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Saturday, August 15, 2009


Really? Do you have a link to any statement by Rush Limbaugh where he claims that those who are in favor of socializing our health care system are Nazis? Fascists?

U.S. private industry produces the vast majority of the world's new drugs and medical technology, makes you wonder who is really showing up to put out the fire.

I guess you missed Limbaugh's rant about the healthcare plan and the Obama healthcare logo.

As for who shows up at the health care fire, Art, that would be me.

I'm not a regular listener to Limbaugh, though I do tune in from time to time, and I have never heard him characterize his opposition as Nazis. He does talk about the left constantly using Nazi imagery in an attempt to smear their opponents. And, living in California, I can tell you that certainly is the case here.

At recent town hall events, it's been extreme left-wingers who have shown up with Obama as Hitler signs, though the media has tried to cast these "protestors" as right-wing extremists.

Regardless, the use of Nazi imagery is contemptible.

We should not pretend that the debate is over a free market system versus a government-controlled medical system. The medical industry is already heavily regulated by government. Government has introduced major market distortions through a vast system of regulation, research funding, Medicare, Medicaid and tax policies. The current industry stakeholders are understandably committed to protecting their financial interests and enhancing the value of their various stakes.

Art mentions the the highly productive American pharmaceutical industry, yet the American pharmaceutical industry is the most heavily regulated in the world. Market entry and competition are restricted, limited by costs associated the government regulation and approval processes. Trade is restricted by prescription requirements associated with government regulated and protected prescriber and dispensary guilds. Consumer choice is restricted to what the government says a patient can and cannot take.

Private reimbursement has been profoundly affected by government regulation. Employer provided health care is exempt from taxation; wouldn't the auto industry and car buyers appreciate such an arrangement?

I am not rejecting the notion of government regulation of the medical industry. I am only pointing out that we are not truly debating a free and opened medical market versus a government regulated system. We are arguing about changes in the current regulatory and reimbursement schemes that affect service supply and consumption.

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