Posts Tagged ‘health care’

There are many good arguments libertarians put forward against the idea of mandating universal health insurance (either through single payer or a Massachusetts style measure).

It is morally wrong to coerce some people to disproportionately pay for others’ costs or to tell someone who decides to take his chance that he cannot do it.

A mandate would almost surely be accompanied by excessive regulation which would adversely affect medical research and the quality of healthcare provided.

It will encourage the passage of nanny-state laws designed to compel people to stay healthy.

Despite these flaws, it was assumed that such a measure would at least reduce medical costs and thus make life better for a lot of people. However it now appears that even this economic rationale does not hold good.

Of course, the linked article of course only looks only at the Massachusetts model but it seems extremely likely that the same problems will arise in any similar scheme.

So what’s the best solution? I don’t have a completely satisfactory answer; check out, however, Milton Friedman’s short essay on the topic.

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Of the many forms of alternative medicine practised in India and the rest of world, homeopathy is unique in two ways.

First, it has a huge clientele. In India alone, an estimated 100 million people depend solely upon it for their medical needs. According to a recent survey, 55 % of the population in Delhi listed homeopathy as their preferred mode of treatment. The Union health minister of India, A Ramadoss has been quoted as saying, “Homeopathy has very good treatment effect [sic] for certain diseases which are not amenable to treatment by conventional medicine.” In a recent incident, an HIV infected man sold his tractor worth 150,000 rupees to purchase a miracle homeopathic cure for his condition (he wasn’t cured).  

Secondly, homeopathy,  when administered the way it is supposed to be, is an unambiguous fake. Herbal medicines may be unproven but they at least have scientific plausibility. Homeopathy has none. The fundamental principle behind homeopathic medicines is the creation of extremely dilute solutions. Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, recommended a dilution of 30C for most purposes (a xC solution has the original substance in a concentration of 1 in 10^(2x) parts) and apparently a common homeopathic treatment for the flu is a 200C dilution of duck liver. Even in a relatively concentrated solution of 15C, the probability of a single molecule of the original substance remaining in a dose of the medicine is about 1 in 2 million. Indeed, the effect of homeopathic medicine on the ailing do not go further, as several studies have proven, than inducing a feeling of well being among believers due to the placebo effect.

In view of the above facts, it is unfortunate but not too surprising that our government intends to promote homeopathy for maternal health care.

Reference: Wikipedia article on homeopathy.

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