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House Votes to Repeal Obamacare

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by madviking, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    I wonder why there's a linear relationship in that spending graph? It seems that health spending is rising faster than economic growth (even accounting for an aging population) where I am, as well as the UK and the USA (I don't know the other data). The graph suggests that health spending should rise linearly with GDP, and that the US is somehow special. But spending is rising faster than GDP growth as well as rising faster than aging (and illness) would suggest.

    JerichoHill. I don't know if I like patent-infringement being described as a subsidy. It seems like the wrong term. Big Pharma doesn't spend more on R&D because of patent knock-off. And (work with me here), patent knock-off doesn't represent lost income, because the medicine wasn't affordable.

    If (say) India were to stop using knock-offs and forgo medicine instead (or develop their own), Big Pharma wouldn't be affected. So, it seems like the wrong word. The developing world is free-riding off of the R&D, for sure. And patent violation becomes more of a problem as the incomes rise to the point where they actually could pay for the medicine. However, medicine is a public good. It seems to me that patent violation is a way of actually lifting those segments of society out of poverty. Once they are rich enough to do their own R&D, they'll start protecting patents. At that point, everyone wins.
     
  2. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    US pharma is subsidizing the world because the US consumer of drugs is paying far more for those drugs than others, even other is nations rich enough to pay more. And that extra payment, and the fact that much of the drug development and science behind the drug development is financed by the government in the US, means that the world gets drugs they would not have developed on their own.

    There is drug development in other nations. But the US clearly dominates.

    Big Pharma doesn't spend more on R&D because of patent knock-offs, they spend more because they have the opportunity for the greatest profits from doing so.
     
  3. JerichoHill

    JerichoHill Bedrock of Knowledge

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    I may have used the wrong word, El Mach, but, the scenario I described is fairly well documented and said patent violations do raise prices here in the US as pharma companies have to charge higher prices here to compensate for the losses overseas. Property rights are ultimately essential for an economy to function well, so when they're violated I don't think that's a way to promote economic growth. Consider the culture that develops where property rights are allowed to be violated during say, growth phase one. Is it likely that those who make $$$ will stop doing that once the economy reaches growth phase two? No.
     
  4. Ajidica

    Ajidica High Quality Person

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    Competency over ideology.
     
  5. Karalysia

    Karalysia Deity

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    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
     
  6. GhostWriter16

    GhostWriter16 Deity

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    This is simply not true... Is it OK for, if One Man has bread, to steal from him to feed the nine who hunger?
     
  7. Karalysia

    Karalysia Deity

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    Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes. Because the alternative, the idea that the needs of the few should outweigh the needs of the many is far more monstrous a notion.
     
  8. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    I understand what you're saying, but there are no "losses" overseas. There's only lost opportunity. I don't know if that's the same thing as a subsidy.

    If US Big Pharma is producing a product to sell to Americans, then the presence of other customers helps bring down the cost (due to increase profits) or it doesn't (due to lack of funds or due to patent violations). Maybe I'm just hunting for the right word.

    I agree that the phenomenon is well-understood. I'm certainly not arguing with the idea that knock-off pharma exists. On the whole, I think it's a good thing, in the long run. It would probably be better if there was some type of price discrimination, obviously, but that requires a lot more government than many places have. I think that medicine allows economic growth, and free-riding is a great way of speeding economic growth.

    Regardless, regarding growth phases, I don't know if it's true there won't be a crack-down. During America's younger years, there was wild patent infringement of UK (and European) patents. There was even outright patent theft. But that's greatly disappeared. Each developed nation has agreed that it's a bit better to share patent enforcement than to allow piracy to continue unabated. Obviously, it's not a perfect system. However, I can still register a patent in many developed nations, and have that patent protected. I assume that's because those nations start to perceive the benefit of patent enforcement. As more nations get to the point where they value patents, the trend should continue. India and Brazil and China are going to be happy to sell us patent-protected products and their companies are going to be happy to sell their patent-protected products internally.
     
  9. danjuno

    danjuno Emperor

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    The GOP know the repeal is gonna fail. They're just trying to make themselves like they're doing something when they're not.
     
  10. galdre

    galdre Emperor

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    I wish we would get rid of Obamacare and get some real reform... unfortunately I don't believe that will happen for a very long time in the US if ever
     
  11. eyrei

    eyrei Deity Retired Moderator

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    If they actually seemed inclined to come up with another solution I might even support this. While healthcare reform does a few things that are useful to the country, it was gutted pretty badly and won't function in its current form because of that, so we need something that works.

    We elected representatives that are more interested in ideology than the good of the country, so we should expect lots of grandstanding and little action. The good thing is most of these people will be replaced in a couple years...
     
  12. galdre

    galdre Emperor

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    yes, and they'll be replaced with other people more interested in ideology than the good of the country

    because the only people who can win elections are the ones who manage to get lots of campaign $$$, and no one interested in real change gets the $$$
     
  13. Ziggy Stardust

    Ziggy Stardust New Englander

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    I heard politicians from both sides saying that Healthcare Reform was needed. Just not that specific policy that was on the table. So why aren't they trying to improve it rather than repeal it?

    Spoiler :
    Yeah, I also know the answer to that one already. How to sell it to the voters after you just convinced them it's the devil's bill?
     
  14. galdre

    galdre Emperor

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    I think the bill is beyond fixing - IMO we need to get rid of private health insurance and make health care non-profit
     
  15. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    This is purely anecdotal, but I want to pass it on as this was just discussed a couple of days ago with my sis in a round about way. She was talking about the high deductible health care account system they'd just gone to from the HMO.

    She said that since they switched over to the HDHP (matched with a HSA), she's more likely to just keep her kids home if they have what she thinks is a 'flu bug' for a day or so and see if they get better, whereas previously with the HMO she'd always rush them right into the doctor, even though the doctor would obviously just tell her to watch them, do the fluids thing, etc (cuz, you know...viruses...).

    So, if that's the typical attitude of the typical suburban wifey with kids (OMG, MUST GET TO DOCTOR EVEN THOUGH I KNOW THEY WON'T BE ABLE TO DO ANYTHING), then perhaps that has a lot to do with the stupid overall cost of healthcare.
     
  16. galdre

    galdre Emperor

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    most of the money the US spends on health care is not spent on actual care, it's lost in the bureaucracy, so it's definitely not people running to the doctor for every little thing
     
  17. Zelig

    Zelig Beep Boop

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    Well, insurance to pay for expected costs (the average person gets ~2 colds per year) is ludicrous. People should budget for expected costs, the point of insurance is to spread the burden of unexpected costs which can't be budgeted for.
     
  18. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    Yeah, that's one of the causes for the breakdown. It's a variant of the The Principal-Agent Problem. Theoretically, it would be worse in Canada, because we're allowed to rush to the doctor for runny noses. However, it's not. Not due to the lack of the The Principal-Agent Problem, but due to the lack of adversarial paperwork. For us, it's cheaper just to look at the runny noses than to set up a bureaucracy that prevents people from getting runny noses looked at.
     
  19. Cutlass

    Cutlass The Man Who Wasn't There.

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    @El Mac, you should consider what the circumstances are that make a country more likely to protect intellectual property. Go back to the 19th century, and the UK started that century as the technological leader of the world. But by the end of that century, if that was still true at all, it wasn't true my much of a margin. The US followed the opposite path, of starting the century as a technological backwater, and ending it, if not the leader, than certainly challenging for leadership. A leadership that it would gain and not relinquish for all of the 20th century.

    Only in the last couple of decades of the 20th century are China and India truly breaking free of the tech levels of the 19th century. They won't have the value of intellectual property to protect for some decades to come. And even then, they have to decide whether protecting their own is of more value than not stealing that of others.

    Only when they have more to lose than they do to gain is it worthwhile to enforce the property rights.

    But maybe not even then. Because we do it for them. We are not going to steal their intellectual property just because they steal ours. Because that would violate our own laws, and that can sue in our courts to enforce our laws. So they may be able to continue to steal our intellectual property without repercussions for a good long time to come. Simply because they lack the legal framework that we have for protecting it. And that could hold even if they reach the point of out-teching us as a whole.

    And what are the alternatives? Tit for tat trade protectionism and retaliation are, in the views of many, counterproductive at best. And at worst, just ineffective. So we really lack much in the way of tools to use to pressure them into protecting our intellectual property.
     
  20. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    I agree with the gist of your first three paragraphs, I just disagree on the timeline :)

    I think that Indians in India and Chinese in China are not very far from being at a tech level where entrepreneurs are going to want patent protection for their work. Remember how patents work. I invent something, I determine which markets I think are worth pursuing, and then I patent that invention in as many of those markets as I can afford. In the process, I invent daughter companies with PO Boxes in the countries I'm claiming a patent, etc.

    Remember, the inventor of the Nano wants his patent protected in India, so India's going to start thinking of protecting patents.

    Anyway, I don't think we're disagreeing on much. Probably just the development curve towards the endgame.
     

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