From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Minimum health care -- just like the minimum wage

August 18, 2005 12:49 PM

Sirota articulates the pro-business case for minimum health care laws. What a simple way to think about it. We need minimum health care requirements for businesses, just like we have a minimum wage. Duh.

More from the archive in Health.

Minimum health care -- just like the minimum wage (08.18.2005)

Next Entry: Powell's Chief of Staff: the "lowest point in my life" (08.19.2005)
Previous Entry: My heart is too big (08.17.2005)

Read the 10 comments.

Dave E.:

I think just as good a case can be made for scrapping our employer-based health care system completely.

It's called universal care. At least the basic, preventative kind. You'll cut out people going to the ER for things that preventative care could've caught and treated earlier for a fraction of the cost. Indeed, universal care is actually CHEAPER to the taxpayer than our current system.

And the most compelling part of this argument to me, and should be to anyone who is pro-market, is that this care sheds businesses of the tremendous burden of providing care for its dedicated employees.

What does that do?

It makes American businesses more competitive in the globalized economy. Now THAT's something that should appeal to anyone.

It can work. Unfortunately, and tragically really, big pharma (which currently has the most powerful lobby in DC measured in dollar-terms) and those currently making money administering health care have Congress in the inescapable camel clutch.

It's almost the reverse third rail of politics - not very many politicians are willing to piss off this lobby. For me, this was one of the more exciting planks in the Kerry platform last year. Now if only something could've been done about the guy that stood on it...damn shame.

Obviously, total socialized health care has some serious drawbacks as I'm sure Mike from up north could attest to. I completely concede that. But even bring up Social Security reform before addressing the very real crisis our health care system is facing is, in a single word: dereliction.

Thu Aug 18 2005 3:25 PM

Tom from Madison:

I agree with Dave E.

Universal care would remove a huge burden from businesses.

A separate, but related issue is how big Pharma are skewing the delivery of health care and are thereby also misdirecting the research and development of new drugs from where they are most needed to where they can be most lucratively marketed.

Consumers in this country are constantly being sold on the idea that they are sick and require drugs. We have way too many dollars chasing non-life threatening conditions like erectile dysfunction. This has created a drug-dependent consumer culture.

Universal care with an emphasis on maintaining health with minimum drug intervention would be a very positive step. It is very telling that we spend a lot more per capita than countries with socialized medicine, yet we are far behind in infant mortality and life expectancy.

Thu Aug 18 2005 4:20 PM

Jim Gilliam:

Yes, there is definitely the wrong kind of incentive for pharma to develop new drugs. It's all about the mass marketable lifestyle enhancement stuff as opposed to the really hard save-your-life but-not-as-immediately-lucrative-to-beat-wall-street's-2nd-quarter-expectations type of stuff.

Thu Aug 18 2005 6:57 PM


The Truth About the Drug Companies

(click on my name)

"But while the rhetoric is stirring, it has very little to do with reality. First, research and development (R&D) is a relatively small part of the budgets of the big drug companies—dwarfed by their vast expenditures on marketing and administration, and smaller even than profits. ...

...Second, the pharmaceutical industry is not especially innovative. As hard as it is to believe, only a handful of truly important drugs have been brought to market in recent years, and they were mostly based on taxpayer-funded research at academic institutions, small biotechnology companies, or the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The great majority of "new" drugs are not new at all but merely variations of older drugs already on the market. These are called "me-too" drugs. The idea is to grab a share of an established, lucrative market by producing something very similar to a top-selling drug. ...

...Third, the industry is hardly a model of American free enterprise. To be sure, it is free to decide which drugs to develop (me-too drugs instead of innovative ones, for instance), and it is free to price them as high as the traffic will bear, but it is utterly dependent on government-granted monopolies—in the form of patents and Food and Drug Administration (FDA)–approved exclusive marketing rights. If it is not particularly innovative in discovering new drugs, it is highly innovative— and aggressive—in dreaming up ways to extend its monopoly rights.

Thu Aug 18 2005 8:15 PM


We need to establish public policy that people's health first and foremost. Right now, powerful lobbying by insurance companies and drug companies is driving policy.

It is beyond foolish to prohibit medicare from negotiating lower drug prices. Strangely this is the law of the land and neo-cons cite this as some kind of accomplishment. What rubbish!

Wed Aug 24 2005 10:52 AM

Tom from Madison:

Last post is mine.

Wed Aug 24 2005 10:52 AM

Dave E.:

For a second there, I thought one of our resident wingnuts was coming around...

Wed Aug 24 2005 4:50 PM

Tom from Madison:

Wingnuts appear to be in hibernation. ...or maybe there is a mutiny on the Bounty!

Thu Aug 25 2005 9:38 AM

Frank Johnson:

Good Service

Thu Oct 13 2005 7:12 AM

Steven Cole:

Your site is very useful

Tue May 2 2006 3:19 AM

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