My Health Care Poll Question

I was going back through my archives and I found a health care poll question I suggested about a year ago that I would still love to see asked.  I believe it accurately reflects the reality that most middle class Americans face with various universal health care plans:

Would you support a system of
government-run universal health care that guaranteed health care
access for all Americans, but would result in you personally getting
inferior care than you get today in terms of longer wait times, more
limited doctor choices, and with a higher probabilities of the
government denying you certain procedures or medicines you have
access to today.

I have said a number of times that health care is not like failed Great Society housing programs.  In those housing programs, only the poor got crappy government housing -- the rest of us kept what we had.  Universal health care is different, because it will effectively be like forcing everyone to move into the housing projects.


  1. DWPittelli:

    I oppose socialized medicine and expect it will mean "inferior care" and "longer wait times," and "government denying... procedures or medicines [we] have access to today" but I doubt it will mean "more limited doctor choices." If there is one payer, then probably 90% of all doctors will be part of that system. In contrast, with many insurers now, not many of us have covered access to anywhere near 90% of doctors. To be sure, this advantage of a single-payer system would not make up for the three listed disadvantages.

  2. Jim:

    My personal health care policy just went up 66% to $53 A DAY so my choice is probably going to be crappy government run health care or lose my home if I get ill.

  3. Jeffrey Ellis:

    I just had to complement you on your closing paragraph. That sums up everything that's wrong with universal health care.

  4. Jim K:

    I was just recently diagnosed with a degenerative neurological condiditon (Multiple Slcerosis) that can lead to significant disability. However, if diagnosed and treated quickly the progression of the disease can be severely retarded or even halted.

    I went from the onset of symptoms to treatment in about two months, this consisted of three different MRI's over a three week period, a spinal tap, blood work, consultation with radiologists and neurologists, steriod infusion to mitigate symptoms and now, beginning of treament with a genetically engineered drug that did not exist 15 years ago.

    None of this was cheap, but when the difference for me was cost versus waiting and potentially having symptoms get worse, the choice was ridiculously easy.
    I am thankful we have a system where I have the choice between fast and expensive and cheap and slow and where a biotech firm can make enough return on its investment to justify investment in drugs for treating diseases that affect a relatively small number of people.

  5. ElamBend:

    I'd rather wait for weeks for an MRI and other quick treatments for acute problems for the convenience of having 'free' doctor visits and my more chronic low level problems taken care wait, I like it how it is now.

    Universal Health care will be a boon to the medical tourism industry, particularly in Mexico and Cuba.

  6. ErikTheRed:

    I'm not aware of any recorded instances in history of people giving away something desirable for "Free" and the situation not resulting in rationing. OK, maybe free hugs, but that's about it.

    That being said, we already have a 'lite' version of socialized medicine - relatively few people are mentally "connected" to the costs of health care. Doctors and hospitals already have to give free care to whoever needs it, and if they're lucky they'll chisel some miserly amount out of the government. Otherwise, they make up for it as best they can by soaking everyone else. It's not so much a vicious cycle - it's too disorganized to be called that. More like a vicious cyclone.

    Pooled risk (insurance) makes a great deal of sense, but when people can dip into the pool without paying everything goes to hell. Romney tried to address this in Massachusetts with a government / private hybrid. I have my doubts as to how well that's going to work out. The biggest problem is that you have people (liberals) who have no problem holding a gun to someone else's head (the health care industry) and forcing them to provide free services in the name of compassion. The secondary problem is that people with job-provided coverage usually have zero incentive to act as intelligent health care consumers and as a result of over-consumption we have mindlessly restrictive insurance plans and HMOs.

    A practical solution is a tough nut to crack - it has to address the liberal concerns (sorry, we can't just out-vote them and make them go away) and start forcing people that do have coverage to use it efficiently.

  7. Chris:

    The other question I would like asked is:
    When did you last have a positive experience with government?

    Followed up by: And you want universal health care because...?

  8. BlacquesJacquesShellacques:

    'I doubt it will mean "more limited doctor choices."'

    Sure it will. C'mon up to Canuckistan to see it in action. All doctors, including the good ones work less, because an inevitable feature of the system, on top of rationing, is price controls. 'Hey Doc, you get $x for your work, even if you're a schmo.'

    Pretty soon all you've got is lazy schmos, or good docs who act like lazy schmos.

    What would happen if every doctor in the USA cut back on his work hours by 10%?

  9. DWPittelli:

    "What would happen if every doctor in the USA cut back on his work hours by 10%?"

    That might mean longer wait times. (Then again, it might not, if doctors today are spending more than 10% of their time talking to insurance companies.) But it would not mean "fewer choices." When the government is the single-payer paying for 90%+ of all health care, then 90%+ of all doctors will be on this plan, and available as choices for us. In contrast, with many insurance plans today, many of us only can choose from perhaps a third of all doctors today. All this said, I am opposed to socialized medicine and think the government could do more to improve health care by getting out of the way of competition (e.g., ending care mandates, allowing inter-state plans, and providing tax parity for self-purchased plans).

  10. Online Doctor Appointment:

    Health care poll question. I was suffering from sever head ache how can i can get rid of this head ache and sever hair fall