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Bookstore Giftshop Coffeehouse 9 am 11 pm everyday 603 N. Lamar Austin, TX 78703 512.472-5050 shop online at: Publishers Weekly BOOKSELLER OF THE YEAR 2005 “Best bookstore in the country” THE BUREAUCRATIC WASTE FROM PRIVATE MEDICAL INSURANCE …MORE THEN $350 BILLION A YEAR …MORE THAN HALF THE COST OF THE DEFENSE BUDGET. gets cut in on the dealand a corresponding argument over who gets cut out, and how, for there is profit in both cutting in and cutting out. Thus, health care. The politics of health care in our time does not revolve around any grand conservative scheme to return medical care to the private sector; it is immediately apparent that without state funding, both the medical sector and the overall economy would collapse. \(Without Medicare, the life savings of many elderly would be quickly depleted, and politician propose drafting American doctors and transforming American hospitals into a replica of Britain’s National Health Service. Such a move, if it reduced American health care costs to British levels, would entail reducing total health care spending by nearly half. No less than complete privatization, that would also cause the medical sector to collapse and the economy to implode. Instead, the health care battle is waged in ways that tend to expand the system; the issue is on what terms and with how many concessions to existing predators. A major liberal goal is to extend the coverage of health insurance, particularly to children. The private insurance companies are opposed to this. Why? Because they stand to lose part of their existing clientele: better-off families with small children. Their economic function is uncomplicated: it consists in marketing to people who are relatively unlikely to need health care, while also not selling it to those most likely to get sick. Reform would be less profitable, and the health insurance companies have both them with. The political battle is over nothing else. Does the country benefit in any way from having such families with children under private insurance? Does it benefit from having any families under private insurance? No. To insure the whole population without screening would be economically efficient. It would save the resources now devoted to screening, and this would be cheaper from both an economic and an administrative point of view. Among other things, more resources could then go to actual health care. Harvard medical economists David Himmelstein and Steffie Woolhandler estimate the bureaucratic waste from private medical insurance to be around $350 billion per yearjust under 2 percent of gross domestic product, and more than half the cost of the defense budget. They also point out that the popular liberal “solution” of employer mandates is ineffective, having been tried in numerous states without noticeable effect: “The ‘mandate model’ for reform rests on impeccable New and Noteworthy at BookPeople A.%Tr THE AGE OF TURBULENCE ALAN GREENSPAN G Ft E ENS RA N Penguin Trade THE AGE OF The Age Of Turbulence is Alan Greenspan’s incomparable reckoning with the financial T U B.13 U I:, E NC E world, channeled through his own experiences working in a commanding role of the global `” ‘ f’ “L” ‘ ‘ \\”” “””‘. ‘ economy longer and with greater effect than any other single living figure. In addition to ;07.,,,,,, , PP following his more than eighteen-year tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board to the present, in the second half of The Age of Turbulence Dr. Greenspan speculates on the future of the global economy. Boo le A Community Bound By Books. 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER SEPTEMBER 5, 2008