5 thoughts on “Morning Shots | August 4, 2009

  1. I guess I don’t get the point of the government-run hospital postal system comment. The postal system is facing losses in large part because new technology developed by the government, the Internet, has arisen to more efficiently carry out some of the functions that used to be the purview of the postal service. If a more efficient technology is providing a service, isn’t it a good thing that the government steps aside and closes down some of the old-fashioned service to save money? If we developed some new technology (magnet wristbands, hypnosis… be creative!) that took care of senior citizens’ health needs better than traditional health care methods, wouldn’t it be perfectly reasonable to shut down some hospitals and cut back on Medicare spending?

  2. CAH,

    Just thinking about the possible future government-run health care. USPS, while reducing services, is still not allowing others to address its monopoly on first-class mail.

    I’ve no problem with private business taking over inefficient processes, or remarkable advances in messaging or medicine.

  3. Monopoly on first-class mail — is FedEx or anyone else clamoring to stop at everyone’s house every day to pick up single envelopes for 44 cents a pop? Can any private entity provide anything close to the level of service we get from the mailman? USPS is proposing cuts specifically because it no longer has a monopoly on transmitting personal messages and numerous other individual documents, thanks to fax, e-mail, file-sharing, etc. Look at us: in the old days, you and I would have been conducting this discussion as a series of Jeffersonian letters. Now, we buzz these messages off over breakfast. Nice (and, again, made possible by our friend the federal government deciding the Internet would be a cool thing to build).

    And still seemingly irrelevant: where does any of the pending legislation create a government monopoly on health care? The public option creates another choice for payment, but private hospitals, doctors, nurses, etc. remain private and non-monopolized.

    (Another postal news link — I forgot to include it above! — http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090804/ap_on_go_ot/us_postal_closings

  4. And even if we get a government health care monopoly, the discussion of the postal service would only be applicable if we encountered a situation in the future where people around the country just weren’t using health services any more and the government thus didn’t have the revenue coming in to support whatever health facilities it controlled. Then it would be only logical that the government scale back the services it offered in response to the competition from alternate technologies. It seems unlikely, though, that people will need less medical care, so there would seem to be no logical reason to jump from the current proposal that USPS close some post offices to the conclusion of a dark future of the government closing hospitals.

  5. CAH,

    FedEx, et al are proscribed from first class. The questions you ask (can any private entity, etc) are hypothetical because we don’t have one to use as comparison. I believe private entity could be profitable in this business, you may differ. USPS is cutting because costs are increasing and revenue is down. The revenue down piece is tied to internet, email, etc. The costs up piece is tied just as much into increasingly expensive/inefficient ways of doing business (such as union workers, and the like).

    Re government monopoly on health care, that is the direction we are being herded. Barney Frank spoke, well, frankly about a single payer system being the goal: http://tiny.cc/pSszh. Further, a monopoly does not require that a single entity corner the entire market on a type of product or service–just that they be influential enough that no one else providing that service or product must play by the rules defined by that entity.

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