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Maddow, Maher & Gillespie Have Heated Debate On ObamaCare, Single-Payer

On the online-only Overtime portion of HBO's "Real Time" tonight, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Nick Gillespie of Reason had a lively discussion on the merits of single-payer (Medicare type of health insurance for everyone) and how it would burden Americans by what it would cost to fund the program.

Rachel Maddow, a proponent of single-payer, says you can find out how "awesome" it is just by asking the elderly if they like their Medicare. And if they do, she says, then we can cover everyone by instituting some "real cost controls" like the Canadians do.

"The single-payer thing. Everybody can become a scientist on this. You can do a scientific study on how single-payer would be liked by the American people. Ask an old person if they like their Medicare. Ask them if they like their Medicare and ask them what they think about an idea to actually make it private insurance instead," Maddow said.

"Teabaggers love their Medicare," Bill Maher jumped in and said.

"Don't ask old people because old people cover about a third of the costs through premiums of what Medicare costs. Medicare is a system where literally everybody who pays into get more out of it eventually than when they put it. It is the definition of unsustainable. Medicare is not a model for anything other than totally blowing the budget," Gillespie informed the panel.

"What would be awesome is if everybody was covered under Medicare then you could do some real cost controls in it then it would work better like Canada's does," Maddow said, not responding and addressing what Gillespie said.

Maddow makes an intriguing point about "cost controls," which some would say means less health care (panels) and longer wait times for routine operations like hip replacements. This matter is addressed later in the discussion.

"Our healthcare is too expensive and it is not good enough to justify the extra expense. You look at the way you have all-inclusive systems around the world and whatever you think about the ideological nature of what they're doing, they're costs are lower and their outcomes are just as good and that's what we need," Maddow said later in the panel discussion.

"They deliver less healthcare," Gillespie said in response to Rachel Maddow's assertion.

"If they deliver less healthcare, then why does the U.N. rate the U.S. healthcare 37th. If you were 2 or 5, you could say maybe the facts were off," Maher said.

"How often do you go to the doctor?" Gillespie asked him.

"As little as possible," Maher responded.

"Well good, you're rare then because Americans like to go to the doctor. And I'm not saying, you know -- I disagree with that kind of socialized or single-payer care. What I am saying is the price that you pay [crosstalk] for spending less on healthcare is less healthcare. And when you control lifestyle changes, you know the best thing people can do to reduce healthcare costs is to not smoke, not drink to excess, exercise one in a while," Gillespie said.

"If we have a single-payer healthcare system, we're not going to be able to get hip replacements as quickly as we would know, which is certainly the case in Canada," Gillespie added.

In an attempt to discredit Nick Gillespie, MSNBC's Maddow turned to fellow panelist Mort Zuckermann of U.S. News & World Report, who is originally from Canadian, to glorify the Canadian healthcare system. This led Gillespie to response and rebut Maddow's argument.

"Mort, you're from Canada, how's the healthcare system in Canada?" Maddow asked Zuckermann in hope that he would praise the system.

"I think it's at least as good as the United States," Zuckermann responded.

"How much are you worth?" Gillespie asked Zuckermann.

"I'm worth a good hip replacement, a lot," Zuckermann said.

"You've got a lot," Gillespie said to laughs. "You're like a billionaire, right?"

"And are you on a waiting list in Canada or can you call up somebody and get it done now?" Gillespie asked.

"I left Canada a long time ago," Zuckermann said.

"The problem with ObamaCare is not socialism, it's capitalism," Maher said as he wrapped up the segment.

"No, it's not," Zuckermann could be heard saying as Maher tried to end the show.

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