Some particulars on “Universal Health Care”

A friend of mine and I were having a discussion about health care, as we are wont to do. He’s, shall we say, all excited about “universal health care” and “obamacare” and “affordable care” or whatever name it goes by to different people under different guises. He’s sure, I think, that we haven’t gone far enough in having the government take over the health care system – though, I’m not sure how he specifically defines this. Is it merely the government pays for any doctor you choose to visit at whatever the doctor charges – or, are all the doctors to work for the government. Are the hospitals to be taken over by the government? (not that they already don’t mandate 50% or more of whatever it is hospitals do already, and often pay for most of it too.) Are state hospitals, religious hospitals, private ones, all to be somehow taken over? By legislative fiat, mere confiscation? Or are they to be compensated under the Takings Clause? Again, I’m not sure. Still, that’s part of this big debate – how far into the economy does one label stuff as “health care” to be included in the “free for all” (oh, pun intended.)

Drug and equipment makers? Research facilities? Labs? What? What is to be paid for and managed and administered by whom? And how? Oh, we have a “law” – no one knows what’s in it, the exemptions are coming thick, former supporters are hemming, former lovers are hawing, and states and others are saying, “well, no, we won’t do this.” Meanwhile, huge numbers of new bureaucrats to ensure price something or other I suppose – as if they could know. And perhaps rationing, which, well, that’s what the concept of management is – it’s rationing. Oh, don’t call it that – that’s a bad word. Call is “Allocating resources for the good of the people.” Sure, that sounds so good. Such are words and marketing. Politics is not immune, alas.

Meanwhile, I said I’m all for “Universal Health Care” – and, that we have it already – and, that to achieve it cheaper and better get the government out of most if not all of it. And so we’re “for” the “same” thing – a goal it might be termed. But ah, the process … well, there we differ. When I said lower taxes, he said “no.” When I pointed out that China lowered taxes and their poor got rich he referred to China as an “industrialized nation” – one of 17 he claimed had “universal health care” – and so I first wondered if China could be considered one of his 17, for I certainly never included it, and most folks don’t include China in the industrialized, or civil, or first world (what do we call this now? Pick a term. The rich countries, perhaps. The “Democracies” maybe.) So, I asked for a list of the 17 countries to which he might be referring. And, well, he gave it to me, with this comment:

“I said it was good that we joined the other nations who offer universal health care. And what is your question? Who else has universal health care? I won’t only give you the seventeen big ones; i’ll give you the complete list of all countries, not just the giant first worlders. Enjoy!”

And well, oh, yes, I shall enjoy this, indeed. My friend is quite the data hound, and is quite enthrall with all data from the government – and their health care systems. No doubt if they show data that things are swell, well, then, things are swell. It’s empirical – he uses this word a lot. So, I have the “empirical” list of his 17 countries which he feels we should follow, imitate, or emulate, or copy – pick a term – so many so many.

He gave me the list in year order – but, well, it’s more instructive for my purpose to pull the list apart and regroup things, for commonality, and thus for comparison or discussion, or just a tad of investigation into what all this might mean.

 “Country Start Date of Universal Health Care System Type

Click links for more source material on each country’s health care system.”
I didn’t get a link, just the list, so, well, I’ll just go by the countries presented, and give my take on the circumstances in which this wonderful stuff called “universal health care” came to be and is maintained, or not.

 Let’s look at the first three countries on my list – country name, date, type, as my friend gave me.

Germany 1941 Insurance Mandate

Japan 1938 Single Payer

Austria 1967 Insurance Mandate

 Austria was a part of Germany in 1941, ergo, Austria got Insurance Mandate in 1941. Western Poland was a part of Germany since 1939 – the Germans within those borders did have the mandate, I’m sure – Reinhold Heydrich, who ran the SS, was sure to do that – meanwhile, he was busy um, shooting every non-German he could lay his hands on, or starving them to death, or pushing them to the East to near certain perishing. Meanwhile, in 1941, my Uncle Otto was getting “Free” health care at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Fine stuff Uncle Otto said, after he got out at the end of the war, nearly 100 lbs lighter than when he went in – and with TB – and no where to go. Millions more in the clutches of 1941 Germany certain got “free health care” if you count imprisonment, death and destruction.

 Frankly, the audacity it takes to marvel at and say we should look to the German health care system of 1941 is one of the most astoundingly moral bankrupt ideas that I can conceive of this evening. And so, well, let’s just cross Germany and Austria off the list of countries to emulate. I also would like to note that the United State paid for all the brand new hospitals in Germany and Austria after we, um, bombed them to rubble. And so the very fortunate Germanic people’s got wonderful free health care on the US taxpayer’s time – they didn’t pay for it – they had no money – they used it all up killing Jews, Gypsies, Poles, French, Czechs … and 30,000,000 other people. Health care indeed! Again, I marvel at this audacity.

 Ah, Japan, 1938 – raping Nanking, bombing Manchuria, pillaging Korea – fine folks for they too gave “their” people health care! Egad, sir, is there not a tad shame left in this world then to marvel at the wonders of Imperial Japan at the height of it’s war making? Sorry, epic failure, my friend – and remember, sir, you are the direct recipient of this post – without a doubt, I’m appalled you didn’t edit your list to exclude these three nations.

 Norway 1912 Single Payer

Ah, Oil Rich Norway! 4 million people with the herring monopoly and one of the world’s largest exporters of oil – a state owned oil company at that. A near 98.8% homogenous population of Norwegians, and in 1912, a mere 7 years after they got their independence from Sweden – but still, how easy it must be to provide health care to exactly similar people with the same language in a small area (large country, every tightly condensed in a few spots,) and massive amounts of wealth from a natural resource – that without this resource – no health care. Indeed, oil rich nations will come to play on this list – but Norway, being the only European member of OPEC really is a financial special case. They bring in today some $8 billion a year in oil revenues – for they use virtually none of it themselves, and so are a big pusher of global warming (ah, another wonderspot of my friend and I) and well, when the oil runs out – so does the health care. For truly there’s no other industry in the place. The people are simply living off a “finite” resource – not even drilled by them – but by private companies in contract for the NorStatOil company – all oil revenues to the government. The people aren’t so pleased, however. Though, I go by a survey of one – a Norwegian friend of mine who had to go to Phoenix AZ for his neurological disorder on his own dime – for not only no providers in Norway, but, well, too bad, that item isn’t in the approved list of items to be covered.

Sweden 1955 Single Payer –

Ah, Sweden – the country that stayed “neutral” in World War II to sell all their guns and steel and iron ore and heavy water and other goodies to the Nazis – to build up a sizable state bank account. Ah, yes, between 1939 and 1945 Sweden’s only trading partner was Nazi Germany – and lo, what a bundle they made! And where did the Nazis get the cash? Oh, from Jews they shot, but hey. It was good money, for the Swedes. (Someone should tell them they should return the Czech national art collection which they stole in the 30 Year’s War – but hey, I hold grudges against blowhards.)

 Meanwhile, about 10 years ago or so, Sweden realized that it ran through the bank account they had accumulated. And even though ABBA – which for a number of years was Sweden’s largest industry (outperforming Volvo, even after it was sold to Chevy, for um, money to replenish the national bank account.) Yes, the national bank account. This is the wealth that a nation accrues in its national treasury – And Sweden for a few hundred years looted Northern Europe, sold out to the Nazis, and then used this money to fund their glorious socialist system. Alas, they ran out of money. They got wise sooner than the Greeks (anon, anon,) and they began to cut back on all sorts of services and health care and bringing back a dash of wealth creation – got to replenish their bank accounts. They also found it more efficacious to cut taxes drastically, and so things have stabilized a bit, except, well, there’s still neo-Nazis, added to the Muslims, who are harassing the Jewish community of Malmo – the Swedish government’s response to far is to urge emigration for the Jews. Oh well, nice folks. What a model!

 Belgium 1945 Insurance Mandate

United Kingdom 1948 Single Payer

Finland 1972 Single Payer

Denmark 1973 Two-Tier

Luxembourg 1973 Insurance Mandate

France 1974 Two-Tier

Netherlands 1966 Two-Tier

 Ah, this bunch – In 1945 Belgium was nearly 100% supported by the United States Taxpayer – there was no industry, the ports all for military, the population decimated – why, with all the old and sick already dead, and nothing but the Darwinian strongest and fittest left – after all, Hitler killed off all the health care problems during the war, remember? How easy it was to get health care for all when all were healthy and obvious survivors – and all the money was from the USA! My my, what a breeze. Meanwhile, alas, fast forward to today and the Belgies, aw, they’re getting old and sick, and the young, not so many, are moving to Spain to avoid the high taxes in Belgium (they did eventually get their system up and running) and now – the Flemish and the Walloons are fighting it out over who is going to get what’s left now that the nation has reached the actuarial breaking point – there are more people getting “free” this and that and “subsidized” these and those than there are youngun’s to pay into the system. Such is the fracas frayed that the King (yes, they got royalty with the ermine, rather than without, like we’re getting,) had to step in and sort of take over absolute power – seems the place is just falling apart – they might have it today – but oh, well, soon to be gone – there’s no more money – no more rich to tax, no more workers to pay into the system – it’s a mess. Maybe the King will keep the country together – it’s a fake country anyway – that’s why there’s two peoples and two languages – they both want out. Let’s wait till we see what comes out of it before we go to learn about it.

 According to 100% of the people I met in England – where I was for nearly 3 months – “You don’t want to go to the national health system.” The thing is plagued with high deaths from easy to prevent infections, filthy hospitals, incompetent doctors and the British press and people are up in arms about the whole fracas. The government there too is alas out of money – and so they keep cutting services and nurses and doctors and medicines – the horror stories would make a Democratic congressman go gaga with glee for the opportunity to push for um, national health care. Links can be provided to well over a hundred articles I’ve read on the matter, if one desires they are easy to find – look for “problems UK Health Care” – don’t believe the bureaucrats about peachy keen, listen to the people who use the thing.

 France is broke – the rich are running – the cities are in flames – the Jews are nervous – and the well, it’s got to much debt and not enough income to continue the expenses for “national health care” – and “universal health care” – and it’s getting harder to find a doctor – and well, it’s a mess.

 Finland, Denmark and Luxembourg are so tiny, so demographically different than the USA (and Finland and Denmark losing people fast,) that they are incomparable. Though again, they got that great head start by having all the old and sick dead by 1945, to start with a fresh crop of healthy folks, and Denmark and Luxembourg got wonderful new money from the US taxpayer – now no more of course – though, only Finland ever repaid it’s war debt to the USA – the rest all said, “ah, we’re keeping the dough, we got to fund health care” – and so, these societies, these nations didn’t supply health care – the United States did – in the Marshall plan and of course in their not repaying the debts.

 It could be argued, at this point, well the US should have kept this money to fund our universal health care system – but we didn’t do this because, well, we had it already – we had employee coverage and charity, and state systems and private and religious – why, there was never a shortage of health care – through, true, unlike Europe after the war until the 1970s, we didn’t get any new health care infrastructure to speak of, but ad hoc additions as the hospitals grew. That’s one reason American hospitals look so ungainly with different parts stuck on here and there – and European ones are so neat and orderly. Oh, yes, start from scratch with others unlimited money and wonders never cease. But don’t forget to include this head start in the calculus of what they can afford – now that it’s old and needs repair and replacement – they have no source of funds, and their hospitals are decaying.

 Switzerland 1994 Insurance Mandate

Ah, Switzerland – well any place that requires every man to own a gun and keep it at the ready – an assault weapon to boot! – at home at all times can’t be all bad. But, alas, I’m not Swiss-friendly. For instance, it’s well known that billions of real cash, gold and such were deposited in Swiss banks by Jews before and during the war – alas, either the Jews died, or the famously tidy Swiss either claimed they could find no records, or that the Jews who did survive didn’t have the right records – and one Schlomo from Minsk was like any other – so, no gold. And then, well, roughly 1992 as I recall (oh, I’m sure it could be ferreted out, and there are other such trip line dates,) the Swiss decided that well, no claimants for the billions, it was therefore the property of the Swiss government. And presto – great new funds for health care! Oh, would we have a few billions from killed off folks lying around to fund our wonders instead of actually having to work for it. I wouldn’t go with the Swiss – they’re circumstances indicate they’re not paying for their health care, others are – and those guns, they’re just too gun happy – now, if we were to follow the Swiss model of health care, I dare say, give every American a gun too – and secret bank accounts for dictators, drug lords, crooks, thieves and arrant bums, so that we too could reap the hidden profits for government run health care. I dare say, Baby Doc Duvalier’s millions in his Swiss bank account goes a long way in fees and tax monies to the Zurich and Bern medi-clinics, while Baby Doc lives it up in the South of France. Charming situation, to get dictators bank account fees pay for you health care. Can we do that? Hmm.

 Ah, Slovenia 1972 Single Payer – well, in 1972 Slovenia was a part of the Communist (though Quirky) Yugoslavia – and thus Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovinia, Croatia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia were also given this single payer system – and so let us include the rest of the bunch with Slovenia, and don’t leave the sweetest of this bunch as a special case, eh? Ah, so the rest – well, good thing they had single payer health care – lord knows they needed it with the orgy of slaughter they had! Why, good thing not a European did a thing to disrupt that blood bath – it was good for the health care industry – unless someone bombed your hospital – or, just took you out and shot you. Ah, the Dutch, wondrous health care – so soft that they watched 6,000 men and boys get shoot in cold blood – health care indeed – I dare say, what is it with nations with national health care and blood baths and mass killings? Is there a connection? Hmm. Still, when you get rid of the old and infirm, and many healthy, by killing them, one does reduce health care costs – and keep good funeral home and mass grave digging services in business. This is your model? You jest, no? Yeesh.

 Ah, some more tiny countries with strange situations and special circumstances – Australia has a wonderful policy of chasing away any ships with refugees from its shores – just chases ’em out to sea – shoo, fly, shoo – and what happens to those folks? Who knows. Seems no one cares. I’m sure the Australian navy watches – but with such good health care now they have no intention of sharing with anyone – certainly not their version of Mexicans – (Mexican swim here, obviously, while Vietnamese, Malaysians, Chinese, etc etc, swim to Australia.)

 Speaking of Swimming and Health Care – Cuba – they have universal health care – unless, you’re caught with forbidden books (imagine, books forbidden, how very strange,) or illegal music, illegal money, illegal work, illegal anything, (and a lot is illegal, it’s a habit there, since long ago,) – those folks swim away and defect at every opportunity. Poor Castro, couldn’t even send his baseball team to Cancun without ½ the players running for the US Tourist Consulate – so ended healthy trips abroad to play ball. Now, ah, back to swimming. What is it with this universal health care and such maniacal governments? Well, I don’t have to defend this mush.

 I forgot to mention the entire soviet block — oh, everywhere east of Potsdam had national universal health care — as my Czech relatives said: the doctors pretend to work, and we pretend to pay them, and on Tuesday the government give’s sausages and on Friday we plan the revolution. It rhymes in Czech. Horrendous national health care — the exposes on Russian hospitals on one of the networks were astounding. I’ve used a Czech hospital — as the doctor said: Get back to the US, soon. What models! 

 New Zealand 1938 Two Tier

Australia 1975 Two Tier

Iceland 1990 Single Payer – so broke they went bankrupt – we’ll see how this goes – the book is still open on whether they maintain everything – or if the 350,000 people all named …dottir and all related and all so identical that there’s like 20 surnames in the whole country – and they rely on a healthy dose of US military base rent and the world’s largest aluminum smelter and they still went broke. I would say that if a place smaller than Baton Rouge and immeasurably richer can’t stop from going broke, it’s not worth touting as an example.

 Canada 1966 Single Payer

Ah, I dealt with Canada on this health thing just a few weeks ago on this page – they too are of such a different demography – and – since they get all their drugs and equipment from the US rather dependent on us anyway, and still, they send their hard cases to us – or, in the recent case of the Prime Minister of Prince Edward Island (ah, maybe a different province,) left his fine free health care and came to the US for treatment – seems his case not covered up there. Meanwhile, the biggest growth industry in Buffalo New York and Bellingham Washington – border towns (well, almost) is – health care. Why? Both cities have falling populations? Oh yah, Canadians. They flock across the border for what their system doesn’t cover or cover as quick as desired. Meanwhile, Canada is still busy apologizing for raking their natives over the shark teeth. Though, their demographics fortunately gives them a healthier population right off the bat – always a help – but, a disqualify in the model to follow department – because, well, they have different sorts of patients and vast oil wealth which Alberta is stripped of (literally for the oil, figuratively for the cash,) that they too have this very fine national bank account that the US doesn’t have – we simply don’t have the ratio of oil to strip and tax to the numbers of people that Canada has to pay for their system. Though, search a few weeks a back, December something, on Canada. (I’m a lazy blogger, and I expect you to be able to search for things without me having to give kindergarten links.)

 Ah, the oil rich – What is it about massively rich oil producing states and free health care – why, how easy. And so let’s model our system on theirs indeed – and we shall get fabulously oil wealthy – to the tune of oh, what? A million bucks of oil for every citizen … free everything! And indeed, in Brunei the Sultan, amongst richest man in the world with a 1500 room palace (hey, sultans need rooms,) he pays for almost everything in his tiny spot on an oil spigot. When that runs out, well, we’ll see. Meanwhile, until the oil was discovered in, oh, wow – the early 1950s and developed by Exxon I’m sure, for the evil of that thing, I guess – where do people think these countries get the money for the freebies? Meanwhile, woman are treated like crap. And Jews not allowed on premises – and foreign maids treated like slaves – this is your model? Well, sir – when you show me 1,000,000 barrels of oil per US citizen I shall show you health care and “wealth” and even a 1500 room presidential palace like these four nations have. But to argue that they are models is laughable – we couldn’t follow their funding model if we tried.

Kuwait 1950 Single Payer

Bahrain 1957 Single Payer

Brunei 1958 Single Payer

United Arab Emirates 1971 Single Payer

 Ah, the PIIGS – so broke Europe and the Eurozone teeter – and Germany going broke paying to bail these PIIGS out – they’re so out of money that when Germany runs out then poof! There goes it all. There’s simply not enough money to seize within the nation – not even all the king of Spain’s – what is is it about your royalist models? Do we need a king, too, to get the whole effect? – all his cash could fund what Spain has to fund if they stick to their promises. Where’s the money going to come from? Selling off the art of El Escorial? I doubt it. The Prado? I doubt it. Maybe they’ll sell the Spanish colonies in Africa – what? Spain has colonies in Morocco!? Why certainly they keep a slim vestige of their Catholic Majesties in Ceuta and such – why, Moroccans use these as jumping off points to get to Europe, climb into Ceuta, catch the ferry, presto Europe. Ah, well, Morocco, they too have national health care system – why are people leaving.

 In fact, why do people keep leaving countries with national health care and come to our godforsakken hellhole where people die in the street because a bureaucrat didn’t authorize a payment and the poor buffoon was too dumb from the lousy education to pay for and obtain his own health care? (oops, bitter sarcasm, sorry.)

 Yes, the PIIGS – say good bye health care – no more money.

 Ireland 1977 Two-Tier

Italy 1978 Single Payer

Portugal 1979 Single Payer

Greece 1983 Insurance Mandate

Spain 1986 Single Payer

 Cyprus 1980 Single Payer

Cyprus? Which half? The Greek or the Turk? Other than that, again with the shoot’em ups and national health care. Why, a veritable Berlin Wall right down the middle of the Island.

 South Korea 1988 Insurance Mandate

Ah, finally a country with some of their own money! And they earned it! And they share their defense burden with us! Fine fellows. They too, though, did start out with the fittest after the Japanese killed nearly 1/3 of the people – but that always makes things easy like I said. If we lost 1/3 of our people, oy, the health care savings.

 Hong Kong 1993 Two-Tier

The capitalist state? The city with no resources has such wealth? Yes, proving the liberal adage about poor countries and resources rather bizarre. Anyway, Hong Kong is a wondrous thing to emulate in many ways – like the government in 1993 not keeping any economic records – did you know – not a statistic gathered by the Hong Kong Government – no zoning, no rules, no laws, virtually nothing but contract and fraud laws and a gung ho (a phrase from Hong Kong!) that lead to untrammeled wealth. Alas, then in 1999, the communists came in – the situation drastically altered – it can no longer be a model. Hong Kong lost so many people to Canada – nearly 500,000 of the richest left – they had to be the richest – for Canada charged each incoming Hong Kongese $250,000 US money – yes, US bucks – no canadian cash for canada (so ashamed of their own money they wouldn’t take it – reminds me of Norway, all that oil and they only take the US dollar at the Saudi sales rate, fine folks.)

 Singapore 1993 Two-Tier

A tiny city state of fascist capitalism were chewing gum is illegal and forced sterilizations and beating gays folks is OK – I’ll skip this one too –

 Israel 1995 Two-Tier –

we fund it – we fund them $5 billion a year – Israel doesn’t fund it’s system – we do. When they fund it let me know how it works and if it’s affordable. 

 United States 2014? Insurance Mandate

 And now, finally, oh, poor US – where, to hear it, the dead pile up in the streets because there’s no national universal (but previously kill off the old, other countries pick up the tab, massive oil resources and tiny single demographic population,) health care system – and with all those systems to model on! Egad, what a mess. The countries given are so different, and their circumstances are so different, that to blithely just state “they have, we should” is absurd.

 And that’s enough on that today.  

{cheers, to you my friend, for this is delivered with my big sloppy smile you know so well.}

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