Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

Posts tagged “Capitalism

Responding to critiques of burlesque cheat sheet

It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of burlesque. I think it’s a boring, overplayed example of what you might call neosexism or retro sexism — meaning that the “vintage” veneer and claims of “subversion,” “irony,” or postfeminism are meant to disguise the fact that it’s just the same old sexism that’s been going on for centuries. When it comes to burlesque, and, for that matter, anything that looks like sexism (see: pole-dancing classes, American Apparel ads, and “feminist pornography”) but is billed as not-sexist-because-women-like-it, the most useful tests to apply are these:

1) Are dudes doing it?

2) Are dudes trying to explain to you that it’s actually feminist?

If dudes aren’t doing it but are simultaneously trying to convince you that it’s liberating, empowering, or progressive, then there is a 99% chance of fuckery.

Having published the odd critique here and there, and, more generally, mushed burlesque in to the sexism-in-disguise category with the assumption that a phenomenon centered around women getting naked on stage doesn’t need all that detailed an explanation of the ways in which these performances still objectify women, even if these women are enthusiastically participating in their own objectification and the objectification of others; what I’ve learned is that it doesn’t actually matter what your critique is and how well you articulate it, because the burlesque community will respond to you in the same way every single time.

As such, I’ve compiled a helpful list of every single response you will definitely get, over and over again, every time you say anything marginally critical of burlesque. I’m not sure what the purpose of this list is except to encourage you to ignore these types of responses because there is not a single thing you can say or do to avoid them, as well as to point out the absolute unwillingness of burlesque defenders to engage in any self-reflection or critique of their fave hobby.

While the arguments can be generally summed up as: “But I like it,” I’ve provided you with more detailed responses as well. Enjoy!

1) You haven’t done enough “research”

I’ve been getting this same response for years. No matter how many burlesque shows I endure, I have never been to enough, so long as I continue to critique the phenomenon. I am told that, either, I have only seen “amateur” performances (and though I have watched plenty of awkward amateurs, I have also seen the professionals, who are equally as boring and objectified), or that I haven’t been to enough “alternative” shows.

What’s the rule here? How many burlesque performaces do we have to sit through before we are allowed to decide that, not only do we never want to sit through another burlesque performance again, but that we have good reason to avoid doing so in the future?

What this argument boils down to is that those who love burlesque refuse to believe that any other human being might not love the thing they love which, to boil it down even further, is to say: “As both the center of the universe and a petulant child, everyone must like what I like. If they don’t like what I like they are wrong and offend me by forcing me to think about the things I like and why I like them, which makes my head feel funny.”

2) You don’t understand

Similar to the “you haven’t done enough research” response, “you don’t understand” stems from an unwillingness to use (or lack of familiarity with using) one’s brain for the purposes of critical thinking. This response translates to: “You don’t agree with me/like the same things I like and I can’t come up with a logical response to your argument.”

“You clearly don’t understand burlesque” is kind of a hilarious response if you think about it, because burlesque really isn’t very complicated. What they really mean is: “You aren’t inside my head/bubble and I don’t care to acknowledge that which exists outside my head/bubble.” Again, it’s that problem of thinking about things when one doesn’t particularly like thinking about things issue.

3) Anything I do that makes ME feel good is feminist! (FUCK YEAH)

I don’t have much to say about this response. It can be easily addressed by repeating this handy mantra: “Just because you like it, doesn’t make it feminist.”

Which is not the same thing as saying you can’t like it. I like all sorts of things that aren’t feminist, despite the fact that I am a feminist. I just don’t pretend like my undereye concealer is some kind of radical movement. Patriarchy does not live in my undereye circles, nor will it go away if I appear less tired/sickly.

4) But there are women in the audience! Women erase sexism!

As we’ve learned from things like “feminist pornography” and pole dancing classes — just because women are doing things that are sexist or rooted in misogynist practices, doesn’t negate the sexism.

Women internalize the male gaze. You probably notice the way you look at women on the street — I do. When we watch things like film, television, and pornography, as well as when we look at ads, we are looking through a male lens. So we all learn to adopt the male gaze. When women’s bodies are objectified on screen or in American Apparel ads, we learn to see women as objects. We do this regardless of whether or not we are men.

The male gaze is still present even when there are women in the audience. Women go to strip clubs too — does that suddenly make strip clubs feminist? Does that mean the women performing at the strip club aren’t being objectified when women are looking?

This argument makes no sense but is brought up again and again with aplomb as though it’s never occurred to us before and will BLOW OUR MINDS into little tiny pieces.

You are welcome to spend an hour trying to explain the male gaze to these people, but at the end of the day I’m not sure they care. If they did they probably wouldn’t be doing burlesque in the first place.

5) Boylesque

Repeat after me: The exception does not make the rule.

You can reuse this argument in response to classics such as these:

–  but women abuse men too

–  but men are prostitutes too

–  but men post sexy selfies too

–  but men do strip shows too

–  but women take up too much space on the bus sometimes too

6) Different body types in burlesque = feminism

I appreciate the representation of bodies that aren’t skinny white ones. I really do. BUT women who are not skinny and white are objectified and sexualized too. I find it very odd that people think that, somehow, if you objectify bigger bodies or if you objectify women who aren’t white, this is somehow progressive.

7) If you don’t like burlesque then don’t go to burlesque shows

OK, deal. I promise to never intentionally go to a burlesque show ever again so long as you promise not to objectify women in order to sell your “art.” No deal? How about I don’t have to stare at ass while reading my local paper? Or how about every single lefty or feminist fundrasier ever doesn’t include a burlesque performance? Also no? Aw man. I feel like we’re going to have to keep talking about this then, eh?

8) You are turning me into an object by talking about the objectification of women

This is a tricky one. So, this is the same as telling people who point out racism that they are being racist. In talking about the objectification of women, we are not, in fact, turning anyone into an object. Pointing out that women’s bodies and body parts are treated as and viewed as things which exist to-be-looked-at doesn’t reinforce that phenomenon — rather it is critical of it.

In making this argument (that those who point out objectification are actually doing the objectifying), you are asking people to stop thinking and to stop speaking up about inequality. Which makes you a reinforcer of the status quo. Bad move!

9) I’m not being objectified because I choose to objectify myself

So, everyone makes choices. Sometimes and often those choices are limited by our place in society and the culture and systems that surround us. Choosing to prostitute oneself, for example, does not make prostitution a feminist industry. It also doesn’t mean that you are responsible for patriarchy or men’s sense of entitlement around access to women’s bodies; but simply inserting the word “choice” into a sentence doesn’t actually change the meaning or root of the action or situation. I “choose” to watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (and New Jersey!). Does that mean that I’m subverting patriarchy from my couch? Just as “choosing” to post sexy selfies on Instagram doesn’t amount to a feminist act simply because you’ve decided to objectify yourself. It doesn’t make you a terrible person either. Do you see what I’m getting at here? If not, please refer back to point number three.

10) You have to be on the inside to understand/form a valid critique

OK, so let me get this straight. In order to be critical of anything (and in order for that critique to be legit), you have to actually be the thing you are critiquing? Does this also mean that women who haven’t been abused or raped can’t be critical of abuse and rape? Does it mean white people can’t be critical of racism? Does it mean men can’t say anything negative about prostitution because they themselves aren’t prostitutes? Am I not allowed to say that fast food is bad for you unless I eat a bunch of fast food?

This is the dumbest argument ever. If we left critical conversations only to the people who were actually doing whatever we were being critical of then nobody would get to say anything about anything ever. Ex: “Capitalism sucks!” “SHUT UP, YOU AREN’T A CAPITALIST. YOU DON’T GET IT. YOU’RE NOT ON THE INSIDE.” See what I’m getting at? Stop this crap. It’s illogical and anti-intellectual.

11) You’re a prude and you hate boobs

I also hate sex, men, vaginas, penises and joy. Can we move on?

But seriously. I have little to no interest in engaging with this silliness because it’s an anti-feminist, cheap, meaningless trope. Accusing feminists of being man/sex-haters because they speak against the exploitation of women is what sexist, anti-feminist men do. If you want to participate in that sort of thing, again, why are we talking? We clearly have different goals in life — yours being to ensure equality and freedom is never a thing, and mine to work towards women having “human being” status some day.

As a general rule of thumb you will notice that if you ever bother writing anything remotely critical about burlesque (which I doubt you will because, honestly, does anyone really give two shits about burlesque anymore? I feel like a broken record at this point…), people who like burlesque only like burlesque. They don’t bother engaging with other topics yet suddenly develop a passionate interest in whatever they’ve decided feminism is once someone starts talking about the inherent sexism in taking off one’s clothes and shaking one’s boobs for an audience. Your response should be: If you have no real interest in the feminist movement or in liberating women from patriarchal oppression, why are we talking? And then don’t talk to them anymore unless you get masochistic pleasure from being screamed at by people who once took half a Women’s Studies 101 class and left as soon as they heard the word subjectivity.


Nikita Khrushchev and Richard Nixon debate the merits of communism versus capitalism at the American National Exhibition, Moscow; ca.1959.

...this the exhibition where Khrushchev didn't believe normal Americans had washing machines in their homes.

…this the exhibition where Khrushchev didn’t believe normal Americans had washing machines in their homes.

Here’s the debate:


Why are we so obsessed with “hard work”?

“Hard work” is an absolutely misguided concept. People don’t get what they want through hard work, you get that through irreplaceable work. The more irreplaceable you are, the more incentive others have to bend to your needs and wishes. People shouldn’t obsess over working hard, but with putting themselves in a position where you can make every bit of your inconvenience felt by others.

Even the concept of work that the general public has is misguided. If two men are pushing a box and one can’t move it, even though he is sweating and appears to be close to passing out, while the other guy moves it without any sweat, while chatting on the phone and enjoying a margarita, who is doing the most work? Most of the general public would say the first guy. People seem to think that the amount of work you do is equal to the pain you feel. It isn’t. Analogous to work in the physical sense, work is defined by how hard a obstacle is to push, and how far you move that obstacle. You can destroy your whole life and health trying to accomplish something, but if the obstacle is not budging, you arn’t doing any work. Eg. People who brag about how many hours they work or how “hard” they work, rather than what they have accomplished within that time.

I think the whole obsession people have over “hard work” is a sort of Nietzschean re-sentiment meant to protect the ego. It’s a sort of defense mechanism. Think about someone without any talent in a low end job that isn’t going anywhere. What are they supposed to do? How do you protect your ego from that reality? What virtue would you upheld that you make you come out on top? Hard Work! As useless and as imaginary as it might be, that’s the only thing you have.Image


Is there a Morality of Profit? Hrm. I dont think so!

“A society is moral if it both allows man to fulfill his potential and, in utilitarian terms, creates the most good. Fortunately, a society based on the profit motive can achieve both of these factors. By acknowledging the fundamentals of human nature — that man is intrinsically self-interested — and channeling it towards productivity through a system based on such an understanding, both individuals and societies will develop and grow.”

I beg to differ. Under this logic, the unbridled application of the profit motive would create the most moral society — and history shows us instead the Gilded Age. Unrestrained capitalism may produce the most wealth, but the wildly unequal distribution of that wealth guarantees that some will have more opportunity to fulfill their potential than others. The reality is that the more the profit motive rules, the less moral the resulting society.

I would have to be a blithering idiot to ascribe no good to the profit motive, nor acknowledge the multitude of positive human endeavors in which it plays an indispensable part. The transcontinental railroad, for example, allowed for the wholesale destruction of the buffalo, sealing the fate of the Plains Indians. But it also linked two sides of the continent — the epitome of an inevitable development. I would not be writing this without the internet and 10,000 inventions that preceded it — many motivated by the desire to make money. Societies in which there is no profit motive mostly do not work — witness North Korea. (I say “mostly” because many small communitarian societies in which there is no profit motive have worked very well. Native American tribes are a prime example.)

Without the profit motive we wouldn’t have much in the way of mining, oil and gas, skyscrapers, bridges, food production, housing, biotech, retail, fashion, banking and air travel — in short, all the elements of modern industrial society. It is also an indispensable part of any realistic solution to third world poverty — though ironically so, as this poverty is almost always inextricably linked to the legacy of rapacious colonialism.

But the fact is that the best things we do as human beings are never motivated by the desire for profit. Not one poem is written, symphony composed, or masterpiece painted. Miep Gies did not hide the Frank family for money, nor was it the reason Mother Teresa tended the sick of Calcutta. It’s not why 99.9 percent of all athletes pick up a football, swim a mile, or run a marathon. It’s not why you read to your kids at night, tend to an aging parent, or stage an intervention for a drug-addicted friend.

Here are two lists. One denotes 10 things done solely with profit as an overriding motive; the other, 10 things in which the desire for profit plays little or no part. (If there is a related consequence, I put it in parentheses.)

Profit-Motivated

1. The Slave Trade (Civil War)
2. The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire
3. The Iraq War
4. Sex trafficking
5. Blood diamonds
6. The arms trade
7. The drug trade
8. The genocide of Native Americans
9. The destruction of rain forests
10. Off-shore drilling (The BP Disaster)

Little or No Profit Motive

1. Motherhood
2. Affection
3. Volunteering
4. The Arts
5. Play
6. Twelve-step Programs
7. National parks
8. Exploration
9. The Olympics
10. Education

The profit motive may be necessary, but “moral” hardly seems like the right adjective for it. Loan-sharking is not moral. Strip mining is not moral. Sweatshops are not moral. A world in which making money reigns as a supreme expression of morality would be a sorry utopia indeed. Greed may be inevitable, but the urge to accumulate as much as possible should be far down on the list of traits a society should ever want to anoint as one of its highest values.


Capitalism: Never Enough?

“How much is enough?” If we as a society are really committed to the notion that “more is always better” and if we believe we can sustain economic growth indefinitely.

“Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life … that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction in consumption… .We need things consumed, burned up, replaced and discarded at an ever accelerating rate.”

But as an engine for humanity, it is not sufficient to simply buy and sell. Many economists today are suggesting we must not rely on growth as our sole criteria for judging a ‘healthy’ economy — that we must find ways to measure the quality of people’s lives and the impacts we are having that are not based on just dollars and cents. We have all heard that money can’t buy happiness. Now we’re having to acknowledge that happiness is not a commodity to be bought and sold, and we can no longer afford to be addicted to consumption.

I am not against the theory of Capitalism as a means for distributing goods and services, just as I am not against alcohol. I am, however, against Capitalism or any economic theory when it becomes an ideology, just as I am against a pervasive culture of drinking and drugs in which individuals lose their capacity to choose (or even question their choices).

When our practices become so pervasive that they ‘take over’ people’s thinking to the extent they self-destruct (for example, through excessive drinking or excessive debt), then we need to stop and ask what is really going on. We need to challenge our most basic beliefs and assumptions about what we want, how we are living and the choices we are making.

Creating any new habit is difficult. And getting beyond an addiction can be extremely challenging. But having the courage to take stock and get clear about what we want is the essence of what makes us who we are. This is exactly what we need to do to create the foundations for whatever possible future we want.


Aside

Obamacare vs. The World

Obamacare vs. The World

Imagine the president of the United States saying they have a military target in their sights. If the US destroys this target it would save the country hundreds of billion dollars and tens of thousands of lives every single year. The target also appears to be vulnerable, there is little chance it could not be defeated. In fact, in recent decades other countries have defeated the same target with ease and great success. This mission would surely have the backing of the American people and be an immediate go. So what is the target? Is it North Korea? Iran? No, it is the private health insurance industry.

The US is the only rich country in the world without universal healthcare. This privatization of medicine causes the US to have the highest per capita medical costs and inferior outcomes. John Boehner stated in 2012 that America has “the best healthcare in the world.” Many Americans would agree with this statement but reality paints a much darker picture. The United States healthcare system was ranked 38th in 2000 by the World Health Organization. A 2012 report by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine ranked US dead last among 17 developed nations. Among these 1st world countries the US had the highest infant mortality rates, the shortest life expectancy, most injuries, most homicides and most disabilities. (So at least we’re #1 at something.) A Harvard study attributed 45,000 annual US deaths to a lack of health insurance. Families USA came to a more conservative estimate of 26,000 deaths from no insurance between the ages of 21-64. At the very least this is equivalent to suffering eight September 11th attacks, except these atrocities are self-inflicted and repeated every year. (3,000 Americans died from the 9/11 attacks so : 26,000/3,000= 8.67)

Let’s look at the economics of the issue. The US spent $8,233 per capita in 2010 according to OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperative Development) and $8,680 per capita on health annually in 2011. (Probably over $9,000 as of today – August 2013) For comparison Canada spent just under $4,500 per person in 2010. Our northern neighbors spend about half as much on healthcare and achieve superior results. The US spends 17.6% of it’s GDP on healthcare and the OECD average is 9.5%. This 8.1% differential in a 15 trillion dollar US economy amounts to over 1.2 trillion dollars. Routine operations frequently cost thousands of dollars more in the US than in other industrialized countries and we have the highest prices for pharmaceuticals. For example a coronary angioplasty average costs is $14,378 in the US and $5,547 is the average in Finland. Hip replacements are $5,000 cheaper on average in Canada and C-sections cost half as much in Germany. ($3,732 vs $7,449)

The health and lifestyle of Americans is similarly in terrible disrepair. The US has 5% of the world’s population and consumes two-thirds (67%) of the world’s anti-depressants. (Zolaft, Prozac) One in ten Americans are on these anti-depressant medications and the number of prescriptions is steadily climbing. The US also ranks at the top of the lists for anxiety disorders with over 40 million Americans being affected. Not surprisingly the lion’s share of the anxiety medication also get’s sold here. Our collective mental health is atrocious and our physical health isn’t much better. The US is always in the running for the world’s fattest country. Almost 70% of the US population is overweight and 30% of the population is obese. Heart disease, diabetes and high-blood pressure are frequent medical ailments costing hundreds of billions of dollars per year. The US has low rates of tobacco usage and yet still manages to have high cancer rates. As mentioned earlier, the US has the highest infant mortality rates, the shortest life expectancy, most injuries, most homicides and most disabilities among developed countries.

Implementing universal healthcare like every other industrialized nation is the obvious solution. It’s a political non-starter however. Bill Clinton chose to prioritize NAFTA over healthcare in 1993. He used up too much political capital getting the free trade bill passed and was unable to pass his healthcare bill. Fifteen years later Barack Obama was elected president and one of his first comments from the white house was that, “the public (healthcare) option is off the table.” Obama was able to get a health bill passed, The Affordable Care Act. The bill, dubbed Obamacare, does have some definite improvements. It will ensure greater coverage for Americans, end some of the insurance companies most exploitative practices and stem the tide of rampant medical inflation. Just as important though, the bill provides hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies to health industries and leaves the root of the problem, privatized health insurance, intact.

Several studies have been conducted on implementing universal healthcare in America. Virtually all the studies have predicted colossal savings if the US were to adopt such a plan. Physicians for National Health Program have estimated annual savings at $400 billion dollars per year. In another estimate economist Gerald Freidman concluded single-payer healthcare would save $570 billion dollars annually. Among other nations Norway was the second biggest per capita spender in 2010 at $5,388, if the US could match this it would save almost 900 billion dollars per year. ($8,233-5,388= $2,845 per capita savings x 315,000,000 Americans = $896,175,000,000) This would be about 6% of US GDP. In actuality the US spends 17.6% of it’s GDP on healthcare which also the highest in the world. In second place is the Netherlands at 12.0%. If the US could just match this it would save 840 billion dollars per year. (17.6% – 12.0% = 5.6%) (5.6% x 15 trillion dollar US GDP = 840 billion dollars) The potential savings are enormous and are approaching a trillion dollars annually.

In addition to direct medical savings a single-payer system would eliminate the practice of medical bankruptcy. Medical bankruptcy is the number one cause of bankruptcy in the US despite the fact such a concept doesn’t even exist in other advanced countries. 60% of all US bankruptcies are from medical bills, affecting over 2 million Americans each year. Medical bills are attributed to 60% of all bankruptcies in the US and 25% of senior citizens will declare bankruptcy due to medical costs. Other benefits from universal care would be harder to quantify but just as real. Higher life expectancy, lower obesity rates, improved psychological health and improved infant mortality rates would all come along with lower costs. We’d also prevent tens of thousands of people from dying each year because they can’t afford treatment.

Let’s flip the script. Instead of trying to convince America to adopt universal healthcare imagine trying to convince a country with socialized medicine to Americanize their system. Really think about going to Japan and saying, “I understand that your country has a high life expectancy, low obesity rates and spends a little over $3,000 dollars per capita on healthcare. But as an American I see huge room for improvement. For starters you just can’t insure everybody, it makes people lazy and dependent. The poorest and unhealthiest 20,000 or so of your citizens should just be left out to die every year. There’s no profit to be made in treating them and hey we all gotta go sometime right? Even with them gone you’re still insuring too many people, it’d be best if you let about the bottom 1/6th of your population have little or no insurance at all – it’d be efficient and teach them personal responsibility. Also, your medical system has too little bureaucracy and is too easy to understand. Having everything under a single government payer is too streamlined with almost no overhead. You really want to break that up into several private insurance companies that deny as much coverage and claims as possible.” The Japanese would believe you are either joking or a complete psychopath, the system you are preaching for would seem like a sick joke.

For decades now a majority of Americans have wanted a single-payer system. Yet if a politician embraces single payer healthcare they are denounced as a left wing extremists. Obama was lambasted as a socialist for his modest reforms. In other countries this situation is reversed, only the extremists are opposed to single-payer healthcare. The health systems of western Europe are very popular with their citizens and rightfully so, they provide superior service at a lower cost. The US not only lags behind in cost and outcomes but also lags chronologically. South Korea had universal care in 1988. Denmark had it in 1973, Canada 1966 and Norway in 1912.

I can see a path from the Affordable Care Act to a universal single-payer health care system. Its psychological. As a nation, we are committed to making sure that every person receives health care affordably. If that’s the frame, then single payer starts making the most sense. The previous frame was that health care is an individual responsibility and if you didn’t have it then that was your problem. That’s a big difference. And I think that in politics, framing is key. How the population views an issue affects how they vote on it.

The Affordable Care Act is bad, but it’s so much better than what the previous system was. Children were dying because they hit their lifetime caps on insurance coverage before they were six. The Affordable Care Act fixed a lot of stuff but it didn’t go far enough. It’s not what the American people deserve but it’s what we could get.

Health Insurance

***{( Their is a difference between the types of systems; here is some of them, along with the advantages/disadvantages and the challenges of adopting those types of systems in the US:

Single-payer insurance (Canada)
In this model healthcare remains provisioned by private parties but the government takes over the role of the insurer. This is the currently proposed alternative system in the US but the proposed version is very different to the Canadian model; In Canada doctors typically do not work for hospitals (they operate on a fee-for-service or time-fee basis as contractors to the Canadian government) and while hospitals are privately operated most of the buildings are provincially owned, neither of these are present in the proposed US model. This system can be free at point of use.
The health outcomes of this type of system are relatively good, although with some capacity issues which cause wait time issues. Short term such a switch would produce a saving of between 4% and 11% over the current system but the savings achieved would likely be reversed by an increase in consumption. This type of system also does nothing to address the wider problem of healthcare delivery.
While the contract based doctor provision is entirely achievable currently the way hospitals operate would not currently be possible, we don’t have the capital or borrowing capacity to purchase a sufficient number of hospitals off their owners and the constitution does not permit us to simply confiscate them without fair compensation.

Centralized Single-payer healthcare (UK)
In this model the central government controls facilities (although not always owns them, the UK has been experimenting with financing new facilities via PPP), personnel and financing with a central tax for healthcare provisioning. All doctors other then PCP’s typically work for the government (PCP’s are fee-for-service or time-fee). The UK is currently the only example of this in the developed world. This system is free at point of use.
Health outcomes of this type of system are average with significant capacity issues. There is no accurate prediction regarding the operating costs of this type of system in the US but it will certainly be smaller then current combined public & private spending and likely significantly so.
The problems with this type of system in the US would be numerous. Firstly centralized systems respond very poorly to regional changes in healthcare needs, this is one of the trade-offs for lower costs, and we would have to accept a lower standard of care (for those who do not currently have accessibility problems) then the current system overall in exchange for universal coverage and the lower costs (this is primarily why the UK system has not been repeated elsewhere). The problem with purchasing facilities is the same as with single-payer insurance.

Regional Single-payer healthcare (All the Nordic countries)
In this model the central government mandates the level of care regional authorities are required to offer and those regional authorities are responsible for raising the revenue and providing the services. As with centralized single-payer the facilities are generally owned by the government and doctors generally work for the government. This system is free at point of use.
Health outcomes of this type of system are good with few capacity issues. As with centralized single-payer it is not possible to accurately predict the operating costs of this type of system but they would also be lower then our current system while higher then centralized single-payer.
The only special problem with this type of system in the US is that its success lays in the relatively small size of its regional health authorities. The equivalent in the US would be the federal government mandating the service and a county taxing for the service and providing it, this would not currently be constitutional. Same facilities issue as the previous systems here.

Basic Single-payer healthcare (Australia)
Functions much the same as the Canadian example with the exceptions it is not always free at point of use (government pays between 75% and 100% of costs), the government does not cover most electives and there are a number of privately owned hospitals that treat public patients on a fee-for-service schedule.

Multi-payer (France, Germany etc)
Multi-payer systems differ from single-payer systems in numerous ways. Firstly healthcare is not supported from general tax revenues, the majority of healthcare is paid for via insurance or withholding specifically targeted at healthcare. Secondly the government generally neither owns nor operates the facilities, the overwhelming majority are privately owned and often operated for a profit (in the case of Germany nearly half the hospitals are operate for-profit compared to 12% in the US). Thirdly its not possible for the government to set a fixed healthcare spending level, single-payer systems establish how much they want to pay for healthcare and then distribute resources accordingly while multi-payer systems establish which services people are permitted to consume & the level of subsidy they will receive and spending is simply however much is consumed at those levels. This type of system is not generally free at point of use.
Health outcomes of this system vary but are generally very good and there are no capacity problems. It would be cheaper (how much depends on the exact form) then our current system while more expensive then the single-payer systems. There would be no particular problem replicating this type of system in the US but the tax and regulatory changes required could be challenging. This type of system would also be far more “free market” then the mess we currently have.

Third-party-payer (USA)
Absolute shit.

Account-payer (Singapore)
In account-payer systems patients pay for the majority of the healthcare out of pocket with a government subsidy applied (in effect if you are poor your heart transplant costs $50 while if you are wealthy it costs $50k), payments are made from savings accounts individuals are required to contribute to. This is not a free at point of use system.
Health outcomes of this type of system are very good and there are no capacity problems. Cost wise this would be the “best”, we would be able to fund a universal healthcare system while reducing current public healthcare spending. This type of system would also be far more “free market” then the mess we currently have.

(Universal and Single-payer are not interchangeable.)}***

healthcare

So the USA pays approx DOUBLE the OECD average and yet manages not to have Universal Health Care. It’s a hell of an achievement. How can Americans pay for a Rolls Royce and yet take delivery of a Chevy with a puncture?

The USA needs to find the solution every other Western nation has found. Universal Health Care free at the point of delivery.

Why hasn’t it?

This is why. The Medical-Industrial Complex has donated $833,259,267 directly to members of Congress. Not counting the huge amounts of money given to presidential candidates like Obama, McCain and Kerry, the biggest donations have gone to the 3 worst industry shills who have been well-paid to make sure there will never be effective, robust health care reform:

Arlen Specter (R-D- PA- $4,026,933)
Max Baucus (DLC- MT- $2,833,731)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY- $2,758,468)

And when you just go right to Big Insurance, the non-presidential candidates who got the biggest legalized bribes were the 7 senators who have been tasked with the job of killing effective health care reform and keeping Healthcare Insurance alive in the USA

Ben Nelson (DLC-NE- $1,196,799)
Max Baucus (DLC- MT- $1,184,113)
Joe Lieberman (DLC- CT- $1,036,302)
Arlen Specter (R-D- PA- $1,035,530)
Mitch McConnell (R-KY- $929,207)
Chuck Grassley (R-IA- $884,724)

( This is a great resource for checking who’s funding your politician)

Eagle-with-American-Flag-58271

Citied Web Sources:

  1. Health Care In America
  2. The USA pays as much out of the public purse from taxes as the average OECD nation, more than nations like France, Germany, the UK, Sweden, yet unlike the average OECD nation does not have any form of universal coverage
  3. World health care Organization rankings by per capita spending
  4. World Health care Organization rankings by performance