Monday, September 5, 2016

Reading #1 - A Freakonomics Proposal to Help the British National Health Service

Reading #1 - A Freakonomics Proposal to Help the British National Health Service

In 150 words, post a reply to "Reading #1 - A Freakonomics Proposal to Help the British National Health Service". Within your reply, summarize the article and propose a question or critique regarding the article.

65 comments:

  1. The topic of Health Service in the modern world is one of great discussion, debating how government funds their health care. In the article written by Steven D.Levitt, he writes on his opinion about Britain’s National Health service and proposes a new system. He suggests that if you don’t charge people for services, they will consume too much of it. Thus, his proposal is that the government mails out a cheque meant to cover health expenses and if the expense is over a certain limit the government will pay a certain percentage. I particularly find interest in Mr Levitt’s concept proposal. Although we have great free health care here in Canada, I believe that moving to a system proposed by Mr Livett would increase the efficiency of our hospitals and loosen up the much needed GDP, especially in these economic times.

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    1. How would the system increase efficiency?

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    2. The proposed system could potentially increase efficiency by creating a greater competition between businesses increasing the quality of the service.

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  2. In Levitt’s proposal, he suggest not to make the NHS system better for everyone, rather take a broad idea and have it tweaked a little to benefit the majority. His model is uncomplicated; give British citizens £1000 at the begging of each year. They can choose to do what they’d like with the money, but any medical bills under £2000 must be paid by the citizen. Anything between £2000 and £8000 must be 50% paid by the citizen, and anything over £8000 will be paid for by the government. This model works well for most healthy citizens because it leaves them in the black at the end of the year if they have no medical bills. However, what about people with constant medical needs? If someone doesn’t have the money to pay for medical, are they left untreated? If the worst happens to an untreated patient, who is to blame?

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    1. I see your concern about the people that are in constant need and I would like to say that there are few flaws in the plan of Livett, but when it comes to the untreated patient and who to blame I have a opinion. But before I say it I want to ask you the patient that can't pay is it there reason why they can't pay or not?

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    2. Interesting response, what is your position on Levitt's proposal. Are you for or against?

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    3. Well the reason would vary from person to person. If someone comes from a poorer background and has a job, but is barely able to stand on their feet, how can we expect them to pay for out of pocket medical bills? Unforeseen circumstances always occur. On the other hand, a well off business person should be able to pay there own medical bills. There is no concrete reason.

      As for my position of his proposal, I am for it, conditionally. I believe his model is simple, and could be successful to a certain point. I think that it would be a very effective to try it for a year and see the public response.

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    4. In that case I would say that the government and Livett's idea is to be blamed because there is no consideration of the people who are hardworking but are from a poorer background and what to do with such situations.

      I think trying it for a year can't and won't help with knowing if this plan is successful or not. I think it has to have minimum 5 year trial bases.

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    6. I like how you introduced the idea of responsibility for the longevity of the citizens within a society. In a private healthcare system, the upper class would have access to medical resources, meanwhile the lower class would have a "responsibility" to die off when things start heading South medically. It is the government's responsibility to ensure health and wellness of it's people or is it an individual privilege?

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  3. In Steven D. Levitt’s book Think Like a Freak, he critiques the NHS (National Health Service) of the U.K., and suggests that his bold and altogether quite enterprising model would be a better plan. It goes like this: instead of a strictly universal healthcare system, the British government mails a check for 1000 pounds to every British resident on the 1st of January each year. This money can be spent on anything, although residents will also be expected to pay for (some of) their health care themselves. Any cost up to 2000 pounds is to be paid by you yourself, you pay 50% of anything from 2000 to 8000 pounds, and the British government will cover anything above 8000 pounds. The idea is that if you use no health care you have an additional 1000 pounds, therefore you would avoid wasting your own resources and reduce total healthcare costs.


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    1. Question: this idea would serve the majority of U.K. residents, but some who have high medical bills (chronic illnesses etc.) are less fortunate. Is it better to serve everyone equally at a higher cost, or serve the majority at a lower cost?

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  4. This excerpt describes an alternate way to run the health care system in britain. The government would mail 1000 pounds to every british citizen, for any cost under 2000 pounds they would have to pay the full amount and anything over that cost would be is half payed by the government and half by the pearson. I do not agree with this source entirely. I would rather that we set aside 1000 pounds and we pay the full cost but if a citizen does not use our services then we will mail them he 1000 pounds at the end of the year. We would also pay them the difference if they only used part of the 1000 pounds. This would encourage less use of medical services while encouraging safety. It is much more rational and would benefit society with a 1000 pounds, as well as the government would benefit economically.

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    2. I think this is a fantastic approach to the system. Its very direct and efficient. What kind of medical would your system cover? ie. dental, eye, disease, injury, all of the above?

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    3. In a perfect system it would cover anything medically related, but based on the country's current economic issues I think that doctors and hospital expensive would be all that is covered and then maybe in extreme cases where the expenses would be unplayable we could provide economic support.

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    4. Respectfully, you're system seems to have the worst of both worlds. Not only is the government paying for medical expenses, but it is also paying 1000 pounds for each citizen that doesn't go to the hospital, etc. While it's true that this will decrease the use of unneeded healthcare, it doesn't significantly decrease government spending and in fact could increase it.

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    5. Here, in the system the negative outcome has not been dealt with to fix medical coverage such as : dental, medicine, etc.

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  5. Rutvik Patel

    In the article by Steven D. Levitt jokingly expresses his opinion on the health care policies of U.K to David Cameron shortly before he was elected as Prime Minister. Levitt stated that January 1 of every year the U.K government should send out a check of 1,000 pounds to every British resident. The intended use of this check is to use it towards any health care bill you may get throughout the year. If the check is not used towards any hospital bills then you end up 1,000 positive in your bank account. I agree with Levitt’s proposal. I don’t see the point in having to pay taxes for universal health care if rarely go to the doctor, and why should someone else use my tax money for their frequent doctor visits. So if the government does what Levitt suggests then everyone is happy.

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    1. I disagree with your statement that "Everyone is happy". Although this system may be beneficial to many, those that have severe medical expenses would be severely disadvantaged. So is it more important that everyone is equal in health, but must pay for someone else, or that 60%* of the population pays less taxes and is not truly affected by healthcare expenses, while the rest suffer?

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    2. I agree with Rachel, the system can be very beneficial to many, but replying your point of you not wanting to pay taxes for others and not wanting your tax dollars to go to waste, do you see your tax dollars going to someone who will use it blindly or, someone who is financially unable to pay for their healthcare? Because if you see the latter or both, would you still see the point in paying taxes for healthcare or not?

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  6. NHS Proposal Summary

    Not everything can be served on a silver platter; every situation has two distinct sides and there is no way of deciding right or wrong. The articles states that the if people had to pay out of their pockets for healthcare a much smaller share of U.S. GDP would go to healthcare thus more money would be saved. The ideal model for NHS by Steven D. Levitt states that a check for thousand pounds should be mailed to every British citizen each year and they can choose as to how they spend the money. Since consumers are sensitive to prices the total healthcare spending will decrease roughly by fifteen %. However, some may be worse off due to numerous health conditions. In conclusion, this is not politically viable as more often than not many people don’t have the means to afford their treatment thus making survival impossible.

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    1. I understand your point of view however, with the possible changes Levitt suggested in the article I believe that his model can be sustainable for survival. He stated that he can provide more cash to those who have chronic illnesses.

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    2. But what about the people who work an average job and don't have the kind of money lying around for big operations or what about the people who can't afford a simple treatment due to large families?

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    3. But what about the people who work an average job and don't have the kind of money lying around for big operations or what about the people who can't afford a simple treatment due to large families?

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    4. "Since consumers are sensitive to prices" would make sense in a general market, but medical expenses often work outside of the typical supply and demand structure. You're ideas are good, but the simplification of expenses of something public like hospitals and clinics makes your 15% assumption invalid.

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  7. The writer of this blog, Steven D. Levitt, proposes a different model of the British National Health Service. The model explores the idea of both the government and the citizens paying for their health care. The government will mail 1,000 pounds a year to every citizen, as well as pay 50% of the medical expenses if it is between 2,000 and 8,000 pounds. If the cost is above 8,000 pounds, the government will cover the entire thing. Why wouldn’t the government, instead of giving the people 1,000 pounds a year, make it so that if their health care needs are under 1,000 pounds it just just be free? And from there on, the citizens will pay the full thing up until 2,000 pounds and just pay half until the medical expenses are over 8,000 pounds and the government can cover all costs.

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    1. Because there would be a possibility of multiple visits that each would cost under a thousand pounds. therefore the grand total would cost more than 1000 pounds.

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  8. In this Article, Steven Levitt is explaining his model for the NHS. According to his model he states; at the start of each new year, every British Resident should be given 1000 pounds, which the person can use as he/she wishes. In his system the resident must pay 100% of their health care costs up to 2000 pounds, if the cost is between 2000 - 8000 pounds, they must pay 50% of it. The government pays for the health care expenses exceeding 8000 pounds. He believes by doing so, the spending on health care will decrease. The reasons for such outcomes are: 1.)efficiency will increase due to the competition and 2.) the consumers will reduce the usage of the “low-value” health care services only because of the reason they are free. According to his calculation by following through this model, about by 15% the government spending are to decrease.

    Question: To what extent is Steven Levitt’s model effective?

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    1. Nicely summarized but what is your opinion on the proposal?

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    2. I believe that Levitt's proposal of the health care system should be tried out, as it will be beneficial for the people and the country. But what about the people, who can't afford health care even with the 1000 pounds given to them, as in the people who work hard but are poor. Something could be done so everyone get equally treated, like people who are poor can be given extra money or the government could cover the cost of health care after their expense exceeds 4000 instead of 8000 pounds.

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    3. I believe that Levitt's proposal of the health care system should be tried out, as it will be beneficial for the people and the country. But what about the people, who can't afford health care even with the 1000 pounds given to them, as in the people who work hard but are poor. Something could be done so everyone get equally treated, like people who are poor can be given extra money or the government could cover the cost of health care after their expense exceeds 4000 instead of 8000 pounds.

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  9. Levitt and Dubner joke with David Cameron, PM of the U.K., saying his principles for health care are the same as for automobiles. Levitt has nothing against the NHS, but is not a fan of the US system either. Levitt proposed a model to Cameron’s team after the interview. On January 1st of each year, the government would mail a £1,000 check to every British resident. Healthcare prices would be as follows: 100% pay-out-of-pocket for healthcare under £ 2,000, 50% for between £ 2,000 and £ 8,000, and government paying for all expenses over £ 8,000. If the model were to work, an estimated 15%, nearly 20 billion pounds, of costs would decline in health care. What if conditions were to change mid-year? Example: Someone were to develop chronic illness in the middle of the year or if people were to emigrate or immigrate.

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    1. Your paragraph nicely summarizes the article, and it's well written. Along with that, you have great a question.

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    2. Your summary is fabulous. Great work!

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    3. Your question nicely cooperates with the summary.

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  10. Human lives should be the most valuable things on earth, yet why don't we strive to have readily available health care? Mr. Levitt’s is conveying that when people aren't charged for services they overuse it. He created a plan in which the government would give each citizen a £1,000 a year to spend if they want on health care. The government would also pay anything over £8,000 that year. All of this will decrease the total spending on health care and competition will create efficiency. Low-value health care would be cut out because their services are no longer free. This would encourage health care consumers to make cautious decisions. Though idea is very flawed when concerning people with chronic illnesses and elderly people who need a lot of health care services. Overall I don't agree with this, l believe that everyone should have free healthcare as a right.

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    1. The paragraph is very well written. If you don't agree with this proposal, then what kind of improvements should be made to the system.

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    2. I paragraph is well written and does bring a different perspective to the argument. But I have one question.. you say that everyone has a right but should that right have any expectation in return or not?

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    3. I think Rutvik has a great question should rights come with responsibilities and expectations?

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  11. The article written by Steve D. Levitt criticizes the National Health service (NHS) in the U.K. and proposes a model for a new system of national health care. Lett conveys a message that “all markets are the same” and wants this system to resemble this idea. He proposes that the government of the U.K. send a 1000 pounds check to all the residents of the country. This money wouldn’t be required to be used for healthcare purposes only, however if the people are wise they would use it for out-of-pocket health care. I support Levitt’s idea because as stated in this article, this system will lead to a 15% drop in the health care costs of U.K. That is around 20 billion pounds. Other modifications should be made to the plan as listed in the article, for example, people with chronic illnesses and the elderly should receive a bigger payment. With this kind of health care system, over half of the residents of the U.K. will be spending less than 1000 pounds which is definitely beneficial to the economy. The money saved by executing this plan can be used for other social issues, such as poverty, world hunger and homelessness.

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    1. You don't have a question but everything else is really well written. You used good specific examples and covered the whole article.

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  12. To summarize the source what the article is about. It is an economic proposal created by Steven D. Levitt tackling the issue and offering a different path towards helping the British National Health Service (NHS). What the model entails is that if you don't use any health services in a year you are in the positive gaining 1000 pounds from the government and if you do manage to use the health services the 1000 pounds would help assist you in decreasing the amount of debt you own. The problem with this solution is that it doesn't solve the problem for people who depend more on the NHS due to long term illness but only partially assists them. My question for this proposal is that to what extent should the government pay for the fees that a select population would need to cope with and where the money would come to fuel the entire system.

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    1. Good summary and Question but the only question is how will it affect people in both good ways and bad ways?

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  13. In this article Steven D. Levitt talks about an interaction that he had with the about to be Prime Minister of the U.K, David Cameron, where they joked about health care. Apart from this encounter Levitt also talks about how he thinks the health care system should be run. Levitt thinks that health care stays free people will take advantage. Levitt says that if the government just simply mails everyone a thousand pounds at the start of the year for health care it could help the government save money and cutback on unnecessary usage of health care. I agree with Levitt because doing so could benefit the people and the government in many ways. Having a restraint on the money could help keep people in check on how much they spend on health care and how much they use it. But just like any plan this one also has winners and losers.

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    1. My question is if you agree with Steven D. Levitt ideas how do you propose we should help people who would require more money to help deal with their illnesses or are they just ignored?

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    2. Well obviously some compensation would be needed for the people who for example have financial problems or are chronically ill, but of course that would require a whole plan which does not overlook anyone.

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  14. The writer of this blog, Steven D. Levitt, proposes a different model of the British National Health Service. The model explores the idea of both the government and the citizens paying for their health care. The government will mail 1,000 pounds a year to every citizen, as well as pay 50% of the medical expenses if it is between 2,000 and 8,000 pounds. If the cost is above 8,000 pounds, the government will cover the entire thing. Why wouldn’t the government, instead of giving the people 1,000 pounds a year, make it so that if their health care needs are under 1,000 pounds it just just be free? And from there on, the citizens will pay the full thing up until 2,000 pounds and just pay half until the medical expenses are over 8,000 pounds and the government can cover all costs.

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    1. I like your simplification, but medical expenses can be a lot more complicated than that. Where would insurance come in? If someone has £9000 in expenses and insurance pays for £3000, does the government cover it all still or only half?

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  15. "...Health care is just like any other part of the economy..." Steven Levitt proposes in the book "Think Like a Freak", a statement that appropriately embodies his view on healthcare. Levitt proposes an "admirably simple" system that would limit medical government funding, and replace it with providing £1,000 to each UK resident per year, suggested for medical use. The average UK citizen spends £2,350 on medical expenses, but with the average hospital stay of 7.2 days adding up to £2,880, including ambulance fees, it becomes more complicated. In this system, those lucky enough to avoid hospitalization would pay only £175 in medical expenses per year. The other approximately 40% of the population would pay £1,615. Considering that food and transportation alone can take up £8,838 per year, for those with incomes below £10,000 per year, Levitt's solution is simple, convenient, and a possible breach on their human rights to health.

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  16. The article “ A Freakonomics Proposal to Help the British National Health Service” Steven D. Levitt talks about another way the health system should be run in his opinion. He believes that the citizens should be given £1000 a year to pay for health services and the extra money for them to do whatever they want with. Levitt believes that all markets are the same therefore the health system shouldn't be any different. By implementing this system everyone will be protected aganist catastropic illness.The only question I have for Levitt is that if the citizens of the UK are given money for health care each year, why doesn’t the UK government give the citizens money for other things like house insurence or car insurence? Becasue in that case ALL markets would be the same and everyone would be protected from any harm on their valubles. It would almost be perfect.

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    1. That was a great summary of the article. I do see what your saying with the insurance, but if the government payed citizens for too much the government would lose money that could go elsewhere such as school or road development.

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  17. Steven D.Levitt proposes his model to David Cameron to improve the British National Health Service. Levitt believes every resident is capable to pay 100 percent “out-of-[their] pocket[s]” for health care, once provided 1,000 pounds each year. Most people do not use lots on healthcare, so “they [will] end up 1,000 pounds to the positive”. People therefore have extra cash to save or spend on other necessities. Levitt anticipates health care costs will eventually decline. In my opinion, this policy plan helps everyone, considering Levitt acknowledges improvements like providing more cash to those with “chronic illnesses” and people who are “elderly”. I believe this is fair because everyone gets 1,000 pounds regardless, and those who need more will receive it. People will become responsible and use savings for health care only when needed. Primarily, individuals will be more dedicated to take good care of themselves.

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  18. In the world we live in today, it’s not a time of ideas of equity, only failed attempts at equality. Steven Levitt writes, “When you don’t charge people for [healthcare], they consume too much of it”, but wouldn’t the opposite be true as well? Restricting those that can receive medical treatment, is suggesting that only the privileged are worth the time and resources, their value being determined solely on a number in a bank account. By instilling a system where “...The cash payment is bigger to those who have chronic illnesses, etc”, those already struggling with the onslaught of medical bills will drown in a sea of debt. Once the British become unable to support family in times of sickness, they will be forced to distance themselves financially, removing the very core of their humanity. “When my TV breaks, I have to buy a new one.” If the repair is more costly than purchasing a new edition, why not do the same with “broken” family members?

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    1. Really like the way you have worded this. Your opinion is very well heard!

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  19. The article is proposing an alternative health care system for the British peoples. This new system indicates that all British citizen receive one thousand dollars, at the beginning of the year. This one thousand dollars can be put to paying the person's health care needs, if they need it. if one does not use the money they get to keep it so the citizen will make money. Seniors will get more money than a younger person to provide more compensations for their health care. In my opinion this system is a valid idea given a few adjustments to compensate for sick babies or other unexpected costs. This system benefits both the citizens who can now afford health care and the government who gets the money back because more people are using the hospitals because they will not be afraid to spend money that a given citizen might not have normally.

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    1. I like the way you summarized your ideas. I agree with your opinion! :)

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    2. I also agree with your opinion! What would you suggest as a system to help adjust for those that have unexpected costs in the healthcare system? I have a similar post and am wondering what your ideas are on this. :)

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  20. In the article “A Freakonomics Proposal to Help the British National Health Service” we are introduced to Levitt who believes that all citizens should pay for their own health care so they don’t “consume too much of it” and take it for granted. He introduces us to his own model and states, that each British resident will receive £1000 at the beginning of each year. They can spend it on whatever they desire “but if they are being prudent” they should save it for health care costs. He then goes on to talk about how much each citizen is supposed to pay and its conditions, how the model is moral and how they, as a nation can benefit from it. But is it really moral in the way of payment? If someone who is homeless got injured,would they pay or would the government count this as a special consideration?

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    1. Great thinking! Excellent questions and considerations, maybe expand the question and ask would there be situations where the gov't would make exceptions and if so, what would these be? As well, maybe explain the model a bit more, but I know it's hard with only 150 words. Overall, great job and great ideas! :)

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  22. In the article, Steven Levitt implies that healthcare is a privilege rather than a right. As a result of having healthcare readily available, Levitt believes that the guarantee of health care will motivate people to "consume too much of it". Levitt describes a model in which citizens will be provided with 1,000 pounds per year that can be set aside for healthcare. If a citizen does not use it they can use the money for their own benefit. I agree with Levitt's proposal with the add-on of some adjustments regarding citizens with chronic illnesses and those who have the inability to pay initial costs. However, will having the option to save money spent on healthcare change the comfort level citizens feel about going to the doctor? Will citizens be more unlikely to seek check-ups when a possible future expense could be prevented?

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  23. Steven D. Levitt’s article shows an opinion of an health care shortly before David Cameron was elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Levitt has no issues against the NHS, but is interested of the U.S. system. On January 1 of every year the British government will delivery 1,000 pounds to every British resident. From this system one hundred percent of health care can cost up to 2000 pounds. Low waged health care can cause damage to the health survive which would no longer be free. If the demand goes down the total health service will decrease. It is estimated that fifteen present of the costs will decease. This is about spending twenty billion dollars. There are some expenses that have to be taken care of first over other such as your roof rather that the T.V.. So how important is health service when economics is a problem to citizens?

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  24. In his article, Levitt proposes a model where healthcare is mostly paid out of pocket. Citizens are provided 1,000 pounds at the beginning of the year that if not used toward healthcare then can be used to the citizens benefit. This system is supposed to motivate people to stop abusing the healthcare system. Although this system will benefit some, it will cripple the lives of others leading to increased rates of debt and illness. Instead of trying to make healthcare a privilege rather then a right, we should be asking ourselves and others how to prevent the illnesses and injuries that cost the government the most money.

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