Friday, July 24, 2009

Four Months (via Instapundit) is reporting on the end of government backed warranties for GM and Chrysler:
On March 30, President Obama announced that the federal government would back the warranties of General Motors and Chrysler in the event of bankruptcy. When the president says the word "backing," he means cold, hard cash, and in this case the total was $641 million. But with both companies out of bankruptcy court and flush with the government cash needed to run their businesses, it is apparently time to pay the money back.
There's no word on whether medical procedures sponsored by the new government healthcare administration will have warranties longer than four months.


Anonymous said...

That's great news that GM and Chrysler have taken over their responsibilities so soon!

Of course, the auto industry success story is unrelated to the pending healthcare legislation.

The US will one day have a single payer healthcare system, good not only for individual citizens but also for the our economy and budget.

Here's the deal. The US GDP was $14+ trillion last year, and over $2 trillion of that was healthcare. We spend double per person than any other wealthy or industrialized nation (Japan, Canada, France, Israel, Norway etc). Double. We spend $1 trillion or more unnecessarily. Where does that trillion go? Profits to healthcare and insurance companies. We're transferring funds to the wealthy by grossly overpaying on healthcare, the quality of our system is lower than most other wealthy countries and we can't even take care of at least 10% of our citizens.

This has to change. We have a single payer system in place that is efficient and satisfactory. Medicare does not require euthanasia of elders as the Republicans claim government subsidized healthcare must.

Right now we pay about $8000 per person per year in the US; we don't cover at least 10% of our citizens; and some 20,000 Americans die unnecessarily each year because of inadequate medical care (that's like six 9-11's a year!). We pay about half the $8000as taxes, half as private insurance premiums. A single payer system will cut our health care costs dramatically. Taking the responsibility for providing healtcare from our companies large and small will make our industries more competitive in the global economy.

dsm said...


Your comments about GM and Chrysler could've been more concisely written: "Mission Accomplished!"

As for your drivel about efficiency, please explain to me how the efficient operation of government accrues to the liberty of the people.

Medicare, like social security, is a ponzi scheme. The day of reckoning is coming.

As for the 20k deaths, bolt a sunset clause onto the bill. If deaths do not decline by 20k after, say, four years the bill ceases to be law.

Anonymous said...

Medicare is nothing like Social Security. Neither are Ponzi schemes. Why rely on RNC talking points?

Which part of what I wrote is drivel?

That we pay twice what other countries pay for healthcare?

That we could do it better for less money?

That our current system punishes American businesses (except for insurance companies)?

Is your argument (as evidenced by the indecipherable "how the efficient operation of government accrues to the liberty of the people") that government involvement in healthcare encroaches on our liberties? How about government involvement in the military? Or in law enforcement? Fire protection? Infrastructure (dams, bridges, highways, airports, ports)? Courts? What exactly is the true objection to universal single-payer health insurance?

Sunset clause? Good luck. Although, they're too cowardly to admit it, every national Republican would love to rescind Medicare but it would be political suicide. Why have none of the other industrialized nations changed their systems to the US version?

dsm said...


Drivel: You assume that the efficient operation of healthcare requires less spending and that our spending trajectory is unsustainable. I reject both premises. This Megan McArdle post partially explain why--look at the graph.

Spending double: I don't accept your premise. I'd wager that gasoline costs twice as much in those countries. But since this is such a priority for you: sunset the law if costs are not halved in, say, five years.

Better for less money: If quality does not improve by %5 while we spend 5% less money per capita, sunset the law.

Punishes American business: Sunset the law if new small business starts do not grow by, say, 5% in five years.

Are you noticing a trend here? Those promises and premises of yours are great. Codify 'em! The dems control both houses and the presidency. Make it happen!

You have confidence in your side of the argument and I'm sure the law will be sunseted if it was ever measured in the future against the promises made to sell it. We've reached agreement!

Liberty: the constitution at least discusses the military (army, navy, and militia) and courts (though not administrative courts). The other items are delegated to the states and people (amendments 9 AND 10).

Anonymous said...

You don't accept that we spend double per capita on health care? This is not a premise but a fact, at least according to the WHO and the US CIA. That other countries have better outcomes is also described by the same, and other, sources.

The McArdle piece makes one excellent point... How do we assess medical innovation?... but makes a startlingly false assumption that medical innovation is uniquely American. The innovations cited were compared to the past, not to other countries. Yes, medical care in 2009 in the US is better than in 1959. No arguments there. But hip replacement surgeries, dofetilide (hardly obscure) and implantable defibrillators for AF are used throughout the industrialized world. Much, if not most of the basic research supporting the development of innovative drugs, devices and techniques is conducted at universities worldwide funded by governments. In the US, NIH ($30+ billion this year) as well as SBIR/STTR grants fund more basic research than all the US drug companies combined. Professor Reynolds should tip his hat to big government as well as to big pharma.

Where does the Constitution stand on the National Institutes of Health? Or orphan drugs? Or stop signs... they're ubiquitous, and from New York to California are exactly the same. Is that spelled out in our Constitution? Are you against stop signs too?

The graph: I was under the impression from Conservatives that the primary driver of increased human health care costs were malpractice insurance and physicians practicing defensive medicine. This graph puts that to rest since veterinarians don't worry about either.

Finally, why do we in the US pay twice as much for health care per person than other industrialized nations yet have lower quality outcomes? (Keeping in mind that other countries use dofetilide, hip replacements and cardioversion).

If your argument is not about cost and outcomes, but rather liberty, just say so.

How does government funded healthcare compromise our liberties any more than government funded military protection?

dsm said...

> How does government funded healthcare compromise our liberties any more than government funded military protection?

I would gladly support a national health insurance program that, like the Posse Commitatas (sp?) Act guaranteed that it was never used on American soil.

My point is not only about liberty/cost/outcome, but rather that the Constitution stipulates that the powers of the Federal government are enumerated (not plenary). I want to see a return of the laboratory of democracy. Each of the fifty states can have their own SS, Medicare, Healthcare, etc. In this situation, there would still be failures (SS and Medicare face huge unfunded liabilities and some states would make similar mistakes), but those failures would 1) be smaller and 2) be offset by states that made better choices. Moving across state borders is easier than leaving the country.

Currently, about a dime of ever Federal tax dollar services the debt. As that continues upward, people who can, will leave the country--Galt's Gulch may be on the Ganges.

Back to sunsetting... I think that sunset clauses should be required for *every* new piece of legislation. I do not think that Congresscritters should be allowed to sell us X and deliver "not X".