Live Chat With John Stossel

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

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34 Responses to “Live Chat With John Stossel”

  1. #1 |  Packratt | 

    Er, am I the only one just seeing code?

  2. #2 |  Judi | 

    Can’t get anything here Radley…something wrong with the link or something…

  3. #3 |  Judi | 

    I can’t get anything either Packratt

  4. #4 |  Judi | 


  5. #5 |  Judi | 

    Sorry about the call Radley…I got antsy when Packratt and I saw the link and nothing else! OOPS!

  6. #6 |  Judi | 

    I’m wondering if Stossel sees ALL the questions submitted even if they are not addressed in the CHAT?

  7. #7 |  Micha Ghertner | 

    Bummer, I didn’t get my mustache related question submitted in time.

  8. #8 |  Marty | 

    some sharp questions- thanks for putting this together, Radley!

  9. #9 |  Judi | 

    Yeah, thanx Radley!

  10. #10 |  Judi | 

    Packratt, did you finally get to see the CHAT?

  11. #11 |  claude | 

    Good discussion.

  12. #12 |  Judi | 

    Radley I am rattling your tip jar a $6 a month until I can do better! Keep up the fabulous work and thanks for making it possible for chats with some fantastic people like John Stossel!

  13. #13 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Geeze, forgot that I’m back in Central time and missed it :( Anyway, John, if you read the comments, thanks for showing up, and thanks for the work that you do. I don’t watch a lot of TV, so when I started seeing your vids show up here and around the internet, I was quite happy to see a real libertarian on TV. It’s so rare.

    Keep it up.

  14. #14 |  Packratt | 


    Yes, I finally got to see it, every time I finally thought of a good question someone else asked it though, but it was still good to watch anyway. So thanks for putting it on there, Radley! (and thanks for asking all my questions for me, everyone!)

  15. #15 |  Packratt | 

    …well, in the spirit of full disclosure, I should say I saw most of it, missed some of the second half because of a conference call for work. /:

  16. #16 |  Dave Krueger | 

    That was pretty cool. That John would take the time to answer a barrage of questions like that says a lot about his commitment to the libertarian cause. The fact that Radley was able to arrange it for us nobodies (although admittedly we are at the very high end of the nobody scale) is impressive. I really appreciated it. It makes me feel like I’m a member of an elite group of subversive superheros who have the power to save the world (except for the power part).

  17. #17 |  Tokin42 | 


    agree except the last part. Most don’t even WANT to save the world.

  18. #18 |  John Stossel on liberty, unplugged and raw :: Liberty Maven | 

    […] If you missed it the chat transcript is available for your reading pleasure. […]

  19. #19 |  Rhayader | 

    Cool stuff, thanks John and Radley!

  20. #20 |  Ben (the other one) | 

    Sorry, he lost me when he praised Glenn Beck.

    No, that’s wrong. He lost me even earlier when he used Lasik (an elective– and essentially cosmetic– surgery) as a free-market example for how good all healthcare would be if we just paid for everything ourselves. I suspect that apart from John Stossel, there’s basically nobody reading this blog (myself included) who could pay out of pocket for decent medical care for a catastrophic illness.

    He also seems kind of obsessed about Sen. Al Franken.

  21. #21 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I think Lasik is a perfect example of how competition helps brings costs down. Breast augmentation is another one. Since it isn’t covered by insurance, customers care about costs, which makes doctors have to compete to attract customers. While non-elective procedures aren’t optional for a patient like cosmetic surgery is, it’s still possible to use competition to brig costs down.

    The current system allows doctors to sit back, knowing that they are all going to get paid the same, and not worry about price competition. And consumers have no incentive to shop around because A) it’s not coming out of their pocket and B) everyone charges the same anyway.

    You can be damn sure that if deductibles were up in the range of a few thousand dollars, the prices for every procedure that falls under that threshold would suddenly drop drastically (assuming we got past this idea that medical care is “too important” to allow aggressive competition).

    The biggest enemy of controlled health care costs is the universal belief that the solution must not change how health care is dispensed but must reduce how much it costs. The fact that that’s impossible doesn’t even enter into the equation.

    If you don’t inject cost sensitivity into the system at the consumer level, you will never succeed in reducing costs, short of cutting back services or imposing price controls (and don’t even get me started on that…).

    If the person actually spending the money isn’t affected by how much they spend, they will do nothing to limit that spending. That’s where we are now.

  22. #22 |  Ben (the other one) | 

    Dave, cosmetic elective procedures are to routine medical care or the treatment of an actual illness as apples are to oranges.

    First, people getting Lasik or breast augmentation generally have substantial disposable cash or at least access to credit. They also have the time to shop around for the best deal and/or surgical skills. After all, no one’s on a deadline to get rid of their glasses or enhance their bust.

    By contrast, someone faced with a serious illness typically has neither the energy, nor the knowledge, nor the time to competitively shop for physicians. Moreover, to suggest that people who are victims of traumatic injuries have market power is really absurd.

    Medical care would be better and cheaper if we paid for things ourselves rather than relying on “plans”. I will keep arguing for that.

    That can only be described as a faith-based comment. It’s relying on a fantasy of free-market economics that not even Milton Friedman would endorse.

    The illogic of this position can be summed up by observing that millions of uninsured Americans are already living Stossel’s libertarian dream of getting to pay out-of-pocket for their medical care, and they’re profoundly worse off for it.

    These people already get to shop in the free market when they need primary care, or when they need to pay for their cancer surgery and hospitalization. Ask one of the people waiting in line to file a bankruptcy petition necessitated by high medical costs whether they enjoy the fruits of a ruthless market-based healthcare system.

  23. #23 |  Ben | 

    Sorry, he lost me when he praised Glenn Beck.

    Glenn Beck didn’t used to be an idiot. He used to say things that a lot of people were thinking but the media wouldn’t say because their noses were stuck too far up politicians butts.

    Now he’s just another parrot on Fox.

  24. #24 |  flukebucket | 

    He stopped being stupid and started praising Glenn Beck.

    I like that a lot.

  25. #25 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #22 | Ben (the other one)

    The illogic of this position can be summed up by observing that millions of uninsured Americans are already living Stossel’s libertarian dream of getting to pay out-of-pocket for their medical care, and they’re profoundly worse off for it.

    There is almost nothing libertarian (or even capitalistic) about the current health care system.

    There is no incentive anywhere in the system to control prices, so it’s missing the very foundation of any free market system and, as a result, it’s become unaffordable. The way health care is dispensed is currently controlled by the medical providers who certainly don’t have an incentive to control prices. The insurance industry has no control over consumption, so there’s not much they can do to control prices. And the consumer thinks he’s spending someone else’s money, so he sure as hell doesn’t care.

  26. #26 |  Ben (the other one) | 

    And the consumer thinks he’s spending someone else’s money, so he sure as hell doesn’t care.

    Well, the uninsured consumers (patients) pretty much know that they’re spending their own money.

    The basis of your argument is unsound, too: there are lots of price controls in the current system: insurance companies routinely negotiate discounts in exchange for putting doctors on “preferred provider” lists (and, presumably, steering more business their way). Any doctor who takes Medicare patients will tell you that the US is pretty draconian about pushing downward on Medicare reimbursement rates. (These are both measures which it appears Stossel would oppose because they interfere with the free market exchange between physicians and patients.)

    As for the Independence Institute video yesterday, they make fun of Massachusetts’ system by caricaturizing the problem. If you’re going to implement a mandatory insurance program (with subsidies for those who could not otherwise afford it), of course you’re going to implement a maximum deductible- otherwise there’s nothing to stop someone from satisfying the requirement by buying a million-dollar deductible policy for $10, and basically becoming a free rider again. You can disagree with mandatory private insurance either on the left or the right, but if you have that system, a maximum deductible is pretty unavoidable.

  27. #27 |  flukebucket | 

    Back when I was young if you did not have money you did not go to the doctor. If you had an ear ache you put your own piss in your ear. If you had strep throat you warmed up a towel and pressed it against your neck. If you were really, really sick you either died or got better.

    Those were the days.

  28. #28 |  Scott | 

    If you had an ear ache you put your own piss in your ear


  29. #29 |  Highlights from Live Chat with John Stossel | Political Class Dismissed | 

    […] Read it all. […]

  30. #30 |  CincyMatt | 

    Gonna have to disagree with your point here Ben:

    First, people getting Lasik or breast augmentation generally have substantial disposable cash or at least access to credit.

    Go to a strip club and ask all of the augmented women how substantial their disposable income stash is.

    …just saying, it’s a weak point.

  31. #31 |  Ben (the other one) | 


    I certainly welcome your invitation to visit a strip club. Nevertheless, I suspect that strippers represent a very small fraction of women seeking breast augmentation. Even so, they can certainly justify the expense as an investment of sorts in their trade. You’ll also note that my sentence ended “or at least access to credit.” Without knowing any strippers, I would guess that statement applies to many of those who opt to surgically enlarge their breasts.

  32. #32 |  Stacy Litz | 



  33. #33 |  John Stossel’s New Show Debuts Tonight | The Agitator | 

    […] was kind enough to do a live chat with you, Agitator readers, last June. Digg it |  reddit |  […]

  34. #34 |  Jake Witmer | 

    There is a pro-freedom candidate in the race to win Ted Kennedy’s vacated seat. Excellently, the liberal media in MA has been forced to cover him, because his name is Joe Kennedy (no, not the one who’s related to Ted). PLEASE contribute online to his race, so we can print signs and get the message out. Since it’s a special election, we (like the other candidates) only have one month to get to the polls.

    -Let’s give Ron Paul a counterpart in the Senate! Also, if Joe gets a lot of contributions, he will make it much more likely that Peter Schiff in CT is also elected, later on in 2010!!!!!!

    Thanks! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!