- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Medicine and effective demand and some myths

Posted by: Gee ( si ) on September 09, 1999 at 11:28:38:

In Reply to: Capitalism and Medicine posted by R Rockliff on September 09, 1999 at 00:45:39:

: The logic of capitalistic medicine is perfectly clear and predictable: a lot of money, a lot of care; a little money, a little care; no money, no care. All medical statistics, from infant mortality to life expectancy, point to one obvious undeniable fact: the more money one has, the better health care one receives. There is no reason why this fact should be so dismaying to capitalists, or that they should feel a need to deny it at all costs.

They shouldnt I suppose. Perhaps 'they' are led to feel guilty. I would agree with the proposition that a rich lady who spends $30k on 'downscaling' plastic surgery (why not just eat less and excercise more?) could have paid for heart surgery or goodness knows how many smaller operations to the great benefit of others.

What does that tell us? That she has more concern with her self expressed 'needs' than those of others. Should she be damned to hell? If so then so should anyone who buys a house, a car, a holiday - infact anything over and above basic suvival needs. Where would you draw the line as to whats 'reasonable' luxury expenditure. For instance if you buy a washing basket for $10 then surely you could have made do with a cardboard box and some old plastic bags and given the money to the needy. So where is the line drawn? Where does ones persons choices go from being 'ok' to 'evil' and how can we measure it in any meaningful consistent way?

: When medical care is one more commodity bought and sold in the capitalist market, then strange and brutal situations begin to arise. The extravagance of the rich can drive up the cost of care for everybody, which is of no concern to those who can afford it, but is disastrous to those who cannot. There are a finite amount of medical resources, and the rich can, through the unethical use of their money, cause these resources to be cruelly and unjustly allocated. The child of a poor family suffers and dies for want of medically necessary treatment, while a rich middle-aged woman has fat vacuumed from her buttocks.

If the broken leg demand per year is $1million and a new wave of middle aged rich fat women arrives and demands $500k of vacuuming does that mean that for ever more there is only $500k left for broken legs? No, this new demand sums to $1.5million and attracts new doctors to this market (dont try and persaude me that doctors are all altruists) and increases the pool of doctors. Medical resources are not a static pot. I think the issue your discussing is 1) the time lag and 2) when those additional doctors are in the market it seems a shame for them to do vacuuming when they could be doing broken legs.

btw there are plenty of myths about nationalised health care.

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