Thursday, June 16, 2011

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S:

_McGRathLibertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath invites you down to his clinic for an inoculation against this week’s stories and headlines on issues affecting our freedom.

This week: The country’s biggest drug dealer

  • DOMPOST: “Pharmac: The Politics of Playing GodA 25 year old school teacher is able to access “free” treatment with a medicine that actually costs taxpayers $160 a day.

No-one would deny Sam Forward the opportunity to purchase treatment for his chronic myeloid leukemia. But the devious manner in which the State’s legalised drug broker – Pharmac - acts as the arbiter of funding for expensive medical treatment, in this case choosing to sponsor Sam’s medication (Glivec or imatinib) makes my skin crawl.
    Sam, by the way, could have taken out a loan to fund the cost of this treatment. His family and friends could have chipped in; he could have fund-raised, relying on the uncoerced benevolence of others. That would have been asking nicely.
    This news article demonstrates a certain naivety on the part of its writer, one Nikki Macdonald. She states that Sam “doesn’t pay a cent of [Glivec’s] cost.”
    Oh yes he does. Everyone does. Certainly every taxpayer does. Who doesn’t pay the National Socialist Party’s 15% GST? Sam is earning a salary, and so the IRD – like a Mafia protection racket - will be taking its cut. If Sam earns $50,000 then somewhere around $1,800 is stolen to fund the State’s bureaucratic health leviathan, including the Pharmac empire.
    That’s $1,800 Sam could have used to fund health insurance. (Sam also has to fork out $3,000 to pay doped-up uneducated degenerates to breed on the DPB; to pay able-bodied youths to sleep in because the state would rather they earned $5 an hour doing nothing than $12 an hour doing productive work; and to fund the state pension Ponzi scheme until its inevitable collapse).
    The rest of us are also taxed to pay for Sam’s treatment, and for the treatment of others on whom Pharmac bestows its “charity.”
    The existence of Pharmac is a symptom of government interference in the health and pharmaceutical industries. Its “aggressive pricing policies” are an indication of how powerful government monopolies are, when competition is outlawed and the State has the sandpit all to itself.
    The writer tells us that Pharmac (the Pharmaceutical Management Agency) was established in 1993 by the same National Socialist administration under Jim Bolger that was also responsible for the execrable Resource Management Abomination. Yep, that’s the National Socialist Party that believes in personal responsibility, competitive enterprise (yeah right) and limited government (pass me a bucket).
    There is no reason why the sort of analysis undertaken by the doctors and pharmacists that Pharmac bankrolls couldn’t be undertaken in the private sector. But that would mean deregulating the medical and pharmaceutical industries—and the National Socialists aren’t willing to do that. They prefer instead to keep a battalion of state servants warming office seats, feeling important as they disburse money to the poor serfs who earned it in the first place, and clipping the ticket on the way.
    I saw Dr Peter Moodie, medical director of Pharmac, at a GP conference in Rotorua last weekend. I paid my own way at that conference Peter; I hope the taxpayer didn’t pay for your attendance there, but I’m damn sure she did.
    There has got to be a better way than giving Pharmac all this money and power – and there is. The government should stop stealing money from people’s pay packets, just because it thinks it knows better how to spend that money. Let people plan for their health needs themselves, according to what they can afford. Allow them to spend that $1800 or thereabouts making their own arrangements. This would encourage people to take better care of themselves and to work hard and earn more money so they could afford a more comprehensive insurance or savings package to cover health catastrophes.
    The stories that Pharmac and its lackeys in the press don’t tell you are the ones about the people who take care of themselves, save hard and make provision for health emergencies, and don’t suffer lifestyle-related cancers or early heart disease and thus don’t need Pharmac’s help. The thousands of dollars these people are forced to fork out to prop up Pharmac could have been spent by these people supporting their own families. Instead of which the money is removed from them before they can see how much has been lifted from their wallets, after which they lose all control over how it’s spent.
    The “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” credo gave us the blood-soaked legacy of communism. Its spirit lives on in Pharmac, and in every similar government ant farm endorsed by both the Labour and the National Socialists.
    The only opposition to the red/blue socialist tag-team and its enviro-loony/race-card/Winston-demagogue collectivist-populist soulmates are the Libertarianz Party and, to a lesser extent, the ACT Party (which I am hoping Don Brash can revitalize after years of neglect by - and infighting under - Rodney Hide).
    Let me stress this: John Key’s National Socialists have no intention of dismantling the massive Nanny State that Aunty Helen built up over many years. They lack the spine and the will to do so. Sure they tinker around the edges but that is just for appearances. Their agenda is the usual conservative one: don’t make significant changes or we might lose votes. Don’t frighten the horses. And for Christ’s sake, don’t rock the boat!
    The Libertarianz Party would not only rock the boat, it would privatize it and allow other boats to compete. It would probably sell the boat to the highest bidder and use the funds raised to help pay off the massive debt that the Red and Blue Socialists have amassed over eighty or so years. It would stop “taxing” Sam, and you and I, and allow New Zealanders to keep their wealth. Give people the means and the incentive, and they will beat demons such as leukemia.
    A system of taxing people into poverty and then handing back the loot in a haphazard fashion is not only immoral, but cruel and deceitful. It fools people into thinking that only government can solve people’s problems and that individuals are helpless dumb creatures, when in fact the opposite is true.

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.
George Bernard Shaw

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13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sam is earning a salary,

No he's not. He's not "earning" any real salary and he doesn't pay any tax whatsoever.

25 year old school teacher

Aotea college. State school teacher of course.

So he gets a certainly amount of "negative" tax from the education ministry which is then remitted back to IRD.

But he doesn't "earn" a cent - and he certainly doesn't pay any tax - he just recycles money from productive Kiwis who actually pay taxes

Closing down and selling of these so-called "schools" can't happen fast enough!

6/16/2011 10:15:00 am  
Blogger WWallace said...

I have a genuine question: Can you point to the country that is closest to the healthcare model you advocate?

Corollary question: What aspects of that country's healthcare still need "fixing"?

I realise that I have pulled just one area (health) out of the whole miasma that is society. But while I agree with much of your argument, those who oppose it tend to bring up the excesses of the US private health system.

6/16/2011 12:01:00 pm  
Anonymous Richard McGrath said...

@WWallace:

You are in effect asking whether any country has a free market health care system. Answer: No.

Are you implying that just because such a system is not being practiced anywhere we should not advocate it? If so, you would support no innovation in any field whatsoever because it hadn't been tried somewhere else first.

Such an argument, by the way, could be used against the Emissions Trading Scheme - as I understand it, no other country had introduced an ETS before NZ.

The US doesn't have a free market in health care. For a start, there are the gargantuan Medicare and MedicAid state health funding monoliths. There are the protectionist Blue Shield and Blue Cross insurance schemes. There are the ludicrous, unobjective and manifestly unjust jury awards for damages in medical lawsuits. There is Obamacare. So please don't posit the US health system as "free market" or "private".

The US prior to 1913 had a health system (and a society) fairly close to capitalist, though that has since been destroyed by Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson, Nixon, the Bushes et al.

6/16/2011 12:15:00 pm  
Blogger WWallace said...

Richard,

No, I am not implying that just because such a system is not being practiced anywhere we should not advocate it.

I take it you are saying it is not practised anywhere? Surely some countries must be closer to the ideal than we are?

Eg, I have heard Don Brash laud the Singporean health care system(?)

(Please don't get sidetracked by the ETS. It is 21st century "indulgences", solely to assauge guilt, but foisted on everyone -- even those of us who don't feel guilty.)

6/16/2011 12:24:00 pm  
Blogger Shane Pleasance said...

I do not particularly seek a particular 'model' per se, and do not see it anyone's (and certainly not the governments) job to provide some model for me.

I seek only self determination, and, consequently, choice.
We have limited opportunity for either.

6/16/2011 01:02:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eg, I have heard Don Brash laud the Singporean health care system(?)

Oh good grief! Why superannuated hard-left liberals like Brash, Kerr & Roger bring up Singapore I've no idea.

Do you really think a compulsory 30% healthcare levy on all wages is a good idea? No? Gee.

Ruth would never advocate for anything that stupid. But Roger, Brash & Kerr just go to show that once a socialist, always a socialist.


I seek only self determination, and, consequently, choice.

I don't give a shit about choice

I just want the no-work no-talent leftist unionist labourist bludgers to starve in the gutter.

6/16/2011 08:08:00 pm  
Blogger WWallace said...

So sad. I was expecting intelligent discussion.

I will put this in plain English.

I have been reading Not PC for several years, and his ideas are slowly having a positive effect.

I try to convince those I meet of the merits of smaller govt. My original comment here was merely seeking sound arguments against those who raise the US as why private healthcare is a bad idea.

If healthcare is totally private, how do those who have chosen not to buy health insurance (or cannot afford it because they've been made redundant) receive treatment?

(And can you please cut Don Brash some slack? Nobody is perfect. But Lindsay Perigo must have some confidence in his political skills to agree to be his press secretary.)

6/16/2011 11:35:00 pm  
Blogger Dinther said...

My health plan

Emergency surgery is covered by public health. Since I am forced to pay for that I made it part of my health care plan.

However, I run my own insurance fund with my family as the sole beneficiaries. Every month some money is paid into this fund which has accumulated to a considerable size over the years and due to a lack of claims I even reduced my premiums.

First of all, I make sure we are all living healthy. This means I pay $100 a month more for power because I don't run a cold and damp household in order to save a few bucks. As a result, I am rarely sick and have a minimum loss in productivity.

If I need private health care I get to choose when and where I buy it.

I never have to beg hat in hand for reimbursements from the insurance company.

My dental plan is second to none and coincide with lavish holidays in Asia.

And finally, my insurance leaves all it's profits directly into my bank account.

6/17/2011 09:03:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@WWallace

It's a good question. The common practice when it comes to analysing healthcare, seems to be comparing different systems of compulsion (i.e. taxation, compulsary insurance), none of which anyone expects to actually make us better off. Just as long as its not capitalism, that is a model that the general public will not tolerate.

I remember Ron Paul on Bloomberg discussing what would work for the medical industry, and his response was to restore the doctor patient relationship and get the administrators and managers out of the way. I suspect that he is right, and that were capitalist forces to act on the market, this is what it would look like.

However, we shouldn't expect a model to arise in a capitalist system. There will be 100's of models that will find niches. There will likely be a corporate industry, operating around insurance providers and there will be thousands of microproviders (such as GP's) and who knows what else. For example, there is a hospital (Shouldice, in Canada I think), that specialises in Hernia operations, that does the job cheaper and better than anyone else in the world. I think it is likely we would see more of this type of process innovation. Markets are the means of discovery and sometimes we only damage our arguments by trying to predict what outcomes markets will achieve, becuase in short, we don't, and can't know.

6/17/2011 09:12:00 am  
Anonymous David said...

I made a comment earlier but it imploded. I can't be bothered rewriting it, so I'll just post a link: http://mises.org/freemarket_detail.aspx?control=279

Search healthcare on this website if you want to see more reasons why the US doesn't have a free market healthcare system.

6/17/2011 12:59:00 pm  
Blogger twr said...

If Act had changed one iota under Brash, they would have taken the only opportunity they have ever had to make a difference, and refused to vote for the budget.

It would have shown the country that they meant what they said, without any real downside as National would still have passed it with the Maoris.

The fact that they did vote for it, and didn't set fire to the confidence and supply agreement on the steps of parliament, shows that they are all just hot air.

Shame.

6/17/2011 09:41:00 pm  
Anonymous cheesefunnel said...

WWallace, don't be too dismayed. I have also found the ideas espoused on this blog somewhat interesting. Only to be disappointed at the paper thin fantasy bollocks that gets rolled out if one tries to have an intelligent conversation on the possible downsides.

6/20/2011 07:41:00 am  
Blogger Greig McGill said...

@twr Thank you. I asked a question on this blog the other day, attempting to discern whether a vote for ACT under Brash would be the most rational means of securing a shift, however small, toward libertarianism. It seemed so to me (and it still might), but other than some preaching-to-the-choir on the matter of principles, nobody had a reasoned argument against voting for ACT. You have just provided one. Clearly they don't intend to change at all. I'll continue to watch them, but thanks for the insight.

@WWallace please persevere. These ideas are worth nurturing. There isn't always an answer for those who would advocate stealing from you in order to "help" someone you neither know, nor care for in the name of ideals you don't share. As Richard pointed out, there's no system in the world you can currently point to and say "see? it works!" and yes, this can make argument with leftists and progressives very difficult.

This is a very long read, but might address some of the possible arguments you seem to be facing.

@cheesefunnel While I know what you mean, and have seen such discussions, I've also seen the other side of them. That is, people talking about manufactured worst case scenarios as "possible downsides" and wanting little more than to score points in any discussion rather than establish reality. The worst example for me was the "but you HAVE to have building codes" thread from a couple of years back, which almost bordered on trolling. Political arguments get heated. Who knew? :)

6/20/2011 01:16:00 pm  

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