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Why is there a health care debate anyway ?

Rational economics theory states a person will always work in their best interest, a person would debate for economic policies which have their best interest in mind, after a quick mental balance of self-interest and cost.

Health care is a great example, we all will get sick and need care. Individual rational economics would dictate that insurance is required and the cost kept low.

That reasoning conflicts with the current health care debate and the total economic structure currently in place.

A for profit insurance company would be the illogical choice, empirical evidence has proven that profit driven health insurance is discriminatory to the sick, which we will all be at one time.

So my question..

Is the ability to rationalize this conflict a learned trait or an instinctive reaction to preserve self from an unknown harm?

Axioms…
1) The economy is not sentient
2)We will all get sick

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  • Dec 12 2013: Thanks to all for your comments! I have learned and done extra research into the issue and, well, the answer does not look good.


    Fear seems to be the driving force behind lack of empathy.

    Both learned and instinctual
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    Dec 9 2013: I personally cannot rationalize this conflict. I do not understand how anyone else can either so I am not sure if it instinctive or learned. The only thing I can come up with is what a noted American comedian has stated before,
    "You can't fix stupid."
    • Dec 10 2013: I do not understand it either, thank you for your comments. I feel if I can understand the basis for denying health to people, I might be able to help.

      Now I just stand dumbfounded and search for clues to a common ground.
  • Dec 9 2013: Insurance is the business transaction for insuring against sickness which usually is unpredictable BEFORE IT OCCURS FOR A HEALTHY PERSON (at the time he applies for the health insurance). At the time of the initial insurance, the risk of sickness for a particular age group with similar health conditions are assumed more or less equal. This justifies the equal, or nearly equal premium charge for people in the SAME CATEGORY. (That's why in normal situation an applicant must report his health conditions to be classified into different rates of premium according to the PROBABILITY OF BECOMING SICK LATER ON, OF COURSE IF THE APPLICANT IS ALREADY SICK, THE THE PROBABILITY IS "ONE"). But the insurance co. can't afford to insure the particular person who is already sick. This is not "discrimination", but fair business practice, otherwise it would be DISCRIMINATING AGAINST THOSE WHO BOUGHT THE SAME HEALTH INSURANCE, WITH THE SICK, PAYING THE SAME RATE OF THE PREMIUM. An analogy will be that an insurance company would be mandated to accept a life insurance for a dead person, with the same premium rate as the other clients who are living and healthy. Yes, everybody will die, same way as being sick. Will that also be called discriminatory, if the healthy people protested about this practice??
    • Dec 9 2013: The fundamental issue is not health insurance as a business formula.

      It is why we feel the need for it as a society.
      Take your immediate kin, would you charge them for their health? Would giving first aid to your children be a billable item? Of course not! This speaks to our basic qualities as humans.

      Yet we do not allow that empathy to extend to anyone outside of our circle. Even worse we use lack of insurance (a purely man-made instrument) to justify strangers discomfort.

      I am searching for why the disconnect is present.

      Do we as infants learn to ignore discomfort in favor of personal gain ie… a learned trait.

      Is the disconnect, an instinctual effort to preserve oneself from harm ie… not become involved in other troubles.
      • Dec 9 2013: Your argument about the empathy is admirable, but our proposed "health insurance" system is not exactly based on proper "fair practice" at all. First, if you say that the "health insurance" is not like the private insurance business, then why the government still uses the insurance cos AND ALLOWING THEM TO EARN PROFIT. Furthermore, why the ACA law squeezes money from the young and healthy wage earners (many of them are dumped from their existing insurance) to pay premiums which, with very high deductibles, most likely won't be paid back any possible benefit at all. So is it justifiable to ask some only low or lower middle class wage earners to pay for the health expenses of some unrelated children, instead by their parents? Your suggestion is perhaps OK if the "health insurance" by the government as a single payer, subsidized by taxes; mostly by the very rich people.
        Empathy is one thing, but to rob the "less poor" to help the poor or not-so-poor, is hardly empathy, it's just cruelty!
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    Dec 9 2013: I don't believe I understand your question: "Is the ability to rationalize this conflict a learned trait or an instinctive reaction to preserve self from an unknown harm?"

    Are you asking whether insurance is an area in which people make rational decisions and, whether yes or no, whether that situation results from instinct or learning?
    • Dec 9 2013: Nice response! I never thought of insurance as a rational decision or irational decision, I suppose it could be viewed as a mental disorder.

      Altruism is discernible in infants as early as 2 years, so, at what time does cognitive dissonance display itself?

      Can it be demonstrated that cognitive dissonance is present as instinct? I suspect it is a learned trait, but I cannot find literature to support that assumption.
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        Dec 9 2013: I a still not sure I understand whether you are asking a question about why people make seemingly irrational decisions about insurance

        A seminal paper on this subject was written in the 70s, I think, by Howard Kunreuther of Penn but it is well researched since then as well. People typically do not make what one might call rational decisions in cases with small probability of catastrophic consequence , for example. This has been verified numerous times in experiment.

        If you are asking, rather, how people make decisions under uncertainty or weigh choices with both pluses and negatives for them and others, that is a different, and also much researched question. You might start with the TED talks on decision-making.
        • Dec 9 2013: Low probality of risk, I remember reading an excerpt, I will have to give the paper a closer look.
          In a broad sense, my question, could be why people make irrational decisions, but more to the point, how does that process take root.

          If low probality is the trigger, then it is a learned trait.
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        Dec 9 2013: I don't think that a difficulty making judgments involving probabilities suggests at all that such a cognitive inability is learned.

        Again, this subject has been studied widely by scholars for at least a half century.

        I could recommend other reading if you want to explore this area more. There is another book from maybe 1970 by Graham Allison called The Essence of Decision which presents three models for explaining decisions related to the Cuban Missile Crisis. One model was rational, the second organizational (building on the "satisficing" work for which Herbert Simon got his Nobel), and the third political/personal. Another author followed adding a fourth psychological model called the Cybernetic Theory of Decision.

        If you want to look at contemporary work, writing and talks by Dan Gilbert, Ariely, Kahneman, Haidt, and others can give you an up-to-date snapshot on where the research is. In fact John Brockman released a new book this year called something like Thinking: The New Science of Decisionmaking, Prediction, and something else- sorry, can't remember. That book includes essays by the most cutting edge thinkers in this area.
        • Dec 9 2013: Thank you for the reading list! I am just now getting my toe into the social science pool.

          It would seem that a persons decision procession against risk would be based on experience.

          The person surrounded by cancer patients would be more likely to take economic precautions against the disease.

          A driver who has dealt with a fatal accident would not aproach the subject with cavalier abandon.

          All the above a learned trait.

          But then again I learn more every day.
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        Dec 9 2013: I think there is a difference between the information you acquire, which is learned, and the way your brain screens and processes information you take in. Cognitive process can still be influenced, which position is a premise of, for example, cognitive behavior therapy.

        Have fun with your upcoming explorations.
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    • Dec 9 2013: Health as a commodity, there is the root of the problem.

      In society why do we deem it necessary for health of peoples to be traded?

      Could we introduce a paradigm shift into the lexicon? Have salary based on societal gains? That would take care of the innovation.

      That may be too much Utopia for now.
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        • Dec 9 2013: I think we need a definition of socialism before we progress in the health care issue.

          Would the Armed services be a socialist structure?

          But this is good, this points back to the topic, cognitive dissonance.
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        • Dec 9 2013: DARPA is funded by tax payers and controlled by the government.

          NIH is funded by tax payers and controlled by government and it is responsible for seed money for a lot of the medical breakthroughs in the private for profit sector.

          Maybe there is more socialism in socities than we care to admit.
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        • Dec 9 2013: Market Socialism, I like it.