Stop the presses! I finally signed up for a head table at the Athenaeum. I have successfully avoided the head table all year, but find myself drawn to its intellectual light like an insect to a bug zapper.
In truth, I don't much like famous people and prefer instead to talk with others -- professors and students alike -- about their day and what they expect of the lecture. I often find I learn a great deal more talking with others than I think I would learn were I to suffer a forced social interaction with a big name speaker. And I love challenging some of our more colorful speakers with a pointed question before they've even gotten a chance to register my face.
Sally Pipes, President and CEO of the Pacific Research Center, is my exception. I have been counting down the days until she graces our campus and I almost take back all the negatives things I've said about the Ath selection process. (Maybe the intellectual calliber of all the left-wing speakers we've had equals just one Sally Pipes and so I'm inclined to let bygones be bygones with the Athenaeum and their often-biased speakers.)
President Pipes's speech will focus on "How to Solve America's Health Care Crisis."
Given that most of my family ruins consist of being badgered until I concede the merits of some centralized silliness, I'm looking forward to Pipes's talk.
Pipes has already rendered me a tremendous service with her list of refutations of the most common health care platitudes of the left. How tragic that they often double as policy proposals!
Here they are in all their shame. Or if audio is more your thing, here is a December 2007 interview with Michael Dresser to whet your appetite.
- "Forty-seven million Americans do not have health insurance": Although the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that 47 million U.S. residents do not have health insurance, that figure "counts anyone who went without health insurance during any part of the previous year as 'uninsured,'" meaning that "if you weren't covered for just one day in 2007, you're one of the 47 million," Pipes writes. According to Pipes, the figure also includes "10.2 million illegal immigrants and about 14 million people who are eligible for public health care programs like Medicaid or [SCHIP] but have yet to enroll," as well as about 10 million in households with incomes of more than $75,000 who "could probably afford to buy health insurance."
- "Universal health care coverage can be achieved via 'individual mandate'": According to Pipes, nearly two-thirds of uninsured people are ages 18 to 34, which "makes sense" because "healthy people aren't going to pay for expensive insurance they'll never use." Pipes adds that a mandate system would not work because many states require insurers to charge everyone the same rate. As a result, healthier individuals would pay "far more in premiums than they should -- or could -- pay," Pipes writes, adding that it is "patently unfair to force people to purchase insurance they can't afford."
- "Expensive prescription drugs are a big reason health care costs increase": Pipes writes that the "real price of prescription drugs is actually decreasing," as drug prices are increasing at a rate slower than inflation. She adds that "drug spending is but a small slice of total health care spending -- less than 11 cents out of every health care dollar goes to prescription meds." In addition, Pipes writes that "drugs actually reduce health care costs in the long term," noting that Medicare saves $2.06 for each dollar spent on prescription drugs and that prescription drugs "often obviate the need for expensive surgeries and hospital stays."
- "Drug importation will save patients a fortune": Pipes notes that foreign drug reimportation "at most" would save U.S. residents 1% over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
- "The state-run health care systems in Canada and Europe are better and cheaper than America's": Pipes cites a 2007 study in the British medical journal the Lancet that found people in the U.S. have better survival rates in 13 of the 16 "most prominent" cancers and that American males with cancer have nearly a 20% better chance of surviving five years after being diagnosed with the disease than European males (Pipes, Washington Times, 3/21).
In any event, I'm pumped for Pipes!