Rudy Giuliani’s Erroneous Health Care Comparisons: Health Care Is Not Like Buying a Television

Rudy Giuliani has a problem speaking about health care. He tries to speak in simple terms by making comparisons, but each time he reveals how little he really understands about the topic. Previously I showed the flaws in Giuliani’s comparison between health care and fixing one’s car or home. I’ve also shown that Giuliani is wrong when he claims that Democrats support socialized medicine. Now Giuliani thinks that paying for health care is like paying for a television:

On healthcare, Giuliani gave his most detailed answer yet explaining that he believes if market forces were allowed to function in the industry healthcare would be cheaper, more accessible, and have more quality.

“Look what happens with televisions,” Giuliani said. “At first they are really expensive and they have some flaws, but eventually they come down in price, more people can afford them, and they are of higher quality. That is how markets work.”

There is a difference between acknowledging the benefits of the free market and this type of religious adherence to it, believing that the market can fix all problems. Health care has little in common with buying televisions.

Televisions benefit from improved technology which makes sets less expensive to build. In health care, new technology typically leads to new and more expensive tests which become the standard of care.Automation of production reduces the number of people who are necessary to make television sets. Health care is labor intense, and while perhaps technology may reduce this to some degree, there will always be lots of salaries to be paid by health care facilities.

Television manufacturers first charged a fortune to affluent suckers like me, who were willing to pay thousands to have a couple of high definition television sets as soon as programming was available. Eventually there won’t be enough of us suckers left, and they will be forced to lower the price to the point where more people are able and willing to pay. People can hold off on buying the newest television sets until the price comes down.

In contrast, people are always aging and developing new medical problems, providing a steady supply of buyers for the health care system. While people might put off health care needs for a while, ultimately this becomes impossible. Many wind up going bankrupt, but they spend on health care as long as they can.

I’m sure readers can come up with many more reasons why buying a television set and paying for health care are totally different, but this isn’t really necessary. Just look at the costs. We’ve all seen television sets go down in price, but has anyone witnessed a real drop in health care costs? At one point people thought that HMO’s might be the answer, but they just led to a one time decrease, followed by the same increases in cost as were seen before. Several of the candidates are offering plans, such as better use of computerized medical records, to help reduce the costs. This will help a little, but not enough to make health care affordable for the 45 million uninsured and many more who are under insured.

White House in Panic Mode

I wonder how much longer it will be until George Bush, like Richard Nixon in his final days, is found talking to the pictures on the wall. Even before the news came of hitting a new low in the Gallop Poll, ABC News was reporting that the White House was in panic mode:

ABC News has been told the White House is in “panic mode” over the recent defections of Republican senators on the president’s stay-the-course policy in Iraq.

Senior Bush administration officials are deep in discussion about how to find a compromise that will “appease Democrats and keep wobbly Republicans onboard,” a senior White House official told ABC News.

The official said the White House “is in panic mode,” despite Monday’s on-the-record briefing by White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, who played down any concern over the recent spate of GOP senators who have spoken out publicly in support of changing course in Iraq.

The Republican defections are seen as “a crack in the dike,” according to the senior White House official, and National Security Adviser Steven Hadley is most concerned.

Bush administration officials are currently discussing options about how to get out of “this conundrum with the Republicans,” while giving Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, time to implement the troop surge strategy in Iraq, according to a senior White House official.

Less than two years ago, Bush was talking about his mandate, and other Republicans were talking about building a permanent majority. Since then, Bush has failed to have any significant victories beyond his Supreme Court appointees, the Republicans have lost control of Congress, and even Republicans are turning on Bush.

Bush Approval Falls to Another New Low and Opposition to War Increases

A USA Today/Gallup Poll shows George Bush’s approval at a new low of 29%. A new high, 62%, also say it was a mistake to send troops to Iraq. Over 70% favor removal of most troops by April.

Despite Bush’s low approval rating, and despite other recent polls showing strong public support for impeachment, a majority in this poll opposed impeachment proceedings by 62%-36%. Of course impeachment proceedings would only be seriously considered should investigations provide sufficient evidence, and such investigations could also affect public opinion. Better understanding of the manner in which the Bush administration deceived the country to get into this war could have a tremendous impact on public opinion.

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