Democrats & Liberals Archives

Fear Has Its Reasons

As consuming a passion as Politics has been this last decade, it’s not my first love. Although I was precociously aware of politics, news and current events even as a kid (I saw a report about Saddam’s Halabjah attack when it originally happened) the subjects that interested me most were science and technology. I used to lug around a copy of David Macaulay’s The Way Things Work in my back pack. So when I read about stuff like this, well in a certain kind of way, I feel ill.

There is good reason nobody wants to be caught on the wrong side of this kind of virus. At least nobody who has sense. When it hit us, it killed about 500,000 to 650,000 people. In today's terms? Imagine about one and a half to just under two million people being killed by an epidemic.

We have an advantage, and a disadvantage. We understand what we're faced with better. Unfortunately, the disadvantage is that this country is much more urbanized, and travel much quicker. A pandemic today is both more and less manageable than it once was.

Dick Armey spreads dark rumors about the Obama Administration hyping up the Swine Flu epidemic possibilities in order to sell healthcare. I would argue that you wouldn't need to hype such epidemics up in order to sell universal healthcare, but let us first examine what kind of thing the guy who runs FreedomWorks is saying would be used to inspire fear.

The Swine Flu Virus that hit us in 1918 could be called a monster without exaggeration. One feature of it was that instead of killing the very young and the very old, young men and women fell victim. The theory on that is that a strong immune system, usually an asset in dealing with an infection, was turned into a liability, the body made to attack itself in what is called a Cytokine Storm. Descriptions of the results of disease sound frighteningly like that of the Ebola virus, with people bleeding out their ears, some drowning in their own blood. Many would be killed, though, by a secondary bacterial infection of the lungs.

The worst part about this is that the Influenza virus is it's an airborne virus. So imagine a terror like the one I just described being spread in the air around you.

In some ways, we'll be better able to handle this bug. Scientifically, we understand viruses and their mechanisms better. We've got much better communication, organization, and logistics at hand. We have antiviral drugs, among others, that might help us reduce the severity of the disease.

On the other hand, today's population moves around fast, far, and may not have immediate access to the testing and first response medical care that might lead them to be diagnosed early, so they can restrict their travel and contact with other people.

Dick Armey and other Republicans think Obama might scare people with H1N1 in order to sell healthcare reform. I think I can do one better: I can tell you why it's important we not screw around with having a basic level of healthcare in this country: It's called a geometric progression, and it seems to be something the Republican Party deals with poorly, as the response to global warming illustrates.

H1N1 once it crosses over, can spread pretty fast. Consider all the people you will run into today or tomorrow. With an Airborne Virus, it's a lot easier to get sick from somebody who's in the same area as you. Given that the country's a lot denser in population, that can be a lot of people sickened very quickly. Now folks might say, but the virus isn't especially virulent. Well, it's not virulent right now, but it will inevitably mutate, and its anyone's guess whether that mutation makes the virus easier on us, or not.

Armey doesn't seem to have the scientific literacy to understand that underplaying an epidemic is typically a lousy idea. Yes, you might be right, it might be nothing. But if it does become something, you're on record saying it wasn't going to be anything. Or worse, you might still be in na-na land, trying to convince people, irresponsibly, I might add, that they should treat the efforts to deal with the disease as a government plot.

As a person who values reason and science highly, I get pretty annoyed with those who try to push pseudoscience or superstition in the realms of medicine and policy. I dislike the fact that some continue to push vaccines as the cause of Autism, even after the original reports were discredited, and studies failed to demonstrate the link. I dislike the way Republicans have politicized Global Warming, effectively dismissed the consensus of a scientific field as a bunch of liberal scientists with an agenda.

The whole point of scientific methods is to kill the sacred cows of our assumptions, to put theories and hypotheses to the test, so that our bad ideas fall to the side and those that accurately show things for what they are remain standing. I can't say I'm pleased when people track the bull back in.

In my opinion, this is just the kind of country that should be practical in it's approach to things. Science is after all about not accepting things on mere authority, but instead putting assertions to the test. Some, however, look at the well-tested conclusions through lenses colored by the exact kind of personal bias that the processes of science are made to weed out. This could be an industry trying to escape responsibility for a toxic, carcinogenic pollutant's release, a distraught parent who doesn't want to hear no for an answer on who's to blame, a person trying to justify a habit they get pleasure out of, or a politician trying to turn people against a policy they disagree with on ideological grounds.

Even if we're not talking science here, we're talking about dealing with the practical world, not some ideal in our heads. One reason science is so powerful is the strong requirement for checking theory against results. The scientific approach is often more strict than people can practically carry out in real life, but that thought process, that correction of theory by result, can be of use to us in dealing with real world events and situations.

Experience has taught us that an ounce of prevention with epidemics is worth a pound of cure. Our medical system is rigged towards selling us that pound of cure, and selling it at high price- that is, if you can get any cure at all, much less the means to prevent it. That failure of healthcare helps create a population that is in ill or uncertain health, that deals with chronic problems that are much worse than they have to be. It creates a class of people who are in poorer economic condition, availing themselves of Disability benefits before their time, as well as medicare benefits. It creates a class of people who struggle under the stress of high debt levels- stress also undermines the immune system, so they'll get sick more often as well.

Worse yet, the unreason shaping our discourse is extending to our policies.

The GOP's strategy in regards to Medicare is inherently contradicatory, and worse, fiscally unsound. Two of the biggest increases in medicare liabilities of recent times were passed by the Republicans, who understand which side their bread is buttered on, in regards to seniors. Despite all their claims to be fiscal hawks, they turned their bills into costly giveaways to the insurance companies.

Part of the way we Democrats plan to pay for Healthcare reform is by taking some of that money that's doing nothing more functional than lining healthcare industry pockets (like Medicare Advantage, where we pay private insurance companies more to do the Government's work for it), and using that to fund the new programs.

Predictably enough, the Republicans are jumping on any taking of money out of the program, whose fiscal soundness they seriously compromise, as if it's a benefits cut. Or put in other words, they're defending wastefulness, subsidies to the insurance companies, and a program that they alternatively argue is unconstitutional (if a Public Option is unconstitutional, folks, what is Medicare and Medicaid). The ultimate effect of their strategy is essentially to preserve a rather fiscally irresponsible status quo, in order to deny millions healthcare. If you're confused what the Republican position is, I don't blame you. It seems to be whatever's necessary to make the talking point work- and that in turn is aimed at one goal: Defeating the Democrats.

As out of touch as some Democrats may be, they're actually responding to voters to a certain extent. The Republicans failed, repeatedly, to answer the voters needs, and America has an unhealthy assortment of chronic problems now, not to mention a terrible economy to meet that challenge with.

People have the right to be concerned with the legacy the Republican Party has left. I've just got to wonder how many more messes are they willing to leave before they get their act together and accept the voter's negative verdict on their leadership. If you think it's a good idea to politicize and minimize what was once of the most virulent and terrifying infectious diseases to strike the world's population, then you need to spend some time by yourself and reconsider your priorities.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at August 26, 2009 12:19 PM
Comments
Comment #286922

Stephen Daugherty wrote, “…correction of theory by result, can be of use to us in dealing with real world events and situations.”

In the real world of Medicare, no matter what their wage level, marital status, or retirement date, a recipient will receive benefits that far exceed the taxes he or she paid into the system. Under the current payroll deduction for Medicare, the average wage earner, and his/her employer, will pay over a period of 40 years about $48,000 in Medicare taxes.

The average benefits received from Medicare are in a range from $393,000 to $525,000 depending upon whose statistics one uses.

For those of us who make it to age 65, and that’s most of us, we will take from 8 to 11 times more from Medicare than we paid in. The amount saved as result of those who die before age 65 is mostly offset by those who only worked part-time and stay at home spouses who paid little into Medicare. Medicare co-pays help cover some cost but for the average Medicare recipient it amounts to only $25,000 in their lifetime.

Now, we are facing nearly 60 million Baby Boomers who are starting to enter Medicare. To close the gap between Medicare taxes paid and the actual costs incurred will require increasing the Medicare tax from 2.9% (1.45% from both employer and employee) to 15%. Or, we can reduce the benefits paid by Medicare to 25% of current outlays.

In the “real world” Mr. Daugherty speaks of, national health care as currently found in congressional proposals, would face many of the same problems inherent in Medicare. Only a fool would expect different results from similar programs.

I am on Medicare and realize what a great deal I have with the current workers subsidizing my premium. Thank you all very much. I know this can’t continue and also know that a scheme, similar to Medicare for all American’s will also require huge subsidies from government…which is US. Greatly increased taxes or greatly reduced benefits, that is the choice we will have to make if we choose to have national health care with a plan similar to Medicare.

Some will argue that my figures don’t take into account any “savings” schemes in current congressional proposals. There have been many legislative changes to Medicare over the years to save money and all have involved increasing premiums or reducing payments. Anything else one may wish to consider is simply a guess and certainly can not be relied upon. At least not in the “real world” of which Mr. Daugherty writes.

Posted by: Royal Flush at August 26, 2009 2:32 PM
Comment #286924

In the real world, the Public Option is mostly supported on premiums. The workers subsidize themselves.

Medicare can be made cheaper if we can reform that system and reform the costs of healthcare in general.

Finally, in the real world, you cannot be certain of all things, not event the results of what you do from certainty. Just because an outcome is uncertain doesn’t mean that it can’t harm or help you.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 26, 2009 2:43 PM
Comment #286925

While I wasn’t paying much attention to the enactment of Medicare back in the 60’s when I was in my 20’s I do believe it too was intended to be “mostly supported on premiums”.

Perhaps I am wrong and someone will take the time to show us that it was enacted knowing that it would have to be subsidized.

I would ask Mr. Daugherty why he is convinced that the outcome of a national health care program modeled after Medicare will have different results. What knowledge does he have that we don’t?

Posted by: Royal Flush at August 26, 2009 3:24 PM
Comment #286926

Royal Flush,
Again you show that you enjoy being on the dole and you want to make sure your ride continues and continues only for you. The term ‘me generation’ should be expanded by a few decades.

Posted by: Schwamp at August 26, 2009 4:06 PM
Comment #286927

Schwamp has, by his/her remarks, shown that he/she believes that the health care plans currently being considered are not revenue neutral and will be simply another entitlement.

One does not need to think very hard to understand the fallicy in “everyone” being on the “dole”.

Before we consider another massive government program in the form of national health care would it not be wise to reform those we already have? Can Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security be fixed in such a way that they won’t eventually bankrupt our nation? If so, let’s do it and prove that government isn’t just a welfare program.

I don’t deny that today’s work force subsidizes my Medicare and Social Security as well as the health care and pensions of congress, the executive and judicial branches of government and many other government employees. And, I don’t defend it. Reform all these entitlements so there is no favoritism…then we can talk about new programs.

Posted by: Royal Flush at August 26, 2009 4:32 PM
Comment #286928

Royal Flush-
The Public Option will be paid for, for the most part, by premiums. Some will see their premiums subsidized, those who can’t afford the full plan.

The thing to keep in mind, though, is that it’s really not supposed to be Medicare for everybody else (nice as that might be).

The point of the public option, and the insurance exchange that it’s a part of is to break up the monopolistic and near-monopolistic market conditions that many healthcare plans operate under. You know your basic economics, right? The greater the market share, the easier it is to set prices however you want. The Public Option is basically there to say, “Okay, bub, you increase premiums or don’t provide good coverage, and your customers are going to fly the coop.”

It’s a Damocles sword set up above the insurance industry: offer better, cheaper, more efficient plans, or you will lose market share to those who will, even if it has to be the government-run plan.

That’s why Democrats are fighting so hard for it.

Now why should you favor it?

Because this is private insurance’s last chance. After this, such an alternative will be seen as insufficient, and you WILL get medicare for all as the new plan. Why? Because people are going to be so burdened by healthcare costs, and so ticked-off, that they won’t accept half measures.

Just because Republicans and Tea Partisans can stifle the legislation, doesn’t mean that they can stifle the public outcry against the status quo, and that will grow.

Having answered your question, why don’t you answer one of mine: Why support the status quo, given the terrible results that have resulted over the last fifteen years? Regular private healthcare had a chance, and it failed it miserably.

What is the Republican alternative?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 26, 2009 4:38 PM
Comment #286929

Schwamp and Royal Flush, your are both stepping on WB’s rule, Critique the Message, NOT the Messenger. Comply with our rules or comment privileges will be suspended.

Posted by: Watchblog Manager at August 26, 2009 4:40 PM
Comment #286930

Let me ask you an additional question: Why can’t Republicans stick to the facts, and win that way?

If the Public Option is so terrible, why the “Death Panel” nonsense? If Single Payer Healthcare for Seniors is a sacred right, according to them, why are they fighting a shadow of that system in the form of the Public Option?

If Healthcare is really too liberal, why invent the false canard of illegal immigrants getting free healthcare? Why tell people that the federal government will be funding abortions when it won’t be, under any legislation?

I would say this: because the Republicans do not think that what they consider terrible is what others would consider it so. So they engage in rhetorical trickery in order to gain their opposition to the legislation. No exaggerations, no lies, and people won’t get mad enough, angry enough to refuse it.

Hence the little game that Dick Armey is engaged- his playing with fire. As usual, people like him underestimate the chances of the H1N1 swine flu virus becoming a real problem. He bets, like Bobby Jindal, that the unlikely event (in Jindal’s case, a volcanic eruption), wouldn’t happen, or didn’t matter.

Neither is showing much good sense in their wagers.

Sooner or later, our healthcare system is going to be put to the test, or our economy. If the Republicans haven’t done what they need to do, what we all need to do to reduce those rising costs, they’ll end up fueling their own backlash.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 26, 2009 4:50 PM
Comment #286931

Someone asked, “Why support the status quo, given the terrible results that have resulted over the last fifteen years?”

I don’t. I have asked for federal legislation allowing states to limit the insurance companies operating in their states, and across state lines, to be eliminated to allow for more competition among private companies. There are many remedies we can effect to force health care cost to go down and for premiums to come down. Let’s use some of the ideas in the congressional plans to reduce costs. Then, if they in fact do reduce cost, we can go forward.

Posted by: Royal Flush at August 26, 2009 5:16 PM
Comment #286932

I’m afraid that would be no more likely to pass muster with the Senate Republicans than anything else.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 26, 2009 5:41 PM
Comment #286935

Perhaps not…but it might be worth the effort to try.

Posted by: Royal Flush at August 26, 2009 6:45 PM
Comment #286937

S.D.
There are some republicans in congress that would like to see the insurance companys be able to do business in other states. That there would be better than any other bill either party could come up with create some competition so that prices would come down. The best thing about this would be it WOULD’NT RAISE THE DEFICIT TO 9 TRILLION DOLLARS, and my grandkids and great grandkids would’nt be stuck paying our bills.

Posted by: KAP at August 26, 2009 6:55 PM
Comment #286946

KAP:

So why didn’t they do that when they were in charge? Good question in my mind. They had the chance. Now let this be tried.

Posted by: womanmarine at August 26, 2009 11:06 PM
Comment #286948

Royal Flush, KAP,
Why do you support large corporations? These are precisely the organizations which have caused the problems in the first place, the skyrocketing prices, the terrible vulnerability most of us face if we are unemployed and lose coverage and then get sick, ; and yet, and yet, you want to reward them? You want to help them? This support of large corporations comes at the expense of the vast majority of the US population and small businesses. It comes at your expense. If the expense were just a matter of dollars and cents, well, that would not be much of a problem. However, it does involve more. The expense can be your health, your well being. It is hard to value “liberty and the pursuit of happiness” without the prerequisite, “life.”

Seriously. What do you think will happen if the forty or so largest health care corporations “compete”? Within a matter of years they will merge or go bankrupt until only a few remain, leaving us at the mercy of a powerful oligopoly controlling access to health care with a politically unbreakable stanglehold… Hah! As if mercy had anything to do with “competition”! Along the way, as mergers and hostile takeovers and bankruptcies occur, consumers will be left without coverage if their profiles are not sufficiently profitable to warrant coverage.

Today we have an untenable situation, both in financial terms and in moral terms. We must change. We have available models that have been demonstrated by other the democracies of the world to be successful. It’s time to change, and it’s simply common sense.

Posted by: phx8 at August 27, 2009 12:00 AM
Comment #286950

>It’s time to change, and it’s simply common sense.
Posted by: phx8 at August 27, 2009 12:00 AM

phx8,

Oooo, you used that unacceptable term to a conservative, especially a Republican conservative, ‘common sense’. That’s like holding up a wooden cross to a vampire…it causes them to smolder and agitate. ‘Common sense’ is not a usable term in their lexicon.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 27, 2009 2:50 AM
Comment #286952

Yes, fear has it’s reasons: Greed.

Posted by: gergle at August 27, 2009 5:05 AM
Comment #286957

So phx8 & woman and dude you all want the government to go bankrupt now? Cause that is what is going to happen. The government can’t even run medicare or medicaid or SS because they are going broke.

Posted by: KAP at August 27, 2009 6:18 AM
Comment #286962

KAP-
We had things paid for. Republicans decided instead that we were going to generate revenues in the form of magic ponies from tax cuts.

They decided that the way to improve medicare was to start spending incredible amounts on new programs with it, and cut taxes at the same time.

We’re not going broke because Medicare is inherently unsupportable. We’re going broke because Republicans have institutionalized fiscal irresponsibility.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 27, 2009 8:31 AM
Comment #286964

“The government can’t even run medicare or medicaid or SS because they are going broke.”

The government runs Medicare more efficiently with less overhead costs than private insurance corporations. According to a 2007 CBO study, Medicare’s future budget problems are almost exclusively related to the astounding cost inflation in the private health care delivery market. Health care costs have increased at double the rate of inflation since 1970. Insurance premiums for employer based group coverage increased by 119% in the last decade (Kaiser Foundation, 2008).

I, for one, would like to see more discussion focused on reducing the health care cost bubble. It threatens not only government sponsored insurance such as Medicare but also the traditional employer based insurance programs. How long does anyone think that businesses in the US can continue to fund health insurance with triple digit increases over the next decade?

The health care cost bubble is the elephant in the room that everyone is ignoring. Conservatives want to stick their heads in the sand and hope that the current system will somehow heal itself. Liberals want to expand coverage for the uninsured and create some efficiencies in the market with a public option and increase the risk pool with mandatory coverage. Those measures may help. However, they do not directly address the inflation in the private health care market. I fear that any reforms will ultimately fail if there is not more direct attention paid to the health bubble. The consequences for a burst of the health bubble will be much worse than the housing bubble of 2008.


Posted by: Rich at August 27, 2009 9:22 AM
Comment #286967

Having worked for doctors most of my life, let me add a few facts as I experienced them.

1. Doctors raise their fees all the time, with the hope and expectation that if enough of them do it (I don’t know how much or if they collude on this), Medicare will raise their reimbursement rates. Those doctors who accept Medicare patients, and many do not or limit the number, feel that the reimbursement is too low. Especially compared to other insurances.

2. Preferred provider and other restrictions by insurance companies severely limit patient choices of who they want for their doctor. In some instances, those doctors who agree to participate in these programs so they can see those patients are not necessarily the best doctors.

3. My husband is retired Navy. He has Tricare Premium. While his copays are small, he has to see his primary care doctor for referrals to any specialist. These referrals have to be approved by Tricare and are limited in time and visits and tend to expire before they are used up. This requires phone calls and paperwork by each doctor’s office, and can take a long time. If he doesn’t take the authorization to the doctor, they won’t see him. There is also a limit in that he can only see those doctors participating in the Tricare Premium program.

I, on the other hand, since I was already in treatment with an oncologist and surgeon who did not participate in the Premium program, chose to stay with Tricare Standard. I can see any physician I want. My copay is a little higher, but I don’t have to go through the gyrations of seeing a primary care physician to see a specialist, and my choice of doctors who accept the limit of payment through this program is much greater. This program appears to pay a little less to the doctors, but many accept it because of the need to do much less paperwork.

These are my experiences, both as a patient and a medical office manager. A medical office plays hell trying to find it’s way through the requirements and paperwork of every insurance company and every policy. It’s a nightmare. I have done it for years. Something needs to be done, and the savings of needing less personnel to do just the paperwork would be quite a savings.

JMHO

Posted by: womanmarine at August 27, 2009 11:44 AM
Comment #286971

I wrote above, “To close the gap between Medicare taxes paid and the actual costs incurred will require increasing the Medicare tax from 2.9% (1.45% from both employer and employee) to 15%.”

May I see a show of hands of all those in favor of seeing their Medicare payroll deduction increase from the current rate of 1.45% to 7.5% to make Medicare solvent. Those who are self-employed will of course pay the entire 15%.

Then, I would ask those who like this idea to venture a guess on the increase in payroll taxes, above those already necessary for Medicare solvency, necessary to fund a Medicare type program for all currently uninsured Americans.

All those in favor of expanding health care with a new massive government program will certainly agree that we must pay for what we already have (Medicare) and the new program we want added, or am I missing something here. Those who believe it will be free should help us understand how that works.

Posted by: Royal Flush at August 27, 2009 1:51 PM
Comment #286973

Royal Flush:

There are many aspects to making this work. You are only focused on one possibility. It will take a number of changes, not just one.

Posted by: womanmarine at August 27, 2009 2:25 PM
Comment #286974

Royal Flush-
FICA and Self-Employment Taxes are only supposed to cover part of the liability, not the entire costs.

As for those costs It’s the cost of healthcare, not the growing of the elderly populations which is causing the problem.

Healthcare reform is essential to dealing with Medicare’s fiscal crisis. The Democrats have a plan, Republicans don’t have anything worth calling a plan.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 27, 2009 2:36 PM
Comment #286979

I recall a government plan to deal with the high cost of oil which imposed “price controls” on oil. It was supported by presidents Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. Having lived thru this period I remember the results of price controls and it was reduced oil production, oil shortages, skyrocketing prices for gasoline, rationing schemes and long angry lines at gas stations.

When Reagan became president he deregulated oil prices and we all know that prices plummeted and remained low for 20 years.

I am all for increased competition among our private insurers by allowing them to compete across state lines. I am all for wringing out the fraud and excesses in Medicare. I am all for a plan to help the uninsured become insured for a means tested premium they must pay.

I have read the posts urging the elimination of private health insurance companies to be replaced by government. May I ask these authors to cite examples of where this has worked in this country. What formerly private industry was taken over by government with long-term success?

When Social Security was enacted did that legislation outlaw any other method of providing for our own retirement? If not, why not?

And I need to ask again why, if a public option is good enough for you and me, why are government employees, and many others, going to be exempt? It just makes me angry when I hear a politician argue that this or that bill will be great for the country but not bind themselves to the same coverage they are foisting upon me.

Posted by: Royal Flush at August 27, 2009 3:07 PM
Comment #286986

Mr. Daugherty writes, “FICA and Self-Employment Taxes are only supposed to cover part of the liability, not the entire costs.”

That’s certainly a true statement. If payroll taxes were increased to a combined 15% Medicare would be self sufficient. At the currently combined payroll tax of 2.9%, and the low premium charged beneficiaries, it must be subsidized. And, that’s my point.

Our government is unwilling to impose a tax on wage earners and a premium on beneficiaries sufficient to cover the cost of benefits paid. Why is that? Could it be that government can’t sell a program to the public that is revenue neutral? That’s not appealing. We all want something for nothing. So our politicians tell us that the tax and premiums we pay are just right and not the problem. The problem is that health costs are too high. And they tell us that we can pay for the current and new coverage by cutting cost, not increasing revenue. Where have I heard that before?

I contend that government’s failure to be honest about Medicare, and assess taxes and premiums sufficient to pay for the benefits is simply a ploy and plan to remain empowered. Who in government, of any party or political persuasion, would dare suggest that we actually pay, in full, for social programs and expect to retain their position in government? None! It must always appear that government is giving more than it is receiving. We do this willingly by going deeper into debt. We’re fine today so why worry about tomorrow.

What all this favorable talk about a national health care program boils down to is another government program that will incur unfunded liabilities to go along with Social Security and Medicare and keep politicians employed. It will keep the ignorant populace from revolt and the politicians from being tarred and feathered.

At age 68, I and our ever increasing numbers of senior citizens will not allow government to increase our premiums or reduce our benefits even though we should insist upon that happening for the good of the nation and all those who follow us into their senior years. We are just as greedy and shallow as all those who envy our perks. Why wouldn’t all younger American’s want what we have? They would be stupid not to. And, when that happens and all are on board, the ship will sink.

Posted by: Royal Flush at August 27, 2009 4:12 PM
Comment #286993

Royal Flush-
Tell me this, then: would you be for folks earning more than 100,000 paying additional medicare/social security taxes, rather than having it capped for them?

Look, we can figure out a way for this to work out. Folks like you, though, keep on figuring there’s no way this can be done.

Democrats, though, don’t bother getting pessimistic about it. They figure out a way. Result? Republicans give themselves a free pass at adding hundreds of billions in spending to Medicare, and knock Obama on a plan which is looking to be able to pay for itself, by a combination of reorganizations of the medicare money and new taxes on rich policy holders.

See, that right there. Taxes have become so politically incorrect, but since Republicans were so nice as to increase their spending relentlessly in the last decade that may just be what we have to do.

And you folks will be kicking us in the nuts every step of the way, I bet. Why? Because your perspective is selective. The purpose of criticizing taxes, aside from helping the rich keep more money at the rest of our expense, is to score political points at Democratic Party expense. However, the high tax rates that made Democrats unpopular are long gone, and your people are getting bent out of shape about rates Reagan charged.

Republicans are more interested in the perception of Democrats as taxers, than they are actually interested in fiscal responsibility. We pay for a lot of this stuff, regardless of arguments like yours. Your people, when you had your turn, did nothing of the sort.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 27, 2009 5:51 PM
Comment #286994

S.D.
It’s a bipartisan screw up Stephen both parties are at fault for the way this economy is. So get off blaming one party already.

Posted by: KAP at August 27, 2009 5:51 PM
Comment #286995

Mr. Daugherty addressed me with his last post but I don’t see any relationship of his response to my post. I don’t know who “Your People” is supposed to include. Does Mr. Daugherty have a peep-hole in the voting booth I use.

I also object to the personal accusation used by Mr. Daugherty when he writes, “And you folks will be kicking us in the nuts every step of the way”

Posted by: Royal Flush at August 27, 2009 5:59 PM
Comment #287002

KAP-
I will not be giving equal blame. Not now, not ever. This is not a question of whether Democrats did not help the Republicans do this. I fully and freely admit that a good proportion of Democrats aided and abetted this.

But Republicans lead. That’s the key here: Republican leadership favored and promoted these ideas, and strongly, strongly discouraged, on both a political and a cultural level, their alternatives.

That’s what galls me about the thrust of your argument. You seem to be trying to make the case that this was just some sort of accidental thing, that policies got like that. But during the course of my lifetime, the Republicans have clearly led on the policy fronts of deregulation and industry-friendly regulation, not to mention the tax code.

And, I will not say otherwise, the Democrats followed, at least some of them. But this was never something that the base was happy, or all that favorable about.

But if Republicans had made it work, then folks would not have objected to it. People were willing to go with the Republicans for years, because it seemed no harm personally came to them of it. They didn’t quite sense the gradual decline of middle America strongly enough to care about change.

But what ultimately happened was that Republicans worried less about the consequences of their policies, and more about the success of their politics. And they picked what could be termed the worst time in the world to do that, to become obsessed as a party with avoiding accountability.

Even now, they’re fighting to avoid having to spend years in the wilderness rehabilitating their party, but what they’re not considering is that even as they tear down the Democrats, they’re making themselves even more radioactive, and more dependent on the folks that’re making them radioactive.

It all comes down to one proposition: anything but the Democrats. Anything but the Liberals. For the sake of never losing one battle in the long term apocalyptic battle (some literally see things this way) with liberalism and its associated philosophies (both real and imagined), the Republicans have turn into a force not for the preservation of civil society, but its destruction, whether through action or inaction. People are starting to see it as a real threat.

Republicans haven’t given themselves the time or opportunity to relax, to regain trust, rethink philosophy, or find a more moderate base, because all of these would be an admission of defeat, and after decades of listening to exaggerated propaganda about how Democratic and Liberal policies would be the death of our civilization, many Republicans are frightened to do that.

Which is sad, really. They don’t trust that if the Democrats promulgate their policies and they don’t work, or create an undesirable working order, that folks would flock to the Republicans to find counterbalance. The Republicans don’t trust Democracy in that basic way. Otherwise, they would let the Democrats shoot themselves in the foot with bad policy and thereafter critique the real results.

Instead, they are doing their best to make sure that despite the mandate given by the Democrat’s last two successful elections, that the Republican’s wishes will be imposed on the government, pre-emptively trashing Obama’s policies with outlandish inaccuracies and lies. They’re not even giving us a chance, though the voters thought otherwise.

Somehow, it’s become an elitist thing to push legislation that reflects what they won their elections on, what they got approval from the people to pursue.

The Republicans should understand that if all is lost, it’s not merely that people believe that Republicans departed from their professed ideals, but rather than their professed ideals have turned out to be so maladjusted to reality that people fear to have them manifest in the law of the land.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 28, 2009 8:56 AM
Comment #287005

Royal Flush-
I apologize if I have mischaracterized your politics or lumped you in with others. But I must say, I do find it troublesome that we’ve become so bound up in these reagan-era political habits, so unable to see beyond that ideology.

My political philosophy is not one of expedience, but of pragmatism. I was never, before the Bush Administration, opposed to compromise and bipartisanship. What I would oppose were laws that undermined critical safeguards, that would allow real world effects like pollution and abuse of consumers and employees which I felt would have an overall negative effect on this nation and the society within it.

I wasn’t opposed to taking out Saddam Hussein, for example, but thought the timing and the pretext were inappropriate, in light of operations in Afghanistan. I didn’t like the idea of turning my back on one enemy to take on another unless we had no other rational choice.

But still, even with that, when Colin Powell made his presentation, I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. But they had to be right.

When they didn’t find the WMDs, I became predictably ticked off. As I learned the manner in which that happened, I became even angrier.

But even so, I did not turn against resolving that war successfully. I advocated that, in fact. The quicker we could resolve the distraction of Iraq, the better.

But even so, the Bush Administration couldn’t even do that right, and the same pattern of rigid thinking, erroneous assumptions, and political battles fought for the sake of remaining unaccountable were carried out. And even while that happened, Bin Laden and the Taliban sat in Central Asia, reconstituting their strength, even adding to it by exploiting our Near East Blunder in Iraq.

I’m result-oriented. I’m a person concerned that the politicians in Washington be results-oriented, facts oriented themselves, that their ideology represent more a preference applied to pragmatic policymaking, rather than what I see out of the Republicans right now.

Maybe you were concerned with good issues when you voted, concerned with what they were doing. But many Republicans thought only of defeating Democrats, of justifying the victory of Republicans. They would accept any manner of incompetence and hypocrisy, merely because people said the right catchphrases, aped the right philosophies, whistled the right dogs to their side.

I was once a Republican myself in earlier days, but I found that my party cared less and less about what things were true, in science and otherwise, and more about attacking and bringing down Democrats. They promoted what I saw as the worst of anti-intellectualism, veiled racism, and hatred of authority that wasn’t theirs. For me, conservatism had always been about repudiating radicalism, respecting law and order, those in authority, if not always agreeing with them.

But what I saw from that party was a chilling disregard for anything else than their own party’s authority, their own party’s fortunes. The leadership in Washington seemed willing to say anything and do anything to have things the way they wanted them. That I could not accept. The Republicans have lost their way, and need to be kept in the wilderness until such time as they repent of this divisive, unproductive strain of politics. Their perspectives are valuable to our system, but must be shaped by the real world, and an understanding that this is not their country, or the country of the Democratic Party, but our country, together, and that their unwillingness to accept the verdict of the voters against them is a blow against the integrity of our Democracy itself.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 28, 2009 9:20 AM
Comment #287018

“Our medical system is rigged towards selling us..”
Isolations masks and hand sanitizers should be available in more places, like they are at work.

“continue to push vaccines…”
If mercury is good now, I guess nobody has to worry about eating things that are contaminated with it.

Once again, womanmarine proves that her qualifications to write articles here are greater than the most frequent writers. JMHO indeed!

Posted by: ohrealy at August 28, 2009 2:26 PM
Comment #287033

S.D.
I don’t care what party you are. I don’t trust either one of the major parties and I wouldn’t trust either a Democrat or Republican politician as far as I could throw them. And YES I blame both parties equally for the mess we are in. You can do all the WOO WOO WOOING you want about the Republicans, but the Democrats aren’t worth the powder to blow them to hell either.

Posted by: KAP at August 28, 2009 5:29 PM
Comment #287036

KAP, in the large part, a very objectively healthy position to take.

Who said: “Trust, but verify.” I forgot. Good 3 words and a comma,, right up to the point that one proves themselves untrustworthy through verification. Democrats, with their penchant for pork barrel spending that dates back many, many decades, is a case in point. What does all that add up to in today’s dollars? Dunno. But, it’s shockingly huge. The mismanaged and wasted dollars by Democrats on military industrial spending alone, has to be way over the trillion dollar mark.

They, as a Party, lost my trust on fiscal management a very long time ago. Then there was the war on drugs, their failure to heed sociological studies on welfare and concentrated poverty zones for decades. Then came their focus on guns, a symptom, instead of education, the problem. I could go on, but, the Democratic Party leaves ample room for distrust.

And I say this as an Obama supporter. But, I didn’t vote for Obama because of his Party affiliation. Just as I respected Sen. John Warner or Alan Simpson, but, not because they were Republicans.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 28, 2009 5:51 PM
Comment #287037

I think of our two major political parties as a pack of wolves tearing at our carcass, each trying to out-gobble the other.

The American people are bleeding and being torn apart by our political parties, neither of which have our best interests at heart, but only their own ravenous ambitions.

Will we continue to lie there being eaten alive or rise up and throw off these hyenas? We’re being spent into hell by these vicious predators who rely upon us being stupid enough to believe their lies. They gain strength when we fight against each other. Most of us inherently know right from wrong and recognize what is necessary for our country to withstand these vultures. Stand up against those who would destroy us with their greed and pandering.

You can be for the politicians or for every decent American who just wants government to leave us alone so we can rule our own lives.

Posted by: Royal Flush at August 28, 2009 5:56 PM
Comment #287039

Ohrealy:

Thanks, I think you are the only one who read my post, LOL.

There is much that can be saved to help pay for a new system. The idea that people can shop for their healthcare is a cruel myth. The profits of the insurance companies is… well, I can’t think of a word that exactly fits, but it’s amazing.

Posted by: womanmarine at August 28, 2009 6:18 PM
Comment #287050

ohrealy-
The amount of Mercury in vaccines was never that high to begin with, and nowadays it’s just about absent, due to the uproar. Funny thing about that. Autism rates are still rising. Basic science: remove a claimed cause, see if the removal affects anything.

KAP-
Ideas matter. BAD ideas especially. When people can rule with BAD ideas with impunity, then I don’t care who you are, it will never end well.

Harry Reid just suggested CO-OPs might be a viable alternative, or that the Public Option might be administered privately. I’m probably one of about a few hundred thousand Democrats who just sent him a letter chewing him out.

Yes, I think many of the folks in the Senate and House aren’t worth the gunpowder it would take to blow them to hell. But my solution is not to sit around moping about it, or go with a third party whose platform does not align with my interests. My solution is to motivate and advocate for change within my own party.

I got to tell you, I’m frustrated. But frustration for me is motivation to do something. I’m sick of being in a position where I can do nothing. But all I’ve seen all my life is people abandoning groups that disappoint and disillusion them, dropping out.

And when they do, what happens? All of a sudden the agenda reflects that of the folks who did stay, folks who might be the jaded, compromised folks the Democrats are learning to hate, or the radical, ruthless people who now dominate the Republicans.

My policy with folks like that is they go before I do. I keep my stake in things, I keep my presence, and I don’t let them wear me off of the party. That’s the number one mistake all too many advocates of reform make. They think of it in short term, one battle.

I want something better than that.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 28, 2009 11:56 PM
Comment #287057

Royal Flush,
“You can be for the politicians or for every decent American who just wants government to leave us alone so we can rule our own lives.”

That is a sentiment often heard from conservatives.

I don’t think conservatives really believe that at all.

Why? Anyone who really wants to be left alone to rule his or her own life could “light out for the territories” and live in a cabin in the woods, you know, do the Thoreau or Unabomber thing. Very few conservatives choose to do this. I’ve been self sufficient for a few weeks when I was young, and I have to tell you, it’s not nearly as fun or profound as it might seem.

For those who follow sociology, the freest and most democratic social structure is the tribe of 30 or less individuals. Again, the option is available, but almost no conservatives pursue this wonderfully free and democratic life style.

Finally, it is possible to emigrate to countries which are remarkably free of government interference in the individual’s life. Somalia provides a great example. So does most of Afghanistan… the Amazon… New Guinea… Borneo… Why, the world is full of places where a person can be free of government interference! And yet, conservatives do not opt for those places!

In truth, conservatives love government interference. They love clean water. They do not like the risk of dysentary. Same goes for other diseases. Conservatives love the food that has its quality regulated by the FDA. Not sure? Read “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair to obtain a picture of a food supply free of government interference. Conservatives love traveling safely on interstate highways. They are proud that America landed a man on the moon.

I think you get the idea.

What conservatives really want are the benefits of ‘government interference’ without the responsibility of paying for it.

Posted by: phx8 at August 29, 2009 2:22 AM
Comment #287060

>What conservatives really want are the benefits of ‘government interference’ without the responsibility of paying for it.
Posted by: phx8 at August 29, 2009 02:22 AM

phx8,

The party that prided itself on its maturity and used self-reliance and responsibility as its cornerstones, now advocates disrupting legitimate meetings, calling people names (Nazi), spending far more than income from taxation would normally allow and lying through their teeth in order to scare the poor, the elderly, and the disenfranchised into toeing their line.

My, how the mighty has become the stench.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 29, 2009 6:25 AM
Comment #287064

S.D.
I have been trying to vote out my congressman for the last three elections but it don’t seem to help if idiot people keep pulling the party lever. As for health reform I’m all for it as long as the government stays as far out of it as possible. I’d like to see the insurance carriers being able to cross state lines and open up competition. Another banning drug companies from advertising on TV, they could put the money they save to lowering costs to consumers it may be minimual but at least it would be a start.

Posted by: KAP at August 29, 2009 10:14 AM
Comment #287071


Banning McDonalds advertisements could have a greater impact on health care costs than banning drug advertisements.

Posted by: jlw at August 29, 2009 12:11 PM
Comment #287073

jlw
probably so.

Posted by: KAP at August 29, 2009 12:21 PM
Comment #287081

jlw, but that rationale leads directly to banning all manner of harmful items, including birth control pills whose hormones are flushed down the toilets to pollute our water systems and alter the physiology and development of living creatures relying upon that water, for example. (A major issue for many drinking water supplies).

There has to be a more complex and targeted solution than such a simple blanket principle rule such as, if it has harmful effects on some, all advertising for the product should be banned.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 29, 2009 1:12 PM
Comment #287086


David, I merely made a statement which I said could be fact. I am under no illusion that we are going to start a wholesale ban on popular products that are harmful. It wouldn’t work anyway. People have ways of getting many of the products banned or not.

Banning birth control pills would create a blackmarket for birth control pills. I have heard that as many as one out of every six male babies are born with malformed genitalia and that it is linked to hormones in the water supply. If that is true, it is a remarkedly large number and we should have already done something but, I don’t think we know what to do about the problem.

Posted by: jlw at August 29, 2009 1:40 PM
Comment #287090

Only male babies? Where did you hear this?

Posted by: womanmarine at August 29, 2009 2:14 PM
Comment #287096

I think those same rumors surfaced three quarters of a century ago, when folks were worried about flouride…

Posted by: Marysdude at August 29, 2009 4:15 PM
Comment #287097

KAP-
Does it logically follow that keeping government as far out of it as possible necessarily produces the best results?

My experience with some of the Republican’s attempt to do this is that what ended up happening is that you had huge amounts of money delivered into private hands, on the theory that they would administrate it better. Of course, they forgot that as long as the money was coming from Uncle Sam, many of those private companies didn’t give a hoot about keeping their costs down.

We also have to be concerned about the extent of the effect we need to create. Let me be blunt: we have to get those costs down, and get them down soon.

We’ve scored several options at the CBO. The Public Option does it best, and that’s even without figuring the less predictable dividends that Economists say are likely.

Republicans and their allies among the Democrats really are going for the more expensive of the two option, and ironically claiming to be serving fiscal conservatism by doing so.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 29, 2009 4:36 PM
Comment #287098

S.D.
We have seen the same with Democrats. I never mwentioned anything about the government handing out huge amounts of money far from it. Let the private sector insurance carriers go national so competion between them exists. Right now, in my state anyway, we have very few choices between carriers. With this people in N.Y. or Calif. may be able to get their coverage at a reasonable cost, not the ridulously high rates they have now. This option may prove to be a bad idea but the health reform from the government may prove to be a royal screw up also.

Posted by: KAP at August 29, 2009 5:08 PM
Comment #287105

KAP-
With current laws for financial institutions, you would see the insurance companies rapidly conglomerate. Same result, just on a national level.

Can we at least try the Public Option out first, before we declare it an utter failure?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 29, 2009 10:01 PM
Comment #287109

KAP,
If the health insurers operated nationwide, the 40 or so existing ones would rapidly concentrate into an oligopoly, with a couple of truly huge insurers dominating the markets.

Currently, Big Pharma and the insurers have already put more money into lobbying against the reform than Bush and Kerry spend in the 2004 election- combined. There is literally an army of lobbyists assailing Congressman. Someone figured there were six assigned to each and every Senator and Representative. If you think it’s bad now, just imagine if the insurers became concentrated and even more powerful!

As it it, Democratic Senator Baucus on the Senate Finance Committee, has received $2.8 million from the health insurers, 25% of his total take. His counterpart, Republican Senator Grassley, has received $2 million. Deregulate the private insurers, and the situation will surely worsen.

It’s now or never. The Public Option is just that- an option. You wouldn’t see so many lies bandied about about death panels and euthanasia by the GOP, which is entirely in their control, if the private insurers were not so worried.

This is a very very difficult fight. It is very possible the effort to reform health care will go down in defeat. The health insurers have every intention of coming away with a bill which actually strengthens them!

Don’t help those people. Every wealthy country in the world except the US successfully practices universal health care. The US ranks 29/30 among wealthy countries when it comes to health care. We can do better. Sheesh, we should at least try!

Posted by: phx8 at August 30, 2009 1:40 AM
Comment #287113

stephen

“The point of the public option, and the insurance exchange that it’s a part of is to break up the monopolistic and near-monopolistic market conditions that many healthcare plans operate under.”

those conditions are the result of gov’t regulation, and mandates. HR 3200 will simply replace one monopoly with another, which IMHO will be much worse. a private sector solution will be much better. the trick is to force our politicians to do in a way that benefits us, and not themselves.

Posted by: dbs at August 30, 2009 11:04 AM
Comment #287115

stephen

“Can we at least try the Public Option out first, before we declare it an utter failure?”

the problem with this is that even if it is a complete failure, which IMO it will be. by the time we realize it, it will be to late. many people will be dependent on it ,and once implemented it will be impossible to undo. there will many public sector jobs, and entire beauracracy dedicated to administering it, and these people will not allow there jobs to simply be eliminated.

Posted by: dbs at August 30, 2009 11:10 AM
Comment #287119

Is there anyone else besides Mr. Daugherty who believes we don’t have enough government control over our individual lives, and need more?

Posted by: Royal Flush at August 30, 2009 1:00 PM
Comment #287120

phx8
So as dbs has said you would rather exchange one for the other a government run monopoly or a privately run monopoly. IMO I think the privately run system has a better chance than a government one.

Posted by: KAP at August 30, 2009 1:06 PM
Comment #287121

Royal Flush:

Kind of like asking when you quit beating your wife. The wrong question and a gross oversimplification.

Posted by: womanmarine at August 30, 2009 1:13 PM
Comment #287126

KAP,
A private monopoly is in business to make profit. A government monopoly is in business to provide service. A private monopoly’s primary goal it to enhance the value of its shareholder’s investments as rapidly as possible. A government monopoly serves “We the people,” not a small group of shareholders.

Did you know that with Japan universal health care there is no waiting? The Japanese don’t even bother to make appointments to see doctors.

Posted by: phx8 at August 30, 2009 2:25 PM
Comment #287128

From watching Sen. Murkowski’s relatively polite town hall meeting in Anchorage on CSPAN yesterday:

The elderly are worried about extending medical insurance to anyone who might get in front of them at a doctor’s office (I me mine I me mine I me mine).

Elderly and chronically ill patients already get way too much medical attention.

The boogeyman (pick one from a long list including immigrants, socialists, the POTUS, etc)
is bent on destroying our wonderful perfect way of life.

Anyone holding a piece of paper in their hand to wave is probably in need of mental health care.

///

To have confidence in vaccines, you have to have confidence in the government. Because of economic conditions, not much is being done to weed out problems created during the last administration. Instead the new administration is trying to build on top of the flaming pile of dung which was left on their doorstep.

The state here has already started a big push for flu vaccinations. I want full disclosure from those who manufacture the vaccine (refer back to charges against our former Gov Worthless on this). Vaccination is a good thing. Too much of a good thing easily becomes a bad thing. I always refuse the HepB vaccination, and didn’t get the flu shot last year, since it didn’t work the year before.

pdx8, “do the Thoreau or Unabomber thing”
Shame on you for putting those two in the same sentence.

KAP,”trying to vote out my congressman”
Try voting against him(?) in the primary.

Your children know more about Sally Field’s bone problems and erectile dysfunction than they do about what a healthy meal looks like.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 30, 2009 2:38 PM
Comment #287129

Let’s see…if the monopolistic financial house is compared to a monopolistic health house…welll…to answer RF’s poser, I think I’d opt for a government system, monopolistic or not. But, y’all are very pessamistic about our government. Perhaps I don’t see as well through your murky glasses.

Posted by: Marysdude at August 30, 2009 2:44 PM
Comment #287133

phx8
Maybe we should import some of Japan’s Doctors, because if the health reform goes through we are going to have to get health care professionals from somewhere. As for me I’d rather realie on the private sector because the only thing the government runs good is the military and that is sometimes debateable.

Posted by: KAP at August 30, 2009 5:12 PM
Comment #287138

phx8

“A private monopoly is in business to make profit. A government monopoly is in business to provide service.”

wrong, gov’t monopoly is in business to preserve, and extend the power of gov’t, and the politicians who perpetuate it. it’s amazing the blind faith some have in gov’t force when it is there side who is in charge. it’s all for the greater good, BS! i don’t want it, and won’t abide by it, regardless of who’s in charge.

Posted by: dbs at August 30, 2009 6:05 PM
Comment #287148

dbs,
The urge to extend power and perpetuate it through kingdom-building is a human foible which is expressed in any organization, and not unique to government. The same bureaucratic process of accumulating power occurs in a local PTA committee, a tribe, an insurance company, and government. In every organization is it undermined by the competition for resources, funding, grants, and/or profits.

You’ll need to do much better than dredge up old Chicago school canards.

Ohrealy,
I thought the combination of the Unabomber and Thoreau in one phrase was kind of humorous. However, I do like and respect Thoreau- my apologies to the fine legacy he has left to us all. It is far different from the murderous fantasies of the Unabomber.

KAP,
Government does a fine job in many, many areas. It falls apart when people take charge who believe government is the problem and not the solution. They create systemic nightmares of corruption and cronyism. (see Reagan administration; Bush administration),

Posted by: phx8 at August 30, 2009 8:14 PM
Comment #287149

phx8
It falls apart when inept politicians take charge. If you want mommy and daddy government to control your life at every step of the way you can have it, as for me, I don’t. To much government IS A PROBLEM.

Posted by: KAP at August 30, 2009 8:22 PM
Comment #287151

On my way back from a store, members of the girls track team from the local high school were running by me on the sidewalk. A stoplight turned red, and only 3 girls of Asian ancestry stopped for the light. The rest kept running. Then one said: “Let’s keep going this way, we can stop at McDonald’s.” That’s PR.

Posted by: ohrealy at August 30, 2009 10:58 PM
Comment #287180

Royal Flush-
There are things as individuals which we only have limited ability to confront. An epidemic is an example. The current private healthcare system literally encourages an unhealthy situation, the uninsured and underinsured forming a pool of people who will see a doctor later, or clog up emergency rooms (which will double as places for people who don’t have the flu to catch it) when they get too sick to ignore it.

And that will probably be after they’ve shown up for work, and spread the disease to other workers.

The old adage, “A Stitch In Time Saves Nine” applies. But this is a culture, especially in the healthcare industry, that prefers the more lucrative nine stitches to the one stitch of preventative care.

Besides, all too often, when people talk about “limiting personal freedom”, they’re attacking legislation limiting corporate freedoms. The freedom in question is the freedom to pervert the market to gain unearned profits.

I’m a pragmatic guy. I like things to work they way they’re supposed to work. If the point of an insurance system is to use the pooling of general premiums to take care of healthcare the individual could not pay for alone, and the point of a healthcare system is to keep people healthy, then I’m most interested in those systems doing their job, not in their profit.

Their profit should be in figuring out the best way TO do their job rather than the best way NOT to do their job, and still make the same money. That’s most of what I support in terms of regulation in general Efficiency for me is not simply a gloss of corporate fidiciuary responsibility over profit-driven degeneration of a system. It’s not speeding things up or complicating things beyond the ability of human beings to understand it, simply because that makes more money per share.

These things aren’t simple numbers games to me. There is a real world that policies or lack of same interact with, and if you get the wrong stuff in place, or don’t put the right stuff in action in the first place, then you will see things screw up.

It strikes me just how poor the systems the supposed conservative are proposing would actually work. Co-ops, according to multiple studies, and the experience with Blue Cross Blue shield, won’t lower costs. And they’ll never have the nationwide presence necessary to drive down costs through competition.

But yet, these are the options we are told are good. Maybe they’re good politically, but since when was that the point? This tendency to satisfy ideological tendencies, rather than leave them in the background, is what has this society in such deep crap right now.

I would hope, and fight for policies that satisfy both the need to give people choices, and the need to give them GOOD choices. I’m not going to fight for the kind of choice where essentially your choice is between inordinately expensive healthcare and taking your chances that you won’t get sick.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 31, 2009 12:08 PM
Comment #287188

dbs-
Such changes have been walked back before. Remember catastrophic care before? Also, remember this: there is an incentive for Democrats to make this work. Healthcare reform that is a failure is a downer for Democrat’s chances in 2010 and 2012.

But as for the rest of the rhetoric? Look, Republicans always talked about shrinking government, but instead, they expanded it. Why? Because it was politically expedient. They can talk about checking the DOE’s (Department of Energy, Department of Education), and things like that, But they already added to the alphabet soup with Homeland Security, and already added much to the government through the Department of Defense alone.

And of course, that growth is sacred growth. After all we can’t tamper with Defense, right, if even just to streamline and cut out the waste and corruption.

What we have here is a politicization of the priorities of governance, of the process of optimizing it.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at August 31, 2009 1:07 PM
Comment #287223

stephen

“there is an incentive for Democrats to make this work. Healthcare reform that is a failure is a downer for Democrat’s chances in 2010 and 2012.”

something of the size and scope of what is in this bill has about as much chance of being undone as social security. IMO the democrats will absolutely seal thier fate in 2010, and 2012 if they force this piece of legislation through. obama will be IMO an utter failure. he is well on his way, and most likely will not be re elected in 2012. there are to many with serious buyers remorse already. he fooled everyone once, but i don’t believe he’ll do it again. his poll numbers seem to be dropping daily.

“But as for the rest of the rhetoric? Look, Republicans always talked about shrinking government, but instead, they expanded it.”


it always seems to come down to “the republicans did this, or the republicans did that”. i don’t care what they did they’re not in charge now, and don’t condone any wrong doing by them. all eyes are on the democrats now, and any failures will land squarely in thier laps.

Posted by: dbs at August 31, 2009 7:55 PM
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