stop me if you think you've heard this one before
The debate in the comments section about health care, while lively and interesting, haven't done much to quell suspicion that lessening suffering among sick Americans isn't a priority in this country. Every facet of the health care system is a little fiefdom patrolled by either thugs or busybodies doing their level best to keep things from changing, even if the change would ultimately benefit them.
I just wish conservatives would just start saying what they mean - it'd make things so much easier. They should all sign a petition saying "Life sucks. Tough shit. It's a crazy world, ain't it? Go fuck yourself." I would actually applaud that document, as I agree with most of it, and it has the fresh whiff of pure honesty. Then we could begin the debate in earnest, and actually get somewhere.
Zel. M asked "if you're on a plane and are struck with a life-threatening illness, where do you want the plane to land? If you choose Toronto over New York, you're lying." Well, yes, I'd be lying because I have money and I love New York... but back when I didn't have health care? Roughly 1989-2000? I'd get my ass to Toronto.
You want good health care and a large safety net in case the unspeakable happens? Here's how to do it:
1. make at least five million dollars
2. make sure nobody takes any of it away from you in taxes
3. buy a shitload of health care, and when they deny your claim, spend $750,000 getting yourself fixed up anyway.
God, it's so easy! Why haven't more people thought of this?
Anyway, I don't give a crap. Today was goddamn miserable. Even though I just flew to Colorado for a wedding (for someone I don't know), I suffered through the worst migraine of my everfucking life, complete with auras, dizziness, eye splotches and violent nausea. It was so bad that I left my wallet AND keys somewhere at LAX, or on the plane, or wherever, it's gone. Now I've lost my wedding ring, my wallet and my keys over the course of two months. If I felt better, I'd buy an expensive tennis racquet and smash the FUCK out of it against a telephone pole, I'm so pissed off. Of course, I haven't got a credit card to buy the tennis racquet.
Posted by Ian Williams at July 30, 2009 10:51 PM
I'm sure we all can agree that this health care policy discussion is far more important than spending days re-hashing President Obama's "stupidly" comment and the White House's short-lived attempt to blame the resulting hullabaloo on the media. I have been sympathetic to whomever is our POTUS ever since SNL taught me that "presidenting is hard."
That said, projecting mean beliefs on others participating in a complex policy discussion is a bit of a cop-out, to whit: "...hasn't done much to quell suspicion that lessening suffering among sick Americans isn't a priority in this country."
Passing laws about health insurance and other aspects of health delivery (which now constitute 17% of GDP) does not remotely equate with "lessening suffering among sick Americans." That is a different discussion. If you had asked commenters to share heart-rendering stories of illness, death, and pleas to end human suffering, I am sure there would have been many.
Moreover, let's not forget that we already have Medicaid, Medicare, and that hospital ERs are not allowed to turn people with no insurance. Those costs get passed on to the rich (i.e., pretty much everyone with a decent full-time job). Since about 85% of people say they like their own health care coverage, it is not suprising that they don't want to risk having it taken away due to govermental actions.
If a single-payer universal heath insurance system became law, there still would be many ill, suffering, and dying people. There still would be poor people given how many new impoverished illegals arrive every day. I am pretty sure that reasonable people would offer various critiques of that system arguing it could be improved, changed, reformed, etc. Others would defend that system and say it should not be changed at all despite its imperfections. I hope no one would demand that those opposed to any change in that system "be honest and sign a petition saying tough shit...go fuck yourself"?
One of my liberal pals was giving me the usual "the moral thing to do is for employers or the government to supply health insurance."
This friend of mine of well-educated, and a successful businessman. His wife is a stay-at-home mom. I asked the following question and pose it to all you other liberals too:
Assuming it is the moral thing to do, why doesn't my pal purchase health insurance for his nanny? Financially, their incomes are no more disparate than Mr. White Collar and Miss Blue Collar.
It is so much easier to say that you want the taxpayers to pay for everything . . charity begins at home! When the liberals start buying health insurance policies for the landscapers, nannys, cleaning ladies, limo drivers, etc, then I will give them the time of day.
this was cut and pasted from a column andrew adams wrote but he makes some good points that may not have made the board here....
We should cover the background of the current state of health care first. In 2004 health care was a 1.79 trillion dollar industry which is about 15.5 percent of the national GDP and also roughly 1/6 of our nation debt. There was average spending of $6,167 per person on health care related costs in 2004. I wouldn’t be surprised if that has gone up in recent years.
The Census Bureau states that there are 46.577 million people in the United States without health care. That seems like a lot. But who makes up that astoundingly large number? The first 9.487 million are what liberals like to call undocumented workers, and what the law likes to call illegal aliens.
What we’re left with is about 37 million American citizens that are uninsured. That still seems like a lot, especially in the richest country on Earth. However, not all Americans are uninsured because of poverty. There are 8.3 million Americans that are uninsured that make between 50 and 75 thousand dollars. At even the low end of $50,000 an individual could certainly afford health insurance if they so chose. But they’d rather spend it on better vacations, a bigger TV, maybe even a better house and that is their decision. But someone who earns above $75,000 would certainly buy health insurance, right? That’s not what the facts say. There are 8.74 million Americans that earn above $75,000 per year and still decide not to buy health insurance. And in America they should have that freedom even if we consider it irresponsible.
Out of 37 million uninsured Americans, 17 million are easily wealthy enough to afford it. That leaves us with roughly 20 million uninsured Americans that make below $50,000. Many of these uninsured Americans actually qualify for programs like Medicare or Medicaid but never take the time to sign up, or don’t realize they are eligible to sign up. Taking this into account, the liberal non-profit group, Kaiser Family Foundation, finds that only about 8.2 million uninsured Americans earn below $50,000 and don’t qualify for government programs. That means throughout America less than 3 percent of Americans can’t afford medical insurance and don’t qualify for any current government programs. And it’s not even that bad. The Congressional Budget Office reports that 45 percent of the 8.2 million that fall through the cracks will be uninsured for four months or less. In reality, less than 1.5 percent of all American citizens will go without insurance for longer than 4 months. This goes to show that the free market will correct itself, even without government intervention.
I think you misunderstood the point I was trying to make. It was really about the level of discourse about these very important and complex issues.
I was trying to demonstrate my point by posing a hypothetical "what if the shoe was on the other foot" scenario to show the pro-universal-single-payer folks one aspect of a future where universal single-payer health care is the law of the land in the U.S.
Before long, these good folks may be placed a position of having to choose to fight to defend the new stautus quo even though the system cannot be absolutely pefrect. Nobody's pefect, right? Or, on the other hand, they could push for certain improvements, reforms, or other changes in the system. Well, I wonder how the generous, humane people who want zero change will like it if the people who want some changes start calling them nasty names and imputing selfish motives proving they don't really give a shit about sick, diseased, and fragile, suffering beings.
I believe these generous and caring humanists defending the status quo would be deeply hurt by such awful criticism. Right now, however, these same humanistic progressive are angry and directing nasty ad hominem attacks at mainstream people (like me) who would realy love for people to have decent health care and reasonable prices (and subsidies for the truly poor), but strongly disagree about how to achieve these lofty goals.
Neva, I hope that clarifies things.
My interpretation of the evidence tells me that a national free-market insurance system (where people living in one state can buy health insurance sold by a company based in any other state) will bring insurance costs down for most people. States goverments need to stop forcing all insurance companies in a state to provide specific coverage to all, whether they need it or not. For the poor, "health care" stamps that accepted at doctors and clinics (not ERs) and subsidized catastrophic insurance could make a huge dent. Finally, it is time to disentagle health insurance from employment. It is outmoded for today's more mobile society and workplace.
Bell well all and enjoy the weekend!
My interpretation of the evidence tells me that a national free-market insurance system (where people living in one state can buy health insurance sold by a company based in any other state) will bring insurance costs down for most people.
Your suggestion says nothing about mandating that insurance companies offer a single-price basic policy to all consumers. Absent that provision, no insurance company in their right mind is going to sell insurance to high-risk consumers like my father at any price he could afford, competition across state lines or no. If you allow insurance companies to segment the risk pool and price accordingly, as would be the most rational business decision, high-risk people will get priced out of the market, that's the way insurance works.
Why not look at the successful examples from the rest of the industrialized world, where health care costs are less than half of what they are here, per capita, and the citizenry enjoy better health care outcomes? Not to mention, where 700 thousand people don't have to declare bankruptcy every year due to medical bills. That's not just a moral failing, that's dare I say it, a market failure.