Russian "Health Care"
58 Year Life Expectancy and DROPPING FAST
To call the current debacle about government largesse in “health care” a “debate” is about like calling a chicken fight a “congress”. Except this is an insult to chicken fights who appear to be more organized, more focused, more productive, and more intelligent, than our current congress, which our Founding Fathers would throw out faster than they threw out King George. Most people in this “debate” don’t even seem to remember that *before* Congress got involved in health care, we had the world’s best PRIVATE system at the cheapest cost, consuming less than 3% of GDP, just like the current PRIVATE systems in Japan and Australia where the life expectancy of a “non-minority” man is four or five years longer. To now spend more than four times as much, more than 12% of GDP, and to continue to demand that “we” spend even more through government largesse, ignores that when you pass the point of diminishing returns by this much, you can accomplish nothing but to continue to make it worse.
We don’t need to prove that our health care costs CAN be cut 75%. We already DID this. And many other countries who STILL spend one fourth as much as we do have BETTER systems than us, because they are PRIVATE.
Please guys don’t use this argument with the little lady—it was they who became the majority voter and got us into this mess in the first place, and it’s they, who now constitute 16% more of the voters than men, who continue to demand ever more government largesse when even they “feel” that it’s not working. Just like the ineffective and unconstitutional 22,000 gun control laws, they know not a single one of them ever saved a single life, but they continue to demand even more, simply because “we’ve got to do something”. Economics is not their strong suit, so it’s now up to you to use the following information to add some “feelings” to these hard cold facts so they can begin to comprehend the error of their ways. This however is not very easy by those who are so easily beguiled by media sound-bytes at the expense of principle.
The main reason we had a health care system which was the apple of your eye, where leaders from around the world entrusted their lives to American doctors and surgeons, is that private systems attract the best while public ones attract, literally, the worst. It was before affirmative action, when the US built two thirds of the cars in the world, which were more in demand across the globe than any Japanese car is today, and where few jews had been allowed into the practice because they were still considered feeble-minded morons:
Gould's most inflammatory allegation consists of blaming IQ testers for magnifying the toll of those lost in the Holocaust (p. 263). Here he has followed the lead of Leon Kamin's (1974) The Science and Politics of IQ. The Kamin-Gould thesis is that early IQ testers claimed their research proved that Jews as a group scored low on their tests and that this finding was then conveniently used to support passage of the restrictive Immigration Act of 1924 which then denied entry to hapless Jewish refugees in the 1930s. Gould goes so far as to claim (1996, pp. 195-198; 255-258) that Henry H. Goddard (in 1917) and Carl C. Brigham (in 1923) labeled four-fifths of Jewish immigrants as "feeble-minded ... morons".
Not only can these former feeble-minded morons now become doctors with almost no examination of their qualifications, or lack thereof, but I’ve met Indians who were refused admission to Indian universities who came HERE where they were readily admitted, who then become many of our own doctors and veterinarians [and to whom you should be subjected to a child abuse investigation should you ever let one of them operate on your child]. If they weren’t qualified to be a doctor or veterinarian in a country like India where the average IQ is 81 and the average monthly income is $40, then by what stretch of the imagination do they suddenly become qualified just because they came HERE as affirmative action students? Don’t ask the little lady that one, because she’d rather tear your eyes out rather than let you question her wisdom. She’ll also launch into a verbal assault which includes inflammatory buzz phrases like “anti-semite”, “racist”, and probably even worse, “holocaust denier”. And it’s these inflammatory phrases which prevent any rabble about health care from becoming an actual organized “debate”—you aren’t even allowed to stand up for your own sex, much less your race, ESPECIALLY if you happen to be one of the 44 million WHITE American men who pay ALL the taxes which fund ALL this government largesse.
Because of this gender gap in economics, you now need to ignore the numbers for a second and pay close attention to the following anecdote about the world’s most successful and longest running public health care system. As the son of a military officer and a military officer myself, I was not totally unfamiliar with how government handles health care. But not even that prepared me for what I found in Russia. Even though most of the health care I witnessed prior to visiting Russia had been the government variety, I at least had a choice between this “free” system, and spending actual money for a doctor, dentist, or hospital visit. Little did I realize how fortunate I was to have grown up in a country which had both public and private health care (which of course compete with each other, reducing the efficiency of both). And I’m sure glad that my health care had not reached the efficiency of the Russian system at the point in time I was able to witness it.
My story begins with Glasnost (and the end of the Soviet Union) when a retired Russian admiral started off breakfast with a toast to the Soviet Army. My American accomplice then toasted the Russian army, and I toasted the US Army, which for us was an amazing end to a very long and cruel cold war. I thought at that point that we would never have to worry about any military threat from the Russian bear any longer. His wife, a gynecologist, then invited me and my American friend to her office, which we gladly accepted. On the way down the snow swept street, we decided to stop at the post office to get stamps. That required us to get at the end of a line which snaked around the streets for several blocks. After waiting so patiently in the blowing snow for what seems like an hour, it was finally our turn to ask for stamps, only to learn that they had run out yesterday. Oh, well, at least we didn’t have to wait in another line which was even longer than the one to the post office. Except it turns out that this was the line to HER office. You cannot imagine the glares we got when we went to the front of this line, even though we were simply accompanying her to the office.
This is exactly what we found in her office: a SMALL filing cabinet, a table (not a desk), three chairs, and a telephone. Because there were two American visitors there, we took turns sharing one chair, she sat in the other chair, and each of the hundreds of patients who came in sat in the third chair. Nobody seemed to be bothered that two obvious Americans were there—they were just too excited to have finally been able to just SEE her. The “doctor’s visits” were very brisk, with everyone obviously aware of the hundreds of people waiting behind them. One woman came in looking really sad, and after just a few minutes with the gynecologist, went away with the biggest smile we had seen all day. So at dinner that night, both of us wanted to ask her what kind of good news would have made her so happy. It wasn’t hard for her to remember which patient that was, because she was literally the only one who seemed so happy.
A. She had cancer.
Q. So she was happy she had cancer?
A. No, I told her she didn’t have cancer.
Q. [two jaws hanging to the table] Why would you tell her that?
A. I’m required by law to tell her that, and there’s nothing we can do about it anyway.
Q. Don’t you tell her children or husband or parents?
A. We can’t. It’s against the law.
Q. So nobody will ever tell her or her relatives that she has cancer, and she won’t receive any treatment for it?
A. No. There’s no treatment for it, it would be too time consuming to get others involved, and there’s no money allocated for cancer research, drugs, or equipment.
Q. [to others at the table] How can you accept such a contradiction in the duty of doctors to their patients, where lying to them becomes a social norm or public mandate?
A. All shoulders shrugged in agreement with the doctor’s account].
So there you have it. The ultimate efficiency of single payer health care. The cheaper we can make it, the better off are the people who’re expected to pay for it. The less interaction there is between doctor and patient, the less we manage drugs and equipment, more efficient the health care system.
Since that time, I lived in Russia a year and a half on a business opportunity and thus am probably the most qualified to critique the following almost accurate account:
--- On Sun, 8/23/09, Michael Kersh <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Single Payer health care, in a nut shell, is what existed in the former Soviet Union. It's where a single entity, (ie, government) pays the hospitals and doctors for services rendered, including the setting of prices and wages. Now get this: I went to Russia in 1993 as a member of 30 insurance professionals as a part of an organization called People to People, citizen ambassadors to other countries for engaging in dialogues to created better understanding. The program was initially created during President Eisenhower's administration. Anyway, I was invited to go on the trip with my fellow insurance professionals from all over the Country. We visited Moscow, St Petersburg and Kiev, speaking with Russian mayors, and business leaders interested in how America did things in a free enterprise system. It so happened that when one of our members, a New Yorker, blurted out in one of the conferences about how much he was looking forward to being a part of President Clinton's health plan because it was modeled so closely on the Soviet system, they (the Russians) told him to shut up and sit down and listen to what they had to say about it. And this is it: the Russian spokesman said, in no uncertain terms, that they would be happy to swap health care systems with us, because under a Single Payer, socialist system, it takes about 30% of your income to run it. That's right. Free health care is NOT free. Somebody has to pay the bill. What's worse, in Moscow, Russia, at that time, in 1993, there was only one MRI machine for a population of 9 million people. In addition, the waiting time to see a doctor for most illnesses was around 6 months. You figure it out. Which system would YOU prefer to have? And that's not all. I made a personal visit to a Russian dental office on an errand for my Russian tutor here in Houston, and you won't believe what I found. In brief, her office looked like an abandoned warehouse. She had to use equipment that was either obsolete or broken, right down to dust covered flasks and beakers. Oh, and you will love this: Under her Single Payer Soviet socialist wage schedule, she was alloted a whopping $60.00 a month income to live on. Isn't socialism great? I just know all of you out there can't wait until we have the same thing over here like the rest of the world.
Because racially Russians are *identical* to us White-European-Americans (the only truly accurate hyphenation to describe us, along the lines of “African-American”), it’s very difficult for us to come to terms with the huge social, economic, and religious differences between Americans and Russians. An entire encyclopedia wouldn’t be large enough to describe all the experiences I’ve bumped into regarding these differences. So Michael Kersh must be forgiven for making such a huge blunder in medical workers’ incomes in Russia—several weeks there meeting with top leaders isn’t the same as a year and a half there living with real Russian people, seeing them paid their wages, and watching their jaws drop as the exchange rate between the dollar and the ruble dropped overnight from 8 rubles to a dollar to 150 rubles to a dollar, to now more than 28,000 rubles to the dollar. There’s only one person in all of Russia whose official income was $60 per month, and that was Gorbachev, whose official residence didn’t look as comfortable as one of our attic apartments. Their official income is so close to $15 that you can’t find a difference between the official income of a public servant and that of a taxi driver, with the sole exception of medical workers who were paid only one ruble per day. At that time, this was the equivalent of two thirds of one cent per day. Needless to say, dedicating a whopping 15 cents per month of public funds for Russian medical workers indicates that they were not held in very high esteem, which means her only incentive to go to that office were the tips paid under the table by desperate patients. This was once called their “underground economy”, which at that time was bigger than the official economy: the crowning achievement of 88 years of Living Under Bolshevism.
Don’t take this wrong. Russians do and can live comfortably, because the cost of living is also very low. It’s an absolutely beautiful country with the most magnificent cathedrals and palaces and museums the world has ever witnessed. But 88 years of spending one third of their incomes for “free public health care” left over absolutely not a single ruble for savings, a boat, a car, and only occasionally for a boom-box (on which they’re shocked and ashamed [for us] to hear AND UNDERSTAND the lyrics from the occasional American song). But thanks to their “free health care”, the life expectancy of a Russian man is only 58 years, and still decreasing.
Don’t go there, America! We need to bury this stinking corpse of free health care NOW, before we get even close to what Hillary and the desolation of obamanation seek to impose on you!