Wherein the Left is Faced with the Uncomfortable Fact that Individuals are Different

Wow, you mean different individuals actually have different preferences and value procedures in different ways?  Weird!  Who would have ever thought that everyone would not be silently satisfied at whatever one-size-fits-all solution is crafted by Congress and other people who apparently "know best."  The concept seems to throw Kevin Drum for a loop.

If we all paid for minor stuff like this out of pocket, there would not be a problem.  We'd spend or not based on our own preferences.

As a side note, my wife is a worrier.  And she has seen at least three of her friends under-50 in the last year be diagnosed with breast cancer.  No matter what the elites say, for my wife the right answer is to test.  The resulting worry she would have from not testing would dwarf, in terms of quality of life, any downsides of the test.  Which is also why we have paid to have several questionable things biopsied even when doctors said it probably was not necessary.  Know thyself.


  1. Mesa Econoguy:

    Wait, you mean People are People, actually means people are people?

    Even Oprah’s people?

    Utility or Indifference curves

    Completely foreign to Kevin Dumb.

  2. ed:

    "If we all paid for minor stuff like this out of pocket, there would not be a problem."

    Dream on. I agree that's a good idea, but that would be even more unpopular than the mammogram report.

    And when you have insurance, there has to be some limits on what is worth paying for. That's as true for private insurance as it is for government insurance.

  3. me:

    Spot on. There's nothing I'd love to see more than the legal right to pay out of pocket for small things. Instead, the health insurance business is so highly regulated that the guy who tried to start a chain of clinics with the 'pay my $20 a month and that'll take care of all your minor health issues' got sued for... wait... trying to run an unlicensed insurance business. Ouch. I find it astonishing that the US, a country which essentially flourished based on the notions of freedom and free markets is more highly regulated than Germany these days.

  4. Paavo Ojala:

    I understand the need that people have for big government. I don't want to think about how often I should get my prostate palpated. A lot of people have tremendous amounts of fear to be exploited by commercial interests. Libertarians of course feel, that everyone should have the freedom to pay half of their income to some hoaxter protecting them from evil spirits. But I can understand if someone wants to limit some of the more unseemly private transactions among adults. I would want to prevent my religious mother from doing business with spiritual con-men, and similarly if i care about my fellow citizens I want to prevent them from getting mammographs that I feel are not cost efficient.

  5. Dr. T:

    "Know thyself."

    No, no, no. The new mantra is "Subject thyself; submit thyself." We must all do as Ms. Nanny State demands. After all, Nanny knows best. We, however, know no more than toddlers.

  6. Matt:

    Paavo Ojala - you justify big maternalist government with two exapmles of freedoms that you would like to take from other people. What freedoms can I take away from you (for your own good, of course)? It seems that plenty of people are all for restricting the behaviors of others - until they are the others.

  7. alanstorm:

    Anything outside the hive mind throws Mr. Drum for a loop.

    A quote from his article, wherein he demonstrates exactly how his blinders are fitted:

    "The USPSTF recommendation is based on large-scale costs vs. large-scale benefits, but the conversation that followed has been based mostly on personal stories."

    Exactly. Let's assume the report is in fact correct in its recommendations. Thus, if you are responsible for your own health care costs, it's not an issue. The rub arrives when the government is running the health-care system. At that point, the "large-scale costs vs. large-scale benefits" argument will be the governing standard, in order to control costs (as long as you aren't politically connected, anyway).

    Those that die because of this - well, you know they were outliers anyway, weren't they? Omelets, broken eggs, you have the recipe.

    Anybody remember the administration's "early detection and treatment saves money!" meme?

    Obama must drive an absolutely HUGE bus, guys.

  8. Ian Random:

    Good that someone noticed that cookie cutter methods don't work because the human body is a tad complex and to balance everything is an art. It might become that way if we can simulate the body down to be cellular level based on your DNA, but that ain't coming anytime soon. Although that would be funny to see a health care policy that only pays for 24 hours of grid time for cellular disease simulation.

  9. Jim Collins:

    Shhhhh! I'm trying to get my black market breast exam scam, I mean business off the ground.

  10. Methinks:

    What makes you think the left in uncomfortable with people being different? They're comfortable with it. They just don't give a damn.

  11. me:

    Interesting quote from the end of and article about health care in india (http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2009/09/03/india/index.html):

    By the way, in July, I moved back to the United States. I bought travel health insurance from Tata-AIG, which is available to anyone who has spent at least six months in India. I'm covered for three months, up to $200,000 in expenses. I paid $100 for it. When it expires, I will likely get health insurance from Blue Cross. It will cost more than $500 per month.

    Why would travel insurance for spending n month in the US and being covered up to $x cost more for a US resident than for a traveller? Arguably, if you're travelling a lot your risk ought to be higher (because you change a lot of context as opposed to doing the same old regular things you're familiar with).

  12. smurfy:

    "Arguably, if you’re traveling a lot your risk ought to be higher"
    Maybe for catastrophic injury or a bug you caught, but if I get the big C when I'm on vacation, I'm probably coming home.

    My wife is also a worrier, the peace of mind from a physician can be hard to value.