Posted On: Wednesday - October 11th 2017 6:52AM MST
In Topics:   China  Economics  Liberty/Libertarianism  Healthcare Stupidity
Continuing from the previous post with our chopsticks-on-the-table report of an experience with modern Chinese healthcare, this is just a discussion of the economics, with a comparison to our completely-mental system in America.
Our experience in the Chinese hospital was with a fairly minor health problem. Lets talk about the fees. OK, plenty of you readers would have heard of "medical tourism" - people paying for a round-trip ticket to India to get an operation, etc. This happens because our system is so convoluted and expensive due to US Feral Gov't involvement. There is another aspect though - the US dollar is, for now still, the reserve currency, and is valued more than it should be based on the state of the American economy. Lots of formerly 3rd-world places have got some decent people in medicine that can at least get the non-state-of-the-art work done at a small fraction of the cost here. It is worth it to fly all the way to India to stay a week and get knee surgery and fly back. That says a lot about the ridiculousness of costs here, but also about the dollar holding its value. You get a lot of bang-for-your-buck ... for now.
Just the simple exchange rate looked up on-line has ranged from 6.1 - 6.5 yuan/dollar over a decade. (It's stable due to the Chinese government's pegging their currency to the dollar.) Our 125 Yuan is what a Chinaman would pay, just as we paid the $20. It makes things seem flat-out ridiculous here. The medical staff over there don't make nearly the money, as they do here, I'm sure, but it's a living. I imagine that once they have completely caught up in technology, some of the specialists will do fairly well. As opposed to the "single-payer", meaning Government Controlled systems in Canada and Europe, where the Docs also don't make that much, in China working hard will make you more money. What a concept!
The amount of bureaucracy in the People's Republic of China seemed very minor to us vs. many experiences in the US. I imagine the central government does have some rules, but because charges and payments have nothing to do with the government, these rules are not onerous. These people let you get stuff done, so long as you don't screw around, as they won't put up with deadbeats working off the system. What a concept!
Just as importantly, the Chinaman arriving at the hospital with a broken arm will pay his way, but he will not pay for any illegal alien Chinamen (mostly because there AREN'T many, because the country takes itself seriously as a country!). His bill will be for HIS services received. What a concept that is!
Again, it's the bureaucracy and the spreading of costs over all the deadbeats that makes charges 10X higher in the United State.
Lastly, this is not an economic aspect, but the lack of heavy government control means that time at the hospital, doctor's office, and pharmacist is spent freely with complete control of the process by the patient and family. You don't want this done? Don't do it. You decided you really want to take this medicine, against the Doc's advice, because you have some experience. Go buy it and take it. Want to walk out of your room during your recovery to go smoke a cigarette in the courtyard? Who's stopping you? Freedom, what a concept!
Let's get to the part that people have a real problem with when discussion healthcare economics. If you arrive at the hospital in China with some major problem, you'd better have some money. That's the 1st thing I'll say. I can't say for sure they will ALWAYS want the money up front, but if you or family members don't pay after a treatment, you probably won't be leaving until someone does. Let's say it's a non-acute but serious case. That's when you will run into the brutal free-market in action. Got a brain tumor? Come up with the money. It's good to have relatives, right, and keep in good graces. They will not treat you if you don't come up with the money, so you may just die. "Oh, yes, this is brutal!" you say. It can be tough, if you are a poor Chinaman (or woman!) no doubt, and there are a lot. I have three points to address this.
1) What's missing still in China is real rule-of-law in the court system. Sure, they have cops, courts, judges, etc., but no long history as we do from the British about deeds, titles, liens, and all that stuff. This is why they won't treat someone who doesn't have money - it doesn't sound like there is much legal recourse yet, for the hospital to collect after the fact. "Wait," you say, "you want the bureaucracy after all?" No, this is not government-mandated treatment and all the BS we have; they just need a civil court system that gives hospitals and doctors enough confidence that they may collect.
2) Medical insurance in the US is not even insurance anymore since the benefits industry, kicked off during WWII days (these services were allowed to be not taxed, which is what connected health
3) The names of hospitals all over the US reflect that there was lots of charity in the past in the medical field. Yeah, people can be pretty compassionate and ready to help their fellow man. At least people WERE, because now that the Feral Government FORCES us to pay for other people in all sorts of ways, we don't often feel so generous, and we also don't have the funds we would have before to help with. This is really stuff for a post against socialism, but let's just state here that the great benefit of REAL charity as opposed to government redistribution is that people have a stake in who they help out. I would guess that at the Sisters of Mercy Hospital, if your vitals were good, but you decided you just didn't feel up to leaving, after a week of charitable treatment, a certain
Hahaha!!! That never gets old. Where was I?
So, these 3 points of explanation of why the Chinese healthcare system doesn't have to be brutal to still be a free market being said, I'm not sure the Chinese people are up to all this; it is a different culture entirely. Number (2) is no problem, but number (1) is questionable and number (3) is not very likely.
Interestingly, we have the culture and history to meet the 3 points above here in America, so would have (and HAD) a free market without this massive Feral Gov't interference. The Chinese don't have the interference, but don't yet have the ability to cover the 3 points, making it, yes, kind of brutal right now.
Score per the Peak Stupidity celebrity judges: