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Zenji

I think you're missing the point of the analogy. Eating in a restaurant and *purchasing* health care are both economic transactions. The analogy could just as easily be about renting a car and paying for a round of golf. The point, in the conservative mind, is always "Who's gonna pay for it?"

The point isn't that the activities are similar in some way, the point is, if you abstracted the health insurance system into a food insurance system, it would look ridiculous, because the poor restauranteur is so obviously getting screwed. I think we are supposed to feel sorry for the poor, struggling insurance industry. *Sob* I weep for their children! ;-)

Frankly, the fact that you can both starve to death AND go untreated for serious disease without anyone so much as noticing in this country is a sign of a series problem in our culture. But that's just me.
No matter who has to pay for the remedy.


Zenji

make that a serious problem, not a series problem. Preview good! good!

jack*

Going to a hospital is *not* an economic transaction for the patient; purchasing health insurance is. Deciding how much to pay for which health plan (assuming you have any choice at all) is a matter of doing a cost/benefit analysis and finding the money in the budget. For the insured cost is simply never discussed at the doctor's office.

Doctors get paid by insurance companies, not by patients. By trying to blame any unfairness in that transaction on the sick people themselves, as this author does, is disgusting. The fact that it requires such a risible analogy makes it almost not worth the trouble of refuting.

I agree that we accept starvation or untreated illness as economic tradeoffs is a national disgrace. Addressing it with fallacious analogies is an insult.

Zenji

But his point is, there are people who can't afford the insurance, and if you make insurance mandatory, he's afraid you will force the insurance companies to cover those people too, even though they don't pay them. People who pay for insurance are not this guy's concern, it's people who can't afford insurance or healthcare who he is concerned with.

He's chiefly concerned that they don't get a free ride. You are absolutely right that this is disgusting, to look at a sick person and say, "Can't pay? Too bad. Hope you don't die!" and that's that. But that is the Right Wing position on the issue, and it's very widespread.

Elspeth

Good post.

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