Sunday, May 7, 2017

Andy Serwer — Charlie Munger says single-payer healthcare is the solution

Charlie Munger says that single-payer healthcare is the answer to fix the nation’s healthcare system woes.…
The political process is not working to deliver a solution.
“A benign despot would create a single payer system with people being able to opt out into private care that was a little faster or a little fancier like all of Europe and Canada,” he said.
Yahoo Finance
Charlie Munger says single-payer healthcare is the solution
Andy Serwer

18 comments:

Dan Lynch said...

If I were a benign despot I would not allow anyone to opt out of public health or public education. If you want the rich to support it, then they need to depend on it just like everyone else. Everybody in and nobody out.

Otherwise good on Charlie, one of the few remaining non-psychopathic billionaires.

Neil Wilson said...

If you allow the rich to 'opt out', then all that means is that the rich can reserve the best people for themselves and everybody else gets what is left.

There is a supply limit to the number of people suitable to be medics or teachers - if you want a quality job done. There's even more of a supply limit if your training system is FUBAR.

Andrew Anderson said...

I remember when medical bills could be paid out of pocket. So obviously, people's pockets, in general, are not as deep, in real terms, as they used to be.

And why is that? Certainly part of the reason is the government subsidized* usury cartel and other welfare proportional to wealth such as positive yielding sovereign debt.

The solution then is reform and restitution for what has been, in essence, legalized theft.

*e.g. the government insurance of private liabilities, including privately created liabilities ("bank loans create deposits").

Dan Lynch said...

@Neil the problem I have observed is that, in education for example, when the rich take their kids out of public schools and send them to private schools, then the rich who used to support public schools -- they had been active in the local Parent-Teacher-Association, volunteered for school activities, active on the school board, they had voted for additional tax levies to support public eduction -- but once they transfer their children to private schools then they stop supporting public schools. Funding for public education declines, the facilities decline, and the quality of the student body declines. In some parts of the U.S. only poor children of color still attend public schools while affluent whites attend segregated private schools or charter schools. This is unhealthy in more ways than one.

There has never been a shortage of qualified teachers in the U.S. (contrary to some anecdotal claims), and teachers at the private schools are not necessarily any better than the teachers at the public schools. But private schools may enjoy better facilities, smaller class sizes, more course offerings, a better quality student body, and a safer, less stressful environment.

Perhaps there is a limited supply of people with the natural talent to be medics, but I have to wonder how many suitable people are instead going into the FIRE sector or the military-industrial sector or the latest Silicon Valley bubble? How much potential talent fails to develop because kids grow up in poverty, or because they can't afford graduate school?

Personally, I attended college in a time and place when it was affordable, but was discouraged from attending graduate school by the practical necessity of making a living. I have no aptitude for biological sciences but even if I did I would never have considered a medical career simply because I could not imagine going 8+ years without income. I doubt if there would be a shortage of doctors in the U.S. if we gave all qualified med school applicants not only a free ride but also a comfortable stipend.

In the meantime I am told that the bottleneck in producing U.S. doctors is the number of teaching hospitals due to a lack of government funding.

One obstacle to producing enough doctors is a shortage of residency slots in teaching hospitals to provide clinical training for doctors who have just graduated from medical school. ... the number of residencies to train graduates has increased only modestly, largely because of a congressional cap on paying for the slots.

Penguin pop said...

Tom, you need to check this post out. MMT featured in The Nation.

https://www.thenation.com/article/the-rock-star-appeal-of-modern-monetary-theory/

I even love the name of the article too.

Tom Hickey said...

Thanks. I just posted it.

Tom Hickey said...

Regarding education, the whole model is inappropriate. It was developed centuries ago under different conditions and it needs to be completely revised for contemporary conditions and emerging challenges as the world transitions from the industrial age to the information age.

Savyy parents have realize this and are "homeschooling" their kids. I put "homeschooling" in quotes to show that it is not a homogenous process but rather individualized.

There are two types of homeschooling. One is to remove the child from the school system, which the parent regard as harmful.

The second is the type where the parent realize that contemporary education is broken and a new approach is needed.

Tom Hickey said...

Parents are “losing control” as children immerse themselves in digital

Neil Wilson said...

"In the meantime I am told that the bottleneck in producing U.S. doctors is the number of teaching hospitals due to a lack of government funding."

It's not just funding. You have to have people who are medically qualified to do the training - which takes them away from front line work.

The classic way for any business to improve results is to suspend the training and apprentice program. The trainers then do real work - at least until they retire or burn out.

You can always make more bread if you use up the seed corn.

Dan Lynch said...

Tom, I would be curious to hear more of your thoughts on revising education.

Aside from the educational issues, I am concerned about the cultural effects of segregated or private schools, or homeschools. My view is that mandatory public education is necessary for a cohesive society.

Conservatives hate the idea of their children being indoctrinated by public schools, not because they are opposed to indoctrination, but because they prefer their own flavor of indoctrination.

The Nordic states accept that schools are responsible for teaching social values and do not shy away from it. In the U.S. there is no agreement on social values so public schools walk a tightrope trying not to offend anyone. Whether or not schools deliberately try to indoctrinate children, the fact is they do, and it seems that the majority of the population maintain the values and worldview that they acquired as children. The rest of us spend our entire lives unlearning what we were taught.

Economic opportunity has as much to do with who you know as what you know. If you go to school with poor people of color your social network will be different than someone who goes to school with rich white people.

Matt Franko said...

Munger: "Let them eat single payer..."

Tom Hickey said...

My view is that mandatory public education is necessary for a cohesive society.

I agree, Dan, but this doesn’t necessitate sticking to the obsolete "school" model.

I also think that a one size fits all model is the wrong way to go.

There have been many experiments in alternatives to draw upon.

However, I think that new models are needed as humanity enters the information age.

BTW, kids know this intuitively.

I am actually working on this right now.

I think that the "big idea" is a model that is both horizontal and vertical in approach and uses a broad range of methods.

The traditional or classical horizontal-vertical model in the West was the Great Chain of Being as the vertical component coupled with Trivium and Quadrivium as the horizontal component. The remnant of this still exists in religious schools.

The "modern" model is naturalistic, eliminating the vertical component. The horizontal component is disciplinary based, with little or no relation among the disciplines. Student go from class to class and learn out of standardized texts and lesson plans. It is regimented and unresponsive to individual needs.

Alternative models have experimented with various approaches with varying degrees of success. They demonstrate that approaches other than the orthodox model are available. There is a substantial literature on this.

But so far little has been done in the West to develop either a vertical component other than great chain of being or a more holistic and integrated horizontal approach, or to make the transition to the information age. These are priorities in my view if liberalism is to survive and progress, overcoming its paradoxes.

I propose using perennial wisdom to develop a vertical component that is global since perennial wisdom is the same in its essential from time immemorial and worldwide in scope. Moreover it is experientially based, so it can be taught practically as well as theoretically and historically.

I propose developing a horizontal approach based on a general systems approach rather than a disciplinary approach, that is, an approach that is meta-disciplinary, trans-disciplinary, and inter-disciplinary, producing well-rounded people that are generalists as well as specialists. This is going to require more time in the educational process, and the increased leisure from innovation provides this opportunity.

It should be obvious by now that people learn best when they can follow their own interests rather than being forced to adopt a pattern they resist. Kids love digital technology so this has to be integrated into the process while recognizing that a significant part of education involves socialization. One way to do this is to make education global so that kids are interacting with others without geographical limitation.

This is going to happen and it is already happening. In fact, aspects of it have been happening from some time. The need now is to get the barriers out of the way to faster development.

jrbarch said...

The whole debate seems like a thick smoke screen over the real issue.

What the debate is about is an ‘illness-care system’ – not a healthcare system. Health care is about sunshine, movement, sensible food consumption to recycle the body, and the human will. Prevention is far more effective.

Am reading Norman Doidge’s ‘The Brain’s Way of Healing – Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries from the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity’ at the moment; sequel to ‘The Brain That Changes Itself’ and the role that energy plays in effecting quite incredible cures. Most interesting bit so far Tom, is where they posit the electrical energy of the mind as ‘thought’, capable of operating over changing networks of neurons – say in the case of neural damage. Many of these researchers are all heading towards the Ageless Wisdom. I don’t think the day is too far away when they discover the etheric body is our real body; matter just an infill on an energy matrix: - put the pharmaceutical industry almost out of business! The etheric body can be seen, after the right kind of concentration, as a circle of violet light between the eyes; when it intensifies and becomes whitish it is possible to ‘pass through’ into an extensive dome of blue or some other colour, dependent upon the centre. The feeling is you have left the physical~etheric body far behind; its weight is gone. One day, soon I hope, there will be an instrument capable of imaging the etheric body leaving the physical at death.

Tom Hickey said...

There are actually three aspects of "health," the etymological root of which is being whole, or wholeness.

The first aspect is aimed at maintaining perfection, or what is now called high-level wellness or well-being.

The second aspect is prevention, which is aimed at averting the danger that is not yet come.

The third step is care, after the danger has arrived.

This was the sets of priorities of traditional systems.

Modern health care is concerned chiefly with the third, somewhat with the second and almost not at all with the first.

Bob said...

Germany has a good educational system for preparing students for the workforce. We would do well to emulate it. But that is as far as it goes: education in service to economics.

Educational systems and institutions are no substitute for a culture of learning. We should be looking to get them out of the way, so that learning can become a part of our behavior instead of an obligation. This is the way it used to be, before 'learning' became formalized and placed under bureaucratic control.

Tom Hickey said...

Bureaucracy tends to become an end in itself and to take over the process. It also seeks to expand its territory of influence and it reinforces the status quo.

[Robert] Michels stressed several factors that underlie the Iron Law of Oligarchy. Darcy K. Leach summarized them briefly as: "Bureaucracy happens. If bureaucracy happens, power rises. Power corrupts."[3] Any large organization, Michels pointed out, has to create a bureaucracy in order to maintain its efficiency as it becomes larger—many decisions have to be made daily that cannot be made by large numbers of disorganized people. For the organization to function effectively, centralization has to occur and power will end up in the hands of a few. Those few—the oligarchy—will use all means necessary to preserve and further increase their power.

The iron law of oligarchy

Bob said...

Not much that can be done but to replace the leadership at regular intervals and forbid anyone from assuming a leadership role more than once.

Keep stirring the pot, and the sludge will not settle...

Noah Way said...

Re the role of the brain in health, stress makes you ill, thus the stress of dealing with systems designed to obfuscate and profit on the empty promise of care are counterproductive in even more ways.