michael McWilliams, Alan M. Zaslavsky, Ellen Meara and John Z. Ayanian, "Health Insurance Coverage and Mortality among the Near-Elderly," Health Affairs, July 2004 [6]

Kimberly J. Morgan, "America's Misguided Approach to Social Welfare," foreignaffaris.com, Jan-Feb. 2013 [7]

Allan Dizioli and Roberto Pinheiro, "Health Insurance as a Productive Factor," tippie.uiowa.edu, Mar. 2012 [8]

Board on Health Care Services (HCS) and Institute of Medicine (IOM), "Hidden Costs, Value Lost: Uninsurance in America," nap.edu, 2003 [9]

https://www.whitehouse.gov... [10]

http://www.huffingtonpost.com... [11]

http://www.theatlantic.com... [12]
Logical-Master

Con


Pursuant to the instigator’s own debate format, I’m going to spend this round building an affirmative case against the resolution and will spend my remaining rounds offering rebuttals and closing arguments.


Let me start by saying that I wholeheartedly agree with my opponent about their being a problem with the United States healthcare system. However, as opposed adopting Universal Healthcare, I submit to you, members of DDO, that the United States should adopt Free Market Healthcare. What is Free Market Healthcare you ask? It is a healthcare system that treats healthcare precisely like the beast that it is: A commodity.[Ex1]


“But I thought healthcare was a human right, a social need”, someone reading this debate will no doubt express. Nope. Like automobiles and brick housing, healthcare is simply a product or service. It can certainly make life easier (or as my opponent expressed, longer), but it is no different than the countless other products and services out there that have made life great and those certainly have gotten by just fine with complete government control.


The instigator is absolutely correct when he tells us that the reason a lot of people cannot afford health insurance is because the cost of healthcare is too high. However, the reason prices are so high is not because we don’t have Universal Healthcare. Rather, our healthcare system is not truly a free market system, basically a third-party payer system greatly regulated and incentivized by the federal government, where we rely on someone else to pay most of our bills, i.e., we use "insurance" that is funded mostly by corporations and the government.


The problem with this system is fairly straightforward. As Milton Friedman puts it, there are four ways to spend money. [Ex2].



  • Category I: “You spend your money on something for yourself. Here you are very careful, because it is your money, and the good or service you are buying is for you.” [Ex2].

  • Category II: “You spend your money on something for someone else. Here you have the same incentive as in Category I to economize, but since you are buying something for someone else, you are not quite as meticulous when it comes to the purchase meeting the needs or values of the recipient.” [Ex2].

  • Category III: “You spend someone else’s money on something for yourself. Here you are not concerned about how much you spend, because it is not your money. But because you are spending on yourself, you make sure you are getting what you want.” [Ex2].

  • Category IV: “You spend someone else’s money on something for yet another person or persons. (This is what we ask our legislative representatives to do every day.) Here you are the least incentivized to economize, or to buy something that meets the needs or values of the recipient.” [Ex2].


Third parties, the government and private insurance companies, operate under category IV. They use other people’s money (i.e. taxes or premiums paid into risk pools) not to reach the best price possible, but just to reach a price that is “good enough.” What’s good enough for lobbyist and special interest group is all too often what’s good enough for the government. What’s good enough to compete with rival insurance companies is what’s good enough for private insurance companies.


The problem is that there’s no real negotiation going on with the actual healthcare providers. Consumers have little to no reason to negotiate with the actual healthcare providers, much less seriously consider where they can get the best deal. After all, under this system, their concerns end at out of pocket expenses. As a result, we have rampantly high healthcare costs.




[Ex4]


As you can plainly see, the percentage of healthcare expenditures from the United States GDP has been rapidly rising since the 50s




[Ex4]


And as the expenditures have increased, out of pocket expenses have decreased and private and government health insurance expenditures have increased.


Now imagine a system that revolves around the Category I method of spending money. Oh wait, you don’t have to imagine. Healthcare is a commodity, remember? Over the past 100 years, we have significant cost reductions in all sorts of products that we take for granted. Automobiles, air conditioning, video games, television sets, washer machines, computers, etc etc. All of this happened without the need of having someone else foot bill via insurance and healthcare can be the same. Even the poorest Americans own items today they would have never been able to afford years ago.[Ex5].



The instigator’s method of fixing this system is to give the healthcare industry over to a government that isn’t even enough competent enough to put together a mere website despite months of preparation and trillions of taxpayer dollars at their helm.[Ex6]


Rather than do that, I propose Americans attempt treating healthcare like they do every commodity. But instead of leaving most things up to insurance providers, lets given the actual healthcare providers reason to compete with each other. Let us given consumers reason to go out and find the best deal. Do that and like every other commodity on the list I provided, it will quickly become readily affordable to even the poorest of Americans.




[Ex1] http://www.conservativeblog.org...


[Ex 2]http://reason.com...


[Ex4] http://www.cato.org...



[Ex5] http://www.heritage.org...


[Ex6] http://www.nbcnews.com...


Debate Round No. 2
IndependentTruth

Pro

Thank you Con - we will now move into the rebuttals phase.

In Con's arguments, he makes the case for Free Market Health care, using the following contentions:

1) Health care is a commodity and should be treated as such

2) High health care costs in America are due to government intervention, and costs would be lower under Free Market Health care

3) The government isn't competent enough to handle Universal Health care

This round I would like to take the time to rebut these claims and reinforce my own contentions..

R1: Health care is not necessarily a commodity

Con argues that health care is a commodity and thus should be free from government intervention and be treated as any other private enterprise. Now, I would like to pose the question - who would you feel more comfortable handling your health care: a government meant to serve its people, or a private company meant to make a profit? I do not wish to make the case that health care is a right, as that is not necessarily the point of this debate, but I would still like to make the point that treating health care as a commodity is dangerous. It incentivises health care companies to care more about the profits they make then the lives and well being of their customers.

It doesn't take much research to find the many instances of private health care companies disregarding the well-being of their consumers in order to make a profit. Before the Affordable Care Act was passed, rescission was a severe flaw in the United States' primarily free health care market. "Rescission -- the technical term for canceling coverage on grounds that the company was misled -- is often considered among the most offensive practices in an insurance industry that already suffers from a distinct lack of popularity among the American public." [1] Under rescission, Health Care companies cancel the policies of those who are found to violate their contracts in the smallest of ways, for example, forgetting to mention your husband having high cholesterol when you desperately need gallbladder surgery. [1] Luckily, the ACA bans the practice of rescission unless in cases of obvious fraud, but this still conveys a very important theme - under Free Market Health care, the incentive is on the profit, and not the consumer.

R2: There is no correlation between Free Market Health care and lowered costs -- there is a correlation between Universal Health care and lowered costs

Con argues that under Free Market Health care, the price of health care will drop as companies compete and change their rates. The problem with this theory, however, is that the demand for health care is inelastic. Even if rates are high, the demand for health care will not change - this means many things. It means that the cost of health care would still remain high because demand would remain high. It also means that efficiency could decline in the free market system because health care providers would still benefit from high inelastic demand even when healthcare efficiency and quality remain low. [2] Thus, it is imperative for the government to impose regulation of cost of health care, and ensure quality of services.

Above all else, however, the bottom line is that there is no concrete evidence that a Free Market Health care system is more efficient or less expensive than Universal Health care. As Paul Krugman, American economist and Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University stated, "There are...no examples of successful health care based on the principles of the free market, for one simple reason: in health care, the free market just doesn’t work." [3] It doesn't take much research to see the plentiful benefits of a single-payer universal health care system -- lowered costs through preventative care, higher quality and more efficient medical care, more people covered, less deaths caused directly due to lack of medical care, higher economic productivity, and the list goes on and on. Compare the United States' Health care system with any other major industrialized nation on Earth and we can see how truly behind we are.



The logical thing to do would be to go forwards, not backwards.


R3: The government IS competent enough to handle Universal Health Care

This is, with all due respect, one of Con's weakest points. To conclude from the initial failure of the Affordable Care Act's website that the government is completely inept and unable to handle the burden of Universal Health care is absurd. Think of everything the government manages -- Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs, Environmental Protections, the list continues on. [5] There is no evidence to suggest that Universal Health care is less efficient than any other system.

So, to conclude, in no definite way is a Free Market Health care system superior to a Universal Health care system, nor has it ever been proven to be. The Free Market Health care system suffers from major flaws, including the inability to drive down costs due to the inelasticity of health care demand, incentive for profit, complete independence from government intervention in cases of crisis or need of subsidies, and lack of incentive to innovate and improve medical quality. [6]

In contrast, a Universal Health Care system provides innumerable benefits over our current healthcare system or a Free Market health care system, including:
providing more people with insurance coverage, lowering public and private spending on healthcare, increasing economic productivity through preventative coverage and removing unnecessary barriers to job mobility, increasing societal health and life span, saving lives, creating jobs in the health care sector, and lowering the federal deficit. The simple fact is that a single-payer Universal Health care is an objectively better system.

Sources:

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com...

[2] http://panmore.com...

[3] http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com...

[4] http://www.pnhp.org...

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org...

[6] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...




Logical-Master

Con

PRO’s CASE REBUTTAL

C1: More people get more affordable coverage


PRO believes Universal Health Care (UHC) offers people affordable healthcare coverage. Under a UHC system, people may indeed have affordable coverage, but there a multitude of tradeoffs that make this benefit not worthwhile.

For example, PRO spends a lot of his time telling us about the glory of the Taiwanese healthcare system, but upon closer inspection, it becomes abundantly that there healthcare model is one the United States ought to reject. For starters, the Taiwanese government is not actually able to pay for the system. Instead, it addition to the taxes it collects from the Taiwanese people, Taiwan also relies upon constant borrowing from banks “to pay what there isn’t enough to pay providers.”[Ex1] Clinics and small size hospitals have diminished and the nation’s provider payment scheme has resulted in a serious shortage of doctors throughout some divisions.[Ex2] Doctors are encouraged to use less effectives treatments as well as spend very little time with patients in an effort to save money.[Ex3] A great example of the latter is a Taiwanese doctor who would spend 84 seconds on average diagnosing his patients.[Ex4]

Using the Taiwanese Universal 84 Second health Care system as an example, PRO tells us that “more people are covered and the government doesn't lose any money. It's a win-win.” Borrowing from banks isn’t saving money by any standard and more people are certainly covered, but at the cost of diminished healthcare quality.

C2: Universal Health Care saves and prolongs lives

I’m not really defending the current healthcare system in the US, so much of what PRO says doesn’t apply. However, PRO’s comparison of the life expectancy in the US vs other countries is fallacious at best. Life expectancy boils down to multiple factors “unrelated to healthcare, such as unintentional injury and homicide.”[Ex5] It’s been determined that “when accounting for these two factors, life expectancy in America is comparable to that of Canada and England.”[Ex5] The rationale for the US being ranked so low in healthcare as compared to other countries is also without merit.[Ex6]

That being said, does healthcare prolong and save lives? Absolutely. Really, I’m not going to deny that. What I do take issue with is PRO’s position on the extent to which UHC saves and prolongs. It is complete contrast to years of data on the issue. According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, in just one year alone, “71 Ontario patients died while waiting for coronary bypass surgery and over one hundred more became medically unfit for surgery.”[Ex7] One woman had “an enormous tumour and fluid totalling 18 kilograms, [but that] massive weight gain and a diagnosis of ovarian cancer could [not] assure her timely treatment in Canada.”[Ex8].

In the UK, up to 500 heart patients die each year while waiting on their healthcare system’s waiting list.[Ex9]. The British government threatened one of its citizens, telling her that she “will be denied free National Health Service treatment for breast cancer if she seeks to improve her chances by paying privately for an additional drug.”[Ex10] In one year alone, “nearly 900,000 Britons [were] waiting for admission to National Health Service hospitals, and shortages force the cancellation of more than 50,000 operations each year.”[Ex11] A great deal of Swedish people “suffer chronic pain” while waiting as long as 25 weeks just for some heart surgery or an entire year just for hip replacement surgery.[Ex11]

I could spend 20 lengthy debates just informing you about the atrocities suffered by individuals in other nations with UHC. Really, there’s no shortage of information on this issue. If you carefully consider the above examples and what we talked about in regards to Taiwan, what you see is the result of faceless unaccountable bureaucrats running healthcare. Having more healthcare coverage certainly does help lives, but imagine if we had a system that could do this exponentially better.

C3: Universal Health Care benefits economic productivity

PRO’s makes conclusions based on insufficient data. First, I think having health insurance can play a role in the amount of days you miss work, but I don’t see anything that leads us to the conclusion the having UHC would bring about this result. If anything, having anything similar to the wretched wait lines I discussed above would result in the exact opposite. Second, the US economy may very well lose $65-$130 billion due to poor health and premature deaths, but how much would we be losing under a system where poor health and premature deaths is a built in function, per waitlines and other methods of rationing? How much would we be losing out of the plethora of lawsuits against the federal government that are sure to ensue under such a system in a culture as litigious as the United States?

PRO jumps the gun by presenting a 2009 study from the Council of Economic Advisers under president Obama, who maintains that healthcare reform slows the growth rate of the federal budget deficit, expands economic well-being by 100 billion each year and increases labor supply. Fortunately, we live in 2015, thus can assess for ourselves the legitimacy of this study by assessing the president’s own healthcare reform, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). First, the president’s healthcare reform is actually increasing the deficit [Ex12]. Second, the US economy is expanding at a very sluggish pace.[Ex13] Third, workforce participation is lower than it has been in decades.[Ex14]. PRO’s study sounds great on paper, but when implemented in reality, we see contrary results.

C4: Universal Health Care creates jobs


PRO points out that America spends more on healthcare than the national budgets, Canada and UK combined. This is yet another fallacious comparison though. Of course the US spends more. It’s spends more on a lot of things. In fact, the US economy (per its GDP) is much bigger than France, Canada and UK’s combined.[Ex15]


He talks about companies saving money under a UHC system, but if that’s indeed the case, surely PRO would agree a free market system would allow companies to save even greater amounts of money, since there would be that much less regulatory oversight and taxation. The healthcare system, no longer being third party dominated, would mean that companies would paying their employees more money as opposed to having to offer healthcare benefits due to tax incentives put in place by the federal government. [Ex16]


CON’s CASE REBUILD

R1: Health care is indeed a commodity


PRO asks us which we would prefer in control of healthcare: Indeed, who would you prefer? Politicians heavily influenced by lobbyists and faceless unaccountable bureaucrats or people who have to compete for your dollar and lack the ability bail themselves out for their own failures?

Businesses certainly do exist to make a profit, but PRO’s worries are without merit. The point isn’t that healthcare providers care about making a profit. Rather, it’s that they’re put in a position where they compete with other providers in the business of protecting the lives and well being of customers in an effort to make a profit. Such is the genius of capitalism.

PRO talks a bit about health insurance contract rescission, a practice engaged in by Insurance companies. First, this is in no way a criticism of my affirmative case. In my system, consumers would be doing most of their dealings with healthcare providers directly as opposed to third parties, so insurance companies having as much as oversight as they do in the present would be a thing of the past. Second, go back over the examples I gave of government rationing (i.e. waitlines) in UHC countries. Insurance industries don’t have a monopoly on conserving resources.

R2: Free Market Health Care Leads to Lower Cost and Better Quality

PRO tells us that no matter what, the cost of healthcare will still remain high because demand remains high, unlike the legions of other commodities I cited in the previous round. This is the sort of thinking based entirely in theoretical academia and in no way a reflection of real world experience. There is evidence of costs lowering under a free market system. Look no further than the booming Cosmetic and LASIK industries. [Ex17] No health insurance or constant government oversight. And not only have costs lowered, but the quality of services have greatly increased. Paul Krugman is plain wrong.

R3: The government IS too incompetent to handle Universal Health Care

Having read my responses to PRO’s case, it should be readily clear why this is my strongest point. Not being able to manage a simple website is the tip of the iceberg of the incompetency the US federal government has consistently shown. Even putting aside the failings I’ve cited from other countries, the US government is 18 trillion dollars in debt, has just about bankrupted social security and Medicare, spends the most on education in the world yet has really low student rankings to show for it. Can you imagine if US federal government were in the private sector? There is no reason to hand 1/6 of the US economy over to an institution with a track record of incompetence when we can hand it over to a system with a track record of success. A system that has created the biggest economy in all human history.

Back to you, PRO!

Sources:

(Ex1) http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex2) http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex3) http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex4) http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex5) http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex6) http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex7) http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex8) http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex9) http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex10) http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex11) http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex12) http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex13) http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex14) http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex15) http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex16)
http://tinyurl.com...

(Ex17) http://tinyurl.com...

http://tinyurl.com...

Debate Round No. 3
IndependentTruth

Pro

Thank you, Con. This is the closing round so I will take some time to make some final rebuttals and end the debate with some closing statements.

R1: More people get more affordable coverage

Con concedes that Universal Health Care offers more people affordable coverage, yet argues that this benefit is not a worthwhile tradeoff - and points to Taiwan's NHI single-payer system that I referenced in Round 2. Con argues that "the Taiwanese government is not actually able to pay for the system," and instead relies on taxes and "constant borrowing from banks" to keep the system running.

The problem with this argument, however, is that Con is arguing about the faults of a Health care system implemented in a country which "is slow at adopting technology," has "a low doctor-to-population ratio resulting in too many patients depending on too few doctors," and lacks a "system to regulate systematic reporting of clinical performance, patient outcomes and adverse events." [1]

Additionally, Con seems to think that I advocate the Health care system Taiwan has implemented over other successful examples of UHC systems. This is false. I believe the majority of Con's first rebuttal was simply building up a strawman regarding my beliefs and tearing it down. My original argument regarding Taiwan's Health Care system is that it offers its citizens far more protection than what we see in the United States, which it does, covering 99% of its population, [2] a percentage which seems unreal to most of us in America.

So what is the reality? The majority of succesful, industrialized nations have implemented UHC and are not going broke. An example of this is the Netherlands, a country which employs a "chaos system" and provides Universal Health Care to its citizens. The result of this highly succesful UHC system is that "the Netherlands has maintained its number one position at the top of the annual Euro health consumer index (EHCI)." [3] Even more surprisingly, "86% of health care spending comes from the government or social insurance." [4] Only 1.5% of the Dutch population is uninsured, and the country is most definitely not going broke. [5] More people are given more affordable health insurance, and the government is not spending more than it can take in. It truly is a win win for both sides.

R2: Universal Health Care does save and prolong lives

Con concedes that health care does save and prolong life, yet argues that I overexaggerate the extent to which a UHC system would do this.

Con uses a very common argument against UHC: waiting lists. He brings up the "atrocities suffered by individuals" on waiting lists to make the case that UHC is inefficient and individuals in UHC countries suffer more on waiting lists than they would in Free Market Health care countries, in which the poorest would be unable to get insured and die in poverty, very similar to the almost 45,000 deaths in the United States each year caused directly due to lack of health insurance. [6]

So what is the truth about waiting lists in countries with Universal Health Care? Let's look at Canada, an example Con used in his initial rebuttal. Con claims that "71 Ontario patients died while waiting for coronary bypass surgery and over one hundred more became medically 'unfit for surgery.' While this is indeed tragic, does this mean that wait times are longer in Canada than in the United States? No. Con fails to point out the fact that about 23% of Americans report that they didn't receive care, or get a test due to cost. In Canada, that number is 5.5%. "The reason wait times seem shorter in the United States is that many people can't afford the service in the first place and thus forego the procedure entirely. This is a perfect example of what statisticians would call a selection bias." [7] Additionally, "Americans actually receive less health services than Canadians under their public system with a ratio of .71:1. That is to say that every American receives .71 health services for every health service recieved by a Canadian." [8] While it is undoubtable that no health care system is perfect, the amount of people that die on "waiting lists" in countries with Universal Health Care is unbelievably minute compared to the amount of people in America who die simply because Health care costs too much.

R3: Universal Health Care does benefit economic productivity

Half of Con's rebuttal to this contention relied on his "waiting list" argument I believe I functionally disproved above, so I will decline to rebut that point further. Con still claims, however, that I made "conclusions based on insufficient data," and that he sees "nothing that leads us to the conclusion that having UHC would bring about [improved economic productivity]." Allow me to prove my point again:

A Mar. 2012 study by researchers at the Universities of Colorado and Pennsylvania showed that workers with health insurance miss an average of 4.7 fewer work days than employees without health insurance. [9] According to an Institute of Medicine report, the US economy loses $65-$130 billion annually as a result of diminished worker productivity, due to poor health and premature deaths, among the uninsured. [10] Universal Health Care gives workers the ability to treat small problems before they become big, and as research has shown, reduces sick days and increases worker productivity.

Under a UHC system, as I've proved in previous arguments, more people recieve health care. With more people covered, this would directly lower the reduced productivity caused by "employees without health insurance." The evidence, as I've stated previously, points to the fact that the more healthy and covered a society is, the more productive it is.

R4: Universal Health Care does create jobs

Con claims that my comparison between the United States' spending on health care alone to the national budgets of France, Canada, and the UK combined is "fallacious." This is untrue, and I'm confused as to why Con took this comparison as literally as he did. It was simply to put America's ungodly spending on health care in perspective. Con did not acknowledge the fact that the United States spends $8,745 per capita on health care, leading the industrialized world. [11]

Con also claims that a Free Market Health care system would allow companies to pay their employees more due to not having to offer them healthcare benefits -- are we now suggesting companies should not offer their employees benefits? Nowhere did Con rebut the evidence I provided that Universal Health care creates jobs.

Rebuttals to Con's Case Rebuild

1) Health Care as a Commodity

It is my firm belief that health should not be a profit-making institution. Con believes otherwise, stating that this incentive is necessary due to the fact that businesses need to be "put in a position where they compete with other providers in the business of protecting the lives and well being of customers in an effort to make a profit." As I've stated, however, there are no examples of a truly free market working in regards to health care. A primary reason for this is due to the fact that health care demand is inelastic. This fundamentally means that efficiency could decline in the free market system because health care providers would still benefit from high inelastic demand even when healthcare efficiency and quality remain low. [12]

2) Free Market Health Care in regards to lower cost and better quality

Con claims that my contention regarding the inelasticity of health care demand is "the sort of thinking based entirely in theoretical academia." I find this somewhat ironic due to the fact that Con is arguing for a health care system that has never been proven to work. It is a false equivalency to compare Health care to Cosmetics. One has a supply and demand, the other is needed. And without it, you will very well die. [13]

3) Government incompetence and UHC


Con claims that "not being able to manage a simple website is the tip of the iceberg of the incompetency the US federal government has consistently shown." I believe that this contention in and of itself is unprovable. Every government has its shortcomings, and to use the failure of a website to somehow justify such animosity towards the government, to me, doesn't make sense. Additionally, Con's evidence for this claim include the fact that the government is $18 trillion in debt, yet neglects to notice the evidence I've put forward that would suggest a UHC system reduces spending on health care. He additionally claims Social Security and Medicare are "going bankrupt," which is a misleading claim due to the fact that neither of these programs will go bankrupt, but will instead start paying 70 - 80% of promised benefits by 2033.

Closing Statements

I believe I've made it clear the innumerable benefits that a UHC system provides over our current Health care system, and additionally a free market healthcare system.

In no way is a Free Market system superior to a UHC system, nor has it ever been proven to be. There are no successful examples of a FMH system, while there are countless examples of sucessful UHC systems. The Free Market Health care system suffers from major flaws, including the inability to drive down costs due to the inelasticity of health care demand, incentive for profit, complete independence from government intervention in cases of crisis or need of subsidies, and lack of incentive to innovate and improve medical quality. [12]

In contrast, a UHC system provides innumerable benefits over any other health care system, including: providing more people with insurance coverage, lowering public and private spending on healthcare, increasing economic productivity through preventative coverage and removing unnecessary barriers to job mobility, increasing societal health, saving lives, creating jobs in the health care sector, and lowering the deficit. I believe the evidence is clear: Universal Health Care is an objectively better system.

Sources:

http://pastebin.com...
Logical-Master

Con

PRO R1: More people get more affordable coverage

Contrary to PRO’s initial claims, Taiwanese UHC is filled to the brim with problems and goes hand and hand what I’ve continually stressed about government incompetence. Naturally, PRO has no choice but come up with excuses for Taiwan’s documented abject unmitigated failures. (1) He tells that they are “slow at adopting technology.” However, if you read his Wikipedia link sourcing this, the words “citation needed” is next to this baseless assertion. (2) He says they have “a low doctor-to-population ratio resulting in too many patients depending on too few doctors." I agree with this. In fact, I discussed this in my previous round. There are a limited amount of doctors because the Taiwanese government discourages medical students from practicing in a number of fields due to insufficient compensation.[1] (3) He says “there is no system to regulate systematic reporting of clinical performance, patient outcomes and adverse events.” This is another unsourced assertion from his Wikipedia link. Moreover, if that is indeed the case, Taiwan’s inability to pay for the system as well as having to resort to all sorts of cost-cutting measures would explain this.

PRO was practically jumping up and down about the greatness of the Taiwanese UHC in R2, but now seeks to distance himself from it. What we can take away from the Taiwan example is that although UHC has some positive effects, these effects come at a number of costs that make it a bad deal all the way around—either through rationing resources or stifling innovation.

This is why PRO rushes to hang his hat on richer countries such as the Netherlands. Lets talk a bit about their healthcare. Incidentally, although they aren’t running free market healthcare, they’ve used a lot of free market principles. As of their reform in 2005, “providers were no longer guaranteed income, but obliged to negotiate and compete over price and quality of care . . . this competition motivated hospitals to expand services such as neurosurgery and radiation therapy.”[Ex8]Hmm, negotiate and compete. Words I’ve been stressing throughout my argument. The Dutch have the right idea to deregulate. Unfortunately, where they miss the boat at is setting price controls. Basically, “because improvements in health care are extremely capital-intensive, price controls make it difficult for innovators to profit from making the substantial up-front investments in research and development.” As a result, their market stagnates “technologically and . . . lag[s] in the diffusion of access to cutting-edge surgical procedures and drug treatments, which are expensive initially.”[Ex9]


PRO R2: Universal Health Care does save and prolong lives

PRO’s overall defense here is largely irrelevant since I’m not defending the current laughable healthcare system and am actually calling for change. In defense of UHC, he cites a fundamentally flawed study that concludes that 45,000 people in the United States die on a yearly basis due to the lack of health insurance, disregarding that his own study did not by its own admission even “measure the effect of gaining or losing coverage.”[Ex2]

PRO R3: Universal Health Care does benefit economic productivity

Like I said above, PRO didn’t really disprove anything regarding the wait list argument. Based on unreliable data, his response is basically “Well America is worse!”

In the last round, I pointed out that PRO’s conclusions are based on insufficient data and I stand by that. Here, he’s yet again citing the same study concluding that workers with health insurance are more productive. However, nothing has changed since the last round. His study deals with health insurance. We’re not simply discussing having health insurance UHC; government regulated healthcare isn’t just a matter of people having health insurance. It’s a matter of rationing resources and dictating how the healthcare market is going to function. If PRO were to simply say “everyone should get health insurance”, he’d have a point. But as it stands, his data is insufficient.

Moreover, PRO fails to overcome issues specific to the US. In the last round, I asked how much money the federal government would be losing having to deal with lawsuits in regards to incompetence like that I cited from Canada and the UK? PRO didn’t answer this question and with good reason. The US is a deeply litigious society.[ Ex3] We don’t think twice about suing; it’s our second nature. PRO’s asking us to make the federal government responsible for 1/6 of our economy. Who do you think people are going to sue when their kids or parents are dying in wait lines and when the buck no longer stops at private companies? We’re talking a massive burden on our federal courts and a great burden on the federal revenue.


PRO R4: Universal Health Care does create jobs

PRO’s comparison between spending in the US and other countries was indeed fallacious. He’s now telling us that his comparison was not meant to be taken literally but “to put America's ungodly spending on health care in perspective.” Problem is that I added perspective. Yes, the US does spend more on healthcare than the national budgets of three countries combined, but that’s on account of us having so much more to account for. We also have a larger population than France [Ex4], Canada [Ex5], and the UK [Ex6] combined [Ex7].

PRO says the US spends $8,745 per capita on health care. However, I addressed the problems with these comparisons in the previous rounds. For example, certain illnesses, health problems and injuries are more likely to occur here than in other countries.

PRO says I never rebutted his evidence that UHC creates jobs. The only evidence he presented on the issue was the faulty comparison between the amount US and other countries spend on healthcare. Based on this faulty reasoning, Pro concluded that “With a universal health care system, companies would keep that money and would have a healthier and more productive work force, along with other economic benefits.” I’m saying that if the idea is to get the private sector to keep more money, surely my idea is better as I’m talking about dismantling decades of needless healthcare regulations and making healthcare a true free market entity. Part of that would involve getting rid of the tax incentives in place for companies to offer their employees healthcare benefits. But in exchange, employees not only get paid more money, but have more money to spend on a healthcare system with highly competitive prices. Remember, we’re following PRO’s logic of letting the private sector keep more money. In PRO’s words, “it’s a win/win.”




CON 1) Health Care as a Commodity

In the last round, I gave two examples of free market healthcare in our modern society. Cosmetics and laser eye surgery. Clearly, PRO is incorrect to presume inelastic demand in healthcare. Don’t get me wrong. If we’re talking about life or death urgent care situations, demand is indeed inelastic---people will generally go whatever the price is.

It’s certainly a massive stretch though to suggest that this is the case for all healthcare. If, for example, I have a heart attack, I’m not going to negotiate on who can give me the best deal on treating a heart attack. I’m gonna go to the nearest healthcare provider and get my heart attack treated. If, however, it’s something more mundane, like hip replacement surgery, I reasonably have the capacity to find the provider with the best deal or service. Just a few months back, my dentist told me I needed a root canal. He didn’t perform it personally, but told me about other dentists who did. Within a day, I decided to go with a dentist with whom I believed offered the fairest price and least painful procedure. That’s how a market works.


CON 2) Free Market Health Care in regards to lower cost and better quality

PRO is basically repeating what he just said above. Problem is that most healthcare treatment isn’t pursued due to impending death, thus his argument about cosmetics applies to a lot of things, like hip replacement surgery, root canals, contraception, gastric bypasses, etc. By PRO’s logic, none of those are healthcare. Cosmetics and Laser eye surgery are healthcare. Both have proven successful under pure free market principles.



CON 3) Government incompetence and UHC


Every government does have its shortcomings. However, the point of this contention isn’t to affirm that the United States government is flawed, but to advocate that healthcare in the US would be in better hands were it to be placed under free market principles. We either hand healthcare over an entity that has proven itself incompetent in matters outside of what it was designed to regulate or we hand it over to a system that has created the largest economy in all of human history. Really seems like a simple choice to me.

PRO says I didn’t address his claims of UHC reducing healthcare spending. I believe I did when he cited a 2009 study conducted by the Obama administration(Con R3). PRO dropped my points on this, so its moots. He also disputes Social Security and Medicare going bankrupt. Nope, they are indeed going bankrupt.[Ex10]

Closing Statements


Much has been discussed throughout this debate, but keep in mind that PRO's entire rational for rejecting Free market Healthcare boils down to this notion that there's no evidence that it works and that all healthcare demand is inelastic. Ideas I thoroughly crushed. PRO really has no choice here but to continue hanging his hat on the inelasticity of healthcare argument. Because even PRO knows that the power of government oversight is all too often no match for the power of the free market. UHC has some benefits, but the aren't worth the costs and we certainly have an infinitely more viable option. Vote CON!

Sources:

http://pastebin.com...

Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Logical-Master 1 year ago
Logical-Master
Thanks for the debate, PRO! Twas fun.
Posted by Logical-Master 1 year ago
Logical-Master
How I don't miss the days of spending an hour crunching everything into the character limit!
Posted by Logical-Master 1 year ago
Logical-Master
I had pictures posted, but DDO kept crashing on me. Where it says Ex4, there should be two pictures in the following order:

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

http://www.cato.org...
Posted by IndependentTruth 1 year ago
IndependentTruth
How did I copy and paste anything? These are essentially the same arguments I used from the first round of my last debate that was forfeited.
Posted by brianjustin3709 1 year ago
brianjustin3709
PRO has no arguments, he kust copy-pasted, that is a good rebuttal for CON.
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