Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Non-Political, Biological, Constitutional, and Economical Argument for Universal Health Care

As a scientist with a grasp of basic economic principles, I am in favor of universal health care. There is a clear correlation between access to health care and overall health. In Northern Australia you are in the humid tropics and everyone is healthy for the most part. Go to the same latitude in Africa and you lose all the health care Australians have and people's livelihoods decrease greatly. This is both a cause and an effect that keeps people not working and lowers life expectancy. I am going to prove the following, 1. Why Health Care is a Public Good, 2. Why Health Care is a prerequisite to a all around high standard of living, 3. Why Health Care is a human right and every member of society needs to have access, and 4. Why Health Care can only be fully implemented with Governmental Intervention.

1. Why Health Care is a Public Good
To define public good, a public good is in this tense is "non-rival – one person consuming them does not stop another person consuming them;" It is non rival because people are only going to have the amount of health care that they require,  there are enough resources to provide for, and over-treatment is not a major concern. Because who actually enjoys going to the doctor?

Furthermore, because of Germ theory, when someone is sick in the middle of a large crowd the bacteria and viruses that the person is infected with spread to other people. If we have one person in society carrying a virus that people are not immune to, and other people get the virus, we are risking an outbreak. In the United States of America, to allow someone to put other people at risk of contagious diseases, especially susceptible people's health violates a core American value, the right to life without which all other rights are pointless. (Declaration of Independence Paragraph II) This is proof that our founding father's would agree that we need to protect all people from things outside of their control. It is more dangerous than drugs because life-threatening heroin doesn't spread like wildfire, viruses do. Another thing, many people continue to go to work after they get sick and don't stay home and take medicine allowing them to get better here in America. Because of this, no matter what the official rates are for illness, they are going to be too low because Americans are not taught Germ Theory. This makes American statistics for illness the minimum because the actual numbers are much higher. Also, economically, when you are sick if you go to work your efficiency is going to be cut significantly because it is harder to do tasks. /This means that true universal health care is economical stimulation.

This proves that someone's not getting health care harms everyone else's health care, no matter what their income level, race, sex, or social class is, making someone not have access to health care inherently immoral.

2. Why Health Care is a Prerequisite to a Standard of Living.
If you are sickly, your standard of living is going to drop. Economically, you are going to be less productive, even if you are going to work. You will not be able to get things done that have to be done and if your illness is contagious the standard of living of people around you is also going to drop. If you look at the standard of living on the Human Development Index, the lowest countries have sporadic health care services at best, and the countries at the very top of the list all have Universal Health Care. If someone is not sick, and not around people who are sick, than the illness will drop and people will lead better lives.

3. Why Health Care is a Human Right and Every Member of Society Needs to Have Access.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted by Eleanor Roosevelt and others, lists fundamental human rights that are followed by all free nations. It is based on equality and includes parts of life that are not taken away from people in the United States of America, such as freedom of speech, religion, petition, and other rights. However, if you are dead, these rights are not worth anything. You need to be alive to enjoy these good concepts, and if a person doesn't have access to health care they are unable to enjoy every human right. This makes is a foundation for everything we do in life in our world and a prerequisite to everything in society.

4. Why Health Care Can Only be Fully Implemented with Governmental Intervention.
The first thing people learn about corporations in any economics class is what firms exist to do. They exist to make a profit. People go into business to make money and only a few major businessmen continue to care about what happens to others. The owner is in business to make money to live his/her own life. (Mankiw) This makes it so that if it is not profitable to give someone health care a corporation is not going to. This means that if ordinary people do not have health insurance or have their health care paid for by taxes (like Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Japan and Taiwan to an extent) they will not receive health care, making it so that you have a large segment of the population that will not have access, giving a huge pool of people for disease to grow and mutate in, threatening an epidemic.

An option for people to have their health care, the current American  method, is to have health insurance industries offer people insurance. If there are competing companies the prices are going to stay low and the people at the top will make money and everyone will be happy. This should work, but often doesn't. Companies often out compete each other forcing out the competition and then rise their prices giving their owners record profits leaving people who don't qualify for Medicare struggling to make ends meet (dropping standards of living for no moral reason) OR going without health care (which as I proved in point 3 doesn't just affect the people without coverage). Both are unacceptable and not the fault of the people who are now at risk. This is why if we are to do the American option, there will need to be a governmental self-sustaining public health insurance option for people to buy into if they choose to. This will prevent large corporations from taking advantage of innocent people and to not do so goes against the fundamental American principle our Founding Fathers believed in, that all people are created equal and we all have a right to life. This would work.

Another option is universal health care from the government. People pay sales taxes, and then everyone has paid for their use of the public good. It prevents outbreaks in Northern Europe and Canada making their standard of living exceed ours by international standards, and follows the American principle of everyone being equal. Like anything, there is an equilibrium that must be achieved in order for it to work, which is why when I talked to a friend from British Columbia he told me about how there was reform to their system around 2006 that took the existing system and crossed out the problems of long waiting lines that had been an unexpected symptom during PM Trudeau's term. They fixed it and it is now far superior to America's system using cost-benefit analysis.

I am not a Capitalist. I am not a Communist. I am not a Socialist. I am a Utilitarian. I look at the options to find the system that will work the best for the largest amount of people and then support it after analysis.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

MMR Scandal regarding fake link to autism

kReading the news, I saw the unsurprising link to autism given by the corrupt "scientist" Wakefield. Nice summary is given here:

Now, in my opinion, making such a fraudulent, corrupt, misleading, and potentially life-threatening lie about one of the best vaccinations in the world is attempted murder and should be charged as such. People not getting their MMR vaccine based on this unnecessarily puts them in harms way and destroys herd immunity for the people who can not get the vaccination. This threatens their lives from three of the world's most dangerous viruses. He should be charged as such. If I was the judge or lawmaker I would say the appropriate punishment would include the following:
  1. Annulment of all licenses and degrees.
  2. Life in prison.
  3. He may have the option to be killed if he doesn't want to spend forty years in prison, and I say the just way to do it would be through lethal injection of all three, Measles, Mumps, and Rubella followed by solitary confinement.
I feel like anything less would not be enough. Attempted murder is attempted murder, no matter what the motivation. Potentially creating a huge group of young people becoming that sick is nothing else.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Things the Tea Party is Deliberately Forgetting

The Tea Party is in power now. Their ideas about how economics work are about to be tested and they are going to be the people doing everything for the next two years. Here are some reminders of past Tea party movements in American History and how they ended up.

  1. Reconstruction. After the South was completely brutalized by the Civil War they had no infrastructure, no industry, and no economy. Their was nothing to get the economy started and the Republicans decided to jump-start the economy. They built infrastructure, rebuilt Atlanta, Montgomery, and other southern cities so that Americans could have the infrastructure of the north. This went on from 1866-1877, 11 years. Then the Democrats came to power under President Rutherford B. Hayes. The South which once was as industrial as the North has not been the same economically since. The only major project after reconstruction was of course the Tennessee Valley Authority bringing power to rural people and jobs to one of the country's most impoverished states.
  2. The Great Depression. People overspent and overlent until people didn't have enough money to keep the money flowing. President Herbert Hoover comes to power and seven months later Black Friday happens and the economy is in depression. He holds fast to the modern Tea Party's belief in Laissez-faire, that the government should be as far from the economy as it possibly could. The economy continued to shrink for the next four years until the Keynesian (the economic philosophy that government can boost the economy through spending) Democrats under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt bring on the New Deal creating jobs for people, keeping their resumes up to date and making the decelerating economy speed up for the first time in four years. The process was long, a good six years until WW2 created more jobs continuing the New Deal's good work. Some people would say that it was World War 2 that ended the depression. But may I ask the question, where would the United States have got the money to wage war on Germany, Japan, and Italy in 1933?????
  3. 1970s. During the 1970s big oil hiked the price up quickly once President Carter entered office and made the economy slow because we were (and still are) addicted to petroleum as was proved then. Reagan was elected following the Iran-Contra affair and Big Oil decreased the cost of gasoline. This is a different reason from the past two examples and may be discarded because of different reasons for the beginning and end.
  4. 2008. People overspent and overlent until people didn't have enough money to keep the money flowing. President Obama entered office and proposed legislation that was strong and would move the economy out quickly. Republicans viciously amended the legislation to the level of vandalism until the bills were barely powerful enough to do anything, blamed it on the Democrats, and then say it is the Democrats fault that the economy is not back to 2000 levels. They win in the 2010 election and expect the laissez-faire of President Herbert Hover to work in 2011.
Here are the reasons for why laissez-faire economics did not and will not work now in order of importance:
  1. It assumes that a populace whose vast majority (I estimate about 98% to be generous) do not understand what money is will act appropriately to bring the economy back to the levels required.
  2. It assumes that businesses are going to take risks that are almost guaranteed to fail with the first point will continue to expand and manufacture when they are in the red.
  3. It assumes that these two things are going to happen with practically no insurance, security, or any guarantee of money coming back to their investments. Basically, the economy is at a standstill at best, actually it is more likely to go into free-fall like the period of 1929-1933.
Here are the reasons why Keynesian Economics works:
  1. It gives businesses (large and small if it is done correctly) some extra cash to keep their employees so they can still be involved in the economy during a rough patch. It allows them to not have to cut jobs which makes unemployment better and then the economy more stable.
  2. It keeps banks open and stocks decent which make it so people don't lose their investments and continue to be productive members of society and active members of the economy. This also makes the rough patch smaller.
  3. It gives jobs the now smaller number of people who are out of work, which keeps people employed which is an essential part to any economy. This keeps the economy flowing with more people active.
These concepts are all based on the truth as seen by history and is agreed upon by any economist even President Bush's economic advisers.